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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Reminising, Reflecting and Rocking On

Poetry Friday ~ A Refrigerator Poem

My poem this week is not really a poem, but it's what I came up with on this last day of 2010. I don't know what I will do when this old refrigerator with the magnetic doors dies. I love the newer stainless steel ones, but what happens to the kitchen collage!

Another year gone by...I hate to state the obvious, but if you are over a certain age (not sure what age, maybe 30) time really does fly by! After spending a few days with extended family, I have been perusing photos, reading quotes, and feeling very sentimental. A new year is a refreshing time, but also a time to long for the past, a reminder to appreciate the present, and live life to the fullest.

On Sunday, we went through old photos and letters that my grandparents had saved over the years. Such history here. They had saved every letter and postcard we had ever sent them. With the astounding technological advancements that we have witnessed it's hard to imagine writing a ten page letter to your mom. Long distance phone calls were costly. There was no email or text messaging. You waited for the mail and looked forward a phone call a few times a month.

What a treasure to have bits and pieces of the ones we will miss so dearly. We have been blessed by grandparents that lived to 90 and 91. Grandpa passed away last December 27th and Grandma this December 17th. Last week at Grandma's funeral mass, the priest said that after more than 70 years of marriage, they will still be together for Christmas. There was a lot of digging for tissues at this point when he made a reference to the song "I'll be Home for Christmas".

All this reflecting and remembering is getting me closer to a word for 2011. I have it narrowed down to a couple and am trying to wait for something to nudge me to a final choice. Several bloggers have recently discussed their choices, including Ruth from the always inspiring Two Writing Teachers. I also like her intentions rather than resolutions for the new year. Read more about the One Little Word project (OLW)at Ali Edwards blog. More on my word choice next week. Until then Happy Poetry Friday, Happy New Year ~ Rock On!

**I must thank Amy at the Poem Farm for welcoming my class for a "Poetry Peek". Amy has been such an inspiration to me over the past year as have all the bloggers I have met through Poetry Friday and the Slice of Life Stories at Two Writing Teachers. Surely on my list of intentions for 2011, I will include a commitment to give back to these on-line communities with more regular posting. Head over to Carol's Corner for the final Poetry Friday for 2010.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Slice of Life ~ The Gift of Writing

Our room is a bit like the North Pole with Santa’s elves scurrying around to finish their work. Instead of toys, we are writing piles of poems and selecting just the right words for our gifts of writing. Each student is creating a calendar with his or her own collection of poems. Many writers will compose twelve originals for their 2011 calendar with the option to add a few by published poets. This is clearly one of my favorite writing projects. Watching the seeds germinate, sprout, and blossom is a beautiful thing!
Fingers were tapping, counting out the beats for the 5-7-5 pattern. Awhile back I read a review of a new book titled Guyku written by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. While the book was written with boys in mind it is equally appealing to the gals. The website has a sampling of poems from the book and a gallery of haikus submitted by young poets. You will also find handouts with directions and tips for writing guykus. Such fun! Each day will feature a different poet mentor. These mini author studies are like stops on a cruise ship with just enough time to look around places you might like to visit again for a longer period of time.
I love the steady buzz of worker bees. “How does this line sound?” “Will you listen to my poem?” “I’ve got an idea!” In my mind, there is nothing like the power of poetry. Children feel the strength of the language as they search for just the right word. They experience the gratification of a published piece in a relatively short period of time. Writers, young and old find their voices and know the words of the song. Music to my ears! The gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Poetry Friday

Next week, my fourth graders will begin to work on poetry calendars for holiday gifts for their families. While I have done this project for several years now, each year I look for ways to improve the experience. This past year, my blogging journey has perked up my passion for all things poetry and I am looking forward to trying some new techniques. Folders are overflowing with possible mini lessons to inspire young poets. This weekend I am fine tuning my plans and writing some poems to use in my lessons. Each student will create a unique collection of poetry with accompanying illustrations. Some children have chosen themes that represent something that they care about and can write about. We have also been talking about modeling our pages after many other calendars or poets like Joyce Sidman, by including some factual information to accompany the poems. I usually offer writers the option of selecting favorite poems for a few of the months and we often write a class poem for one month. One year on our July page, we compiled a list of Ten Favorite Poets. I am looking forward to the enthusiasm that this project generates as students are busy like Santa’s little elves. These gifts really turn out to be such treasures. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or thoughts about this project. As Lee Bennett Hopkins says, “Pass the Poetry, Please!”
I love when the snow clings to the trees. Yesterday morning the bare branches were shimmering like crystal wine goblets and the pine trees were draped with snow. I am posting a haiku that celebrates the beauty of the evergreens:
Pine trees pose proudly
Sporting sequined snow ponchos
Charming chill chasers.

Thank you to today's host, Tricia. If you are a night owl blogger like me, head over to http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/ for today's round-up.