Friday, November 22, 2013

passing the poetime

Last night a little party convened here in Boston.  At the table were Mary Lee Hahn of A Year of Reading, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of The Poem Farm, Laura Purdie Salas, Carrie Finison of Story Patch, and Janet Fagal.  Later we had visits from Franki Sibberson, Tara Smith of A Teaching Life and Linda Baie of TeacherDance. The conversation was both broad and delightedly poetricentric.

One thing that came up was Amy's inability to keep a watch running, and her tendency to interfere with other technology.  We laughed about the strangeness of that phenomenon and remarked how (as Daisy would say) "that's a thing"--we all had heard of people who have those sort of troubles with cell phones and alarm clocks and streetlights.

This morning I went and read about EMFs--electromagnetic fields--and about our own bioelectromagnetism.  I found my way to a fascinating discussion with the flavor of quackery which I nonetheless found to be a compelling argument for increasing animal dis-ease, including our own human panoply of illnesses.  This is an area also where science intersects with earthcentric spirituality: read here for more views of our human "energy body."

But for now, all we need to know is that some people have a problem with

Killing Time

I plug it in but
nothing happens.
Lights dim and die
when I pass by.

I press the button;
nothing happens.
Clocks stop and sigh
when I pass by.

I wind my watch;
replace the batteries.
Again they die.
I don't know why.

I specialize
in killing time.

HM 2013 draft

You can productively kill a little more time enjoying the posts over at Write. Sketch. Repeat. with Katya today.  Welcome back, Katya!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ncte boston | poetry and poets galore!

Tomorrow I'll be posting from a hotbed of poetic action, but for now, a poem that my daughter has deemed her favorite of all time:

(love song, with two goldfish)  | Grace Chua

(He's a drifter, always
floating around her, has
nowhere else to go. He wishes
she would sing, not much, just the scales;
or take some notice,
give him the fish eye.)

(Bounded by round walls
she makes fish eyes
and kissy lips at him, darts
behind pebbles, swallows
his charms hook, line and sinker)

(He's bowled over. He would
take her to the ocean, they could
count the waves. There,
in the submarine silence, they would share
their deepest secrets. Dive for pearls
like stars.)

Read the rest here.
Man, that girl has good taste!


Friday, November 15, 2013

way behind

12.  Ready or Not

this one is 78 months old
speaks three languages
comes from globetrotting scientists

this one is 63 months old
counts as high as 4 in one language
is learning how to look at a book

quiz: in what area
are both "fully ready"?

the only answer we need to know:
"The Arts: Expression and Representation"

13.  The Classics

At the end, covered in oobleck,
King Derwin sobs,
"I'm sorry!  It is all my fault!"
For dramatic effect and multilingual comprehensibility,
I beat my breast and wail, "Mea culpa!"

They get it.

14.  faith

you just know the wind is there--
watch it stir the trees
you just believe the water's there--
watch it leave the leaves
wind and water
air and vapor
science is a faith

15.  we interrupt this program

nibble from an editor?
priorities, girl!
mypoperday bows out

Monday, November 11, 2013


9. Breaking Through the Word Wall


We look
We like

We like apple!
We like cat We like dog We like eagle

You like this fish.
You like this lion.

I like
suddenly getting how this whole
writing-reading-talking thing actually works

10. Elemental Trace Analysis

icky sticky gooey glue
green grass green leaves
rain water mashed peas
playdough paint
pencil shavings
pumpkin vines
squishy brains
mucky gunky sticky mud
ooey gooey green gum

that's what oobleck's made of

11.  Standards-Based Grading

I am P for Proficient--
independent and efficient

I am I for In Progress--
I can get it, more or less

I am N for Not Yet--
more time to let my jello set

HM 2013 draft

Friday, November 8, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo catch up

Daisy hit 12,000 words on Wednesday and continues her quest to write 50,000 words in a month.  Speed challenges seem to helping her--she races against a friend for 5 or 10 minutes (not that she's competitive at all).  I just don't think that strategy is going to work for me, even if there were another poet who wanted to race me...

6.  Live Rock Show

I found a little rock
white with fuzzy green
I'm going to leave it out
in the rain so it can grow

(did you know
my brother is 14 and
my dad is 23 and
my mom is 13?
and I weigh 51 and
my little sister's catching up
and she weighs 62)

Some rocks are very small
but also rocks are big
or even huge like cars
I'm going to give it water

and watch my rock grow

7.  Watercolor Cinquain

why would
I put this paint
on the paper when I can
dip and dunk and swish it in the

8. Swimmy Does Math

This greedy tuna is
Greater Than.
See its ziggity zaggety teeth
waiting to chomp that big fat nine.

This hungry tuna is
Less Than.
See its beady greedy eye
searching for the juicy round eight.

Look at skinny little one.
He gets away!

HM 2013 drafts
The roundup today is with Diane at Random Noodling.  Yee-ha!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo 4 & 5

(two in the voice of the teacher)

Mr. B.'s Busy Day

Two doors down, the sound
of drilling:
Ms. Solomon's file cabinet
opens again.
Now she can pull out
an onslaught of

Just outside, the sound
of mowing:
colorful shreds of
grass and leaves
confetti the windows--
an onslaught of
the autumn.

In our bathroom, the sound
of splitting:
the toilet seat has
cracked in two!
The broken piece sits in
an onslaught of

Thank you, Mr. B.



ABC is for
apple, bat and cat?
Oh no. 
Not here.

A is for
B is for
C is for

FBA is for
write it all down:

C is for
center - independent.
E is for
transition - ending

DG is for
demands gratification.
NP is for
not preferred activity.
CT is for
attempts to take control.

SPT is for
offer support.
IGN is for
planned ignoring.
ADM is for
call for help.

Now let's spell
The only missing letter is

HM 2013 drafts

Sunday, November 3, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo 3

"What did you do over the weekend?"

Over the weekend
    Saturday   Sunday
Over the weekend
    Sabado   Domingo
What did I do?  What did I do?

I climbed over
the fence of Saturday
I climbed over
the wall of Sunday

I climbed over
the weekend
like the sun climbs over the day
and back down under the night

I take a stick from Saturday
I take a stone from Sunday
I bring them to school on Monday

HM 2013 draft

Saturday, November 2, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo 2

Finally Frozen

Is it my turn yet?
Is it my turn to share?
Is it my turn yet?  My turn to share?

It's my turn to share!
I'm scared.

Friday, November 1, 2013

MyPoPerDayMo 2013

Most reading this will have heard of NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November, and I'm thinking about it this year because my 9th grade daughter, who went off to high school and promptly joined both newspaper staff and creative writing club (*fist pump YES*), has announced that she will be writing 50,000 words this month. This is something like 1600 words a day, for a final novel similar in length to The Great Gatsby or Slaughterhouse Five.

Although Daisy allowed me to participate in plotting her novel (for which she has a pretty cool concept), there's no way I could commit to that goal myself. I have, however, twice attempted to write one poem per day for the month of November--once mostly successfully and once not at all. For many of you poetry bloggers, a poem a day is no big thing--you do it all the time as a matter of habit. But for me it requires a lot of discipline, and since my teaching life at the moment requires even more discipline, and since fundamentally I'm not a very self-disciplined person, committing to try for one PoPerDay for a month is a big deal.

I'm going to go in, inspired by Laura Shovan's novel-in-verse project, with the plan of writing all the poems from inside a classroom, which might just coincidentally be mine. I also might cheat by reusing poems I've already written since the start of the year. And if my undisciplined mind suddently writes a completely unrelated poem, I'll allow it and worry about connecting it or cutting it later. I'm pretty sure MyPoPerDayMo will be an unlovely rag of a thing, but it will be 30 poems instead of 5 or 6, and that's always worth doing, right?


The Other Kind of Toast

My mask hurt my nose.
The parade was long.
Back in the class the table was longer!
Plates with cupcakes, cookies, grapes!
But we couldn't eat yet--hands in laps.
The teacher made us toast.

"To the Fearless Frogs!" we all said.
We bumped our cups--GENTly, GENTly--
we didn't spill a drop.
"Cheers!" we said, and then we drank.
Then Angel said, "To Halloween!"
And Jashawn said, "To loose teeth!"
Camilo said, "To Ms. Friedrich's Class!"
"Salud!" "Chin-chin!" and "Prost!"
And then we got to eat.

HM Nov 2013 draft
*Fearless Frogs doesn't come close to Mighty Minnows, but it's best I can do for now/ Also please see Frederick by Leo Lionni.