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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hate That Cat...LOVE this reader's theatre performance

Neither Standardized Testing....
Nor a School Holiday....
Nor Vacation....
Can keep these students away from their Sharon Creech reading and projects.

The books have been read. 

The Reader's Theatre Scripts are being created, practiced and performed. 

The questions are yet to be asked and the letters are soon to be written.

Here's a glimpse, okay, it is more than a glimpse...it is a group's performance.  

We all have a lot to learn (clears throat - ahem...especially me...the videographer and time manager), but we have to begin somewhere, correct? 

Love this author.
Love these students.
Love this RT Performance of Hate That Cat.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It was a Guyku/Galku Poetry Celebration

I love the sound of
students working together
creating beauty.

I was inspired to write this Galku because of what I recently witnessed in my library.  I watched and listened to students sharing their ideas and counting out syllables together.  

"How many syllables does awesome have?"  

My answer? Two...but really...

Guyku inspired
creativity
is awesome indeed!

Check it out!


I think my favorite Guyku in the book by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds, is the one about a puddle and a sister...

"If this puddle could 
talk, I think it would tell me
to splash my sister."

This is such a universal experience, regardless of gender.  I still love splashing someone when a puddle is near!

After learning How to Guyku and being inspired by those in the book, my third graders set pen to paper. Well, first they did some reflection!  And then they set pen to paper.

They finished these the day before Poem in Your Pocket Day, so I had the students write the Guyku and Galku on a pocket and then had their illustration coming out of the pocket.

Inspiration indeed...I love these! ...just...don't count all the syllables...sometimes passion or creativity took precedence.














My third graders loved writing and illustrating these Guyku and Galku!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Poem in My Pocket

was...

There is no frigate like a book
to take us ands away,
nor any coursers like a page
of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of toll-
How frugal is the chariot
that bears a human soul!

Emily Dickinson 

Okay, there was really more than one poem in my pocket, but this is the one I shared with my students!

A Poem. A Pocket.

Poem in Your Pocket Day was not all I wanted it to be...


...that's what next year is for, right?


BUT...there were some stellar moments to this day...


Skyping with two amazing school librarians -- @mrschureads and @shannonmiller --  where our students shared the poems in their pockets... (mine were arriving into library straight from a fire drill;  nothing like, "come in and sit down, we're Skyping with...")

AND


Hearing these and other students share their poems...



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day: Deconstructed and Reconstructed

What is a poem?
video

What is a pocket?
video

What is a day?
video

What is Poem in your Pocket Day?

According to the students above...

It is a part of life time you do between sunrise and sunset where you carry, in a place where you can store things, a story/song which is kind of like a work of art.

OR you can hear how these students explain it!
video

My fourth graders are very excited to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day tomorrow, Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I plan to turn my library time into a... 


"pocket poetry slam."

It's never to late to join in the festivities!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So Many Poems..So Few Pockets

It's a great dilemma, right?

I plan to wear as many pockets as I can on Poem in Your Pocket Day, Thursday, April 26th, that way I can carry as many of my favorite poems as possible.  :)  :)  :) 

Let's see, what to wear....
  • blue jeans - four pockets
  • oxford shirt - two pockets
  • blazer - two pockets
  • socks* - two pockets 
*If a sock can be a pocket for your toes, I am sure it can be a good pocket for a poem!

Here are some I am considering... 

1. Rice Pudding
A.A. Milne


What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s crying with all her might and main,
And she won’t eat her dinner—rice pudding again—
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
 
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I’ve promised her dolls and a daisy-chain,
And a book about animals—all in vain—
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
 
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s perfectly well, and she hasn’t a pain;
But, look at her, now she’s beginning again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
 
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I’ve promised her sweets and a ride in the train,
And I’ve begged her to stop for a bit and explain—
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
 
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She’s perfectly well, and she hasn’t a pain,
And it’s lovely rice pudding for dinner again!—
What is the matter with Mary Jane?


2. Courage
Naomi Shihab Nye

A word must
travel through
a tongue and teeth
and wide air
to get there.
A word has 
tough skin.

To be let in,
a word must slide
and sneak
and spin
into the tunnel
of the
ear.

What's to fear?
Everything.
But a word
is
brave.


3. Buckingham Palace
A.A. Milne

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terribly hard,"
Says Alice.


They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
"One of the sergeants looks after their socks,"
Says Alice. 

 
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King but he never came.
"Well, God take care of him, all the same,"
Says Alice. 


They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
"I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,"
Says Alice. 


They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
"He's much too busy a-signing things,"
Says Alice. 


They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
Says Alice



4. Kindness
Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.


How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.


You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.


Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


Hear it read.


5. "Hope" is the thing with feathers
Emily Dickinson


“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -


And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -


I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

See it signed and hear it read.


6. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.



7. From Blossoms
Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted peaches.


From laden boughs, form hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.


O, to take what we love inside,
to carry it within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade, not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.


There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom
to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible dream.



Monday, April 23, 2012

"We're all poets when we're little."

...or so I've heard...from one of my favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye.

I am not sure she would agree were she to read some of my early poetry! 

Seriously though, her hope is that today's children will take these words to heart and continue to be poets all their lives.  

Listen to these wonderful and inspiring words from Shihab Nye and hear her read this incredible poem of things her son told her: One Boy Told Me

Also!

The Children's Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis, recommends...

...Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry 


You can check out this and other month's recommendations at the Poetry Foundation Website.

I love this poetry resource and can spend many an hour lost in it's virtual stacks. 

Here are some of my favorite videos of poems:

William Wadsworth
Daffodils
Read by Dave Matthews

Claude McKay
The Tropics in New York
Read by Ziggy Marley


Robert Frost
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Emily Dickinson
I Started Early
Read by Blair Brown

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pictures from my vacation!

This vacation was defined by college campus visits for my son...not that you could tell from the photographs on my phone or camera, take a look!


We started our vacation in New York City.

With a tour of a campus and a few great walks in Central Park.
 


We were able to partake in a tour of  Rockefeller Plaza given by Daniel Okrent.  Check out his book, Great Fortune:The Epic of Rockfeller Center.








We headed on to Philadelphia and a few more campuses...buildings?  What buildings?  This is what I saw:





And a visit to the Morris Arboretum and a walk in Fairmount Park!


The end of the week found us back at home where the lilacs were beginning to bloom!

It was a sweet vacation!


From Blossom to Impossible Blossom

Last week was vacation

I expected to spend a great deal of time reading, but alas, other things got in the way.  Not that they were unpleasant in the least! Reading is a passion, but so are these things: learning, connecting and photographing

Here is a poem (April is National Poetry Month, after all) that captures how I spent most of my vacation as well as a slide show of a few of my photographs!



From Blossoms
~~Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted peaches.


From laden boughs, form hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.


O, to take what we love inside,
to carry it within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade, not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.


There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom
to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible dream.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tread softly...I am dreaming...great dreams (on school vacation)


He Wishes For the Cloths Of Heaven
by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't take it from me, take it from these two students...read this book.

Best thing I have heard thus far today

"Thank you for recommending Bloomability by Sharon Creech.  We loved it!"

My response?

Upload an image to VoiceThread and hand them my laptop...

here they are, telling why they loved it, unscripted and on the fly...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love to Langston

Being April and National Poetry Month, I hoped to inspire my students with some poetry from Langston Hughes.I showed the students this stack of books:



I love to play the seven degrees of separation game in my library collection.  This is just the start of my Langston Hughes thread. 

I know I could keep going with other books for quite a while by following a thread to other poets, writers or the Harlem Renaissance.  There are also electronic resources that I could add to my thread, like the Children's Poetry Archive, where you can hear Langston Hughes read I, Too.

(For those of you that play seven degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon, I am three degrees away...or used to be, before his children graduated from the school my niece attended.)

Back to Langston!

Today I read Langston's Train Ride by Robert Burleigh.  I love this biography.  Written in the first person, Burleigh captures that moment when Langston realizes he is a writer and poet.  

I stopped reading the book just as Langston's poem appeared and cued up Langston talking about and reading The Negro Speaks of Rivers on the Poets.org Website. 

Cool Beans.  

Where to go next!


Explore My People with its glorious photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and visit TeachingBooks.net to hear him talk about his photographs?


...or...


Explore Love to Langston by Tony Medina and have the students write their own Langston Hughes inspired poem...


Already I can feel that this school year is going to end far too soon and I will not have accomplished what I should nor spent enough time exploring what I would...


What to do with that stack of books in my arms?

I created 
this 
Ode to Langston Hughes
Book Spine Poem 
today



I
Langston Hughes
The Dream Keeper

II
Langston Hughes 

Visiting Langston 
African American Author and Poet

Pass It On 
My People

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Coming Home
I, Too, Sing America

Love to Langston

I love a rainy day!

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.  
  
Rain creates one of nature’s best play things, the puddle.  

I have what I imagine is a fairly universal picture of my children dressed in rain boots and slickers (with the hoods up) and holding umbrellas running around in the small pond-sized puddle that would form at the bottom of the driveway during each rainstorm. What could be more fun?

So for those times, for this particular memory and for the ones to come.  An ode to rain:


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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'll carry this poem in my pocket...

 or maybe this one...

One week after promising to post my students' work, I have finally carved out a few minutes to upload the pics to Animoto. For a task driven person, this has been a painful week.  :)

When last I wrote, my students and I had celebrated School Library Month and National Poetry Month by writing poems about school libraries for Poem in Your Pocket Day on April, 26th.  We are very excited about this day and hope you are as well!

Apologies for the blurry picture.

Which poem will you carry in your pocket on April 26, 2012? 



Okay, I may want to work on how to spell some words, but with sentiment like this, I'm willing to let it slide...

Here are a few Pocket Poems from my 3rd grade students:
 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Ultimate Concoction

Here's a recipe for success:

Take 
One part School Library Month 
add 
Two parts National Poetry Month
sprinkle liberally with
Three parts
Poem in your Pocket Day 

 ...and 

...let the creative juices flow...


...or not...as the case may be...

Acrostic
Poetry
Reading
I
n
Library

Student poetry to follow...in the next post...thank goodness!

Watch. Connect. Read. and Vote!

Today we Skyped with the truly awesome school librarian, Mr. Schu and a new Skype school librarian friend from Iowa, Kathy.

Mr. Schu's first grade students informed our two classrooms of students about a contest that Mr. Schu is having.  You can read all about the contest and see the amazing things he is doing in his library on his blog, Watch. Connect. Read.

Basically the contest involves voting for the book character who will be Mr. Schu's Road Trip Mascot and join him on his travels this summer. Which book character do you think deserves a vacation?

Here's an Animoto of the candidates that Mr. Schu created: 



Already know who you want to vote for? Use this link: Vote for the Road Trip Mascot.

Visit the links below!  Check the books out from your local library.

 
Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

Lucille Beatrice Bear 
You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown

Rocket
Rocket Learns to Read and Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills

Chicken Butt 
Chicken Butt! by Erica Perl

Ivan
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Fly Guy
Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Pete the Cat
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

Peter
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Otis
Otis by Loren Long

Are your ready now?