Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
I'm a first round judge for the CYBILS poetry category. For the past six weeks, I've been reading and rereading about thirty poetry books that have been published in the last year. One of those books is REQUIEM: POEMS OF THE TEREZIN GHETTO by Paul Janezcko. In an afterword, Janezcko gives readers background about Terezin, a concentration camp, located on the banks of the Ohre River.
(Terezin) became home for the Jewish intellectuals and artists of Prague. As a result, it became a prison in which the arts were tolerated, then encouraged, as a Nazi propaganda tool. Classical music and opera were commonplace, despite the horrors and cruelty of captivity. Lectures were delivered in attics and basements of the barracks. Most of these activities were allowed by the Nazis, who saw these artistic events as proof that they were treating the Jews humanely and allowing their culture to flourish. The reality of the situation was, of course, quite the opposite. Musicians who performed beautifully one night were packed into cattle cars the next, transported to the gas chambers.
"Wilfred Becker/34507"When Otto's number was called,Eva wept.She would go with him.Insisted.They would have one more nighttogether.She traded half a loaf of breadfor two hoursin a kumbal with a curtain.Otto asked if I would playmy violin."I would be honored, my friend.""Can you play Johann Strauss?"I smiled. "I am German, am I not?"So it was on that frigid nightI played waltzes for them."The Blue Danube""Where the Lemons Bloom""Youthful Dreams"All played softlynotes like stars.When they pulled back the curtainand nodded to me,I bowedand played a final waltz.- Paul JanezckoPoetry Friday is at Dori Reads
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
"Furious,the prophet invoked a dreadful curse,shriveling the elephants' prized wingsinto pitiful ears,chaining the elephantto gravity and man's willfor all eternity.To this very dayyou can see the poor elephantsflapping their ears,dreaming of flight,but now onlycousins of clouds.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
The boy with a book he hasn't read yet
The girl with a tower of books by her bed.
She opens and opens and opens.
Her life starts everywhere.
Anyone befriended again and again
by a well-loved book.
This is a wealth
we never lose.
Friday, December 2, 2011
P.S. The computers at Kinko's or Blogspot are wreaking havoc on the spacing and fonts. I have been sitting here for two hours formatting and reformatting and I am finally giving up! So sorry!
Sometimes I think God, or the Universe, or whatever Higher Power works for you, is trying to send me a message. It sure seemed that way as I read through this week's postings. There seemed to be an inordinately high number about gratitude, savoring each moment, and slowing down....
Thoughts on Gratitude...
- Liz Gartan Scanlan shares an absolutely gorgeous ten minute video and reminds us that "the only appropriate response is gratitude."
- At "Across the Page," Janet captures her foray into an early winter afternoon. Beautiful
- Laura Shovan combines beautiful nature photography with tanka, and gives those of us who are teachers a tanka lesson to use on Monday. Thanks, Laura!
- Teaching Authors is finishing a series on thankfulness. Such richness here!
There were lots of lovely poems by students...
- The Write Sisters have two student poems from TINY ROADS INSIDE CABBAGE, a collection of poetry written between 1972 and 1982. I'm salivating over these young poets' perfect detail.
- Tara shared "eco-literacy" poems from RIVER OF WORDS. This organization hosts a yearly student poetry contest.
- Wander by the Poem Farm to read the work of a terrific second grade poet.
- And of course there was some lovely original poetry by adults...
Donna at Mainely Write, wrote a poem for her three-month-old grandson. I can't think of anything cooler than writing poetry for my grandchildren (although I do hope I don't get the opportunity for quite a while!).
- At Fomagrams, David Elzey ponders the mid-century mark.
- Mandy shares three different types of cinquain she wrote in a college writing class.
- The amazing Jone McCulloch (Deowriter).is not only chairing the CYBILS poetry committee, she also wrote a poem a day for thirty days.
- Laura Purdie Salas has two offerings this week. At her blog, she shares "If A Tree Falls" from her newest book, BOOKSPEAK. Then in her "15 words or less" post, she shares "Levitate" (and who can't remember the fun of jumping on a bed?) Congratulations onhaving a poem accepted on YOUR DAILY POEM.
- Sylvia Vardell's post features J. Patrick Lewis, who was awarded the 2011 NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry. Sylvia's graduate students created a J. Patrick Lewis Toolbox, complete with book trailers and other interesting resources. Great poetry minds think alike, because Elaine Magliaro (Wild Rose Reader, also shared this poem.
- Adrienne shares Billy Collins "Workshop," which, for those of us who have ever been part of a writing workshop, is hilarious. Talking about her own experiences in Writing Workshops, she says, "You can improve your writing through workshopping, but in the beginning and the end, it's you and your brain and your words. In the middle, it's a comfort to know other writers though, people who understand your weird lifestyle, why you devote so much time to this solitary pursuit, and what you are trying to accomplish." So, so true!
- Irene Latham ponders truth in poetry. Definitely worth a read!
- At Poetry Advocates, Steven Withrow analyzes Ted Hughes' use of sound.
Tabatha Yeats has a post about poetry and movies. Something I had never thought about, hmmmm....
And of course there lots of lovely single poems by much-loved authors....
- The folks at Stenhouse posted the same Kate Messner poem as I did, reminding us to "read it, share it with our students, and most important of all: live it."
- My fourth graders have been talking about poems that teach life lessons. At Year of Reading, Mary Lee has "Building Bridges."This would be a great one to read at a meeting of literacy coaches or veteran teachers!
- Despite suffering from a "cold colossal", Katya managed to translate a poem about the ritual of drinking tea from Russian to English. I'm a coffee girl all the way, but this poem made me think about hunting up a samovar.
- You can find another "Hall of Fame" poet, Rita Dove, at Ruth's "There is No Such Thing as a God Forsaken Place."
- And for a little Shakespeare, check out Maria's post from the George Hall Free Library.
- And on a cold and snowy Saturday in Denver, I appreciated reading Emerson's "Snow" on Robyn Hood Black's blog.
- Also loved Dori's Robert Louis Stevenson poem.
- At Drift Record, Julie celebrates the life of Ruth Stone, who won the National Book Award for poetry at age 86. Julie also reminds us that she has a poem in the Gift Tag collection (I am so going to have to get that book!)
- Karissa brings what she describes as Mary Oliver's "unique take on motherhood" I love the last few lines of this poem:
"…and I want to live my life all over again, to begin again to be utterly wild."
And then a few lovely poetry picture books....
- At Father Goose, Charles Ghigna brings us I SEE WINTER a new book for some of our youngest poetry loving friends.
- Just reading three lines makes me think I want to own WHEN I LOVE YOU AT CHRISTMAS. Thanks for sharing this one at Picture Book of the Day, Anastasia.
- And while we are on the subject of young poetry readers, at Readertotz, Lorie Ann Grover reviews THE MICE OF NIBBLING VILLAGE, a book of 14 poems that celebrate life in a "mouse town." It seems like it might be a great companion volume to Kate Messner's new picture book, OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, which Lorrie reviewed for Poetry Friday two weeks ago. And at another blog, On Point, Lorrie presents an original haiku for a friend who has recently had a double mastectomy.
- Fellow Coloradoan Linda at Teacher Dance reviews two new-to-me novels in verse INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN and ALEUTIAN SPARROW . I can hear Donalyn Miller's book-a-day calling my name. In less than two weeks …
There were several interesting poetry collections.....
- At Paper Tigers, Sara and Marjorie host a really interesting interview of lawyer turned poet Janet Wong. In the last year, Janet and Sylvia Vardell have coauthored PoetryTagTime, a series of ebooks. The third and most recent book is a holiday collection that sounds like big fun. Lots of folks (Laura Purdie Salas, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst) that participate in Poetry Friday have poems in this collection. It sounds like one all of us ought to head over to Amazon and check out! I definitely am!
- Jeannine Atkinson 's poem "Surprise," which she shares on her blog today is a part of the Gift Tag collection. The cookie dough photo that accompanies the poem is so real that I want to pick one up and pop it into my mouth.
- Janet Squires reminds us about BE GLAD YOUR NOSE IS ON YOUR FACE. I have never seen this book, and thought it was brand new, but it was actually written in 2008. My students love silly poems and this one sounds like a book I definitely have to have.
Happy new week!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
But don’t write what they tell you to.
Don’t write formulaic paragraphs
Counting sentences as you go
Put your pencil down.
Don’t write to fill in lines.
For a weary scorer earning minimum wage
Handing out points for main ideas
Supported by examples
From the carefully selected text.
Write for yourself.
Write because until you do,
You will never understand
What it is you mean to say
Or who you want to be.
Write because it makes you whole.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
TROUBLEMAKER is Andrew Clements' newest, or maybe just one of his newest. Clayton is a sixth grade troublemaker, with a two inch thick behavior file to prove it. When the book opens, he is in art class, drawing a caricature of his principal, Mr. Kelling, disguised as a donkey (WARNING: the word in used the book is jack***, which some people may find offensive). He can't wait to show the picture to Mitch, his older brother and role model, newly released froma 30-day prison stay. Mitch, however, is not as excited about the picture as Clay thought he would be. It seems that Mitchell has learned some invaluable lessons in prison, and wants his brother to change. That weekend, he takes Clayton to the mall to reshape his image, then it's up to Clay to prove he really has changed. Clayton soon discovers, however, that change is hard and getting people believe you have changed is harder still…
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The earth is changing all the time. Some changes are slow, but some, like earthquakes are fast. An earthquake is a subject of the earth that happens under the earth's crust and under the ocean. Earthquakes mostly happened in California because thier was a big crack in thier. The thing that causes the earthquakes is the plates under the earth's surface. that can make a earthquake or a tsunami. People say the famous crack is on the Liberty Bell, but that wasen't an earthquake, the real famous crack was in Californa.
How's that for scientific thinking??????
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for a dog book. I have a couple I think kids are going to love in my CYBILS stack.
In THE HOUND DOG'S HAIKU, Michael J. Rosen, captures the "essence" of twenty different breeds. Listen to this one about one of my favorites…
stick like a wide grin
panting, chest-deep, in the lake
eye of each ripple
And while I much prefer big dogs to little ones, the poem about Parson Russell Terriers (I'm thinking those might be about the same as Jack Russells) is probably my favorite in the entire book.
"Parson Russell Terrier"
elbow-deep in dirt
nothing to bury but hours
holes are the treasures
The haiku are followed by two pages of doggy facts, some specific to the breeds, but more just general information. Did you know, for instance, that humans have 6 million olfactory receptors in their noses, but blood hounds have 230 million? Or that schnauzers are named for the German word for muzzle? Rosen's haiku are illustrated by Mary Azarian’s gorgeously detailed woodcuts.
We are two weeks into a study of poetry right now, I'm thinking that my fourth graders are going to love comparing HOUND DOG HAIKU to Andrew Clement’s very different DOGKU.
Friday, November 11, 2011
POETRY FRIDAY: SPINSTER GOOSE:TWISTED RHYMES FOR NAUGHTY CHILDREN by Lisa Wheeler and Sophie Blackall
I read poetry to my fourth graders on an almost daily basis. So far this year, they have heard/read poets like Douglas Florian, J. Patrick Lewis, Anna Grossnickle Hines, Langston Hughes and Robert Frost. While they enjoy lots of different kinds of poetry, if I'm really honest, their favorite poems are the funny ones. I've just found a book, then, that I think my kids are going to love.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Mattie Breen is about to start fifth grade. In a new school. Mattie's mom lives by a motto, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And so Mattie and her mom have moved from place to place to place. This time, they have ended up living with Mattie's Uncle Potluck, who is the custodian at the elementary school.
Monday, October 31, 2011
I am all about series books these days. Series help kids become fluent. Understand characters. Internalize story structure. Get to know authors. Support those kids who struggle with what to read next. Yes, it's true, they are not always "great literature," but I can expose kids to great books/authors during read aloud.