What’s Inside?

Find more Poetry Friday at Merely Day by Day with Cathy.

Find more Poetry Friday at Merely Day by Day with Cathy.

One of my Poetry Friday poet heroes is Laura Purdie Salas. She is the author of Bookspeak and Water Can Be, both of which I recommend for any classroom. She recently published an e-book What’s Inside: Poems to Explore the Park It’s a great resource for teaching young poets.

solar eclipse

There was a solar eclipse happening on Thursday. I decided to combine teaching about this phenomenon with a new poem form, “What’s Inside?” We read a few model Laura Purdie Salas poems and discussed the elements in her poems, rhyme, rhythm, along with factual information. I am posting some student poems and my own. To make comments to the students, click on their name.

What’s inside a solar eclipse?
A moon hatching out of its cocoon
“Now is my time to rule the day”
The sun is secret
Hidden away
Coming back soon
“Once again I will rule over moon”

Above the cosmos,
The moon still glows.
Blocking the light,
It’s a time of fright.
In the position of the sun,
It’s no fun.
When it goes away,
No more for today.
Like a Clash of Clans war,
It’s done for.

Tobie wrote his poem in three voices: the solar eclipse, the sun, and the moon. (I love how he marked each one.)

The sun will be covered by the moon. <———————Solar Eclipse
I just wish it would come again soon.

What's inside this ball of fire? <————————Sun
It's like life, ton of desire.

What's inside this big rock? <—————-Moon
Too bad, there's only one in stock.

Mrs. Simon tries rhyme once again. I was pleased by the unexpected rhyme of sun and phenomenon.

What’s Inside a Solar Eclipse?
Make a pinprick hole in a paper plate.
Sunset horizon, stop and wait.
A new moon crosses the path of the sun,
eclipsing our vision,
a sky-born phenomenon.
–Margaret Simon

Grace Comes

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!

photo 4

We know from Alexander that some days are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, even in Australia. And I’ve had those days. I’ve had the days where nothing seems to go right. The days where the ice cream falls off the ice cream cone, and the plate crashes to the floor, flying out of your hand like someone else is in control. But I have learned that even on those days, there is Grace. Grace comes when we least expect it. The grace in the eyes of the veterinarian who says your dog is fine. The grace in an email from a friend who says you’re a blessing in her life. The grace from the chattering birds on a wire. The grace in the clear sky. The grace in the sunrise over the sugarcane. The grace in the abundant fruit on the tree. The grace in the reflection of the sun on the bayou. God’s grace, God’s loving embrace holds me every day.

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.


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