Thursday, May 21, 2015

Poetry Friday: Poetry in Medicine

I'm taking a break from my month-long "In Residence" series today. I have a day off from teaching elementary school poetry workshops this Friday. Instead of writing, I'm reading poetry.

We're rounding up
at Matt Forrest Esenwine's blog today.
See you at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme
for more poetic posts.
One of the great poetry mentors in my life is Michael Salcman. In addition to being an accomplished poet, Michael is a neurosurgeon and art historian.

Michael has just published Poetry in Medicine: An Anthology of Poems About Doctors, Patients, Illness, and Healing. Although it's only been out for a few months, this anthology is has already become THE book on this topic.

I had a wonderful conversation with Michael about the book, poets' views of doctors, and what it's like to be a poet-physician. You'll find that interview posted at Little Patuxent Review's blog today.

Michael selected a detail from this painting,
 The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins,
for the cover of Poetry in Medicine.
Shop local! Order Poetry in Medicine
from Baltimore's Ivy Bookshop.
Michael features another poet-physician (and a surprise cameo) in his poem "Dr. Williams Delivers a Baby," which is collected in Poetry in Medicine.

Dr. Williams Delivers a Baby
by Michael Salcman

Dr. Williams was making his rounds:
one dilapidated house, then another,
powdered oxygen on the aluminum siding,
brown shingles on the roofs.
In between visits, he’d sit in his car
a notebook on his lap and arrange words—
instruments on a surgical tray—
uterine sounds blunt as tire-irons,
scalpels sharper than paper.
Often a cry from within the house
would bring him running past its yard,
past a tomato plant or wheelbarrow or red hen,
things he took in as he sprang
up the porch steps, hoping the family
was already in the parlor, had put the kettle on,
had found clean towels and disinfectant
to swab the wound or welcome the crowning head.
He put down his old-fashioned doctor’s bag,
a satchel peaked like a dormer at both ends,
his initials stamped in gold, long ago faded,
and took off his wool overcoat. Tonight,
he noted the burdened book shelves,
responsible chair, the goose-necked reading lamp,
the desk loaded with papers, writing tools
and a folding pince-nez: the father
was a professor or writer of some degree,
who could afford both coal and electric.
He suspected they were Jewish, the mother
of German ancestry, the father Sephardic—
but had no reason to know. In truth
he had only a cursory familiarity with their tribe
and knew no Hebrew. But the mother’s cry?
Soon, it was going to be soon. He timed her pain
until a dark spot between her labia grew
and it was time to prep and drape her;
then he encouraged the head with a gloved hand
turned the shoulders and delivered the rest.
Dr. Williams told the father it looked like a writer,
this noisy boy, vigorous and exploring.
They would name him Allen.


Poem shared by express permission of the author.

You can find another interview about Poetry in Medicine at WYPR, Baltimore's local NPR affiliate.

To check out my "In Residence" series of lessons and poems from Northfield Elementary, visit yesterday's post.

In Residence: Day 2 in the Simile Zoo

Greetings from the Simile Zoo!

Find this vintage postcard on Amazon.
The third graders at Northfield Elementary are continuing to write about animals, and how they can symbolize emotions and personality traits.

Teachers: I posted instructions for this lesson a few years ago.

The Simile Zoo: Lesson Part 1
The Simile Zoo: Lesson Part 2

Today's zoo tour guides are Allie, Makaela, Parker, Matthew, Vincent, Lila, Naomi, and Julia.

Allie L.

When I feel clever,
I am like a green fox.
When a predator comes close to me,
I stay calm
and then I think of a plan
and my eyes flash and look innocent.
Then I trick them with my cleverness
and scamper away with a smile on my face.

Vintage postcard from Zazzle.

Makaela M.

When I feel frightened,
I am like a squirrel.
I run up the nearest tree. The food that I
stuffed in my mouth stays there.
I stare… and stare… and stare.
I run to my burrow like I run to my room.
Should I run or should I freeze?

Parker P.

When I am brave
I am like a wolf.
My face looks mean
with sharp teeth. My body
is not scared. I go out at night.
I’m a good swimmer, like
I’m trying to eat a seal.

Matthew L.

When I am thinking,
I am like a raccoon.
I am great at problem solving,
as raccoons can lift the lids
off garbage cans. I am agile
and steady as the raccoons can
climb up walls and steal food.
I am like a raccoon in
many ways when I’m thinking.

From Postcard Locker
Vincent T.

When I feel smart, I am like a
raccoon. I finish problems quick as if
I was running through the night. I work
slowly and carefully like I am taking a
lid off the trash can. I work my way
slowly down like as if I was a raccoon
lowering myself down a wall that’s
coming down from the attic.

Lila R.

Turtle

When I feel embarrassed,
I am like a turtle.
I hold my head low, as if
I had a shell to hide
away in. I walk away
slowly, as if I was as slow
as a turtle. I try to hide, as if
I was blending in with my
surroundings. I draw attention
to myself and feel like I need
to hide, but I can’t run away.
I really feel like a turtle when
I’m embarrassed.

This vintage postcard is from Russia!

Naomi C.

When I feel happy,
I’m like a bird.
I feel free like a baby bird that just learned
how to fly.
I fly with my flock and make my
friends crow with laughter.
I watch with joy as my little sister
hatches.
Even though I’m a blue jay, I still feel
bright as the sun.
When the sun rises, I rise with it.
It seems as though it’s singing, so I sing with it.
The sun is fading, it’s like it’s going to sleep,
so I must go to sleep with it.

Julia J.

When I feel tired,
I am like a sloth.
I climb into my bed like a
sloth climbs into the trees
after a long day.
I try not to move.
My body hurts. I lie in bed
all night.
I fall asleep to the sound of
swaying trees outside my window.
I hear the sound of owls hooting
and the sound of bats’ wings flapping.

Sloth Valentine postcard from Zazzle

In Residence is an ongoing series this month. If you missed previous posts:

First Student Responses: "Words in My Pet Goldfish," "Words in My Bed," "Words in My Life"
In Residence: Poetry Friday Words: Poems by Laura S., Jason Y., Jeffrey G., and Isa L.
In Residence: The Simile Zoo: Poems by Sabine S., Asher, Cecelia D., and Evelyn D.

Than you to the Northfield ES community for hosting this annual residency. I appreciate having permission to share the third graders' poems.

Readers, the students love hearing feedback from you. Please leave a comment about our simile zoo. More animal poems are coming soon.

Next week, I'll be posting the third graders' opposites poems. But first, a special poem and interview for Poetry Friday as we look at the stunning new anthology, Poetry in Medicine.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In Residence: The Simile Zoo

It's Poetry Friday. I'm late to the party, because I've been spending the day at the Simile Zoo.


Diane Mayr is serving today's
poetry posts. Visit Random Noodling
 for some tasty words and poetic company.
"The Simile Zoo?" you say. "Never heard of it."

My Northfield Elementary third graders learned about similes in the second workshop of our residency. Today, I'll introduce you to the angry beasts, lazy sloths, and happy birds they created -- all animals that represent emotions or feelings.


Teachers: I posted instructions for the lesson several years ago.


The Simile Zoo: Lesson Part 1

The Simile Zoo: Lesson Part 2

My warm up for this lesson is a Zen drawing exercise. We draw our hands without looking at our papers (eyes stay on the object we are drawing). It's not the drawing that's important. Instead, we put the focus on simile building. Look at those strange drawings. What do they resemble? The process is similar to finding a shape in the clouds.


Here are some hand drawings from Ms. Hilliard's class. Check out the similes students made.



It looks like a starfish flipping over.

It looks like a tooth with a chip missing.

It looks like a MONSTER!
Now, please join me and the third grade poets on a tour of the Simile Zoo.

Sabine S.

When I feel happy
I am like a penguin.
Penguins love fish, and I jump in joy for ice cream.
I slide on my sled down the hill
happily, while penguins slide down the ice
in joy. Penguins jump in their pool without a care,
and I’m in my bathtub, humming and
playing with bath toys.

Asher

When I feel lazy,
I am like a sloth.
My face is blank.
I don’t get off the couch. I stay in one spot.
I move very slow.
I hang of the couch.
I am very slow.
I feel very light.

Cecelia D.

When I am hungry, I am like a wolf.
I sneak food, but I must be quiet.
My face turns a grayish-pale.
My stomach grows like a wolf does.
I get VERY MAD because it hurts
to starve. And I do NOT sleep because I had

no food. A wolf feels this way, too.

Evelyn D.

When I feel scared,
I am like a cat.
I run away from my fears
as fast as I can.
I feel helpless with
my cute meowing,
for my fears are the
opposite of positive
to me. Sometimes
my running fails me
though, all I can do
is whine and cry.
People think I’m happy
though, because they
think it’s cute and
they don’t see tears.
I also may run away
to protection that loves
me like a mother.

From Cutestpaw.com
Than you to the Northfield ES community for hosting this annual residency. I appreciate having permission to share the third graders' poems.

Readers, the students love hearing feedback from you. Please leave a comment about our simile zoo. More animal poems are coming soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In Residence: The Words We Carry

My Northfield 3rd graders have finished the first drafts of their list poems. Before we move on to the next lesson (animal similes), let's evaluate the list poem workshop.

This was a new workshop for me. I appreciate the third grade team at Northfield. They're always willing to let me try something different! So, what went well?

From Steve Vernon, Storyteller

1. This was the first lesson of this residency. The children liked being able to focus on the basic element of a poem: words. Of course, we always focus on words in poetry. But Naomi Shihab Nye's model poem is about the words we carry around in our heads. She asks us to think about words we love. Starting with something so basic and important on Day 1 provided a strong foundation for future writing.

2. This is the first time I've encouraged students to plug into a model poem. Some of the third graders took the model poem "Words in My Pillow," crossed out the lines and words they wanted to change, and wrote their own words into those spaces. They responded well to having this structure for our first day of writing together.

3. "Words in My Pillow" can adapt to any topic! Because what we're really talking about is language -- words -- the poem could be called "Words in My Dinosaur," "Words in My Garbage Can," or "Words in My Suitcase." We have the structure of the poem, but also the freedom to come up with a topic the poet cares about.

Read on for the final two "Words in My..." poems from my students. As an extra treat, stop by educator Margaret Gibson Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche. Her students wrote some wonderful "Words in My..." poems last week too!

Words in My Swim Bag
by Arielle L.

I hide words in my swim bag,
words that are WET

GOGGLES
SWIM CAP
TOWEL

All of these
words help me
win a race.

I have sounds
in my bag.

BEEEP!
GO!
SPLASH!

I have memories
in my bag too!

MEETS
HEATS
WINS
SCORES

But when the season
is over, my bag goes away
but all my words stay!

Retro swim cap, anyone?

Words in My Backpack
Aditya B.

I hide words in my backpack,
words that taste good.

PENCIL
MESSY
HOMEWORK FOLDER

No one can see them,
but I find them waiting for me.
like my brain hiding inside my body.
No one can see it,
but I know what is in there.

MATH
READING
UNFINISHED WORK
VIDEO GAMES

The words are playing together
when I’m saying or thinking them.

WRITING
NEAT
BLACK
is in my backpack.

My friends, the words
stay in my backpack longer than I do
but they never go away.

In Residence will be an ongoing series this month. If you missed previous posts:

First Student Responses: "Words in My Pet Goldfish," "Words in My Bed," "Words in My Life"
In Residence: Poetry Friday Words: Poems by Laura S., Jason Y., Jeffrey G., and Isa L.


Thank you to the Northfield ES community for what I think is our 9th year together. Wow. I appreciate having the permission to share the third graders' poems.

Readers, my third grade poets love hearing feedback from you. Please leave a comment about our list poems. (Thanks to all those who sent us a compliment on Poetry Friday!)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

In Residence: Poetry Friday Words

Words for Poetry Friday
by Laura Shovan

I share words on Poetry Friday.
Inviting words--

ONOMATOPOEIA
LYRICAL
REVISE

Everyone can see them.
You'll find them waiting for you
like the FELINE that shares your home.
She sits by the window
waiting for party guests, then--

MEOW
RUB
FURRY
FOLLOW
LAP
PURR

A GARDEN is there, in the back.
LEMONADE, to cool you off.

The words play together
when we gather for poetry.

RHYTHM
HEARTBEAT
JUICY
ALLITERATION
is at the party.

My friends the words
never want to leave.
They like to stay up
all night, talking.

Magical Michelle is hosting
Poetry Friday this week at
Today's Little Ditty

Hey, Poetry Peeps.

My third grade students are finishing up their list poems. I thought I'd write with them today. 

I'm pleased with how this lesson turned out. Since this was the first workshop of our residency, the model poem provides a frame that young writers can plug into, but still adapt to their own topics.

Check out their poems, modeled after Naomi Shihab Nye's "Words in My Pillow."

Words in My Lunchbox
by Jason Y.

I pack words in my lunchbox,
words that taste good.

Fruit by Foot
Ice cream
Popsicle

No one can see them,
but they wait for me in my
lunchbox,
like the fruits waiting
inside my lunchbox.

Peaches
Grapes
Berries

My sandwich is in there.
The words are playing
together.

Chomp
Slurp
Lick

My words are all blending
together,
but the most important
word is MUNCH.

I loved Jason's use of onomatopoeia. Sound words add an extra layer to a poem because the reader can hear the sound in addition to the word.



Words in My Garden
by Jeffrey G.

I plant words inside my garden,
words that look good –

FLOWER
LEAF
PETAL

No one can see them,
but I find them waiting for me,
Like the SEED under the surface.
No one can see them
but I know what’s under there –

WATER
ROOTS
WORMS
COMPOST
VEINS
ROCKS

Good NUTRIENTS are under there.
The words are growing together
when I am watering or planting them.

VINE
POLLEN
STEM
LAVENDER
are in my garden.

My friends the words
go to rest before I do,
but they never
go away.

Jeffrey did a great job using the idea that words are hidden inside us (from the model poem) and connecting that to the hidden workings of a garden. 


Words in My House
by Isa L.

There are words
in my house. Words that make
me happy.

NOISY
CLEAN
NEAT

No one can see them, but they’re
there.

HAPPY
EATING
DRINKING
My words get along well.

PETS
BIRD
DOG
FAMILY is in my house.

I leave my house sometimes,

but I never leave my words.

Isa's poem creates a portrait of her family, because the words she chooses characterize what life is like in her house.

In Residence will be an ongoing series this month. If you missed previous posts:

First Student Responses: "Words in My Pet Goldfish," "Words in My Bed," "Words in My Life"

Thank you to the Northfield ES community for inviting me back again this year. I appreciate having the permission to share the third graders' amazing work this month.

Readers, my third grade poets love hearing feedback from you. Please leave a comment about our list poems.