Tuesday, September 11, 2012

OIK Tuesday: hand-ear coordination

This afternoon the Mighty Minnows and I spent a lot of time considering our five senses, and there was a fantastic unexpected development when we closed our eyes and used our noses to smell the aromatic Mr. Sketch marker I grabbed.  It happened to be light green, which smells like mint.  Bertrand thought it was toothpaste, Karina thought it smelled like bubblegum, and Janie surprised me by naming it peppermint right away (or maybe not, since her family is Thai). 

As we discussed minty things, I realized that I could walk them right out into our lovelier-all-the-time school courtyard where parent volunteers have planted a Sensory Garden full of herbs.  We danced to High Five's "Five Senses" song and then we lined up and went--the real deal, only two minutes away! (Go Outdoor Education Committee.)

Cora had suggested basil when I asked if anyone knew what plant those minty smells and flavors came from, so first we all sniffed a leaf of basil.  I was happy to find a great clump of flowering mint, so that everyone (all 16--am I lucky, or what?) could have a sprig to crush and sniff and nibble and take home.  On the way back to the classroom we became the Minty Minnows instead of the Mighty Minnows. : )

Later, after the bus riders departed, the rest of us were singing requests--classics like "Twinkle Twinkle" and of course "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  Tonya had already taught us the sign language version of The Itsy Bitsy Spider, so I wasn't too surprised when Suzee made this announcement:

"I can sing the Alphabet Song in silent language."


Listen with Your Eyes

Secret clutched in a closed fist:
If you wait one pinky moment
Letting sounds slide towards your thumb,
Eventually they perch like birds on a fence,
Nesting two together on a quiet egg
Till the egg cracks and a beak of song breaks through

Friday, September 7, 2012

panda down the rabbit hole

Huh.  There are not a lot of panda poems out there, I find.  I just felt like I wanted to continue on from Tuesday's post, so I went searching and found a whole panda-poem competition for children (and isn't that post and blog such an illuminating look at all the English-language literature there is outside the US of A?)

I also found this, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation website.  It makes me feel both unsettled and roundly content, to be so in on all the "jokes."

And as in Alice | Mary Jo Bang

Alice cannot be in the poem, she says, because
She's only a metaphor for childhood7
And a poem is a metaphor already
So we'd only have a metaphor

Inside a metaphor. Do you see?
They all nod. They see. Except for the girl
With her head in the rabbit hole. From this vantage,
Her bum looks like the flattened backside

Of  a black and white panda. She actually has one
In the crook of  her arm.
Of course it's stuffed and not living.
Who would dare hold a real bear so near the outer ear?

She's wondering what possible harm might come to her
If  she fell all the way down the dark she's looking through.
Would strange creatures sing songs
Where odd syllables came to a sibilant end at the end.

Perhaps the sounds would be a form of  light  hissing.
Like when a walrus blows air
Through two fractured front teeth. Perhaps it would
Take the form of a snake. But if a snake, it would need a tree.

Could she grow one from seed? Could one make a cat?
Make it sit on a branch and fade away again
The moment you told it that the rude noise it was hearing was rational thought
With an axe beating on the forest door.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Perhaps we'll be surprised by another panda poem!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OIK Tuesday: feed the panda

As I marched the Minnows from the playground up the back steps to our room last Friday, we passed a rather large, not-too-shabby stuffed panda in a red holiday scarf lying in the grass.  It was strange to have it appear there, but stranger that some other classes had walked right by without rescuing it.  So we carried it inside, brushed off the grass clippings, and put him in a chair at the little round table in Pretend Play, which is currently outfitted with yer standard home-corner furniture and a selection of healthy plastic fruits and vegetables plus bread and rice.

Later I noticed that the children playing there had given him a plate of vegetables and rice.  "Oh, interesting!" I said.  "You're feeding the panda some rice.  Does anyone know where real pandas live?"

Several well-educated 5-year-olds answered "China!"  "People eat a lot of rice in China.  And does anyone know what real pandas eat?"

"I know!" said Merrilee.   "They eat boobam!"

I got interested in a poetic form called the trimeric from this post by Steven Withrow at crackles of speech.  He got inspired by a Poetry Stretch at the Miss Rumphius blog.  I decided to make my trimeric rhyme, and something makes me feel it's important to come back to the first line in the last line of the 4th stanza. 

Welcome, Stranger

We found a lonely panda on the playground.
We’ll keep him till he finds his way home.
For now he’s living in Pretend Play.
Tomorrow it will be his birthday.

We’ll keep him till he finds his way home.
We couldn’t leave him out there all night!
Will somebody claim him? They might.

For now he’s living in Pretend Play.
Real pandas live in China or the zoo.
We’re feeding him boobam I mean bamboo.

Tomorrow it will be his birthday!
We think he’s turning three or maybe four.
He doesn’t seem so lonely anymore.

~ Heidi Mordhorst 2012