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Posts Tagged ‘Irene Latham’

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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Poetry Friday round-up with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

Poetry Friday round-up with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

Antarctica

C,lick to order

 

The lovely Irene Latham shared her newest book of poems with me and my students.  We had a great time traveling to Antarctica this week.  We started in the glossary.  Where else would you start?  We learned new words like adept, baleen whale, and crèches.  My students made notes in their journals.

We read aloud a sampling of poems, such as “When the Sun Shines on Antarctica” and “Beware the Brinicle!”  Oh, how they hate brinicles, ever since they learned that “this frozen lightning rod…entombs all it touches.”

In the back of this amazing book there is a listing of websites to visit.  We visited Discovering Antarctica.  This site is full of videos, amazing images, and fun activities.  I asked my students to do three activities.  They jumped right in and were riveted.

To culminate the week, we looked back at Irene’s poems and talked about craft moves.  There was onomatopoeia in”Gentoo Penguin Jumps In.”  I showed how Irene played with the way the word appeared on the page (dive actually dives down the page).  We talked about rhyme and short lines, metaphor, simile, and personification.

Then they took a turn at writing their own Antarctic poems.  Thanks, Irene, for leading us on this adventurous discovery.

Antarctica page spread

(My kids love disgusting things like a bird that vomits while flying in the air.)

Southern Giant Petrel at the Seashore

Petrel
doesn’t do
sandcastles
or suntans–
he’s more
like a flying
trash can.

His belly
is where all
the garbage
goes:
his beak
is the lid
that never
stays closed.

Careful,
don’t come
too near–
or Petrel
will spew
a rotten brew
all over you.

–Irene Latham (used with permission from the author)

Now for student poems.

Antarctica Poem

Freezing water
cold temperatures
Emperor Penguins
Penguin chicks
The sound of silence
Being broken by sounds

Grah!!

Killer Whales eating
Penguins feasting
Petrel barfing
On its predators
Antarctic Galore!

by Andrew, 3rd grade

Adelie Penguins

Little gray balls
beaks with all.

Black and white tuxedos,
important yellow shoes,
they’re businessmen.

White and black gowns,
little golden slippers,
stylish as can be.

–Lynzee, 1st grade

Who am I?

Who am I?
Who am I?

The killer of krill
I eat thousands, in every meal.

My teeth are two plastic plates.
I sing a song to attract my mate.

My bestie is the barnacle.
He’s been here since he fledged.

You guessed it!
You guessed it!

I am the baleen whale.
Now I will end this poem
with the flip of my tail.

–Emily, 5th grade

 

I have been participating in Laura Shovan’s February writing challenge.  We are writing to images of found objects. Today, our poems are posted by Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.  

 

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Poetry Friday round-up  with Tara at A Teaching Life.

Poetry Friday round-up with Tara at A Teaching Life.

Over at Holly Mueller’s blog, Reading, Teaching, Learning, a group of us are writing about the spiritual aspects of our OLWs. Last week, we wrote about the word Believe. Irene Latham’s creed poem inspired me. I posted it on my kidblog site and asked my students to reflect on the meaning and to respond with their own beliefs. Today I am sharing Irene’s poem and my students’ responses.

I Could Say I Believe in the Ocean

But what I mean is,
I believe in water:
leagues wide
and miles deep,
still-cool-cold on one shore,
warm-salty on the other.

I believe in clownfish
and anemone,
riotous coral reef
and cruising grouper,

octopuses origami-ing
themselves into
castaway bottles
and now-you-see-em-
now-you-don’t krill
diving into
the mouths of whales.

I believe in turquoise
and teal, cobalt
and blacker-than-black.
In shipwrecks
and tsunamis
and deep-sea
luminescence.

I believe in a world
with enough anything
for everyone
where I am a boat
floating quiet
as a moon jellyfish,

weaving between sharks
and icebergs,
allowing the current
to carry me
wherever it will.
– Irene Latham

Student response poems:

I believe in life,

A world where nature blooms beautifully on the ground,

Where the sun is the light bulb of Earth,

Where animals are in love,

And a world where people are all treated equally no matter how different. –Kielan (6th grade)

I believe in unicorns,

dancing through the skies,

I believe in magic,

right before my eyes,

I believe in mermaids,

swimming through the seas. — Lynzee (1st grade)

And this response from Vannisa prompted me to look up the word sonder. I found an interesting YouTube video.

“I believe that you can’t judge a person when you first meet them, or barely know them. Every person you interact with or even just pass by, has a story and memories of their life that you know nothing about. I think it’s an interesting concept to think about. The word for this, which I think isn’t an actual word, is sonder. Some people live by quotes, but I think that sonder is a great word to live by. –Vannisa (6th grade)”

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