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Poetry Friday round-up is with Violet.


I am pinching myself today.  I just got my shipment of Here We Go, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s latest Poetry Friday project.  These two amazing women have been gathering poets in anthologies for years.  I met them a few years ago at NCTE at the Children’s Literature Lunch.  They handed me the Poetry Friday anthology for Science.  This is how they are.  Their goal is to get poetry in the hands of teachers who will pass them on to children.

At NCTE 2016, I saw Sylvia and Janet in a hotel restaurant.  They were eating breakfast.  I just walked right on up.  This time they handed me You Just Wait.   We took a picture with my class’s mascot, Jack.  Before we said good-bye, I said, “I want to write a poem for you.”


“Well,” exclaimed Janet, “It just so happens we need one more poem for our next book coming out before the inauguration.”

“In this book, we want to empower the voices of girls.  Do you think you could write a poem from the point of view of a young girl who wants to do something she’s been told she can’t do?”

“Of course I can!”  I didn’t really say that.  I said, “I’d like to try.”

I had no idea my poem would be next to poets like Naomi Shihab Nye and Carole Boston Weatherford.  I’ve long admired Poetry Friday contributors such as Michelle Heindenrich Barnes, Kate Coombs, and Robyn Hood Black.

I absolutely love the format they have used for this book!  The subtitle is “A Poetry Friday Power Book.” Included are 12 powerplay prewriting activities, 12 anchor poems, 24 new poems to join them together,12 power2you writing prompts, and 12 resource lists for young writers and activists.  The poems work together to create a story of community, bias, acceptance, and activism.  Each “Power Pack” can be used by an individual writer or by a teacher with her class.

Please join me in celebrating this new book by leaving a comment.  Janet and Sylvia sent me 5 extra copies to give away.  Leave a comment by Friday, Jan. 27th to be entered into a random drawing for a free copy.




Slice of Life Challenge

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


New Orleans Little Free Library

I took the opportunity of an extra day this weekend to visit my daughters in New Orleans.  My cousin and his family met me for lunch on Monday.  Then we headed over to Blue Cypress Books, an uptown used book store.  I listened while my cousin’s wife read aloud to her second grader.  I pulled favorite books off the shelf to suggest to the 5th grader.  We made our book stacks.

“Mom, how many books can we get?”

“When it comes to books, we don’t set a limit.  We look at which ones we really want to read.”

I wandered over to the poetry section.  Have you ever had a book call out to you?  Say, “Here I am waiting for you!”

I picked up “A Year with Rumi” and opened to January 17th.  How did Rumi know that this was the poem I needed today?  Book magic happens in used bookstores.



On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I also bought two quote magnets.  Bookstore magic.


DigiLitSunday Logo

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Personally I have become very suspicious of news lately.  The skeptic in me is showing.  On social media, I hesitate to click through to a website for fear of ad invasion or some pop-up wanting me to sign up, and then there’s the creepy fact that everything you search becomes part of your history and everyone knows.  I placed an order on Jet.com and for a week, every website I went to popped up a Jet.com ad.  Really? Modern day commercials geared to who some cyberspace robot thinks I am.

How do we protect our children in these times of everything is news, real or fake?  When the topic came up, I originally thought I didn’t need to worry about it.  Our school district has safety blocks in place; however, lots of fake news sites have ways of circumventing these blocks.  And in the name of good research, my students were finding them.  Time for a talk.

Armed with chart paper, I wanted to find out what my students already knew about the difference between fake and real news stories.  Here’s what we came up with.


Then I asked my students to pick a story on the internet that they are interested in investigating and write about their findings.  One student made an interesting discovery when she wanted to find out if Donald Trump supports LGBT rights.  She was confused by the reports and the images of Trump holding an LGBT flag.  Which is true?  In this case, both.  So now we are on to another issue, what do we believe by the actions and the words of a person in politics?  My response was yes, it’s confusing, so write about that!

Kevin Hodgson tweeted a Google slide show that he created for his students.  I plan to show this next week to keep the conversation open.

I don’t have all the answers.   This world of news at our fingertips, real or fake or just plain confusing, can be daunting.  I want my students to be discerning citizens.  So I keep the doors open.  We wonder.  We question.  We look for answers.

Please add your link to the conversation below.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Keri at Keri Recommends

On Tuesday, I posted a Canva image that I had created with an acrostic poem about my One Little Word, Cherish.  Michelle Haseltine commented, “Such a simple poem and yet, so beautiful and touching. I am not usually a fan of acrostic poems, but you have me rethinking my position, friend.”

So I decided to make a case for the acrostic poem.


a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.

I understand the argument. This form is simplistic and can confine the writer and stifle creativity.  However, if we let it, a form can challenge the writer to search for unique language and a stronger meaning.

This week, we worked on our One Little Word projects.  I showed my Canva acrostic as a sample.  We talked about words and synonyms, making use of the online thesaurus.  Type in your word and click on synonyms to find more words.  Some of my students took this task seriously and found new and unusual words, like vivacity and whimsical, as their chosen OLW.

Dictionaries were on hand for finding words that started with a given letter.  When Jacob came to the letter R in his word, Inspire, he read rainbow, and created the following line.


Some students stuck to the one word for each letter, but some created phrases.  Emily decided to make each line have  a simile.  This pushed her to think not only about her word choice, but also about what each word meant to her One Little Word.

Acrostics are simple, but it can be a good pattern for word play and a deeper search for meaning.



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Cherish Acrostic

An activity I like to do with my students for One Little Word is an acrostic poem.  We use the dictionary and thesaurus to find synonyms.  While I worked on my own acrostic, I thought about the different ways I want to Cherish.  I used Canva to create an image of my poem.


DigiLitSunday: A Plan

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Sometimes you just need a plan.  When the calendars come off the wall and you haven’t bought the 2017 calendar yet, where can you find the plan?  Digital calendars don’t end.  Not only can you go forward indefinitely, you can go back as well. When I scrolled back, I made it to 1770. Crazy!

Recently on the #Good2Great Voxer chat, Kari Yates talked about making a 5-year plan.  Most of us cringed and were overwhelmed by this thought.  But there is something comforting and practical about having a plan.

So here I am back at DigiLitSunday after a few weeks off, and I have no plan.  I know that I want this meme to continue, but I feel like a failure as a leader.  Where are we going?  What is the purpose?  What is the goal?

To alleviate my  anxiety about this, I have a tentative topic plan for January:

  • January 15: Fake vs. Real news: How do we teach our students to be discerning?
  • January 22: Balancing Goals with Needs
  • January 29: Digital Design

Please check in on the Google Doc.  I’ve cleared the topic area, so add in new topic ideas.  If you are not listed, please add your contact.  My goal is to Tweet the topic on Thursdays.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve started blogging for Kidblog.  My first post was published last week.  Check it out here. 

With a plan or without, if you wrote a DigiLitSunday post, please link below.



Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I wasn’t going to write today.  I woke up to freezing temperatures and a yard of wilting plants.   But then I checked my phone and found love in the Twitter feed.

I melted into tears.  I’ve know Leigh Anne virtually for years.  We’ve visited each other’s blogs.  We’ve exchanged teaching ideas.  One summer I did a Google Hang-out with a summer writing class she was teaching.  But we’ve never met in person.  To think that my words could be so inspiring to someone I’ve never met face to face just boggles my mind.

My friend, Julieanne, wrote today about her cyber-bubble, those people we hang out with virtually through Twitter and Facebook, Voxer and Blogger.  In this world, I’ve met some of the most precious people on earth.  I have come to call them friends.

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

My OLW this year is Cherish.  Leigh Anne coined the term Cherishment.  I cherish all of you who click over to this space and read and comment and otherwise spread the love.  Please take a minute to go to Leigh Anne’s blog today.  She made a poem from comments on my blog.  I plan to print the poem and keep it close.

On Wednesday this week, my body revolted.  I had a violent and mean stomach virus.  Along with cherishing others this year, I want to cherish my own body.  I hated it with a passion on Wednesday, but a miracle shot from my trusted physician made it all better.

Today, I was encouraged by a friend to attend a yoga class.  I haven’t done yoga in a while and was worried about how my body would work.  The instructor calmed me throughout and by the end of the session, I was weeping.  Cherish seems to lead me to tears.  I was overwhelmed by the feeling of peace and the comfort.  This feeling calls for a  healing haiku.


#haikuforhealing #haikuforhope #commonplacemarvels #cherishment