Poetry Friday: Working with Kinders, Part I

Welcome to Poetry Friday. There is a celebration of women happening at Reading to the Core, it’s International Women’s Day. I have a poem at Deowriter about strong women.

Last October, at the Writing Poetry for Children Workshop, I was gifted with a galley copy of BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! By Georgia Heard (Its book birthday is next Tuesday).

I subbed in a kinder room on Monday and Tuesday this week. On Monday, I shared the galley with the TEN children (there was something going through the class). I gave them “homework” in that I wanted them to think of an animal to possibly write about on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, we had another day of TEN children (can you tell it was heaven? They are a busy group though and we had a bit of a cry fest after lunch). In the morning I read this book, SUPERHERO INSTRUCTION MANUAL. As I was reading, I realize that by having the class come up with superhero names (favorite color + animal) would help prime the pump for the animal sound poems they would write in the afternoon.

My mentor poem(to me, their sound reminds me of chk, chk, chk):

I shared it with the students. We noticed that I used Chk! Chk! Chk! three times for rhythm and we talked about using words starting with H. We made a chart of possible animals sounds next:


I gave the students a paper with the scaffolding and they went to work. I spent time conferencing with them. It’s so fun to see where they are with their writing and their confidence. Certainly, everyone has a poem. It was more of a challenge for some. Here’s some of their drafts.


I can tell that A. had thought about what she wanted to say. She walked into class telling me about which animal and kept asking when we would write.

L. wasn’t sure about what the sound of a red ladybug. We talked about it and she came up with “Fzzz”.

E. knew immediately he wanted a rainbow lamb. He also knew that it should say Meow-Baa and that they have have doggie ears.

K. wrote without needed me to make dots for the words. We conferred and he shared what he wrote.


E. is and ELL student. I love that she could read this to me.

I took their work and typed up the final copies. Each will have an additional sound line that didn’t fit on the page. On Monday, I’m subbing half day in the building and will meet with them to illustrate their final copy. You’ll get to see the final copies next week. At the request of the teacher, we are using initials for privacy.

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So I am sad to report that student poetry postcards most likely won’t happen this year.  That said, I am creating a limited edition poetry postcard for those who are interested in receiving a poem for National Poetry Month.
If interested please sign up here:

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Poetry Friday: Two Verse Novels You Should Read and Announcements

Hooray it’s Poetry Friday. I’m a bit late today. But super excited to head over to to Linda at TeacherDance. Thanks, Linda.

On February 14, 2019, the CYBILS Awards announced Jason Reynolds’ LONG WAY DOWN as the poetry winner. I had the pleasure of sitting on the Poetry Round Two, something I haven’t done in a long time. The seven finalists were spectacular and it was difficult to select the winner.

If you have read the CYBILS Poetry winner and need a new read, please consider the two other verse novels which were finalists.

THE POET X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
HarperTeen; 1st Edition edition
March 6, 2018
978-0062662804

I had the pleasure to listen to the audio book.  The narrator pulled me into Xiomara’s life from the very first track.  Xiomara’s teenage life with strict parents and her coming of age made me reflect on my own teen years.  Her poetry book, her brother, and her life in the Bronx is vivid and rich. You can’t help but to fall in love with this book.  There were times when I sat in my car in the garage to hear how the chapter was going to end. Yay for poetry and the power it has on lives.

MARY’s MONSTER: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
by Lita Judge
Roaring Brook Press
January 30, 2018
978-1626725003

I have a confession.  I think the only Frankenstein book I’ve read was one adapted for early readers.  I think this is the year to correct that after reading Mary’s Monster. Lita

Judge created an amazing Gothic story about the creator/writer of this British classic.  I was drawn into the story of Mary’s life and so unaware of her hard life. The art in the book was incredible.  The darkness of the content is sure to give teens a book that they can’t put down. I read it in one sitting, or rather staying up way beyond my bedtime to finish.

I also really enjoyed the back matter that Judge put in the end of the book.

Announcement Time

March is an exciting month with a fantastic blog tour featuring Laura Purdie Salas’ new book, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

Return on Thursday, March 14 for an early Poetry Friday and an interview with Laura.

 

3/11               Mile High Reading

3/12               Reflections on the Teche

3/13               A Year of Reading

3/14               Check It Out

3/15               Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

3/17               Great Kid Books

3/18               Simply 7 Interview

3/19               My Juicy Little Universe

3/20               Live Your Poem

3/21               Reading to the Core

3/22               KidLit Frenzy

                        Beyond LiteracyLink

And on the heels of Laura’s new book, I can announce that GAIL ALDOUS won the copy of

Gail, please email me your snail mail address book.

Poetry Friday: Students + Writing = Poems

It’s Friday and that means Poetry Friday. Thank you to Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge for hosting.

I was very excited to get this SNOWMAN – COLD = PUDDLE . In fact, I was so excited for the book I accidentally bought two. So guess what, I will be selecting a lucky person for my extra copy. Just comment below.


Last week, I had the opportunity to sub at my former school. The teachers were gracious enough to make space in the day for me to teach Equation Poems based
Laura Purdie Salas’s new title.

It’s never enough time to fully polish and revise the poems. After reading the book and talking about the idea on a one line poem, the students dove in. I worked with second and third graders. Some second graders were able to create the illustrations.

One second grader took the paper home to finish.


Here are more examples:

The above are my second graders who had more time to work.

Process: We read the book. Made a few group ones. I created a list of possibilities for the sum or difference. (=family, =heaven, = honesty {one of their life skills they are working on} )I had a sheet with the format and asked the students to write three. They then selected their favorite to illustrate.

Here are some that were written but not illustrated:

Blanket + Cat = Nap

~Liana, 2nd grade

Winter + Waves = Storm

~Elisha, 2nd grade

Horses + Saddle = Heaven

~Beatrix, 3rd Grade

Me + Family = Love

~ Vicka, 3rd grade

Me + Sick = Chicken Noodle Soup

~ Jayden, 3rd grade

Me + Homework = No, No, No

~ Daniel, 3rd grade

Sad + Cry = Puddle

~ Ricky, 3rd grade

Person + Forever Sleep = Heaven

~Naomi, 3rd grade

Triangle + Ingredients = Pizza

Moon + Stick = Lollipop

Stick + Stone = Hammer of Thor

~John W, 3rd grade

Max + Daniel = Honesty

~ Elvira, 3rd grade

Sister + Doom = Sadness

~ Malachi, 2nd grade

Book + Learning = Smart

~Samantha, 2nd grade

Have a poetic week. Over at Deowriter, I’m remembering Paul Janeczko.

Poetry Friday: A Poem From a Former Student

There’s a lot of poetry goodness happening today. It can be found at Writing the World for Kids. Thank you, Laura.

Last week, I heard from a mom how her daughter missed Poetry Rocks and was still writing poems. I sent a post card to the daughter and asked about her poems. Last night this appeared on my Facebook page.

Puppies Are So Cute

They are cuddly, too.

They like to play a lot

They like to run a lot too.

They are also a good pet

and sometimes they get a little
sleepy and they go to bed

And then in the morning they play,

play all day long.

©Rylee, 2nd grade

I love how much she knows about puppies. I believe she has a puppy at home.

She has an idea about line breaks. And the word sleepy and the repetition of play, play so fun.

Thank you, Rylee!

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Hope to see you all next week. The post will be available early. I will be revealing the CYBILS Poetry Winner for 2018. I’ve been working with some fabulous judges to decide. The finalists are giving us a run for our money.

Poetry Friday: An Interview with Ellen Hopkins

Thanks to Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting this amazing community of poetry lovers.

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I am a long time fan and reader of Ellen Hopkins. Her book, CRANK, introduced me to novels in verse. It made me revise my WIP from prose to verse.

My oldest grand girl has been reading her since sixth grade. This year I purchased her latest, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE, to give oldest. I had to read (it was a CYBILS nomination after all). It’s a must read.

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Ellen Hopkins graciously answered the followings interview questions for me:

JRM: When and how did you get starting writing?


EH: I’ve been writing ever since I learned how. Poetry was my first love, but also short stories, essays, nonfiction, journalism. It’s a talent. It’s a passion.

JRM: What process do you use when writing in more than one voice?  Do you write the different voices as the story unfolds or each separately or a combo?

EH: I have to write chronologically, so I write each voice in succession. Often those voices connect somewhere, somehow, so it keeps everything in order in my mind, if nothing else.

JRM: If we could hear the actual voice of Violence, how would it sound? Old? Young? Or would it change?  What kind of picture did you have in your head as how Violence would look as a character?

EH: The call to violence is an ancient one, so for me the voice of Violence is ancient. Sometimes soft, sometimes loud. I picture Violence as a crone, but maybe one who can make herself beautiful if the need arises.

JRM: What kind of research did you do for this book?  Did you talk with people who’ve had first hand experience with Violence? Were you able to ask people the question of why pull a trigger?

EH: I mostly interviewed victims of gun violence… that, of course, includes the families of victims. I can tell you once someone crosses that line it changes lives forever. I was also raised in a household that had guns. My father hunted and also collected/traded them, so there has never been an aura of curiosity or inexperience with weapons surrounding me. On two occasions, as a child I witnessed my “responsible” gun-owning father (alcohol involved) put a loaded gun to my mom’s chest. She talked him down, but the fear was incredible.

Blending immigration, racism, violence and gun control seemed like a such tremendous task to weave together into one story.  Were there points when you needed to step away from the manuscript to allow it to percolate?

Stepping away from the manuscript was mostly for research. The percolation is in the pre-write for me. I generally have a real relationship with my characters before I sit down to write, especially with multiple viewpoints in the story.

JRM: How did you counter balance these hard themes when you were in the middle of writing? I wonder if it energized you or drained to write this book and how you balanced that out.

EH: Honestly, it depended on the day and what was going on, both in my life and in the world. There were several mass shootings in the news, which made it more difficult to write but also much more important. Without understanding the WHYS of gun violence we can’t work to mitigate it. Rarely do I have the luxury of stepping away from a writing project too long, by the way.

JRM: Would you like to share what’s next for you in the writing world?

EH: The next YA, which releases in October, is SANCTUARY HIGHWAY, a politically charged near-future look at where this country could end up if it keeps moving in the direction it has been. After that, I’m hoping to finish a middle grade novel about how a troubled kid who changes the lives of his new family negatively—-but much more positively.

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Stay tuned! In fourteen days, the CYBILs Awards will be announced.

Poetry Friday: RIP, Mary Oliver


Thank you to Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

I don’t know about you, but my heart was saddened to hear the news of Mary Oliver’s passing today.

One of my treasured gifts last June was FELICITY by Mary Oliver. A recorded interview about the book can be founded HERE.

Besides the natural world that she has explored so often, in FELICITY Oliver explores the mysteries of the heart.

There are so many lines to consider in this book:

“I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.” (The World I Live In)

“All the important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your condition.” (Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way)

“Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look
up at the blue space?

…Rumi said, “There is no proof of the soul.
But isn’t the return of spring and how it
springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint?” (Whistling Swans)

And finally this:

Humility

Poems arrive ready to begin.
Poets are only the transportation.

Thank you, Mary Oliver, for transporting poems to the world all these years. You will be missed. Your voice will remain.

Poetry Friday: Process for I Come From Poems

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Thanks to Sylvia at Poetry for Children who is hosting today. She has a teacher rarified Sneak Peek of the 2019 poetry titles.

DISCLAIMER: I usually am teaching poetry lessons with a limited time amount. It may be thirty minutes or forty-five minutes. And as when I was in the library, I had to do over several weeks. If I were teaching in a regular classroom, I would probably teach in a different way.

I’ve been thinking about my process for working with students with creating poetry. A lot of times, I’m a “pantser” (versus being a planner). So last month I had an opportunity to work with two third grade classes on a more complicated version of the “I Come From” poems that George Ella Lyons has offered to the world. If you search on the Internet, you will find a variety of templates to use.

I decided to adapt a template into a format that I have used with students for a several poetry forms.

The first week I subbed in December, I used this form after sharing a lot of examples (particularly ones that I’ve shared in earlier blog posts).

At the end of writing time, I gathered them up so that I could type their drafts (if I were in a classroom full time, I would probably have them type them).

When I returned the second week, I handed out the drafts. I shared from my own experience in submitting poems that I get to look at the draft and the “editor” suggestions. I had them reread and make changes.

I met with these two boys and they shared what they wanted. Students got to choose which lines they wanted to use.

On this second class, I offered this for those who wanted to write their poem.
Nathan reread his draft and decided that he wanted to revise in a big way by using the above format.

He was so pleased with the outcome.

To showcase the class poems, I’m in the process of creating a Padlet for their work.