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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

OIK Tuesday returns! kindergarten poetry

Today Overheard in Kindergarten Tuesday extends into Poetry Friday!  My eighteen Mighty Minnows spent the week of April 15 meeting poems by Langston Hughes, Lilian Moore, Arnold Adoff and Beatrice Schenk de Regniers to learn what poets do.  On the Friday they worked to compose their own poems.  I'm excited to share this work from children at varying stages of independent writing ability.

My proudest accomplishment as a teacher is that EVERY child knew what they wanted to write and felt competent to write a poem, and that EVERY child chose a different small thing to write about (with one exception, and that was my fault; I gave homework the night before to write a little poem about pockets). How's that for Thinking and Academic Success Skills




Animals 

I found a cat
I found another cat
I found three cats

by Nadja
 

Mosquitoes

 
I hate
mosquitoes
They bite
people
They give me
rashes 

by Bertrand
 

Flowers

 
I like flowers
You do too 
They can be colors
Well, you can like them
too   
Everybody can

by Karina


I Am Pretty 

I walk
to a big butterfly
I wear
my green dress
I go
to my castle

by Janie
 

Pockets

I really like pockets
and what you can put
inside 
you can take it out
and show it
or you can keep it in
and hide
 
by Briella 

unleashing the undead
 
the night unleashes
the dead: vampires,
zombies, ghosts, ghouls
ripping your throat.

by Beck
[Beck and I mutually agreed that while this is a cracking poem,
it isn't quite appropriate for a kindergarten anthology.  He's written
a new one about shoes, but I wanted to post his original creation here.]


Scaring Carrie
 
BOO!
I’m a giant.
and she goes
away!

by Santiago 
 

Dominoes
 
dominoes
put them in a row
flick really soft
flick with your finger
watch them tumble
see them tumble!

by Mikael
 

 Fast 
 
Fast brings
  speed.  fire
  brings
super
            speed!
     super super
   super speed!
    speed   That’s what
I call it!
 
     by Arden
 

Popcorn
 
popcorn
in my pocket
popcorn
in my pocket
then my popcorn
pops away! 

by Antonio 


Why 
 
Why do you think
you’re going to
bed?   I don’t think
I am going to bed.
Ohhhh!
 
by Tonya
 

To the Sun 
 
I flew to the sun
and was gone
forever and
I said   NOOO 

by Tiago 



Sing
 
Sing me
and everybody
sing and
the world
can sing
too

by Henderson 


A Horse

the wind is going fast
when the horse goes fast
the wind goes blowing
through her hair
when the grass blows
the horse goes away fast
the horse stops
to get a drink 

by Le’Ann
[Can you see the influence of Christina Rossetti here?  One of our
anthology poems was "Clouds," with the white sheep walking away
slow.]

Paul’s Pockets
 
pocket skirts and
pocket shirts and
pants and pretty dresses
all have pockets
but I like Paul’s pockets
best

by Cora



 
Cats
 
cats are furry
cats are cuddly
cats are friendly
cats are hairy
cats are mean sometimes.

by Merrilee 



The Pockets

the pockets
are very important
why?  they help you
carry things when you
need them 

by Indi 



My Shiny Bow

Shiny shiny!
Shiny bow
I like it
I like it
It’s very low
Very very
Very very
Very very
Very low

by Susye

***************
 

30days30words--word 30: a poem is born!


birthday  

secret wishes,
     fiery code…
                    nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
             cage.  

something whispers:
      furry coat,
                 thumping,
sniffing whiskers.  

subtle whistles,
      buried hope…
                 surprise!
         eyesearspaws
         leap—
finally
found. 
***************************
Crowd-sourced, collaborative, cumulative poem by
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Andromeda Jazmon Sibley
April Halprin Wayland
Bridget Magee
Buffy Silverman
Daisy Grant
Diane Mayr
Doraine Bennett
Gail Aldous
Irene Latham
Janet Fagal
Janet Wong
Joanne
Joy Acey
Julie Larios
Kate Coombs
Laura Purdie Salas
Laura Shovan
Linda Baie
Liz Steinglass
Margaret Simon
Mary Lee Hahn
Matt Forrest Esenwine
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
Penny Klostermann
Petrina Hollingsworth
Renee LaTulippe
Robyn Hood Black
Ruth at TINSTAAGFT
Serena at Savvy Wit and Verse
Tabatha Yeatts
Tara at a Teaching Life
*********************************
Whoo-hoo!  Ladies and gentleman, I thank you for a most satisfactory experiment!  Even I'm surprised when I see how many of you helped this baby be born (and forgive me if I have left anyone out).  My time is scant this morning and I spent most of it incorporating your revision suggestions and exercising my editorial license, and I think that this birthday poem is now as good as it can be without messing with the fundamental collaborative, one-word-a-day premise.
 
And look--if I felt a little uncomfortable after suggesting that I had already preemptively selected the last word, I got my comeuppance.  My thoughts of a leaping, happy lap are replaced by a finer "finally/found."  (I did consider Irene's wish to have a serious surprise at the end by choosing, as in an unpromising Broadway musical, "Finally Ferret!")
 
As Buffy says, "Rules, schmules," and the lesson is perhaps "Tell creatives what to do at your peril."  I hope you all enjoyed the process and much as I did, and for all whose own awesome NPM projects I couldn't keep up with because of 30d30w, forgive me.  Next year I'll make my project to participate in yours!


Monday, April 29, 2013

30d30w: word 29



birthday  

secret whistles,
fiery code…
                     nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
         cage.
something whispers:
furry coat
                thumping
sniffing whiskers  

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
                surprise!
eyes paws ears   leap
finally

Golly.  When I first cut and pasted this from my worksheet doc, I had added lick from both Buffy and Laura S. as word 29--I'm a sucker for alliteration (and who among us ain't?).  But then, as Laura notes, that does rather limit the critter, since I can't picture anything leaping and licking except a dog. 

This became suddenly problematic, for I am not a dog person.  Now, I know that many (most?) people are dog people, but for the purposes of this poem--and bearing in mind that there are really VERY many dog poems--I suddenly decided that finally works better.  It captures all that whistling and whispering and wishing and hoping, and while typically one whistles for a dog, I can see someone whistling for a lost mouse or ferret or rabbit as well.

Early yesterday both Mary Lee and Daisy independently wondered the same way about "fiery code," and it's coming up in other comments too.  Let me tell you why that worked (and is still working) for me, although I may yet see the need to revise.  To me, the peak birthday moment is that moment when the candles are all lit and everyone is singing and you're gathering breath and putting your face right next to the undeniably dangerous flames and making your wish and knowing that a) you must not tell your wish and b) you must blow all the candles out at once and c) if there are those rules then there might be other rules, like how you encode your wish might actually matter.

For me, the poem begins in that moment, when the birthday child can think of nothing but the cage that has stood empty for days, and how the special whistle has not worked, and how encoding the wish exactly right in the blowing of that fiery, dramatic moment might do the trick...and then nothing.  The moment is over and the presents received, and no amount of happy wrapping can overcome the sadness of that empty cage.  Maybe "hides" is the problem?

I'd be very curious about how that first stanza reads to everyone else--I was sure that you'd be suggesting changes to "subtle wishes,/buried hope," since for me the energy seems to drop there and I'm not sure we're getting enough out of those words.  Last call for revisions!

And just one more time, may I say how much I'm loving this deep work at the word level?  And one more time, how much I appreciate those who have dropped in to play along? 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

30d30w: word 28


birthday  

secret whistles,
fiery code…
                   nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
        cage.
something whispers:
furry coat
                thumping
sniffing whiskers

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
                 surprise!
eyespawsears leap

Here's our patient little poem without the questions marks, just to try that out...and Margaret's suggestion yesterday narrows down the animal, so to speak.  With only two words left, its species will be left unspecified (which is all right by me--ambiguity in a poem is, I think, often what allows it to speak directly to a wide range of listeners).  However, I'll admit I'd been thinking bunny or smaller, and "leap" is more of a cat or dog word.  I also liked Janet's bound, but that would be an even bigger beast, I believe, and harder to lose.  Or hide.  : )

Here's an interesting question:  must word 29 be an adverb now?  Or, if we accept that Word 30 is "lap," what else might work? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

30d30w: word 27

birthday  

secret whistles,
fiery code…
                     nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
        cage.  

something whispers…
furry coat?
thumping?
sniffing whiskers?  

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
                surprise!
eyespawsears

Poetry Friday was a packed party this week, I think--hard to get through the crowd to this corner of the universe!  Thanks to Margaret, Petrina and Janet for stopping by to keep things going.  Those ears are pretty important right now. 

I'm thinking about a happy lap for the last word, and again, on the 29th, instead of suggesting the last word, how about you advise me about one revision that would polish up this poem for its final appearance?

Friday, April 26, 2013

30d30w: word 26 and a special challenge


 
birthday  

secret whistles,
fiery code…
              nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
        cage.
 

something whispers…
furry coat?
thumping?
sniffing whiskers?

 subtle wishes,
buried hope…
                surprise!
eyespaws

For those who are just tuning in, welcome to the 30days30words cumulative, collaborative poem! To keep things simple for busy people this National Poetry Month, I posted a single word on April 1 and each day have invited all comers to suggest the next word in the poem. We have continued like this throughout April, one word at a time, and are nearing the conclusion of a poem of surprising form and function.  Please do go back and see how the poem has evolved through the faithful contributions of around a dozen thoughtful, playful collaborators!
 
It seems we must literally leap towards the conclusion now. All in a rush now the beloved missing (or new) birthday creature will leap into the poem, eyespawsandall, and I think I'll be selecting the last word myself (I might even know what it is, but we'll see!).

So, dear players, I have a special challenge for you on April 29. Instead of suggesting the final word, I invite you to suggest
a revision, an edit, a change that you believe will improve the whole poem. I've certainly felt at several points along the way that I may have made a misstep in my selections or formatting, or that my head overruled my heart or vice versa.  I bet YOU can help me and "birthday" finish with a flourish. Thank you!

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

30d30w: word 25


birthday 

secret whistles,
fiery code…
                nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
        cage.

something whispers…
furry coat?
thumping?
sniffing whiskers?

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
             surprise!
eyes

Not just questions--could it be fur, could it be whiskers?--but actual eyes!  Thanks to Daisy for the first eye contact between birthday boy and creature.  Up to you all whether those eyes belong to the creature or the boy.  Or the girl.  Or the yo (enjoy this piece on the organic creation of a gender-neutral pronoun in Baltimore).  Five more words--make 'em good!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

30d30w: word 24


birthday  

secret whistles,
fiery code…
              nothing.
happy wrapping
hides the empty
         cage. 

something whispers…
furry coat?
               thumping?
sniffing whiskers? 

subtle wishes,
buried hope…
                surprise!

It's interesting that some of you intrepid adventurers into crowd-sourced poetry thought "buried hope" brought on more sadness.  To me those words indicated little seeds of returning hope that might spring into--well, surprise!  I appreciated Laura's sense that a stronger transition might be needed here, so close to the end of the poem.  And what's a birthday without a surprise? 

Now, while some writers do serious historical and cultural research, I tend to go with my sense of things and how they be.  Now and then, however, I have to check on my sense of how things be just to make sure I'm right, and I'm happy to say that a quick Google Images check confirms that rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils, dogs and foxes all have whiskers.  Also raccoons.  And most other mammals.  They're actually called vibrissae, and as so often happens, I just got sucked into reading a LOT about whiskers and how they work and now I'm late and have to stop and just say:  we have a lot of options, folks!  Thanks for playing!