If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Friday, July 30, 2010

Poetry Friday!

I wrote this poem modeled after Elaine’s fabulous mask poems. Visit Elaine at Wild Rose Reader and you too will be amazed by the offerings at her blog. This technique appealed to my fourth grade writers who were extremely talented poets. We pretended to be animals, colors, school supplies and more. It is a fun challenge to write in another voice, be it an animal or nonliving object.
This summer I am working with an incoming fourth grade girl. We have been reading about sea giants, pausing often to say WOW that is amazing or I wonder about… So of course we grabbed the laptop and signed on the National Geographic for Kids site to learn more about ocean life. Like any publication by National Geographic, you will find breath taking photography and mind boggling video clips that complement the written research. Since our time together is limited, I wanted to go through the writing process on my own first. (I am currently reading What You Know by Heart by Katie Wood Ray. This book along with the support of my blogging friends is giving me the nudge to “experience” writing. ) As I wrote the poem below I thought about the tendency to spit the gathered facts back out in pretty much the same way they were taken from the text – difficult to teach young writers this skill. I think that an “aha” moment for me was incorporating facts into a more creative venture. I was concentrating on word choice, imagery, alliteration, and other techniques that we often notice in fiction writing. Here is my slightly revised version of “The Giant Squid.”

I’m the biggest invertebrate,
massive and maneuverey.
I’m the giant squid
enormous, yet elusive.
No one knows for sure
where I may turn up,
But scientists are certain
I have lurked in all the world’s oceans.
With beach ball size eyes
that never close,
I am a deep sea hunter who is second to none.
My eight arms and two whip-like tentacles
serve up seafood platters of fish, shrimp, and
maybe even an occasional squid or small whale.
It’s true.
I’m beasty.
I’m bold.
Yet mysterious and sometimes even shy.
By Theresa Annello

Be sure to visit Live Love Explore for this week's Poetry Round-up. Thank you Irene for hosting this week.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Late Night Slice

I was unpacking and tidying up after spending the weekend out of town, visiting with family. It was a short trip, but jam-packed like my suitcase, from early morning to late night. As I was puttering around today I thought about the people I spent time with, most of whom I don’t live around. We come home from these weekends a bit over tired after burning the candle at both ends. However I wouldn’t want to give up any part it from the peaceful morning walks with my sister – our chance to chat without interruptions or the not so peaceful late night board games. Our Ohio meeting place afforded us the opportunity to catch up with aunts, cousins, and our almost 91 year old grandma. She is confused and doesn’t remember the names of all of her great grandkids, but enjoys the visitors. We met our cousin’s new baby and another cousin’s new puppy. We hung out at our hotel pool, went out to dinner, did a little shopping, went to a pizza party, and much more. How fortunate we are to have these people in our lives. They know our stories and we know theirs. We can reminisce about the past and look forward to the future together. Ahhh…family.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Poetry Friday ~ If You Are a Friend

If You Are a Friend
Ask how a friend is doing
because you really want to know
Listen with your heart.
Give advice sparingly
for advice is like seasoning
and good cooks know
you can sometimes over do it.
A good friend knows that lending an ear
is often all that is needed.
Share a cookie for cookies can help almost as much as listening.
Surprise a friend with something you know she loves
or let her pick the game
even if it’s the same one all the time.
Have a party for your friends just for fun,
go to their parties too.
Be there on sunny days and
stormy ones too.
Find laughter in unexpected places
for I have often heard laughter is the best medicine.
A laugh with a friend
can surely help smooth
the bumps in the road.
A friend travels by your side
even when she is far away.
A friend is like a favorite song.
You will always remember the words,
but should you ever forget
a friend knows the same song by heart.

~ Theresa

Several times this week I found myself thinking of relationships/friendships and how critical they are to our existence. At a baseball game this week I watched 9 and 10 year old players sitting on the bench chatting, kicking their feet in the dirt, giving high fives, but not really worrying about the game, just enjoying each other. Working with a small group of teachers on science curriculum, a few whom I had never really worked with before, we accomplished a great deal of work, but also had some great laughs, shared ideas, and a sheet pizza on the last day. After less than a month into summer vacation, some school friends gathered together missing each other already. Tonight my husband and I will get together with some friends we got to know many years ago in cold ice arenas. Our sons no longer lace up their skates, but we continue to nurture our friendships. This weekend I am looking forward to spending time with our children and some family friends. Yes, we are blessed by the many relationships in our lives! My contribution this week is a tribute to friends near and far, old and new, each one a valued part of my existence. It also is my attempt to connect to this week's poetry stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect by including a couple common expressions. Today's Poetry Friday is hosted by Heidi Mordhorst over at my juicy little universe. Thank you Heidi, I love your poetry.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Poetry Friday!

It has been a beautiful summer week here in western New York. While at times the sky has turned a little hazy, from dawn to dusk the sun has been shining. My kind of weather! The sky called out to me in many places this week. The theme for the Poetry Stretch this week at Tricia's blog The Miss Rumphius Effect is "The Sky is the Limit." Toby at the Writer's Armchair is featuring a sky a day photograph. While I love peaceful sunrises, beautiful sunsets, and starry nights, I love blue sky days the most!

Happy blue sky day and happy Poetry Friday! Please visit Carol's Corner for the poetry celebration. Thank you Carol for hosting.

Blue Sky Days

In every season
Find a reason
to listen
As our closest star
It’s a blue sky day
Come out and play!
Ski down my mountain,
Build a snowman,
Dive in my leaves,
Pick a plump pumpkin,
Walk the dog,
Plant a glorious garden,
Shoot some hoops,
Build a castle in the sand,
Toss a ball,
Stay away from the mall!
Take a hike,
Ride your bike,
Catch a fish,
Make a wish,
Pour some tea
Come join me
It’s a
Blue sky day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mid - Week Meandering

I just want to say
I am counting the days.
Can't wait until Friday!
Poetry Friday.

After a fabulously beautiful Fourth of July weekend, I have been enjoying catching up on all my reading. WOW, you are all so dedicated. Reading recent posts really just confirmed what I already knew. Impressive! I have to admit I tucked a notebook and pencil in my boat tote, but that's as far as I got. Perhaps some of the photos we took will spark some written thoughts. It seems to work well for Toby at The Writer's Armchair. Check out her sky photos and the story of the robin family. Love it! Amy at the PoemFarm often includes photos and illustrations too.

This will be my second week participating in Poetry Friday. Many thanks to the people who responded with words of encouragement. This is truly a welcoming, supportive community of writers/bloggers and terrific teachers too.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Poetry Friday!

This past year I was blessed with a hard working, reflective group of writers. One of their final writing pieces in June was an end of the year letter. Each student discussed something he or she was especially proud of, an area of growth, thoughts about hopes and dreams, best thing about 4th grade, suggestions, and so on. Many students reflected on their accomplishments in March’s Slice of Life Story challenge. My heart was bursting as I read about their pride and growing desire to write. A few students remembered one of my hopes and dreams was to work on my writing. They liked when I shared my writing pieces.

A common thread in their letters was a fondness of poems and pride for the poems they have composed this year. Poetry is an integral component of reading and writing in my classroom. Many years ago I fell in love with children’s poetry and continue to be astounded by the magical effect it has on a classroom community.

To celebrate my first time participating in Poetry Friday I am sharing a few selections from this year’s class and my farewell poem, “Remember.” Head over to the PoemFarm where Amy is hosting the Poetry Friday celebration.

“Red” by Brian
Red paint is often used for blood
‘specially on Halloween.
That’s not a very good role for Red,
I often think it’s mean.
But Red’s a boasting color,
Red shouts, “look at me!”
Red accompanies Orange and Yellow
On a bright, warm autumn tree.
Orange and Red are brothers,
Some very close family.
And while Orange takes an orange,
Red prefers a strawberry.
Some crazy, wacko people
Like to red-dye their hair,
But still, not just there,
There’s Red everywhere!
A Red apple, fingernails,
A Red umbrella with it hails,
When you’re hurt, Red is pain.
And at sunset, there’s Red rain.

Tree by Dassy
A seed, a bird who dropped it down.
It fell and plunked into the ground
It grows into a little sapling (it wants to grow
higher before it’s Spring.)
Over time it grows, it grows.
Into a really mighty oak.
The bird came back to build her nest.
She said: “This tree is simply the best!”

Cats by Emily

Cats are a purring love of joy
They bounce they pounce
They go all over the place!
they are like bouncy balls
Jumping all over ,
Climbing on the furniture
curtains too,
never stopping
They are curious creatures
Ah! Finally, it's nap time for
the cats.
Today was a fun day for cats
and they will do it again
tomorrow, as a daily routine!

Remember by Theresa
Remember when you first arrived?
One teacher greeted one student.
Then another and another
Until four groups of six had arrived.
We gathered together
a packet of seeds
ready to be scattered,
Soon to sprout, soon to grow
Into seedlings with great potential.
Each flower – unique and special
Nurtured and pruned,
Growing lush and full.
Glistening and glowing,
On sunny days and a few gray days too,
Bursting with knowledge.

Oh how our garden grew,
More leaves and buds
Scattered on stems strong and tall
Buds ready to burst with beautiful blossoms
Each one unique and special,
Together a blooming bunch.
A bouquet that will never wither
Beauty that will never fade
For soon the seeds will scatter,
And grow in new places, but
the 2009-2010 garden will forever
Bloom in my mind and sing in my heart.
Thank you for leaving your mark,
I will always remember you!