"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring has sprung....

The grass is greening, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping....spring has definitely sprung!  I'll be posting some 2nd grade poetry and photos in the next few days.  In the meantime, here's a poem by Nikki Grimes to celebrate this day:

Look!  Here's a fresh
green growing word.
SPRING. I plant it
like a seed. 

Nikki Grimes has written many books of poetry as well as fiction and biographies. Visit her Webpage, The Poetry Zone, to learn more about Nikki and her books.  Hear her read a poem called Math Score from the book Danitra Brown Class Clown in her "Readings" section.Scroll down the list to number six (6) to find the reading of this poem.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poems for the journey and finding things that are not lost along the way...

On this day before vacation, I am thinking about traveling and the journeys we all take, both literally and figuratively; knowing that we do not have to actually leave the confines of our classrooms or homes to travel or continue on our journey.  So, whether you are actually physically going somewhere during vacation or not, I wish you wonderful travels and many opportunities to journey this coming week.

Two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Full Day

The pilot on the plane says:
In one minute and fifty seconds
We're going as far
as the covered wagon went
in a full day.

We look down
on clouds, 
mountains of froth and foam.
We eat a neat 
and subdivided lunch.

How was it for the people in
the covered wagon?
They bumped and jostled.
Their wheels broke.
Their biscuits were tough.
They got hot and cold and old.
Their shirts tore on the branches
they passed.

But they saw the pebbles
and the long grass
and the sweet shine of evening
settling on the fields.
They knew the ruts and the rocks.
They threw their furniture out
to make the wagons lighter.
They carried their treasures
in a crooked box.

        (from Come with Me: Poems for a Journey)

This is a video of Naomi reading a "found poem."  The poem is composed of things said by her son when he was very young.  (One Boy Told Me : Poetry Everywhere : Video).  This might be a great project in a classroom or library, where the students could write a line (or lines) or a sentence on a strip and then small groups could make poems from them.  The lines could be ones they have overheard at school or in life in general.  I am wondering if there could be themes such as: things adults tell you to do, i.e., listen, brush your teeth...).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Children's Poet Laureate recommends.....

Mary Ann Hoberman is recommending a new poetry book for children each month.  This month's pick is Poetry for Young Children by Langston Hughes.

April Rain Song
~~by Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.
Here he is reading this poem.  

~~Hear Langston Hughes read The Negro Speaks of Rivers at Poets.org. 

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

~~Hear Langston Hughes read I, Too,Sing America at the Children's Poetry Archive

~~Check out all the poetry happenings at: Children's Poetry : The Poetry Foundation

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemonade Style Squeezed Poems

I challenged my 4th grade students to create Squeezed Poetry based upon Bob Raczka's new book, Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word.  These are poems created from only the letters in a single word with the added dimension of the poem having to relate to the original word. 

I began by using the Elmo (document camera) to project a few of the Squeezed Poems.  I then showed the students only the poem without the original word and had them work together to figure out the theme and determine what the title or original word might be. presented like this, the poems are like puzzles to solve.   I then gave the students a template for creating a squeezed poem with the added difficulty of having the subject be Dewey Decimal System categories, i.e., generalities, language, literature, history.  The template I created had the students brainstorm words and then think about themes and finally put the words and themes together into a poem. 

The next time I do this activity I plan to create a group poem to model the process.  I think the word "astronomy" would be a great word to use for this activity. My attempt:

(star, moon, my, most, sat, a, as,an , on, no, try, any, room, mast, moor, roast, etc...)




Some student poems:



...and a random word one group chose:

Here I play (it is so hard to resist):


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I love a rainy day.....

...And so did most of my 3rd grade students who started writing their Guyku Haiku today.  Look back here for some rain inspired Guyku soon.  

For those of you contemplating doing this project as well, the Guide to Writing Guyku was very helpful as was the Sample Guyku.  I printed out a few of each and left them on tables in the library.  For the next two classes, I plan to add time to brainstorm as a whole group a few spring themes and words as it was harder for some to know where to begin.

All that great creativity by my students inspired me to write my own Galku (See the website for details).

Rain drops from the sky
leave behind a puddle to
reflect its glory.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Puddles left by rain...

Puddles left by rain
are my playground inviting
me to jump right in

I plan to get my 3rd grade students writing Haiku poems this week and will post the results.  I'll be using this book to inspire my students:
Bob Razka and Peter H. Reynolds have teamed up to create an engaging and inspiring book of seasonally-themed haikus about life and nature from a young boy's perspective.  As you can imagine from my own attempt above, my favorite Guyku is one about puddles.  Who hasn't walked by a puddle and wanted to jump right in and create a splash?

Visit the Guyku site and be inspired to write your own Guyku (or Galku).  This site has "How to" guides and inspiration cards to get you started as well as templates for printing and publishing your finished products.