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Posts Tagged ‘Irene Latham’

Poetry Friday is here!

Sorry, my Poetry Friday folks!  I forgot I was hosting.  You see, yesterday was our last day of school, and there were other things occupying my limited brain space.  But here I am and here you are.  Link with the button at the bottom of this post.

Each month on the first week of the month, a group of us bloggers post for Spiritual Thursday.  We are a group of open-minded thinkers who enjoy exploring what God means in our lives.  Irene Latham coordinates our group.  Last month she wrote this in her post about Reaching. 

Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam.” What beauty there is in that breath between those two fingers! And what makes it beautiful to me is the anticipation of touch, the reaching, the beauty and openness of that moment– before we know what happens next. –Irene Latham

Those words moved me.  A poem appeared as response.  I love when that happens. Thanks, Irene.

 


Breath of God

Breath–
one small space
as God reaches
to Adam
hanging high
above
turned up heads.

Eyes cannot focus
on such a small space
so far away,
yet Michelangelo
placed it there,
an inch between them.

In that space
I can rest
suspended,
floating between
God’s hand
and my own.

Nothing
becomes
everything.

–Margaret Simon

 

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I hope you have been following the Progressive Poem. Today I am adding a line. This amazing interactive poetry community builder is the brilliant invention of Irene Latham.

It all started with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe when she introduced a first person character with fidget, friction,and ragged edges. Mary Lee let the idea of F words dance back into the poem with “facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.” Then Janet set me up the steps to the stage.

I placed myself in the narrator’s shoes, climbing the stairs to the stage. What else would I feel except pure fright? So with alliteration dancing in my head, my blow dryer blew out this line. Every good story needs a conflict, right? Here you go, Jan, have fun with this fidgety, freckled, frightened storyteller. What will he/she do next? Look at the link up in my side bar to follow this poem through its journey.

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.

Flip around, face the crowd, and freeze!

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Poetry Friday is at Linda's site: Teacher Dance

Poetry Friday is at Linda’s site: Teacher Dance

 

Sometimes I sign up for things and then forget about them.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I got some poetry mail this week.  A while back, Jone MacCulloch asked us blogging poets to sign up for a new year postcard exchange.  I signed up and ordered my postcards.

I was so pleasantly surprised this week when I received 3 postcards.  I hope there are more coming.

My postcards from VistaPrint haven’t arrived yet, so if you’d like to receive one, send me your address (margaretsmn at gmail).  I have the list of 10 that Jone sent me, but I’m happy to send more.

Diane Mayr does a new year postcard every year in the tradition of Nengajo, a Japanese tradition of sending a postcard including a haiku.  She writes that this year’s card includes the Year of the Rooster, a reference to fire, and the word first.  The background is “Yawning Apprentice” by Mihaly Munkacsy (circa 1869).  She will be posting the digital version on her blog today.  Here is my camera image.

dmayr-postcard

 

In the same batch of mail, all the way from Hawaii, Joy Acey blessed me with a lovely original painting and poem.  She is such a dear person whom I have never met.  Some day I will fly to Hawaii to see her in her garden. Even her sweet note is poetic.

Margaret,

I was lying in bed this morning listening to the blasting rain hit the exterior of my bedroom wall and windows–these are the windows that face east so I could watch the cloud covered Sleeping Giant and the sunrise.

I’m thinking about selecting one word for a guide in the new year and I’m thinking about our poetry postcard exchange for the new year and this haiku appeared with your name written all over it.

joy-acey-card

painting and poem by Joy Acey

The third card of joyful words came from Irene Latham.  She tweeted recently that she had her postcards ready, and I was secretly crossing my fingers that I would get one.  The card looks like an old postcard from Germany, a gift in itself, but it was accompanied by this beautiful verse:

The Coming of Light

And here is the secret
to everything:
when you let the light it,
a river
you thought dried up
or frozen
will begin to sing.

–Irene Latham

irene-latham-card

Bruckmanns Bildkarte NR

 

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

 

A friend once told me that I have an artist’s mind, random and all over the place.  While it was a nice way to put it, what she was really telling me was I lack focus.  I’ve always hopped from project to project, idea to idea.  It’s difficult for me to stay tuned in to one thing for any length of time.

Last weekend I had a chat with Irene Latham on the steps of the State Museum at the Louisiana Book Festival.  We were talking about conferences.  She said she realized she could be a conference junkie but questioned whether that would serve her mission.  Her mission?  Yes, Irene has a mission statement.  Don’t we all?  She wrote about how to find your own mission statement in her post on Smack Dab in the Middle. 

The first question, “Who do you admire?” reminded me of a process my friend Kimberley talked about; Find the person who is doing what you want to do and find out how they got there.  In other words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

When creating a mission statement, I had to consider my personality type.  I really care what people think of me.  It’s a fault, except that it keeps me behaving in ways that are kind and thoughtful.  I want others to respect me, so I respect them.  Not a bad way to be.  It’s tough when I chew on an incident for a long time.  I’m not good at letting things go.  

What does this all have to do with digital literacy and teaching?  In creating a mission statement, a focus for my life, I see clearly that I want to empower others to be the best they can be.  I want to bring creativity into the world.  Through my teaching and writing, I can be both wind and wings.

My students worked all week on their podcasts.  They created scripts from their research and collaborated on making something creative and new.  Yet, the learning curve was high.  I wasn’t sure we could meet it.  I am still waiting on tech help from our district department; however, the glitches didn’t really bother the kids.  They understand that’s all part of making something new in this digital world.

When I reflect on the projects we do in my class, I realize the ones that encourage the strongest focus are ones that are highly creative, honor choice, and are student-driven.  My classroom mission statement is not that different from my personal mission statement.  Margaret and Mrs. Simon walk hand in hand to find their focus and meaning in this world.

focus

 

 

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Poetry Friday is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids

Poetry Friday is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids

 

Do you enter contests?  I don’t.  But I pretty much insist that my kids do.  I even will go so far as to write it as a goal on their IEP.  At the end of the school year last year, most of my students entered a piece of writing into our state writing contest, LA Writes.  I was pleased to hear in September that three of them had placed.  The awards ceremony was last Saturday at the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Museum in Baton Rouge.  When Madison came to the microphone to read her poem, she introduced herself as “the author.”  What a thrill for this writing teacher to hear her describe herself as an author.

Madison shows off her first place medal.

Madison shows off her first place medal.

Madison wrote her first place poem after Irene Latham’s “Tree for All.” In May, we had a Skype visit with Irene.  She wrote about my students’ poems here.

I secretly wished that Irene was there to hear Madison read.  Sometime wishes do come true.  Irene was at the Book Festival.  We met up later in the day.  She presented in the Children’s Storytelling Tent and guess who walked by?

Madison meets her author hero, Irene Latham.

Madison meets her author hero, Irene Latham.

Reef for All

after Irene Latham’s “Tree for All”

Sharks feast on my citizens;
my restaurant never closes.

Eels hide in my caves;
my shelters provide homes.

Sea worms play peek-a-boo in my tubes;
my tubes allow all ages.

Fish hide in my caves;
my cradle caves are cozy for new fins.

No sea animal can resist my charm:
I am a coral reef.

Madison

Tree for All (in Dear Wandering Wildebeests)
Giraffes feast on my leafy crown;
my buffet never closes.
Rhinos doze beneath my broad branches;
my umbrella selters and shades.
Baboons scramble up and down my trunk;
my playground delights all ages.
Owls nest in my hidden knothole;
my cradle cozies brand-new wings.
Skinks sleep in my thick, spotted bark;
my camouflage keeps them safe.
Safari ants trail along my roots;
my roadways help build a city.
No grassland beast can resist my charms;
I am a wild bush willow tree.
– Irene Latham
Contests make us feel famous.  They give students an opportunity to shine.  Thanks to Irene for being such a beautiful role model to budding author, Madison.

I will be presenting with Irene and some other awesome poets at NCTE 2016 in Atlanta:Sat., 9:30 G.12 Writing for a Better World: Poetry Response to World Events B210

writing-for-a-better-world-poetry-as-an-agent-of-changencte-2106saturday-nov-19-20169-30-amb210-copy

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NPM2016

Discover. Play. Build.

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

This week was state testing week. We made it through. Because I am an extra teacher, I was assigned a small group to test. The routine was changed. I stayed at one school all day.

When on Friday the test was over, I resumed my routine. My students were so excited to see me again. They truly missed me. I think they also missed the flexibility of our days. It was as though they could breathe again.

I celebrate the love I share with my students while I am sad to realize the year is quickly coming to an end. So many activities planned; end-of-the-year picnics, talent shows, and field trips will interrupt my class again and again.

I want to stay calm about it all, so I planned a creative end-of-the-year project. We are making re-purposed books. They will paint the pages of a discarded book and add art and writing to them. They are already excited, and the mess making has begun. I celebrate creativity and mess making.

I am altering a book as well. This inspires the creative side of me. No one sees it, really, so I let go of my inhibitions about my art talent and just do it. Here’s a page I’ve painted waiting for a poem.

kaleidoscope

Pass the scissors
then the glue;
I am pasting poems
in a book.

Make a mess
filling the pages
with happy words.

Anyone can make a book.
Let’s make a book today!

National Poetry Month is at the end. I thought it would never come. Writing a poem a day has been a challenge. I celebrate all the poets out there writing daily and inspiring me and my students to do the same.

I celebrate Irene Latham who blogs here. She generously Skyped with my students on Poem in your Pocket Day. She listened patiently while they shared their own poems and responded with nothing but kindness. She even answered a question about whether or not she felt haunted. (Kids say the darnedest things.) But Irene handled it like a champ. She told my students that she likes to visit graveyards and feel the presence of people who have gone before.

Irene offered excellent advice about finding new words; brainstorm a list of words about your topic. Then mark them all out and start again. This forces you to find new and unusual words.

I also want to thank Laura Purdie Salas whose putrid poetry gave my students permission to write about poop and other yucky stuff.

And what would NPM be without Amy Ludwig VanDerwater? She wondered with us all month long and inspired my students to write about their world.

Thank you to all my readers who stuck with me each day as I attempted to entertain the poetic muse. Here’s to another wonderful National Poetry Month. Do not be mistaken, though. Poetry is made for every day!

Donna has the final line to the Progressive Poem and it is just right!

Donna has the final line to the Progressive Poem and it is just right!

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Delight

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

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

For Spiritual Thursday, we are writing about each other’s One Little Word. This week is Irene Latham’s word, Delight. Irene is a poet, so I wrote a word poem.

Delight is an enchanting word that dances
in the light of the sun
and looks to the moon for inspiration.

Amusement is her cousin
who laughs easily, giddy really.
Not delight.
She quietly relishes in God’s creation.
Watches the birds at the feeder flit and fight.

She wonders about clouds
and contrails in the sky.
Delight is never in a hurry.
If she were, she might miss something,
Miss something delightful.

See the way the cat turns
over and over in the grass.
Delight is with the cat
feeling the soft sweetness of dew.

Delight opens her mouth for snowflakes in winter
And runs in a field of bluebonnets in spring.

Delight fluffs my words up like feathers,
lifts them slightly up to catch the wind
so they may fly to you.
–Margaret Simon

Moss delight: See the way the moss sways in the wind?

Moss delight: See the way the moss sways in the wind?

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