Poetry Friday: A Response Poem

Thanks to Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass for hosting Poetry Friday

Back in April, during National Poetry Month, I had the opportunity to sub in a fourth grade class. I read the book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?: POEMS of RACE, MISTAKES, and FRIENDSHIP by Irene Latham, Charles Waters. This was a 2018 CYBILS Poetry finalist.

As the students listened, I had them write down words and reactions to the book. Afterward we made a list of phrases. It doesn’t always work to finish the poem when I’m one day in a class and then gone for awhile as was the case with this sub job. But I know when I returned to the class we’d finish what we started.

This past Wednesday was that day. I prepared the strips and shared them. We read them aloud and determined that since we had some one that began, “Each night…” they would serve as the beginning of a new stanza. As I was writing, I noticed this line: “Fists clicked-Chains Cracked” and felt it would be a good repeating line. The first line and the end were givens.

Then each student placed their strip where they thought it might go best. We reread the poem, took away a couple lines, and came up with this response to Irene Latham’s and Charles Waters’ brilliant book:

Each Night

Each night we talked at the table
We didn’t know how
to explain the curse they gave
Some whites ashamed
about how they treated blacks
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we plopped chains
classmates crumbled in shame
Classmates black and white
Some kids sat in shame
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we gave forgiveness
We didn’t know how
to explain the forgiveness they didn’t give
Black and white forgiveness
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we forgave classmates
with an apology
Classmates black and white apologized
Thunder cracked
Chains cracked
We forgave them
Shame hit
We cracked
In the end, we became friends.

© Mrs. Brown’s Fourth Grade Class

Today (as I’m writing this on TH) went into the class and we looked it over. We discussed tightening the poem and removing words. I explained how Stephen Kind reduces his drafts by 10% and Richard Peck tries to fine ten words per page to remove, I gave each student a draft and asked them to select at least five words that could be removed.
 

After the discussion, our poem looked like this:

This is the final copy:

It was a fun lesson to do with this class. I feel so lucky to be able to work with students on these mini-lessons.

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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: 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: Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye

IMG_1077Thanks to Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

This week, I want to show case the title I nominated for the CYBILS Poetry Awaed:  VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS by Naomi Shihab Nye.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I consider her a mentor.  Last April, I attended the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture given by Naomi Shihab Nye.   I, of course, bought her latest book.

What if we were the listeners of all the voices in the air? Those who came before us or those we have yet to meet? What if we took the time to listen? What would we notice?

VOICES is divided into three sections: Messages, Voices in the Air, and More Worlds.

Nye begins with an introduction, a pondering of making sense of the strange world we currently reside in with a quote by Galway Kinnell, “To me, poetry is someone standing up to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”

She reflects on a conversation student at the Yokohama International School in Japan. She said listening and writing poetry give us more yutori– a place to stand back to contemplate what we are living and experiencing…more spaciousness in being and more room to listen. I love this!

This ninety-five poem collection is contemplative and we should listen to one another read these poems aloud. Many of the poems were written for specific people. At the end of the book, Nye includes Biographical Notes.

We should take the time to slow down and listen.

Some of my favorite poems in this collection include: “Twilight”, “Train Across Texas”, and “Where do Poets Find Images, and For the Birds”.

Here’s the first few lines of perhaps my favorite (I’m not sure I can really choose)

Reserved for Poets
(Signs on first rows of chairs at poetry festival. La Conner, Washington)

Sunsets.

Trouble.

Full moons.

No really–they’re everybody’s.

Nothing is reserved.

I highly encourage to find this book, read it, and listen.

Title: VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS
Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
Illustrator:
Published: 2018
Pages: 190
Reading Level: YA
Publisher: Greenwillow
ISBN: 978-0-06-269184-2
Source: Personal purchase

Poetry Friday: The Poetry Love Edition

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Welcome to Poetry Friday.  I am so glad you’re here.  This week was Valentine’s Day and there was so much love, poetry love in the air.

First off, Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell sent copies of HERE WE GO, the latest  Poetry Friday Power Pack.

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Just this week, our Family Engagement Committee discussed how we can best help our students during the world today.  How can we raise the level of social justice and make them feel safe?  This is the perfect book to help students make some sense of the world.

There are many ways to approach this book; read the thirty-six poems like a story or use the poems as a springboard for writing.  The end of the book is chock full of resources for both students and adult. One the resources, Poetry Performance Tips, will be used with my Poetry Rocks group, grades 1 through 3.

Poetry Rocks worked on some “What If” poems after school today in groups.  We wrote as a quick write after reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Blue Bucket and Janet Wong’s response poems by Jenna and Ameera.

What if our teachers were gingerbread
instead of people
What if blueberries could talk
instead  of regular blueberries
What if our bodies could talk
instead  of our mouths talking
What if trees were sweet tarts
instead  of regular trees
What if our homes were gingerbread
instead  of normal homes
Then everything would be weird.

By Nevaeh, Amiah, Lauren
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What if we were ghosts
instead of people
What if we could join our friends on their journey
instead just reading them
What if we could go to a land of magic
instead of going to school
What if school was fun and exciting
instead of being boring
What if our homes were made of gingerbread
instead of wood
Then life would be cooler.

By Haylie, Macy, Ricky, Taylor
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What if I could change the laws
instead of going to school
What if I could eat cookies all day
instead of celery
What if chocolate
instead of tomatoes being food
What if everything was made of chocolate
instead of trees
What if there was no play
instead of school
Then I would be very sad.

By Bentley, Jazzlynn, Taryn, Charlie
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What if I could play on my PS 4
instead of dad saying no
What if school was one hundred miles away
instead of a shortcut to home
What if there dragons
instead of moose
What if you could just float in the world
instead of outer space
What if I lived in Texas without electricity
instead of Washington

By William
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What if I could teleport
instead of walk
What if there was no school
instead of school
What if school had only recess
instead of learning
What if the sea was filled with hot chocolate
instead  of salt water
What if there was no light
instead of light
That would be bad.

By Marcella, Ella, Gabe, Italy
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What if we had no homework
instead of homework
What if babies ruled the world
instead of crawling
What if humans were dogs
instead of humans
What if the world was made out of candy
instead of not being candy
Then that would be weird.

By Angel, Jazlyn, Eliza, Dakota

Next week due to the holiday and conference, we won’t have Poetry Rocks but I have challenged them to write their own “What If”poems. We’ll see what they write.  I wrote my own “What If” poem which is posted at Deowriter.

I am going purchase some copies for our library I have a fourth grade class fired up about social justice. Can’t wait to share. Do you want your own copy? I have five copies to give away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MORE POETRY LOVE!!

Congratulations to Laura Shovan for winning the CYBILS Poetry Award.

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: CYBILS Poetry Finalists

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Thank you to Linda at Teacher Dance for hosting Poetry Friday.

ICYMI: On Sunday, January 1, 2017, the CYBILS’ finalists for Poetry were announced. 

I must tell you that this was perhaps one of the most difficult years to whittle forty titles in Poetry down to seven finalists.  There were SO many great books. So, so many.  I am proud of our committee: Joy Acey, Linda Baie, Carol Wilcox, Kortney Garrison, Sylvia Vardell, and Tricia Stohr-Hunt.  We came to consensus on the list that represents diversity and something for all ages.

And here are the finalists:

Booked
by Kwame Alexander
HMH Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: PragmaticMom

Nick Hall is a typical eighth grader who loves soccer and hates school. Unfortunately, he has a father who is a linguistics professor afflicted with chronic verbomania.* Nick’s father loves words so much that he has written a dictionary, Weird and Wonderful Words, which he is forcing Nick to read, one letter at a time. And of course, his father is much more interested in developing his son’s cognitive abilities than in supporting Nick’s passion for soccer.

Most of Nick’s problems are typical middle school dilemmas– boring classes, budding interest in a girl, and dealing with the school bullies, twins who steal Nick’s bike. And of course the book has a couple of caring adults- one of whom happens to be a former Grammy-winning rapper turned school librarian, Mr. MacDonald. Nick’s life takes an unexpected turn when his parents inform him they are separating and his mother is moving out of state to return to her first love, training horses.

What’s not typical about this book are Kwame Alexander’s poems. Alexander uses a variety of poetic forms- including free verse, acrostics, found poems, and many others. And thanks to Nick’s father, there’s tons of interesting and unusual vocabulary- codswalloped, limerence, cacchinate, to name a few.

A novel-in-verse that’s sure to engage even the most reluctant reader.

*a love of words

Carol Wilcox, Carol’s Corner

Fresh Delicious
by Irene Latham, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
Wordsong
Nominated by: Linda Baie

Irene Latham’s poems and Mique Moriuchi’s illustrations bring to the reader one of the colorful pleasures of summer in this “fresh” and “delicious” poetry. Here we go into the farmer’s market, baskets on our arms. They might be filled with “a fleet of green submarines” (cucumbers), ” a “mountain of mice-sized swords” (okra) or “rows upon rows/of tiny noses” (corn on the cob). The poems open the senses to new ideas about fruits and vegetables found. They are mouth-watering to imagine through the words, with illustrations that show the animals shopping in the happiest of ways. In the poem Wild Honey, Irene writes that it makes “our tongues/buzz/with pleasure.” In this book of poetry, readers will do the same. Irene also shares recipes after the market shopping, just right for kids to help with the cooking.

Linda Baie, Teacher Dance

Garvey’s Choice
by Nikki Grimes
Wordsong
Nominated by: MissRumphius

A middle grade verse novel that strikes at the heart of early adolescent angst, Grimes has given us a heartfelt, realistic portrayal of what it means for a young person to navigate school, friendships and family life. Garvey, who is overweight and not the athlete his father hoped he would be, has dreams of his own. Written in tanka, Grimes’ short verses pack an emotional punch, sharing the highs and lows of Garvey’s journey to figure out who he is, while simultaneously making himself happy and his father proud. Father and son eventually find that connection, and I dare you not to tear up when they do. Grimes has a gift for getting to the heart of middle school angst and gives readers a boy they will love and won’t soon forget.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, The Miss Rumphius Effect

Guess Who, Haiku
by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
Harry N Abrams
Nominated by: Kortney Garrison

Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell is a fun introduction to the puzzle of poetry. Each spread presents a farm animal’s poem–a riddle in haiku form–on bright pages with simple, engaging illustrations by Bob Shea.

The familiar barnyard animals and the rhythm and rhyme of the repeating lines make this an excellent read-aloud. It’s the perfect book for groups of mixed age children at library storytime or at home. The youngest children will enjoy the riddles while older children will want to take up the writing challenge.

Deanna Caswell plays with language, and then invites her readers to join the fun! The delightful end matter continues the game and helps to answer the last, most surprising riddle of all.

Kotney Garrison, One Deep Drawer

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
Wendy Lamb Books
Nominated by: Adrienne Gillespie

A teacher and her students work together to try to save their school from demolition in this novel in verse snapshot of one fifth grade class across a whole school year. Ms. Hill’s class of 18 students includes a mix of boys and girls, twins, Spanish speakers, children from a variety of cultural backgrounds, shy kids, leaders, friends, “frenemies,” all trying to express themselves through poetry. Each poem reflects an individual point of view that changes and grows over the year contributing to a complete narrative detailing their classroom dynamics as well as their struggle to take an active stand for their school. Shovan effectively employs 17 different forms of poems throughout this novel in verse including acrostic, concrete, diamante, epistolary, fib, found, free verse, haiku, limerick, list, narrative, ode, rap, rhyming, senryu, sonnet and tanka poems. This is an engaging school-based story in poems that can inspire young readers to become activists in their communities and to consider writing poetry as a vehicle for achieving some of their goals.

Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party
by Skila Brown
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Jonemac

Donner Party. This ill-fated party began their westward journey from Illinois to California in the spring of 1846. An ill advised detour proves deadly as less than half of the party actually survived.
Through the eyes of 19-year-old, Mary Ann Graves, readers travel on the trail with her family.
Skila’s poems match the mood of the party. In the beginning, they are light with a quick tempo. But as the travel slows, challenges surface along with danger, and so does the cadence and tone of Mary Ann’s voice. Readers are with her during that ominous snowstorm. when the entire party takes shelter and are forced into cannibalism to survive.
Skila captures a compelling story of adventure, despair and survival that readers will want to read again and again.

Jone Rush MacCulloch, Check It Out

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by  Julie Morstad
Roaring Brook Press
Nominated by: Sara Ralph

When Green Becomes Tomatoes Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano gently leads the reader through a year’s worth of journal entry poems to celebrate the seasons. Written without capitalization or punctuation, the poems take advantage of caesuras and spacing on the page to draw the reader through the poems. There is a Zen like/haiku feeling of discovery in the short poems.

These poems frolic in nature and provide fresh language for young ones just learning language and for jaded old timers who need new ways of seeing and discovering their environment.

Joy Acey, Poetry for Kids Joy

Stay tuned and wait for Valentine’s Day when our winner is revealed.  Until then I will be featuring books that were on my shortlist but were left behind.

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.