Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poetry Friday: The Gift Shift

Happy Poetry Friday, Writerly Friends.

It's the holidays! Now that my teens are maturing, they are beginning to make the "gift shift." Their wish-lists are still important to them, but there's less focus on "Whaddya get?" (have you seen the Target ad?) and more on "What did you give?" -- finding a perfect little something for a special friend or teacher.

It's the holidays! Time to overindulge ... on poetry.
You'll find all the poetry treats at Paul's blog,
These Four Corners this week.
Part of my own gift shift is making a small donation to literary organizations whose work I value. For the last three posts of 2014, I'm going to highlight a few of these literary non-profits and invite you to add some of your own.

On my gift list this week are two groups working to promote social justice and diversity in the literary community.

SPLIT THIS ROCK

Split This Rock is a Washington, DC based non-profit, known for its large biennial poetry festival. The next one is scheduled for April, 2016. Split This Rock sponsors a youth poetry slam team, organizes workshops, hosts readings, and runs contests. I'm thankful for the organization's focus on "socially engaged poets." You can read more about this non-profit's mission at the Split This Rock website.

You can also donate here. (You can specify that you'd like your donation to be used for youth programming. Watch this video if you'd like to know more.)

Here is a poem about recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri from the Split This Rock blog.

After the Darren Wilson Verdict: Civic Center Park. Denver, Colorado
by Nahshon Cook

When I arrived 
A middle-aged 

Humpty-Dumpty
shaped woman

With hair as short as ants 
Was telling protesters

How those cops 
In Ferguson

Wanted them to riot. 
She said, They want 

To beat you 
With their sticks 

And take you to jail 
Because the “Establishment”

Has just thumbed 
It's nose at you 



It's amazing how quickly We Need Diverse Books has grown. It started as a hashtag this past April -- a call on Twitter for increased diversity in children's books. Authors, librarians, and readers pointed out that every kid deserves to see him or herself represented in literature. This includes increased cultural and ethnic diversity, but also more (and more complex) LGBTQ and neuro-diverse characters. I am all for that.

One of the things that pushed WNDB from movement to organized non-profit was a panel scheduled for this spring's Book Expo America which pretty much ignored the whole diversity issue. (Read an article about the resulting protest here.)

Although WNDB's Indiegogo campaign closed on 12/10/14 (with over 182% of their goal reached -- hooray!), you can still donate. Go to this page and click on "Donate" to support programs like WNDB's awards and grants in honor of children's author and poet Walter Dean Myers.

You can find Myers' poem, which inspired the title poem of Sharon Creech's novel in verse LOVE THAT DOG, here: "Love that Boy."

I'm hoping Marieke Nijkamp of We Need Diverse Books will visit Author Amok soon! We're trying to work out a good time.

Do you know of a literary organization committed to social justice? Tell us about it in the comments, and I will add it to this post with a shout-out to you.

Enjoy this season of giving, everyone.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Poetry Friday: Claudia Emerson

I'm back from my visit to the revision cave , but I can't celebrate my return to Poetry Friday today. I am so saddened by the news of Claudia Emerson's death yesterday. Her Pulitzer Prize winning collection, The Late Wife, is a must-read.




Today, I am sharing Emerson's interview with one of my mentors, poet Grace Cavalieri. Grace and Emerson spoke for Grace's long-running radio series (now podcast) "The Poet and The Poem."


Grace Cavalieri at the mic


Bone


Claudia Emerson1957 - 2014
It was first dark when the plow turned it up. 
Unsown, it came fleshless, mud-ruddled, nothing 
but itself, the tendon’s bored eye threading
a ponderous needle. And yet the pocked fist 
of one end dared what was undone 
in the strewing, defied the mouth of the hound 
that dropped it.
            The whippoorwill began 
again its dusk-borne mourning.
Read the rest at the Academy of American Poets.
Anastasia Suen is this week's
Poetry Friday host.
You will find all
of the links at Booktalking.

Monday, November 17, 2014

In Residence: Poetry Celebration

Today's the big day, third grade poets.

It's our poetry celebration at Manor Woods Elementary School. I've been in residence with the third grade for the last three weeks. Today, families are coming to listen to us read all of the poems we've been working so hard on.

It wouldn't be a party without food.

Let's jump into our celebration with some food poems by the Manor Woods third graders. During this workshop, we are concentrating on using our five senses to describe a food. Food is so tied up with family, memory, and traditions. I asked the poets to stretch themselves and give the reader a sense of what or who makes these foods important to them.

Untitled
By Amira W.

The Ravens game starts, “Set hut.”
My mom makes my favorite dish!
Buffalo dip and mussels.
It’s so good. It smells delicious.
I can’t wait to eat it!
I hear footsteps coming.
That must be my mom.
She sets them at the table
And I started chomping them up
They taste so good.
I can’t wait until the next game!

Untitled
By Shyla L.

It’s Thanksgiving day.
We are going to make apple crisp.
Mom gets the knives out.
Slice, slice, the apples are cut
Into tiny bits.
Chomp, chomp.
We fling a few in our mouths.
Mom gets the cake mix out.
Clank, clank goes the mixing spoon
When she pours the mix in
With some sweet sugar.
I could smell the apples
Mom put it into the oven to soften.
I take the baking tray out.

Apple crisp was the first thing
I learned to bake by myself.
A guilt-free recipe is here.
Cheese Burgers
By Rachel L.

Walking to the cafeteria after recess at school.
Smelling delicious cheese burgers.
Mmm!!
The bread all plain with cheese on it.
Hearing the register go ching!
Also hear the meat sizzle.
Adding lettuce to my burger.
Sip! Drinking chocolate milk.
The sound of finally cleaning up.
Getting a duck slip for quietly waiting in line.
Cheese burgers are yummy!!

Untitled
By Ryan P.

Going down in the morning
To have breakfast
Is a nice and peaceful breakfast
With no banging, crashing.
Get out the cereal and milk.
Splashing the milk in the bowl
Sip, chew, eating all the cereal.
Back to bed I go.

Costco
By Constantine E.

When I lived in Virginia,
There was a Costco nearby.
My mom let me get something
Cheap on the menu. I ordered
A hot dog. I hear them
Wrapping it up
And bringing it toward me.
I unwrapped it and my mouth
Started to water.
Crunch went the onion dispenser
When I was putting on the onions.
I put on ketchup and mustard
And I could almost taste it!
When I took my first bite,
I was clearly amazed.
It tasted like heaven,
Just in my hands!

Third graders -- you're going to love this video of our model poem, "Good Hotdogs" by Sandra Cisneros. It was made by kids.


Untitled
By Andrew B.

Get the spoons, get ready
For spaghetti. Rumble, rumble
Bubble, bubble, bubble chicka chick.
Put it on the table.
Wop, wop, wop. I eat two bowls.
Mom and Dad and my older brother
Eat three each.
We ate at our house. I was full
And stopped eating.
The food was great.
I liked it, but then
Me and my brother played Wii.
It was fun. I should do this again.
It was fun.

Dumpling
By Evan T.

When I came back from soccer,
I asked Mom, “What’s for lunch?”
I smelled the dumplings
And it smelled tasty.
I took off my shoes
And went in the dining room
And sat down.
When the dumplings got on my plate
It was hot.
I grabbed a fork and started eating.
The meat inside the dumpling
Was delicious.

Wow, poets! Thanks for working extra onomatopoeia words into your food poems. Gold star!

Before we say goodbye, I'd like to share two more poems. Both of these are portraits, written in response to photographs clipped from a newspaper or magazine. I like the portrait workshop because it gives young writers a chance to show what deep thinkers and compassionate human beings they are. (You can find my portrait poem lesson at Author Amok. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.)

Portrait Poem
by Marcus Z.

I look at the shelf,
getting a book for me and my wife to read.
The book's name is Spongebob.
So funny to read that.
Me and my wife like to read.
We hope to have children
that are like us.
We hope the children love
Spongebob the  movie or book.
We just hope to have children
that are like us.

Portrait Poem
By Roman R.

A guitarist’s pet dog just died
And he’s singing a sad, sad song
About his dog Billy Bob Joe Bob.
He was white and black.
He was just like his guitar
And sad like his guitar.
He sings all night
With his cool cowboy suit on.
His badge shines
In the half faded darkness.
His boots are down
And his head is up.
He is trying to fight off the darkness
But he can’t.

If you'd like to read more poems from the Manor Woods poetry residency, here are the links:


Howl-oween Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia Lesson 1
Onomatopoeia Lesson 2
Opposites Poems
Food and Portrait Poems (You're already here!)

All student poems posted here with permission. Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am taking a break from blogging until December 1.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Poetry Friday in Residence: Opposite Poems

This month, I am in residence at Manor Woods Elementary School. I'm having a blast reading and writing poetry with the third grade students and their teachers. Thanks to the MWES PTA and the Howard County Arts Council for funding our workshops!

We're celebrating Poetry Friday
at Keri Recommends this week.
Click through to join the party!

Last week, I shared the onomatopoeia lesson I use during poetry residencies.

Part 1 of the lesson -- with student responses -- is here.
Part 2 of the lesson -- with more poems by third graders -- is here.

Today, let's focus on opposite poems. I use this workshop to teach stanzas, a way for young writers to organize their thoughts and begin playing around with white space on the page.

The model poem I use is "Swift Things Are Beautiful," by Newbery Award-winning author Elizabeth Coatsworth. This is a rich poem for the third graders to discuss. You can find my poem walk, where we look at "Swift Things Are Beautiful" line by line, at this post.

On to the third grade poets! You will see that some of us aren't ready to stop celebrating Halloween.

Cute and Scary
by Julia W.

I like cute things:
baby chicks hopping in your hand,
little puppies jumping up an down,
little kittens meowing away,
babies saying "goo goo ga ga."

I don't like scary things:
monsters that scare you away,
vampires with blood dripping,
witches that are cackling,
and zombies that are dead.

Hot and Cold
by Ryan M.

Hot things make me warm.
A fire breaks out.
The sun warms me up.
A volcano erupts. Lava burns into rock.

The stove makes steam.
Cold things are beautiful.
I can see my footsteps in the snow.
I pull an icicle down from the roof.
I see a polar bear growling.
I can also see a penguin
taking care of its eggs.

Animals
by Claire B.

Some animals are slow.
Snails crawl on a path.
Turtles walk on the beach.
Hippos stomp in hot places.

Some animals are fast.
Tigers run in Africa.
Birds flap in the day.
Owls fly at night.

Visible, Not Visible
by Cade A.

Visible things are beautiful:
a dog running through a meadow,
a bright sunshine in the morning,
a house with glittering snow,
a big chocolate fudge sundae
waiting to be eaten.

But invisible things can be useful.
The wind guiding you through the forest.
Taste telling you if you like something or not.
Tape holding your mistakes together.
Smell guiding you to a cake
with three layers.



I have taught this lesson many times. It always excites me when a young poet like Cade finds a creative new opposite to write about, one that none of my past students has come up with before.

Thanks to the Manor Woods for giving me permission to share these poems. Monday is our Poets' Tea. Stop by and read some food poems to help us celebrate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Onomotopoeia Lesson Part 2

Everybody get your rain boots and brollies ready. We are going for a poem walk and it's going to be a wet one.



In my last post, I introduced the word and concept of onomatopoeia to the Manor Woods ES third graders. Today, let's jump into the second half of the lesson. The model poem I use for this lesson is Eve Merriam's "Weather." It's filled with onomatopoeia, rhyme, juicy and invented words.

We have already come up with a working definition of onomatopoeia. A list of sample words is on the board. Before I read the poem, I ask the students to listen for the onomatopoeia words, which we'll add to our list. Some of them are highlighted here.

Weather
by Eve Merriam

Dot a dot dot dot a dot dot
Spotting the windowpane.

Spack a spack speck flick a flack fleck
Freckling the windowpane.

A spatter a scatter a wet cat a clatter
A splatter a rumble outside.

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella
Bumbershoot barrel of rain.

Slosh a galosh slosh a galosh
Slither and slather a glide.

A puddle a jump a puddle a jump
A puddle a jump puddle splosh.

A juddle a pump a luddle a dump
A pudmuddle jump in and slide!

The words in gray? I put those in jail (which makes the class hysterical) because they're not onomatopoeia words. We'll come back to these words in a minute.

Got your rain boots on? Now we'll walk through the poem carefully. Students take turn reading one stanza and describing what our mysterious person is up to.

Dot a dot dot dot a dot dot
Spotting the windowpane.

We figure out that the person is inside, watching and listening to the rain on the window.

Spack a spack speck flick a flack fleck
Freckling the windowpane.

Has anything changed? Not yet. Still inside, watching the rain.

A spatter a scatter a wet cat a clatter A splatter a 
A splatter a rumble outside.

This is the most challenging stanza for students to parse, but it's worth the effort. Here are the dots we have to connect: The person in the poem sees a cat outside. Is the cat just sitting peacefully in the rain? No -- it scatters and clatters. But why? We realize that "rumble" is the sound of thunder. Oh, we get it! The cat heard the thunder, it was afraid, and ran away in a clatter.

Our residency is often one of the students' first experiences with close reading. Once they realize how good they are at finding meaning, they become champions at this skill.

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella
Bumbershoot barrel of rain.

Why does the author repeat "umbrella" four times? To make it clear that our person is heading out into the rain. Let's grab that word bumbershoot out of jail. I thought it was a made up word. A parent finally told me that it is a British slang term for umbrella. (Next time it rains, put on your best British accent and ask whether you may take the bumbershoot to school.)

Slosh a galosh slosh a galosh
Slither and slather a glide

Let's get those galoshes out of jail. At least one person in the class usually knows what galoshes are. We can see that our person has galoshes on, and is splashing around in the rain.

A puddle a jump a puddle a jump
A puddle a jump puddle splosh

Now he or she is jumping in puddles.

A juddle a pump a luddle a dump
A pudmuddle jump in and slide!

Last, we talk about the invented word "pudmuddle." Sliding in mud puddles sounds like a great way to spend a rainy day, don't you think?

When it's time to write, some of my students like the idea of creating an onomatopoeia riddle poem. The prompt is to describe a place or activity using mostly sounds. Will the class be able to guess what's happening in the poem? Let's read some third grade onomatopoeia poems and find out.

Untitled
by Sabba H.

Stomp giggle
I see the way
clippity clop
to the
pop crunch bunch
tons of lunch
boom pow
I see you
talk and walk to my
pow eat
crunch crunch
yum yum
thank you very much.

The Lunch Room
by Brandon Li

A rumble, a grumble, a mumble.
We sit at a table and dine.

A chit, a chat, or something like that.
We talk about stuff as we gulp our food.

A splish, a splash, and there goes milk.
The janitor comes and dries it.

A teacher, a speaker,
they say to line up to class.

They throw, they go,
and they go to the class.

Now the eating is done
and we go to math class.

Untitled
by Dana M.

Sploosh, splash, on the diving board.
Clitter, clatter, droop, drop. People jumping in.
Floosh, flop go the little kids.
Flitter, flatter, tap, tap, running across the cement.
"Marco! Polo!" go the kids.
Crunch, crunch goes the snack cart.
All the kids are screaming with joy.

Horseback Riding
by Julia G.

Thump each time I come down.
A squeeze to make her go.
Pad, pad. I walk into the tack room.
Click, clack go her feet.
Swoosh. I swipe the brush.
Tap, tap! I go with the crop.
The sun is shining, a beautiful day.
I feel very confident to ride.

Gymnastics
by Cora S.

I'm on the beam.
I hear a soft thump
as I walk on it slowly
with my arms out. I'm ready.
I put my hands down.
Suddenly, I'm upside down.
My friends say, "Arms straight."
With a big giant thump
I'm on my feet again.
I jump off and a swoosh
when I put my hands out.
I can hear the floor creak
as I walk to do the finale.
I'm upside down
over and over again.
I can't stop.
Then everybody hears
a big boom when I slam
my feet to the ground.

Untitled
by Navneet K.

Whish the ball goes.
Crash goes the person.
Boom the ball
hits the ground.
"Hike!" he goes.
He throws the ball.
Whish, interception. Boom!
He hits the ground.
Clunk his helmet goes.
The fans stare.
He gets up.
He gets the ball.
Touchdown.

Game
by Srikar L.

Whistle, kick, a slide, a foul, free kick.
The sound of the game starting.

Whoosh, cheering, tense excitement.
The sound of the game.

Whistle, break, water, coach.
The sound of halftime.

Whistle, start, kick, smash, goal, beep.
The sound of the scoreboard.

Cheer, win, yell, ping, bang, splat.
The sound of winning.

All of a sudden, the field is quiet.

Slam, beep, vroom, honk.
The sound of cars leaving.

I love the moment in Srikar’s poem where it gets quiet for just a moment at the end of the game.

My appreciation goes out, again, to the families, teachers, and PTA at Manor Woods Elementary School. I'm having a great time working with the students. Aren't their poems impressive? Thank you for allowing me to share your students' poems online.

For Poetry Friday, I'll have some third grade opposite poems to share.