Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Celebrating Poetry

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.


We celebrated warmth and sunshine this past week with a writing session outside!  Those of us who live in the Northwest know that a sunny day in April is a moment to be seized.  When we had our second day of almost sixty degree weather, we took our Writer's Notebooks and headed outside for inspiration.  

Inspired by a fellow slicer, I tried my hand at a new form, the arun.  It's a fifteen-line poem in three sets of five lines. Each set of five lines follows the same syllable structure: starting with one syllable and increasing by one (1/2/3/4/5 — 3x).

we bask
in your glow
gathering words,
celebrating warmth.
collect ideas
capturing this
one moment in time.
We linger,
longing to stay
in your warm embrace.

GirlGriot inspired me to try this new form. She has written many aruns during Poetry month.  Here's a link to a birthday arun she wrote for her niece.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sharing Poems in Our Pockets!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

Every April when I hang this bulletin board, I think of three dear women who helped make this idea in my head a reality.  Several years ago, I spoke with some parent volunteers visiting my classroom for another project and mentioned my dream of having actual pockets on a bulletin board for the month of April.  One mom donated a bag of jeans she had been kicking around under her sewing table for years, assuring me that giving it away would earn her guilt-free time at her sewing machine.  Another mom mentioned that she had seen red bandana fabric at a local thrift store.  That afternoon the fabric and the bag of jeans were in my classroom.   Once I cut out all the pockets and started playing around with them on the fabric, I knew that I wanted to sew this bulletin board so that it would be easy to hang each year.  The only problem with this thinking is that I don't have the sewing gene!  I solicited the help of a dear friend thinking that we could do this in a couple of hours one Sunday afternoon.  Five hours later, the project was complete!

Each year when I hang it in the hallway, I'm filled with gratitude for these dear friends who helped make my dream a reality.  After we share poems on Poem in my Pocket Day, we tuck them into our pockets in the hallway.  I love walking down our hallway and seeing students checking out the poems in our pockets!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lost in my favorite poetry anthologies!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

I love that April is poetry month, but I'm always saddened to lose a week of poems to Spring Break, and then it's time to gear up for our state testing.  However, Poem in Your Pocket Day is always celebrated in my classroom.  We've been busy this week exploring poetry in preparation for Thursday's poetry picnic.

I find myself turning to poetry during happy times, sad times and all the in-between times.  I want my students to understand that poetry is for all the times of our lives.  From Mrs. Lewallen who taught me "When the frost is on the punkin and the fodders in the shock," and "Hats off, the flag is passing by," to Mrs. Powers who shared "He drew a circle that shut me out," and "I must go down to the seas again," to Mrs. Thrasher who led me into the mysteries of "In Xandu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree," and the pleasures of a walk as "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," my life has been enriched by these women who shared their love of poetry with me.  I hope that I can continue their legacy by leading my students to a lifelong love of poetry.

My students read books from 15 genres during 6th grade and one of those requirements is for a poetry anthology.  Today's post is a list of my favorite anthologies.  One of the things I love in anthologies is the introduction written for each section.  One of my students pointed out to me that Jack Prelutsky wrote an original poem for each section of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children.  I've owned this anthology since before I had children.  I used to read poems to my husband during road trips.  My copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends was given to me by my husband's mother after my first visit to meet her.  I love these words from Caroline Kennedy's new anthology, Poems to Learn by Heart.  "Growing up is hard, but poems can protect, guide, and connect us to others.  If we learn them by heart, the emotion, the wisdom, and the power they contain can bring joy to our lives and sustain us through difficult times."

So here is my baker's dozen of poetry anthologies that I must have in my classroom and on my bookshelf.  Unfortunately, I don't own all of them . . . yet (but more than half of them are on my personal shelf) and thanks to my library, they are all in my classroom right now!

A Family of Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy &
Poems to Learn by Heart selected by Caroline Kennedy, both books are lusciously illustrated with paintings by Jon Muth

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle compiled by Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders & Hugh Smith

Whisper and Shout:  Poems to Memorize edited by Patrice Vecchione

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry:  200 Poems with Photographs that Squeak, Soar, and Roar edited by J. Patrick Lewis

The Tree that Time Built selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

Julie Andrews' Treasury for all Seasons
selected by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton, with paintings by Marjorie Priceman
Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies 
selected by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton, with paintings by James McMullan

How to Eat a Poem:  A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers 
by American Poetry and Literacy Project, Academy of American Poets and Ted Kooser

The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems compiled and illustrated by Jackie Collins

The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Meilo So &
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Another Jar of Tiny Stars edited by Bernice Cullinan and Deborah Wooten

How about it?  Tell me about your favorite anthologies - the ones that you return to year after year!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lost in a book on Fun Friday!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 
I returned from a spring break trip to Oklahoma last Wednesday evening.  I was determined to preserve my "break" mentality until the weekend when I would do some grading and planning for school.

So while I had a few errands to accomplish on Friday, I also wanted to squeeze in some favorite activities to make it a Fun Friday!  Here's a quick recap of my Fun Friday book adventures:
  • Stop at University Bookstore to turn in student entries for the yearly bookmark contest.  
  • Peruse the 90% off clearance table where I purchase five books for $3.28!
  • Pick up a 50% off copy of The Tree That Time Built, perfect for lovers of poetry and nature,  with a CD with readings of 44 poems, including 18 poets reading their own work.
  • Stop by the public library to pick up poetry books that I had requested for poetry month.  
  • Raid the library shelves for more poetry books and fill my red bin to overflowing.
  • Stop at Island Books to purchase Caroline Kennedy's gorgeous new anthology, Poems to Learn by Heart.  Chat with the owner, Roger Page, while we point out poems to each other and exclaim over the wonderful array of poems in this new anthology.
My Fun Friday was slipping away far too quickly, so I returned home to finish the April book for my adult book club .  I finish fewer and fewer of our books because I spend so much time reading middle grade books, professional books, and blogs.   I decided to conclude my Fun Friday by baking some cookies (from dough left in the freezer by my daughter over Easter weekend) to accompany my reading.

I carried two warm monster cookies and a glass of cold milk to set on the side table.  I settled into my favorite chair and escaped into The House at Tyneford.  I was jarred out of this delicious escape by the ringing of the telephone.  It was my husband who was headed home early and needed a pickup from the park and ride.  I glanced down at the plate to see one-half of a cookie and thought, "Oh well, I can certainly finish this warm cookie before I leave to pick him up."  My fatal mistake was picking up the book as I picked up the cookie.  When I turned the final page of the book, I stretched out in my cozy chair with the luxurious sigh of a contented reader. . . And that's when I remembered my husband at the park & ride!  I had no idea how long he had been waiting for me or how long it had taken me to finish the book.  I had been lost in a book, and there's no finer way to top off a Fun Friday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A poem for lost items

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

I'm kicking off poetry month with this attempt at a rhyming poem (with apologies to Joyce Kilmer and "Trees," a poem I memorized in elementary school ).

Early Morning Musings

I think that I shall never see 
These items that are lost to me.

Sara's darling pink backpack
A preschool loss that we still lack.

We think it joined the Ryman home
With three small girls and room to roam.

My own key ring was next to go 
My search for it went high and low.

The clicker was the biggest loss
Unocking doors became my cross.

A haiku scrawled upon a slip
Those words were lost in one quick zip.

It's why I cannot clear my piles
And often wander in my files.

I'm hopeful it will show up soon
A new haiku to share by June.  

So while I've lost things more than three
These three in dreams appeared to me.

Instead of counting leaping sheep
Search for the lost to bring on sleep.