Posts Tagged ‘Things to Do Poem’

To celebrate National Poetry Month, #AuthorsTakeAction2023 is organizing a community poetry project for kids.

Children’s poets and authors from all over the country are offering poetry prompts and inviting teachers and children to write poems on the topic of climate change.

You can find all the prompts at the Authors Take Action website.

My poem prompt is a Things to Do Poem. This is a form I used in my book Bayou Song: Exploration of the South Louisiana Landscape. The alligator snapping turtle is not endangered as far as I know, but it is a celebrated Louisiana critter.

To begin, select a bird or animal that is endangered in your area. I did a Google search for my state “Endangered animals in Louisiana.” I was amazed to find out that Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles had hatched near New Orleans. And I also thought they were very cute to draw.

My friend Julie Burchstead sent me instructions for a crayon resist art project.

  1. With a pencil, draw your chosen bird or animal on watercolor paper. Create a contour drawing with no shading. It will look like a coloring book page.

2. After drawing, outline the pencil lines in Sharpie marker. (The marker must be permanent or the ink will smear.)

3. Color with crayon or Cray-pas. Julie says, “Note: The crayon must be applied darkly (thick). If it is too light, there will not be enough wax to resist the wash, and the crayon work will be lost. Any areas that must remain white, must be colored white with crayon. ”

4. Using watercolor paint, select a single color of paint. Pool a few drops of clean water into the chosen color with a wide brush. (Do not use the skinny one that comes with the kit.) Wash (spread) the paint over the whole image. Where there is crayon, the wax will resist the paint.

5. Create a list poem using action words to begin each phrase. You may personify your chosen animal.

Things to Do if You’re a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Hatch for the first time in 75 years.
Crawl toward the ocean.
Leave tracks in sand for researchers to find.
Return to your nest on the Chandeleur Islands.
Find a protected sanctuary.
Restore hope in Louisiana’s wetlands.
by Margaret Simon

Here are a few student examples:

Things to do if you’re an Eagle

Fly in the air.
Attack little fish.
Snag on meat. 
Glide over the ocean.
Soar over 10,000 feet!
Symbolize our nation.

by Brayden, 3rd grade

Things to Do if You’re a Grasshopper Sparrow

Land on a fingertip.
Eat earthworms, snails, and spiders.
Let your wings soar on the ground.
Carry on with the wind.
Find a sanctuary of protection.

by Avalyn, 3rd grade

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

The last two weeks have offered a wealth of writing inspiration as we participated in #write0ut, a National Writing Project and National Park Service collaboration. Teaching gifted kids challenges me to find quality writing activities that will inspire, motivate, and engage my young students. #Writeout 2021 did not disappoint. And the resources will remain available on the website here.

My students have created storyboards with Storyboard That about geological changes over time.

Chloe’s storyboard about Louisiana’s loss of wetlands.

They wrote poetry. Things to do if you’re a puppy by Avalyn:

Pound on a window when you want
to go on a walk, purr when you want pets.
Go outside and dig when you’re bored.
only bark when you’re in danger.

Avalyn, 2nd grade

On Friday, we ventured outside to the playground. At one school, there is a large live oak. My students sat underneath the tree for writing inspiration and gathered natural materials to create an art piece.

Katie gathers leaves for her notebook.
Avalyn observes a live oak tree.
Jaden’s are collage and poem

Golden petaled flowers
spring up from the ground

Leaves slowly drift
from each branch

Clouds painted
on the sky’s canvas

Tall great trees
with green leaves

Spider webs
glisten in the sunlight

Squawking birds
angrily yell

Fellow rodent squirrels
sprint across branches

For nature
For habitats
For life

Jaden, 6th grade (form inspired by Irene Latham)

Another #writeout prompt asked students to make a poster. We used Canva and Adalyn create this one. On Canva it’s animated. You can view the animated version here.

Created by Adalyn, 3rd grade using Canva

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday is being gathered today by Fran Haley.

Take Heart is Fran’s choice for our Spiritual Thursday posts. In my Mississippi childhood, Dear Heart was a common feminine expression, similar to cher in the Cajun culture I now live in. Dear heart is an expression of endearment that could have a connotation of condescension.

But Take Heart is not at all condescending. In a sense, its meaning is quite the opposite. To Take Heart is a way to overcome the troubles of the world.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33

Take Heart means to live a life that understands there is trouble, there is hardship, there is pain, but there is a greater spirit that overcomes and offers hope. As I read Out of the Dust with a student this week, he identified the theme, “There is always hope.” A pandemic is a kind of Dust Bowl for our time. We have little control over who the virus will target next. Our handkerchiefs are our masks. We stay distanced to avoid the dust. Yet, there is hope. There is always hope.

I started thinking about ways I overcome and find peace in my own life and wrote a “Things to do” poem.

Things to Do to Take Heart

Notice the singing of morning birds.
Begin each day in prayerful meditation.
Read poetry. Write poetry.
Write a letter to a girl in prison.
Fold an origami heart.
Sing a lullaby to a new baby.
Take a child to the park. Swing with him on your lap.
Kiss the screen on Facetime.
Laugh with your partner.
Go to sleep to the owl’s call.

Margaret Simon, 2021
My students and I are making origami heart messages for V-Day.

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