Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OINK Tuesday: Dad is a...

Part of the reading we do in Kindergarten is in “guided reading groups,” where I sit with a small group and a set of little beginner books such as Moms and Dads.  I read it to them, they read it with me, they read it independently, and then they take it home to read with their families.

Moms and Dads was Group One’s greatest challenge yet:
“Mom is a bus driver.
Dad is a window cleaner.
Mom is a police officer.
Dad is a vet.
Mom is a librarian…”

On page 11 we learned that “Dad is a farmer,” and we had to look hard to see that he was a pig farmer, because only parts of various pigs were visible in the photo illustration.  It was much easier to see that “Mom is a farmer, too,” because her cows were very apparent (and complete).  However, for this group that includes four English learners, the tough part was remembering the vocabulary for all the jobs.

During the unison reading, I paused on page 11 to let the children refer to the photo and recall that “Dad is a… a…”  Silence. 

After studying the picture again, finally Marla said, “Pig!”   We all laughed.

Dads at Work (#29 in MyPoPerDayMo)

His dad is a window cleaner;
Her dad drives a rig.
Your dad is a dentist, and
My dad is a pig.

He goes to work in black and white.
They call him Spotted Swine.
He roots and snuffles, rolls in mud;
He snorts and is porcine.

At home he cleans his hairy ears
And tucks away his tail.
He joins us at the dinner table,
Then reads through all the mail.

Tomorrow will be like today:
My dad will go to work.
He’ll eat his lunch out of a trough—
A porky piggy’s perk.

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

Thursday, November 24, 2011

post-feast poetry fest: black friday

Welcome one and all to what I hope will be a blockbuster day in the poetry market! 
Come early, stay late and shop til you drop without ever leaving home or---this is key--spending a penny.  At the poetry mall, all the flavors & favors, subjects & objects, treasures & pleasures are yours for the mere click of a mouse.   I'll be rounding up the posts periodically all day with the help of Mr. Linky below.

I spent time yesterday trying to explain "Black Friday" to my 9-year-old and why we will be avoiding Target like the plague, also known as The Black Death.  I'd like to reclaim the beauty of black this Friday with a piquant excerpt from Mary O'Neill's deservedly classic Hailstones and Halibut Bones, and a video featuring the whole poem.

What Is Black?

...Think of what starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against Black.

Interesting musical treatment, don't you think?  For more black beauty, go here for said 9-year-old's take, and here and here for some adult poems on black.  Then be sure to leave your link below, with a word about your post in parentheses after your name. Thanks for shopping stopping in!

Early Birds

First up today is (as far as I know) a newcomer, Karissa Sorrell, with a lovely "Blessing" by James Wright, posted at The Iris Chronicles.  Nice to meet you, Karissa!

At The Write Sisters, Jet has Robert Frost's "Reluctance," which is a do-not-go-gentle poem I didn't know.  I am so grateful to PF for repeatedly introducing me to new Frost poems--it seems I missed most of them in my education.  Was he considered too traditional by my hippie English teachers?

Myra posts on the cemeteries of New Orleans today with photos and video and lyrics and poem today, all on the theme of passing.  Rich and interesting stuff at Gathering Books.

Over at Paper Tigers, Sally has a review and commentary on the oral tradition of  the Ainu people of northern Japan....lots of links to follow!

Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference is also up early and sharing the excellent "common book of prayer" by Chris Clardy.  Click around this blog to find endless collectibles you didn't know you needed.

At The Poem Farm, Amy has, as always, a post full of juicy details about the new e-book Gift Tag, the snow poem she contributed, and a story about a miracle of a teacher who knows which is more important: a math test or the first snow of the season.

Janet at Across the Page, shares some fabulous photos of neighborhood hawks, along with Ted Hughes's "Hawk Roosting."  How did she know that we spotted (and heard!) some in our neighborhood yesterday?

Coming to us from Haiti, Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken place, has a rumination on brokenness, gratitude and Pablo Neruda's "Ode to Broken Things."

And Tanita concludes a month of Thanksgiving with an essay on "difficult patriotism" and a paragraph that sounds like a poem called "I don't like you."  Journey with her at [fiction, instead of lies].

Mary Lee explores the very small and very large with the help of Robert Creeley at A Year of Reading.  You can also go there to sign up to enjoy the Poetry Friday hosting experience in 2012.  I can recommend it.  : )

Steven at Poetry at Play gives mouthwatering thanks for...penguins!  If you haven't joined Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults, today is your day.

Oh, boy--Maria at A Poem A Day shares Eavan Boland's "A Moment," which is a cousin to Robert Creeley's "One Day."  Lovely.

Linda has an original and personal sestina which honors the passing down of traditions, Thanksgiving and otherwise, from mother to daughter.  You'll find it at TeacherDance.

At Random Noodling, Diane has a hoot of a haiga--or should that be hogga?  At Kurious K's Kwotes, we hear from Fabu, the poet laureate of Madison (Wisconsin, I believe).  And at Kids of the Homefront Army, Diane shares another authentic take on the Black Friday/Black Market thread with a WWII-era voice.

Robyn and G.K. Chesterton are making sure that we are thoroughly grateful today and every day over at Read, Write, Howl.

Over at A Teaching Life, Tara shares "Before the World Intruded" and view into the backseat at (grown-up) sleeping children.  The traditions of Thanksgiving took me to some of these bittersweet thoughts about my children, too.

Sylvia compellingly advertises her latest e-book poetry anthology, Gift Tag, published with Janet Wong, at Poetry for Children.  If you scroll down you can also enjoy her comprehensive report on the poetry doings at NCTE's annual convention in Chicago, a poetry party I was privileged to participate in.  (Is my favorite letter P?)

Carol's Corner features a review of Jane Yolen's new Birds of a Feather and some nice excerpts, plus a reminder that poets and scientists have a lot in common. Go, observers of the world!

Greg at GottaBook didn't eat too much for dinner, oh nooooo.  At least he's got his priorities straight.

I apologize to Charlotte of Charlotte's Library, whose link I missed earlier today.  She's got spoofs of A.A. Milne (sacrilege : ) by a British humorist known as the Beachcomber.  Don't miss it!

And last for today is Adrienne at What Adrienne Thinks About That, with a Stanley Kunitz poem called "The Layers" and a knowledge that she is not done with her changes.  Me, either, Adrienne.  Me either.

Thanks for playing poetry today, everyone!  I've enjoyed sampling everyone's posts and will return to make  proper comments soon.  All the best until next time!



house prayer

Welcome to all on this Thanksgiving Thursday introduction to tomorrow's Poetry Friday feast. I heard a piece on NPR this morning on civility around the table which intersects nicely with this poem-set-to-music that has been running through my head. It's #1 in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal (wish I could link to a recording).  May it be so at your house today.

House Prayer
by Louis Untermeyer

May nothing evil cross this door,
And may ill fortune never pry
About these windows; may the roar
And rain go by.

Strengthened by faith, these rafters will
Withstand the batt'ring of the storm;
This hearth, through all the world grow chill,
Will keep us warm.

Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
Touching our lips with holy wine,
Till every casual corner blooms
Into a shrine.

Laughter shall drown the raucous shout;
And, though these sheltering walls are thin,
May they be strong to keep hate out
And hold love in.

See you tomorrow, poems abounding!

this is a test

While most are busy stuffing and basting and peeling and mashing, I'm messing with HTML code...Mr. Linky is invited to my feast!

Let's see how he fits at the table....

Well, he's not particularly handsome, but he's a fine conversationalist, and really, what's more important?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

boots in Chicago

It's chilly here and everybody's wearing boots, including me.  (I didn't need those other pairs of shoes I brought.)  I got to thinking about my first pair of boots, c. 1980, and what they did to me--on the inside.  This is #19 in MyPoPerDayMo.

George Sand on her men's hob-nailed boots: "I would willingly have slept with them, as my brother did when he was very little, when he was given his first pair. With their little metal heels I was firmly grounded on the pavement."

These boots are a black mask for my feet.
Far from my face, still
they shift my balance, turn me into a bandit
who steals into secret identities, then

sneaks out wielding Xena’s sword
and George’s pen,
climbs into Amelia’s Electra
wearing Nancy’s miniskirt,
mouth full of Penelope’s bubblegum
as she blows out a story
as fireproof as Saint Joan’s.

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

Thursday, November 17, 2011

feeling small: from NCTE in Chicago

Thursday was a beautiful day in Chicago, and not just because I'm here all on my own for four days.  I arrived for the NCTE Convention early enough to be a tourist, and although the temperature was a bracing 33*, the sky was as blue as in the (stock) photo.  Millenium Park is a marvel.  Here's #17 in MyPoPerDayMo.


I swim the serpentine spine of a
steel-shingled leviathan

it skims the base of a canyon of coral
steeples skinned with glass scales

even deeper, schools of flashing
fish swarm north and south

a lattice of ribs arches above
the sea bed, something shipwrecked

nearby a steely cephalopod
crouches enormously over its cave

I’m one of the
slow-motion minnows
that bumps its nose bumps its nose
against a shiny sea-cloud, asking

in all this vastness
where am I?

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

I'm looking forward to greeting some PF regulars in person for a change!  For those enjoying it from the comfort of their own homes, Poetry Friday is with my neighbor Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OIK: the sun's belly

Today we did our first official science investigation, a very simple one:  which powder makes Oobleck?  Afterwards, sitting in a circle, we talked about how we liked being scientists and about all the kinds of scientists there are, including archaeologists, which led to some discussion of meteors and dinosaurs, which led to this.

My mom says the sun is really a star, and its belly is so big that those points have to come out all around it.

If you like the idea of the sun's big belly, write a poem about it!  Here's mine:

you have eaten up
sand and snow, leaves and lava flow

now your belly glows so big
that you have to lie back
in your blue hammock
your many arms thrown wide
and shine

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

Missing word to be entertained tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

let the trio lay

In the spirit of BLTN rather than TGIF, I'm here to post something, anything, for Poetry Friday.

The Word-of-the-Month poetry challenge at David Harrison's blog is FLAMBOYANT, and Steven Withrow put up a flamboyant triolet, which got me all rhyme-and-metered (which is the poet's equivalent of hot-and-bothered)....so here's #11 in MyPoPerDayMo series.

Triolet for 11.11.11

Flames are floating on the frost,
Torches throwing off their sparks.
The lake of green is crackling, lost.
Flames are floating; on the frost
Flamboyant tongues of light are tossed.
They ride the wind in waves and arcs.
Flames are floating on the frost,
Torches throwing off their sparks.

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

Poetry Friday *was* hosted by April at Teaching Authors yesterday, and it's never too late to stop by!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OIK: nothing to see here

No one said anything ticklish in Room 144 this week.

Well, they did--lots of things--but it would be so burdensome to explain the context that the lightness of the tickle would be spoiled.  And anyway, having embarked suddenly on MyPoPerDayMo (My Poem Per Day Month) on November 1, I now have a good handful of poems to pick from and post.

Here's #8, thanks to Tricia Stohr-Hunt's Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect suggesting that we write a commemorative poem (happy bloggiversary, Tricia!). I ended up commemorating my favorite part of our classroom day.

2:27 pm

Each afternoon at this moment
if I could
I would kneel facing Mesopotamia,
touch my forehead to the clay soil
and honor the broad-shouldered,
tip-toeing gods of writing.

Instead at this moment
because I must
I bend facing Kindergartenia,
touch my hand to the fresh toil
and honor the tender-voiced,
heart-shouting words of writers.

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

Friday, November 4, 2011

never mind TGIF...CIPBFA?

I lament "the TGIF mentality" and the way we teach our young people that what we do during the week--our work--is distastefully less worthy than anything we might do during the weekend (like grocery shopping, laundry and yard work).  I think it's especially sad in the context of early childhood education, where every day is Today and every day's work can be thrilling and important (cf. the spontaneous burst of cheering and clapping in my class when we reached the 40th day of school and were able to make another bundle of 10 popsicle sticks!)

Of course, if I were in the position of having to do a job I didn't enjoy, TGIF might make a lot more sense to me.  I take this moment to be grateful that through a constellation of circumstances within and beyond my control, I get to spend Monday through Friday doing the work I was born to do.

This blessing may be also why I woke this morning thinking not "TGIF" but "CIPBFA?"  Can It Possibly Be Friday Again?  Where do the weeks go?  Did I use all those six days since last Friday well enough?  Can I even remember their quality, the highlights and challenges, the quips and quirks of this particular fraction of my life?   Do I think too much?

And now I go searching for a poem that delicately wraps a muscled hand around these thoughts and feelings, molds them into a more pleasing shape and holds them outstretched on its palm for me (and you) to observe, consider, admire.  In three minutes I have several options (and I take this moment to be grateful for the World Wide Web).  Here's one that slows the day down and turns the idea of weekdays vs. weekends inside out.

Friday Snow

Something needs to be done—like dragging a big black plastic sack through the upstairs rooms, emptying into it each waste basket, the trash of three lives for a week or so. I am careful and slow about it, so that this little chore will banish the big ones. But I leave the bag lying on the floor and I go into my daughter’s bedroom, into the north morning light from her windows, and while this minute she is at school counting or spelling a first useful word I sit down on her unmade bed and I look out the windows at nothing for a while, the unmoving buildings—houses and a church—in the cold street...... 

continued at moving length here

by Reginald Gibbons

Poetry Friday continues at the new and improved Writing the World for Kids with Laura Purdie Salas, and if you write as well as enjoy poetry, don't forget to stop by here every Tuesday evening for the "Overheard in Kindergarten" poetry tickle.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OIK Tickle: store-ybook princess

During the Halloween costume parade, between shivers...
Ms. Mordhorst, do you know what princess I am?

No, I don't know which princess wears a purple dress.  Is it a Disney princess?

Yes!  It's Camilla!

Oh--what story is she from?


...which leaves me wondering: what IS the relationship between "story" and "store"?  Off to check it out; back soon with a poem.
she kicks through the plastic
with lucite heels,
breaks from her little box,
smooths her hair

perfect in purple
she twirls through the aisles
of her big-box palace
haughty but naughty under her crown

prances past security
straight into the schoolyard,
satin and spangles galore: who needs
a story when you've got a store?

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved