Poetry Friday: Sneak Peak for National Poetry Month

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Thanks to Amy at The Poem Farm for hosting Poetry Friday. One of the things I like best about teaching is research.  In the library, where class time is limited, long drawn out reports isn’t practical.  Plus I want students using their new knowledge by writing poems and then creating postcards.  The postcards are mailed throughout the world to those who sign up.  It’s the ninth year of doing this and I am always happy with the results.

Throughout April, I will feature the work of these researcher poets.  Here’s a sneak peak.

Gracee1_100224                     Jaylee

MIrella

If you forgot to sign up for a postcard, you can HERE.

Poetry Friday: Interview with Laura Shovan

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Thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting today.

Laura Shovan was interviewed at the CYBILS website earlier this week.  Here are follow-up questions for her.  These questions were generated from the CYBILS Poetry panel and judges.,

School closings like this don’t happen very often. Did you know of a school that was closing or where this idea come from?

School closings are quite common in Maryland. Schools here are part of large, county-wide systems. Boards of education will sometimes shift entire neighborhoods from one school to another to relieve overcrowding, or even close a school that’s below capacity. For example, in 2016, the year THE LAST FIFTH GRADE came out, a high school was closed in Carroll County, Maryland. There was a lot of push-back from the community and from families who wanted the school to stay open. Despite all the research that shows how important community involvement is in making a school feel welcoming and successful, community members are rarely consulted about such closings. They tend to be a financial decision.

How did you choose the character names and did you map out the characters and classroom dynamic in a visual way?

Some of the characters’ name have clues about their situation or personalities. One is Brianna Holmes (homophone for “homes”), whose family is temporarily living in motel. Another is Newt Mathews (the word “math” is embedded in his name), who prefers form poems where he can count out syllables. And the twins, Sloane and Sydney Costley, have the small word “cost” in their last name – a nod to the fact that they are somewhat wealthy.

I’m a visual person. I had my daughter’s fifth grade school photo taped inside my revision binder. Since I come from an education background, I had to make a seating chart. That helped me to see which characters might develop friendships … or tension. I also had a list of who lived in which neighborhoods, who rode the bus together, who lived close enough to the school to walk.
What choices did she have to make to keep each voice unique?

Giving each of the eighteen characters a unique voice was something I focused on during revisions. Instead of working on the book from the beginning to the end, I pulled out each character – one at a time – and only worked on that person’s poems. In that way, I could look at things like vocabulary, cadence, and formal elements. A free verse poem in Sloane’s voice, for example, will incorporate slang and have a lot of rhythms, to capture her attitude. A free verse poem in Norah’s voice will have longer lines and more descriptive language because Norah is more observant than Sloane.

Have you as a child or your children involved in a grassroots campaign?  

No. My family wasn’t very political when I was growing up. I don’t remember my parents talking about the Viet Nam war at all. I didn’t become politically active until I was an adult. My friends at All the Wonders recently did a post on this topic, featuring picture books.

What other books for children would you suggest if students want to learn more about becoming activists in their community?

There are many types of activism that are appropriate for children. I tend to like books about the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century and picture book biographies of civil rights activists. Three of my favorites are:

Andrea David Pinkney’s picture book SIT IN: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Debbie Levy’s WE SHALL OVERCOME: The Story of a Song.

Tony Medina’s LOVE TO LANGSTON, about Langston Hughes’ childhood.

Another great resource is this Nerdy Book Club list from 2014: Top 10 Picture Books for Activists 

What advice do you have for writers who are working on a novel in verse?

I hear from a lot of authors who love reading novels in verse. But because they don’t see themselves as poets, they’re afraid to give the form a try. My advice is to think about the poems as short monologues. In a novel in verse, the main character or characters take the stage and describe their thoughts, feelings, and a moment of change or realization. Poetic line breaks add rhythm to the character’s speaking voice. I think this is what makes the novel-in-verse form so well-suited for voice-driven books. The combination of monologue and rhythm helps the reader hear what the character sounds like.

Thank you, Laura, for your insight!

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Time for Student Poetry Postcards!  Sign-up HERE

 Happy Poetry.

Happy Friday.

Poetry Friday: Student Odes

IMG_1077Thank you Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge for hosting Poetry Friday today.

My Poetry Rocks’ group worked on odes this week in response to the challenge at Today’s Little Ditty.  We started by reading some of the odes already on the March 2017 Padlet.

We wrote the group ode.

Ode to Recess

Children playing on swings
Children laughing with joy
Orange bark chips not good to eat
Friends playing together
Kids screaming with joy
The wind blowing
Children singing
Feel freedom feel the wind blowing
The smooth-rough play structure
Sad because no one plays with me
Taste the raindrops falling from the sky
Taste the wind blowing on my face
I wonder why kids are so loud
If it could be more fun
Because kids are having fun

~Poetry Rocks’ Kids

Finally, they wrote their own.

Ode to Summer

The sun shining
The wind blowing
The grass under my feet
The popsicles melting in my mouth
I wonder how long the summer is going to last
It does last kind of long

Marcella C., Grade 3
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Ode to Unicorns

I see unicorns every day
I hear unicorns singing
I feel rainbows in my heart
I taste rainbows
I wonder if I could really see unicorns
And unicorns are not real

Italy M., Grade 1
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Ode to Anything

I see people running
I hear the wind blowing
I feel the wind blowing in my face
I taste mint
I wonder what is
Airports

Charlie K., Grade 1
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Ode to Candy

Goodness
Crinkles of the wrapper
The candy melting in my mouth
A wonderful taste of caramel
I wonder what other candy tastes like
It does taste magical

Angel B., Grade 3
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Ode to Logs

Logs in the woods
I hear them molding
I feel the hardness of the wood
I taste the bugs in the wood
I wonder what bugs are in the wood
I know they are spiders.

Ella K., Grade 2
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Ode to Slime

My hands play with your substance
The pop of your bubbles
Your creamy texture
Taste of a grape laffy-taffy
I wonder if you are a waste
No, you’re great

Haylie S., Grade 4
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Ode to a Cat

A fur ball big and fat
A meow there at the door
The fur  in my fingers
What would it be like to be a cat?
It would be wild

Taylor D., Grade 2
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Ode to Spring

Flowers blowing in the wind
Quietness everywhere
I feel at home where it feels nice
I taste the wind in the air
I wonder how it is so beautiful
Because of the world

Bentley C., Grade 2
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Ode to Poetry

Children listening to poetry
Children singing poetry
Happy about singing poetry
I wonder if poetry could be magic
It is magic because you can sing poetry at home
And at Poetry Rocks

Eliza P., Grade 2
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Ode to Candy

I see chocolate
I hear a drumroll
I feel rock candy
I taste gummy bears
I wonder where it comes from
Candy

Kruz G., Grade 1
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Ode to Computers

I see letters and numbers
I hear typing
I feel the keyboard
I taste the fresh air
I wonder if new games could be made
It should

Macy M., Grade 2
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Ode to a Fairy

I see really fast flapping wings
I hear lots of chattering teeth
I feel little feet walking across my hand
I taste the wind of fairy’s wings
I wonder why you’re so small
Because you don’t want a lot of people around you.

Lilly P., Grade 2
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Ode to Recess

Kids playing with friends
Balls bouncing
I feel happy at recess
I taste candy
I wonder if school could go on in summer
It does not

Dakota R., Grade 2
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Ode to Candy

I see rainbows
I hear voices
I feel sticky
I taste sweetness
Why is candy so sweet?
To make it so sweet it’s good for people

Piper C., Grade 2
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Ode to a Boa Constrictor

I see scales
I hear “SSSSS”
I feel scared
How can snakes move without legs
Read books about snakes

Nevaeh S., Grade 3
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Ode to Dogs

Green fur
Soft barking
I feel softness
Lots of love
I wonder why dogs are so funny
Because they don’t know any better

Jazzlynn S., Grade 3
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Ode to Flowers

I see your pretty petals
I hear you blowing in the wind
I feel your soft pretty petals
I smell your beautiful taste of wind
I wonder if I could eat a flower
Somebody, please create it!

Avery W., Grade 2
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Ode to Poetry

I see kids listening to poetry
I hear the poetry kids listening to the speaker
I feel poetry on my arm
I taste poetry in my mouth
I wonder why poetry is so fun
Poetry is so great

Taryn E., Grade 2
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Ode to Spring

Your sunset at night
The wind blowing
The sunset shining
Taste the wonderful season
I wonder if rainbows can shine everyday
Spring is fun anyway

Lauren A., Grade 2
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Ode to Candy

I see colors and candy
I hear hands sliding down the glass gumball machine
My eyes getting big at the sight of sweet candy
I taste the clean cut sweet and
I wonder if anything can be better than watching TV
and eating stretchy taffy
Nothing.

Ashlynn M., Grade 3
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Ode to Cheating

The other person’s paper
I hear the class tattle telling the teacher
I feel I’m going to the principal’s office later today
Taste the victory of cheating
I wonder why I cheat
I don’t know yet

Haylie S., Grade 4

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National Poetry Card.

Sign up HERE.

 

 

 

Poetry Friday: Poetry Rocks Student Poems

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Thank you to Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty for hosting Poetry Friday.  So along with learning to recite poetry, this year I’ve  been encouraging students to write poems as well.

This week, I challenged students to write an ode thanks to the DMC at Today’s Little Ditty.

My student assistant, a 6th grader whipped this out during our session:

Ode to Music

You hear that sound?
It’s soft  sound of music!
from soft, slow notes
to fast and edgy music.
from really short songs
to long and elegant.

People say it’s boring
but for me, music
is that Ding-Dong-Ding ringing
in my ears and brain.

~Penny C., 6th grade

And this from a fourth grader (not exactly an ode).  She handed to me in class, inspired by our poetry gatherings.

Why should I watch and wait
when darkness comes
you quiver
you shrink,
you light the way
for all to see
but what happens
when darkness
flees?

~Haylie, 4th grade

 

Would you like a student poetry postcard for National Poetry Month?  Sign up HERE!

Happy Poetry.

Happy Friday.

 

Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday to Billy Collins

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Thanks to Heidi for hosting Poetry Friday today.  What I love about our Poetry Friday community is that someone will have an idea and we will run with it.  Not only is Heidi hosting, she encouraged us to find a Billy Collins poem in honor of his birthday later this month.

I love this quote by him:

The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme. Billy Collins

And there is a poem at The Poetry Foundation which I love.

The First Line of a Poem

Before it flutters into my mouth
I might spend days squinting
into the wind
Like an old man
trying to thread a needle
by a window
in the dying light of  late afternoon.

The rest of the poem is HERE.

At Deowriter, I took 10 words and wrote a first draft of a poem, At the First Light of Day

Do you want a student made Poetry Postcard?  Signup HERE

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.