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Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is doing a unique and fun writing project on her blog, The Poem Farm.  My students are huge fans.  We have been checking in daily to see the new poem, to sing all the match up songs possible, count syllables, then make a guess.  We have recorded our guesses on Soundcloud using my iPhone.

My students have gotten good at this.  They are not in the least bit shy about singing.  This week was mostly filled with more state testing.  So when testing was over, and we finally had uninterrupted time together, they insisted on visiting The Poem Farm.  We read Amy’s poem Memories and after quite a few fails, we decided it was the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down.”

Day 16 Song - Memories

 

Writing workshop became a frenzy of experimenting with different songs, counting syllables, and writing original poems to the tunes.  I was particularly fond of Emily’s because I helped her with it.  She was writing about stinky feet.  We googled a picture of a labeled shoe to get the proper shoe vocabulary.  I talked to her about how she could personify eyelets.  Finding rhymes was a challenge, too.  (Rhymezone.com helped) I kept trying to describe that reeking of feet as steam. She came up with word vapor.  So we made a near rhyme with vapor and garbage collector.  It worked.  Read the poem first to see if you can guess the tune, then listen to the Soundcloud.  Thank you, Amy VanDerwater for inspiring such creativity and fun.

 

Do your shoes smell bad?
Do your laces stink a tad?
Can the eyelets see the dirt?
If they can, they may avert.
Does the footbed reek and vapor
like the garbage can collector?
Do your shoes smell bad?

by Emily

 

Link up your Digital Literacy posts below:

Acrostic Verse

Join the roundup with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

Join the roundup with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

 

I am staying true to my blog title and reflecting today. I discovered a student of mine has been writing acrostic poems.  Lani is new to my gifted class, in third grade, and works on math with me.  She knew the others were blogging for the month of March, and she wanted to join in.  Of course, I let her, and her mother welcomed the challenge by allowing her computer time at home to post.  With the crazy number of posts during March, I was not completely keeping up.  I thought I was until I saw this post from Lani from March 25th.

Since today is International Poetry Day for me… this is my poem…..

Hour long punishment
Expelled from school yesterday
Lectures from my mother
Practicality flunked sixth grade

My worst day ever
Everyone knows that I lied to get their attention

I hope that you liked my poem!!

This form intrigued me.  As I said, Lani is a third grader, and none of her lines were true to her, so I assumed that she was writing a novel in verse as a 6th grade character.  Here was another post from the same day.

Crazy unpredictable things have happened
Once I had a pig for supper
Maybe a dog would have tasted better
Eww!!!

Inviting you is not a problem
Never a problem because I need a witness

All my relatives have not survived
Nor my family
Dad did not want to come in fearing that he will be finished

Sometimes I do not know how people can lie
Even if they are lying to themselves
Everyone thinks that I am lying and I am!!!

After reading this, I had to have a discussion with Lani.  I was wondering where she was getting her ideas from.  She didn’t have an explanation.  She just wanted to write poems, and she knew she was good at acrostic.  The only time she had written a poem with me was for Chalkabration, an acrostic about March.  I gave her loads of praise because it was a great poem.

I talked to Lani about her fictional character.  She made some notes in her notebook.  I encouraged her to keep it going.  Since this conversation, we have had disruptions with spring break and testing, so I hadn’t checked in with Lani.  These poems seem to get crazier and crazier.  Not everything makes sense, and yet, I think I have a creative writer on my hands.  I hope we can make time again to put aside the math book and write poems.  I love how she gives me credit for “coaching” her.

Hard-headed
Ant=my brother
Reading maniac=my sister
Dare addict=my dad
Especially the hard ones
Sardines eater=my cousin
Tardy=my friends

Dummy=my other cousin
Arnold=my brother’s name
Reaction=crazy
Extreme dare

Elapsed time:02 seconds
Ventriloquist people call me crazy (look at them!)
Even my mother! Listen to what she calls it!!!!
Ridiculous lying is what my mother calls it

This a poem for MY International Poetry Month. It took me a few days but I finally finished it. (with a little help from Mrs.Simon and some ”coaching”)

You can leave comments directly to Lani here.

 

Love Poem

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

The theme for today’s Spiritual Thursday round-up is love.  At first I thought, “This is easy.”  However, the more I thought about it, writing about love is hard.  What do I have to say that is new and refreshing or inspiring?  When I have a difficult writing assignment, I often turn to form.  Today I turn to Kwame Alexander and his amazing 2015 Newbery Award book in verse, The Crossover. In The Crossover, the character writes definitions in a particular form.  My blogging friends, Michelle and Holly, each used the form (vocabulary poems) this month.  I haven’t tried it with my students yet, but I usually like to practice before presenting them with an idea.  Here’s my definition of love.

love 

/ləv/

a person or thing that one loves.

as in: the curl of an infant’s
new fingers around your thumb.

as in: looking through the open window
of our arms as we dance
the Lover’s Waltz.

as in: let the soft body
of your heart love
what it loves.*

as in: He gave his only
begotten son so that
you and I have eternal life.

© Bratishka | Dreamstime.com - Baby Hand Photo

© Bratishka | Dreamstime.com – Baby Hand Photo

 

* variation of a line from Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, my all time favorite poem.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

I love this poetry exercise inspired by Bob Raczka “Some Reasons to Write a Poem.”  Stacey Shubitz of the Two Writing Teachers wrote one here that is personal to her mothering a four-year-old girl.  Catherine Flynn’s version is here.  My digital version here. 

I prompted my students last week and told them the form would work well as a Slice of Life poem.  But some child poets are not happy with their first try.  Some of them (actually a rare few) take a poetry prompt home and incubate.  Emily did this last week.  She showed me her poem written in a spiral notebook she carries in her booksack.  I have to share this with you.  You’ll know why when you read it.

 

Because the Earth is round,
not flat

Because the rain seeps into the ground

Because the birds chirp a high pitched melody

Because trees are mossy giants

Because of the polka-dot fawn in the barn

Because the man on the moon is fishing for stars

and caught one
for you!

–Emily, 4th grade

(leave comments directly to her on her blog)

A mossy giant in my yard.

A mossy giant in my yard.

 

Matthew’s version starts off like an SOL then moves into a hats-off-to-writing-a-poem poem.

Reasons to write a poem

Because you ate too much candy last night and didn’t sleep
and woke up early to get donuts.

Because you’re in class with, like, 5 poetry beasts!

Because I took time out of my me-time to write this, which, F to the YI, is a poem!

Because you can be free, and you don’t have to do just one thing.

Because you can’t mess up.

Because you can’t be better than anyone,
or worse.

–Matthew, 5th grade

(comments for Matthew)

Join the IMWAYR meme at Teach Mentor Texts.

Join the IMWAYR meme at Teach Mentor Texts.

When I think of mentor texts, a wonderful addition to my library is I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse with beautiful watercolor illustrations by Mary Whyte. This book tells the story of two brothers going fishing with their mom. Each wants to be loved more than the other. But this is one poetic mother. She loves one the bluest and one the reddest. The metaphorical language is understandable to even my youngest students.

 

love you purplest

 

 

Why, Julian, I love you the bluest!
I love you the color of a dragonfly
at the tip of its wing.
I love you the color of a cave
in its deepest, hidden part
where grizzly bears and bats curl up until night.
The mist of a mountain.
The splash of a waterfall.
The hush of a whisper.

 

After reading the story, I ask my students to choose a color. Brainstorm words that would go with that color. We share our lists. Then they choose someone they love. (Most choose mothers. You could make it a Mother’s Day activity.) Using their lists, they write a poem about the one they love using the title, “__________, I Love you the _______-est.”

Matthew won second place in a state writing contest in second grade with his poem.

Mom, I Love you the Bluest

Mom, I love you like the color of the sky.
The shimmer of the ocean.
The color of our cat’s eyes.
My old blue jeans.
I love you with the strongest emotion.

I guess when you have a tried and true lesson, and you’ve been blogging for 4 years, something’s bound to come back around. I did a Google search for images and came across my own Poetry Friday post from 2013. You can read more student poems here.

Emily purplest

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Lake Martin sunset

Lake Martin sunset

2015ProgressivePoem (1) copy

Today is my turn to add a line to the Kidlit 2015 Progressive Poem. When I volunteered to do this, I chose day 12 knowing that the poem would already have an established meter and theme, and I’d just have to keep it rocking along. This year the poem is free verse which is comfortable to me. It also ended up in the cypress swamp right down the street from me here in South Louisiana. I am posting a few pictures from a fall canoe trip to Lake Martin, St. Martinville, LA, which is a natural bird conservatory and cypress swamp. We can imagine our mermaid here.

Yesterday, Kim gave some grandmotherly advice to our maiden as she glides through the water. I added in my One Little Word and my blog title to complete the metaphorical advice. I was thinking of this photograph by my friend, Marjorie Pierson (cousin to my husband), who is using her fine art photography to promote saving the wetlands. Her image makes dewdrops look like jewels. If you need images to help you when adding your own line, I suggest flipping through the slides on her site.

As I pass this on to Doraine at Dori Reads, I wonder if we will stay in the swamp. Does she have a friend in the trees? Perhaps an egret or a roseate spoonbill? Does she have a friend in an alligator or nutria? I wonder where this poem is going. That is the joy of a progressive poem. You must send her out in the wild like this mermaid.

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp–
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.

Follow the progress below:

1 Jone at Check it Out

2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

3 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

4 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

11 Kim at Flukeprints

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine at DoriReads

14 Renee at No Water River

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

21 Tara at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

26 Brian at Walk the Walk

27 Jan at Bookseedstudio

28 Amy at The Poem Farm

29 Donna at Mainely Write

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Canoeing through the trees in Lake Martin.

Canoeing through the trees in Lake Martin.

Today is DigiLit Sunday, a link up of blogs using digital literacies in the classroom. If you are joining in for DigiLit Sunday or Digital Poetry, please link up your post below.

Discover. Play. Build.

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

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

My friend, Carolyn (aka Bayou Warrior), invited me to go to a performance of a blues band on Thursday night. I don’t usually do these kinds of activities during the week, but I wanted to experience this group and welcomed the opportunity to spend time with my enthusiastic friend. When we walked into the Acadiana Center for the Arts, a woman about my own age looked at my black cowboy boots and said, “Someday I’m going to be brave enough to wear cowboy boots.” This comment struck me because I don’t think of myself as brave when I wear my boots. I wear them when I am celebrating.

When Carolyn and I sat in the balcony, I pulled out my phone to save the line in my notes. As I typed it, I thought how it would make a good first line of a poem. I passed the phone to Carolyn and said, “Add a line.” She quickly caught on that we were writing a collaborative poem. The performance inspired chair dancing and more lines for our poem.

Chair Dancing to Heritage Blues

One day I’m going to be brave enough to wear black cowboy boots,
black leather skirt too. Maybe a peak of red hidden under lace.
A flower covered scarf around my neck.
A spray of real perfume,
dark winking earrings.

I’ll do some chair dancing
Listening to catfish blues.
Witness watery reflections on the baby grand.

Two dapper hats
Four guitars…
Creole singer flying free

Sunset drummer setting the stride
Remember when you’re walking up to heaven.
Don’t let nobody turn you around.

Sometimes you gotta stand up and dance
Like here … Louisiana crossroads
Sometimes you gotta shake it out.

–Carolyn Hidalgo and Margaret Simon

For more musical fun, go to Amy VanDerwater’s site, The Poem Farm, to hear my students take the challenge to Sing that Poem.

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