National Poetry Month, Celebrating Student Work 7/30




snow drifts gracefully
from the sky it falls slowly
it brings joy to me

Tiereny P.
5th grade


white bear,sea bear,brown bear,forest bear

Aili H.
5th grade



anger is red
he is really loud
he tastes like strawberry
he smells like Takis
anger looks like fire
he makes me feel mad

Eileen C.
5th grade



feel breeze when running
feel power when you throw ball
music on when won

Yvette R.
5th grade


Poetry Friday: Giddy About This

oetry Friday is hosted  at Reading to the Core.  Thanks, Catherine.

On Saturday, I received my copy of The Poetry Anthology: Celebrations compiled by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell.
It will be awhile before my celebration day occurs:  Super Bowl Sunday.  I surprised my self by writing this poem as I am not a football fanatic like my co-worker, the PE teacher.  She could have written this.


This page is from the student anthology.  I am so excited to be a part of this community.

Designed for librarians and teachers and there’s a student version available.  In April, during National Poetry Month,Susan Blackaby  and I will be doing a reading and poetry activity at the Barnes and Noble near my school. (While not an independent book store, as there isn’t one for kids in Vancouver, WA, this B/N does support the schools well).

Happy Poetry.

Happy Friday.

Poetry Friday: Taking a Stretch and An Announcement


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

It’s my goal this year for more consistency in trying the Poetry Stretch over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. On Monday she gave us the Monometer form to try.  Here’s the definition: Monometer: a poem in which each line contains only one stress.

Here’s two I tried.  One for the fifth grade class I subbed in on Tuesday:


fifth grade
in their




it’s time
can’t wait
by kids
sent to
your house
sign up.

It’s our seventh year to be sending postcards to into the world.

Do you want one?

Please fill out this FORM.

Poetry Friday: Snow Wishes


Snow Wishes

snowflakes fell all night.
Silent treasures,
one by one
stacking upon each other.
Winter wonderland.
~ Jone Rush MacCulloch, 2013

This poem was posted in December. Yesterday, my wish was granted. School let out early, I arrived home safely, and more snow is expected today and tomorrow.

20140207-093934.jpgOur Backyard. Hummingbirds can be heard. Am having to bring the feeders in at night. They are hungry!

If you look very close in the middle, you might see Mr. Jay.

Poetry Friday is held at No River Water.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: Announcing the CYBILS Poetry Finalists


Winner announced Valentine’s Day

There were twenty-nine nominees for this year’s poetry category. Can I say that 2013 produced a fabulous crop of poetry titles? My first round judges whittle most of their lists to a top ten and then we came to consensus with the sensational seven finalists. They represent diversity and books for all ages. Here they are:

FOLLOW, FOLLOW: A BOOK OF REVSERSO POEMS by Marilyn Singer, illustrations by Josee Masse, companion to Mirror Mirror, Dial Publishing, Nominated by: Perogyo Review by Bridget Wilson, What is Bridget Reading?

Marilyn Singer returns to the reverso, a poetic form she created, in MIRROR, MIRROR. The reverso is quite clever. First you read the poem from top to bottom. Then you flip it and read it from the bottom up. The reverso proves the old adage ” there are two sides to every story.” Singer describes the collection best: “Imagine / fairy tales / upended.” And now reversed: Upended / fairy tales? / Imagine!”
In Follow Follow, Singer takes twelve tales and breathes new life into them. Too often people perceive fairy tales as unchanging. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In this collection readers will hear from Thumbelina and the mole, the tortoise and the hare, the twelve princesses and the soldier. At the end of the book Singer offers more information about the tales and the reverso form. Josee Masse’s beautifully bright illustrations offer readers a visual of both sides of each tale.

FOREST HAS A SONG: POEMS by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrations by Robbin Gourley, Clarion Books, Nominated by: Laura Purdie Salas. Review by Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children

This is a beautifully designed poetry picture book in which the gentle watercolor paintings (by Robbin Gourley), the layout of poem and painting on each page, and even the spidery font of the text work together to create a poetry collection that is both inviting and comforting. The natural world has long been the topic of poetry for young people– and for good reason– and VanDerwater taps into the child’s connection with the simplest details– pinecones and sticks, footprints and flying birds, with poetry that offers many tactile details that invite children to touch, smell, and see the world outside their iPads in tangible ways. She also offers a variety of poetic forms so children (and teachers) can see how poets use the words and space on the page. Her use of rhyme is particularly noteworthy– making it look so natural– as if we all spoke in lyrical language when captured by the beauty of the forest.

POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART edited by Caroline Kennedy, paintings by Jon J. Muth, Disney Hyperion, Nominated by: bevpdx. Review by April Halprin Wayland, Teaching Authors

The ambition of this beautiful collection of more than 100 poems is truly to encourage students to learn poems by heart. Editor Kennedy’s preface includes practical tips on memorization, ending with, “I hope that…once they learn them by heart, they won’t even need this book.” Classic, contemporary, nonsense poems and poems which challenge readers to think, are organized organically within each of ten sections (including sections about self, family, school, sports and war…and an extra credit section for those who want to memorize even longer poems). Every section begins with an engaging one-page introduction, often disclosing Kennedy’s personal connection with the poems that follow. Its premise, poetic choices and the editor’s enthusiasm throughout as well as the exquisite watercolor paintings by Jon J. Muth which, as Kennedy writes, “add meaning, depth and freshness to the poems” combine to make this an award-winning book.

PUG: AND OTHER ANIMAL POEMS by Valerie Worth, illustrations by Steve Jenkins, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Nominated by: The Cath in the Hat. Review by Ed DeCaria, Think, Kid, Think!

In this follow-up to 2007’s ANIMAL POEMS (itself a Cybils finalist that year), Worth again brings her seemingly-simple subjects to life in a sophisticated yet accessible way. Readers will meet her “plug-ugly” pug, the bull who “would not melt”, a mouse “left as a gift on the step”, and sparrows and pigeons who “seem at home where there appears to be no home”, plus fourteen other inviting, inspiring, or sometimes intimidating creatures. Jenkins adds color and texture to each poem, from the silver sparkle of a wood thrush’s eye to the distressed look on a too-long dachshund’s face, making each two-page spread pop. Pug is a masterful book of free-verse poems and illustrations that will challenge readers to view animals from an entirely new perspective, and to admire the subtle behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics that make each one unique.

THE PET PROJECT: CUTE AND CUDDLY VICIOUS VERSES By Lisa Wheeler, Illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Atheneum, Nominated by: Bridget Wilson. Review by Jone MacCulloch, Check It Out

Any young reader longing for a pet will want to read this riotously funny research romp by a bespectacled young girl on a quest to find the perfect pet. Readers are forewarned that “Animals aren’t’ always charming.”

Notebook in hand to track observations, she visits a farm, zoo, and the woods as well as performing a “home study.” What she concludes from her research may surprise readers.

Wheeler’s tongue in cheek verses will provide laughs for all while introducing readers to a variety of pet possibilities. Combined with OHara’s use of strong lines yet whimsical acrylic illustrations this book will be read and reread.

What stood out in THE PET PROJECT was the author’s ability to weave words, poems, and a little bit of science into a fabulous collection.

WHAT THE HEART KNOWS: Chants, Charms & Blessings by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nominated by: Sylvia Vardell. Review by Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Truly a miraculous little book. Hard to categorize in some ways, but it has four sections: 1. chants & charms – to bolster courage and guard against evil; 2. spells & invocations – to cause something to happen; 3. laments & remembrances – to remember, regret, or grieve; and 4. praise songs & blessings – to celebrate, thank, or express love. I love the idea of giving children both poems and permission to express and validate their emotional experiences.

WHEN THUNDER COMES: POEMS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS By J. Patrick Lewis, Chronicle Books, Nominated by: Becky L. Review by Anastasia Suen, Poet!Poet!

Written by 2011-2013 Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, this valuable book of poetry profiles seventeen civil rights leaders, the famous and the not-so-famous. Each poem has a two-page spread with gorgeous artwork by five different artists.

The title of the poem explains the person’s role. Mitsuye Endo is THE CAPTIVE. “I was a typist, nothing more. / I loved my life, I hated war.” A short biography in the back of the book explains how she fought for her civil rights after being held in a World War II Japanese internment camp.

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders can be used year round to celebrate the heroes of civil rights. For children and teens who want to change the way things are, this smart and intriguing look at key civil rights figures can guide the way.

Thanks to Betsy I Think in Poems for hosting the first Poetry Friday of 2014.

Poetry Friday: Orbweavers


1395806_10202169207335019_1693743537_nFrom my front yard last evening

abdomen crosses
silk spinners
autumn webs
invisible garden threads
the fabric of fall

~Jone Rush MacCulloch, 2013


Welcome to Merely Day by Day( for hosting Poetry Friday. I have no clue why I can’t link.  Thank you, Cathy.

Happy Reading.

Happy Poetry.


Poetry Friday: Collaborative Poem and Information About the Cybils


Do you know about “The Time is Now”, from Poets and Writers? It’s a weekly email, with a great little column Poetry Prompt filled with inspiration. Back in February there was this prompt:

Text Me

Send a line of poetry to a friend via text message or e-mail and ask her to compose a line in response. Collaborate on drafting a poem in this way, building it line by line until you both agree that it’s reached its end. Using the final product as a draft, revise the poem and have your friend do the same. Compare your final drafts.

So I contacted Mary Lee Hahn and we began a joint poem. We didn’t do the “consider the final product as a draft” but I might in the future.

Here’s our collaborative poem:

At the Edge of Spring

It bites, the wind
Blown down from North
Howling like a freight train

It stings, the snow
Sidewinder flakes
Coiling, hissing, striking

A family huddled
‘neath a pine
Singing into the wind

The song of spring
Melting winter’s grip
Their faces turned toward the sun

© Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, 2013


The time is now for the CYBILs. Do you want to help select the best poetry book of 2013? Do you wonder if you are right for the job? Read my blog post HERE.

Go to the CYBILS to apply.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Betsy of I Think in Poems .

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday: Welcome!


Welcome to Poetry Friday. I am so happy to be hosting today. I have just returned from four days at the Oregon coast. While there, I was inspired to write the following poem:

At the Beach

Dream loud
the ocean waves
want to hear
your escapades–
Building sandcastles
Chasing starfish
Digging up treasures

Digging up treasures
Chasing starfish
Building sandcastles–
Your escapades
want to hear
the ocean waves
dream loud
at the beach

~Jone Rush MacCulloch

Please leave you links in the comments and I will add throughout the day. I have my writing critique group midday but I will return.

First up is Robyn Hood Black who’s traveling.

At, they’re posting about writing contests. April is focused on contests for young writers. Her poem is about the delicious all-body explosion when you find out your work has been accepted and you’re going to be PUBLISHED!

Summer brings sounds of the ocean … and crickets! A cicada poem Charles Ghigna wrote with his favorite poet posted at FATHER GOOSE Blog

Tabatha has a poem from Batman’s Failed Poetry Blog today. She also shared shared Poet Sculptures this week.

Michelle has an ocean-related poem today as well– I explore my feelings about moon jellyfish at Today’s Little Ditty.

Julie has a poem by the wonderful poet Richard Kenney over at
The Drift Record

Laura shares There were mysterious cairns — dozens of small stone towers — in our local river this week. Who put them there and why? You’ll be amazed by the story, and by the beautiful poem “The River” by Peruvian poet Javier Heraud.

Liz has “Bedtime,” an original poem for kids about something a boy has in common with his lizard.

Stephanie’s poem is also about dreaming, but instead of using water to carry the idea, I’ve used a tree.

Matt has an adult poem depicting a scene that we, as children’s writers & readers, may recognize.

At Random Noodling Diane introduces a Poetry Friday Pinterest board. She hopes everyone will help build it! Kurious Kitty has a small poem by Lilian Moore called “Berries.” And, at KK’s Kwotes there’s a magical quote by Moore.

Mary Lee stop by before a day of fly fishing with this poem.

Irene has a post dedicated to Jama: Valerie Worth Food Poems.

Fuse 8 reviewed the upcoming (not out until December) Marilyn Singer/John Hendrix title Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents. It includes a book trailer / music video. What’s not to love?

Joanne posted another summer poem, “Turning Point.”

Linda at Teacher Dance has an original poem about nature taking advantage every chance it can.

Kerirecommends shares the poem she wrote for Mary Lee Hahn for the Summer Poetry Swap.

Margaret has a Fibonacci poem about the sunflower. Did you know the sunflower fluorescence is a Fibonacci series? Take a minute to learn about the mathematics of sunflowers there.

Myra at Gathering Books has a Naomi Shihab Nye offering.

Used Books in Classroom has the poem “Invictus” because of the film that told a story about Nelson Mandela’s efforts to unite the country after Apartheid; NPR was broadcasting birthday wishes for him (age 95). My former school had a wonderful tradition about this poem…wanted to share this with everyone.

Janet Squires shares “Barefoot: poems for naked feet written by Stefi Weisburd with illustrations by Lori McElrath-Eslick.

Have a great morning. I will be back this afternoon for later additions.

Evening snacks:
Today at The Poem Farm, Amy has a little fox poem and a warm welcome to artist George Welgemoed of South Africa who has interpreted a couple of her blog poems.

Reading to the Core shares a classic poem about another favorite summertime activity, “The Swing,” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Little Willow posted Aedh Gives His Beloved Certain Rhymes by W.B. Yeats at her blog, Bildungsroman.

Jen is sharing a new-to-her book of a collection of poems that feature different forms of poetry.

Betsy shares some Earthetry (a new made up word)! Earth inspired poetry is what you will find at I Think in Poems.

Happy Friday. Happy poetry.