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Bayou Visitors

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Our Korean guests brought us delicious nut bars as a thank you gift.

Our Korean guests brought us delicious nut bars as a thank you gift.

This weekend was a glorious weekend on the bayou! My neighbors had a wedding. Their son and his bride met in Korea where they were both teaching English. They came home in early September, but my friend has been preparing for this event for a year or more. Our backyards meet at a line of live oaks and is a beautiful setting for a wedding, especially on a clear day in October.

We were asked to house the photographer and his son, both of Korean descent. Soomin, Saeho’s son, visited my first class on Friday. We had a delightful time learning about Korea. Soomin is ten (11 in Korea), so he fit in well with my group of 5th and 6th graders. I was amazed at his knowledge of English. I put a chart on the board and wrote Hello on one side. Soomin drew beautiful Korean characters on the other side. But how does one read that word? We eventually resorted to Google translator. There is a speaker who helped us hear the pronunciation. I gave up after the second word we tried, “Thank you.” And here was Soomin who could read, write, and speak both languages. Amazing!

A view from our yard to the wedding.

A view from our yard to the wedding.

Saeho and Soomin spent the weekend with us. On Sunday, my husband took them out on the bayou in a canoe. They even saw a real alligator sunning on a log. We never see alligators. What a treat for our visitors! (I secretly hope the gator works his way farther down the bayou.)

I am enjoying making videos in Imovie. I took two videos, one of a scan of the bayou, and one of the boys in the canoe. If you look hard, you can see Soomin waving. The alligator did not make it into the video. The music is a honeymoon waltz performed by David Greely. Relax and enjoy a few seconds on the Bayou Teche. I wish I could send you the sweet smelling air, too. (It’s sugarcane harvest time.)

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Autumn is a wonderful season for writing poems. Donna Smith shared her Fall Poetry Zeno on her blog, Mainly Write, for Poetry Friday. Holly Mueller shared an autumn poem by Bliss Carmen along with her original poem and students’ poems.

On Thursday, I presented the poem Autumn Grasses by Margaret Gibson. My students paraphrased it and talked about the imagery and metaphor. Then they wrote their own poems about autumn. Tyler went back to a picture postcard of Georgia O’Keefe’s Autumn Leaves that he had written about before. I love that he knew where the picture was and felt comfortable enough to grab it again for inspiration.

Autumn Leaves by Georgia O'Keefe

Autumn Leaves by Georgia O’Keefe

On Friday, I showed my students how I had made a poem movie with my poem This Peace. I suggested they might want to try to make their own poem movie using Animoto. I think this was Tyler’s first time to use Animoto. He found the perfect background, and after he finished putting in his images and words and the movie was produced, I overheard a gasp. He was totally enthralled and impressed with his own creation. This is what creativity in the classroom is all about, that Wow feeling.

I encourage you to teach an autumn poem and make poem movies in Animoto. You may use Tyler’s as a model. Please let me know if you do. I love to know when I have inspired creativity in others.

Add in your own Digital Literacy links here:

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Today I am glowing a little brighter. My students and I enjoyed a few blog shout-outs this week.

 

Hedwig’s story:  A few years ago one of my students, who was a huge Harry Potter reader, was struggling with writing.  He just wouldn’t.  I was shopping at Barnes and Noble and decided on a whim to buy a stuffed owl, Hedwig from the Harry Potter series.  Matthew became totally attached to the owl.  Hedwig stood on his shoulder whenever he was writing.

This year, after Emily’s mother died, I decided to take Hedwig to my second school.  Hedwig has been a comforter to Emily and has become a part of our classroom family.  So much so that Emily made him a bed out of an empty tissue box.  (Emily finished off the box after crying over her dog’s death this week.  How much can one little girl take?)  I celebrate today that this small little impulse purchase has brought comfort and meaning to my students.

Hedwig's bed

Murmuration Mysteries

Find more Poetry Friday at Today's Little Ditty with Michelle H Barnes.

Find more Poetry Friday at Today’s Little Ditty with Michelle H Barnes.

Migrating starlings, over the southern Israeli village of Tidhar, on February 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Migrating starlings, over the southern Israeli village of Tidhar, on February 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

My students were mesmerized this week by the Wonder of the Week, Starling Murmurations. As I often do with these Wonder lessons, I asked them to choose 4 of the Wonder Words. Then we watched the video, looked at The Atlantic site, and selected a picture to write to. The above image was selected by Erin. Erin is a third grader. She has a confidence about her that I wish I had. She sat writing her poem and told me, “I am writing a staircase poem.”

“What is a staircase poem?”

“Look at the lines. They look like the steps on a staircase.”

I think Erin just created her own form.

Erin's journal

Ready, set, fly,
One bird takes flight,
another one and another one
until there’s a million in the sky
making an illusion of love as one goes by
washing over me.
Come along and see.
To believe is the key.
The key is to believe.
So graceful and startling,
a routine with meaning. Just
believe and you will see that anything
can be beautiful if you just put love into it.

–Erin, 3rd grade

I showed my students my poem movie from Spiritual Thursday. (You can see the post here.) I made the suggestion that they make a poem movie with their starling zenos. Some of my students are loving J. Patrick Lewis’s new form. A zeno is a great form for writing nonfiction poems. Enjoy these poem movies made using Animoto.

This Peace

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

St. Marks font

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord.

This peace
cannot be understood,
creeps in my heart
when the sun rises
throwing a beam upon the oak,
her arms spread wide to welcome the light.

This peace comes from knowing
a creator who makes the heron fly
on wings breaking dawn
with stealth and strength.

This peace is a chant I sing,
your name over and over
while the yarn draws over and under
this golden G hook.

This peace transforms holy spirit
into sprays of fresh water
as close to me
as tears.

This peace as fragile as the hug of a child,
egg in a robin’s nest,
sweet scent of your clean skin.

This peace eases my breath
like child’s pose
letting go
letting out
letting in.

This peace
centered in words
prayerfully spoken,
I am here.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved.

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

A selfie with my friend Sarah as we eat beignets at Festival Acadiens.

A selfie with my friend Sarah as we eat beignets at Festival Acadiens.

This was a weekend to embrace the culture of South Louisiana, along with the crazy heat. I’m not sure if we set records, but the temperatures were blazing while my husband and I introduced friends from Houston to the music and food of our home town. Two festivals complete with Cajun and Zydeco music, gumbo, beignets, and shrimp po-boys. We danced (and ate) all weekend. Our favorite bands are BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Geno Delafose and the French Rockin Boogie. Family was part of the fun, two daughters, a sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and a niece.

I have been going to these festivals for years, but dancing has only been part of them for the last three and a half. Dancing makes all the difference. I feel like I am part of the music, not just a by-stander listener. I am sore and tired, but the kind of sore and tired when you have done something vigorous, life-giving, like hiking or completing a marathon. The music is still playing in my mind.

Maggie, Katherine, and niece Claire pose at the Gumbo Cookoff.

Maggie, Katherine, and niece Claire pose at the Gumbo Cookoff.

I made a video about dancing this weekend. My husband is the handsome dancer. Be warned: there is one clip where the music comes on suddenly loud.

Digilit Sunday

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

I am entertaining guests this weekend. I may post later. I do want to share that I had a special visitor to my blog on Friday, J. Patrick Lewis, 2012-2013 Children’s Poet Laureate. He watched the Emaze presentation I made about him and the zeno poems my students and I wrote. This was his email.

Dear Margaret,

A swashbuckler of a bow to you for featuring the zeno on your blog and for encouraging your students to try their hand at it. I’m honored and humbled, and I must say, extremely impressed by their efforts. Please extend to them my warm wishes for a blootitootiful school year.

Be good, be well.

Cheers,
Pat

So I did a happy dance.

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