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Posts Tagged ‘Sylvia Vardell’

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

There are those weeks that seem to go on and on, yet offer nothing to be celebrated. Sometimes I have to look harder to find the bright spots. I am actually ashamed that I felt this way yesterday because this morning I looked through my mail and found so much to celebrate.

I signed up for a poetry postcard exchange. I thought the giving and receiving was over, but this week I got three more poetry postcards.

New Year poem cards from Sylvia Vardell with a Wonder Woman stamp.

New Year poem cards from Sylvia Vardell with a Wonder Woman stamp.

Poem from Donna Smith: Listen to the sounds crunching, munching, lunch a foot Leaves nourishing earth

Poem from Donna Smith:
Listen to the sounds
crunching, munching, lunch a foot
Leaves nourishing earth

Handwritten poem and card from Kim Urband:

Summer Storm
Stone-gray clouds steal azure sky
Lightning stabs, singes
Liquid silver glazes hills
Relinquishes to Rhapsody

–Kim Urband

This sweet, uplifting message from Joy Acey:

My body feels electric like new years fireworks
blazing in starlight.
I want to raise my arms
to twirl and dance in the moonlight.
Poetry fills me
and runs out of my pen.
May the force be with your poetry.
–Joy Acey

And an invitation to my daughter’s wedding in March. Here we go again!

maggie-wedding-invitation

preaching-interior-2-1000x647
This week I read aloud Preaching to the Chickens about John Lewis’s childhood. I wanted my students to know his name and to have a better understanding of the fight for civil rights. This book is beautifully illustrated. One of my students, Madison, was inspired by the paintings to draw her own yard of chickens. I love the personalities of each of her chickens.

Chickens by Madison, 3rd grade.

Chickens by Madison, 3rd grade.

I didn’t have to look very hard to find these celebrations today. What are you celebrating?

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

 

Gratitude takes many forms.  Gratitude for my online community means writing a haiku-a-day in December.  Mary Lee posted the challenge, and Michelle is curating all the bloggers participating. We are all using #haikuforhealing.

haiku-clouds

 

I also feel gratitude for poetry and for authors who promote poetry in the classroom.

Poetry has the power to transform a classroom environment.  On Friday I went off the lesson plan path and shared a new book that I received at NCTE16 from Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, the partnership behind Poetry Friday anthologies.  Just You Wait is their latest anthology.  I love the new way this one is designed with a poem from an outside poet, a response poem from Janet, and a poem writing activity from Sylvia.  The subtitle reads  “A Poetry Friday Power Book”, and it certainly packed a good punch in my classroom.

After showing my students a picture of Margarita Engle (by looking at her picture, we knew she was of a different race, but which one?), I read her poem “Who am I?”.  This poem speaks of the half Cuban she is and how there is no bubble on the form for being half.  I have bi-racial students, so we talked honestly about what this means.

We also discussed the mentor text poem and how the end is like a punch line that makes you think.  So my students and I wrote together using the form “Today I am someone who…” I could not have predicted the impact this exercise would have on my students.  They wrote from their hearts.  So much so that some do not want to share with the public, but they did feel safe enough to share with me and their classmates.  We were all moved.  And through connections and writing, we became closer, a stronger community of writers.

Some posted their poems on our kidblog site for the public.  You can read them here. I emailed Sylvia and Janet, and they both graciously left comments. I can’t wait to share these on Monday. #Gratitude for digital spaces that allow this immediate and authentic feedback.

Erin handed me her poem and asked that I publish it on my blog.  She is bi-racial.  Her mother is from the Philippines.  She is determined to fight the stereotypes.

Poetry Friday: Stereotypes

by Erin

Today
I am
not just another stereotypical Asian
I’m someone who doesn’t want to be a doctor
I’m someone who isn’t just a goody-two-shoes
I’m not someone who thinks studying is more important than friends
I’m someone who doesn’t always make good grades
I’m someone who will never be just another Asian
I’m someone who will crush these stereotypes and others like it

I write alongside my students.  When I wrote this last line, little did I know how true it was.  My students find poems and express their hearts.

Today
I am
someone who welcomes toe tickles from my dog, Charlie
someone who froths milk for coffee every day
someone who looks at nature for inspiration
someone who finds poems hiding in her junk drawer
someone who finds poems in the hearts of children

— Margaret Simon

 

Please join the conversation today with your link.

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