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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May showers bring?

I have decided that I am going to ignore this very soggy spring and pretend it is sunny and warm.  Sunny, warm weather makes me think of summer and summer makes me think of running through a sprinkler....so....in keeping with the wet weather.....a celebration of water!

Nikki Grimes book of poetry A Pocketful of Poems (with incredible mixed-media collage by Javaka Steptoe) has some of my favorite spring and summer celebration poetry. Nikki Grimes combines a free verse poem with an Haiku on the same subject.  Given all this rain, I would like to put a more positive spin on water, here's my favorite:

HOT is a thirsty word that
wakes me from a deep sleep.
I leave my dreams and stumble to the kitchen.
I place the word in the sink, then
turn the cold water on full blast.

Hot days send me to
the water fountain where my
face goes for a swim.

We're going on a book hunt!

Bear with me....no pun intended for those of you who have read the book... I want to explain this project for those who might want to tweek it and try it.

For this project, I read We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen with the kindergarten students.  We then talked about adjectives (describing words) and identified both the thing the family has to go "through" and the adjectives describing it as well as the associated sound effects and hand motions.  We then watched the video of Michael Rosen performing his book.  I can't say enough about this video.  I love it.  The students love it. Enough said.  

We then wrote our own book hunt traveling from their classrooms to the point of finding a book.  The students brainstorm both the things they will need to pass "through" as well as the associated adjectives, sound effects and body movements.  The students collaboratively wrote their adventure and made up hand or body movements.  I then video taped the students.  This was the first time video taping them and I learned quite a bit and have improvements in the works for next year.

This part of the project was followed by having the students each find a book they would like to read (one for which they would embark on a hunt).  I showed them how to use a digital camera and then sent them off to take pictures of each other holding their chosen books.  The students were careful to hold the camera in the correct way and ensure their "subject" was in the middle of the frame and that they could both see the face and the book cover.  

I uploaded the pictures to VoiceThread (with a little editing in iPhoto) and then set up a "recording studio"  with my laptop and a microphone in the hallway outside the classrooms. The students came out in small groups to record why they chose the book they did. 

Kindergarten Students Recommend

Make Your Mark

My kindergarten students were inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' The Dot and set to work making their own mark just like Vashti.  Below are some examples of their amazing creativity.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lost and Found......finding poetic inspiration in the most unlikely places....

Walking up from the teachers' parking lot, I was greeted with the lovely (and very colorful I might add) site of all the winter's lost and found items hanging on a clothesline from the tree in front of the school.  I immediately decided that I had found a wonderful source of poetic inspiration for the second grade students I was seeing that afternoon.  It was spring and what was blooming from our tree, but hats and mitten and other winter gear!

I showed the students a BrainPOPjr movie on poems and then we headed out with clipboards, paper and pencils in hand.  Twenty minutes later, we had some eager poets ready to share their poems.  It was so refreshing  to take the library "outside" (no pun intended).  I also loved seeing all the students sitting on the curb writing their poems and then being an audience for each other.

Some photos below and a VoiceThread slideshow.You can click on the photos to enlarge them.