Friday, September 27, 2013

children's poetry blog hop

Yes, there is a Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and I was contacted by Laura Shovan and Janet Fagal about participating.  It began I'm not sure when and I'm not sure how, but these guidelines come from April Halprin Wayland at Teaching Authors:

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
I'm ready to do part 1 today and I'm working on parts 2 and 3...there doesn't seem to be any need to rush the hopping, and I don't have time to rush anyway!  Here are my questions for myself:

1)  What's your favorite Children's Poet Laureate project?
2)  Which poems from it do you love?
3)  Which poem would you have contributed to it, if you had been asked?

1)   Before I answer this directly, I must release a short rant on the fact that when one searches for a LIST of children's poet laureates, selected by the Poetry Foundation rather than the Librarian of Congress, as the [adult] Poet Laureate is, one finds no such useful list, no Wikipedia page, no helpful overview.  I feel the Poetry Foundation oughta do something about this tout de suite.

Now then:  I adore The Tree That Time Built, an anthology selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston and published in 2009 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 250th anniversary of the publication of  The Origin of Species.  I am always particularly tickled by connections and integrations, and I love it that the Children's Poet Laureate looked outward into the world of science (and, unavoidably, social science) to find a subject for her anthology, and then selected and arranged poems that light up that complex subject for young readers.

Another thing I like about The Tree That Time Built (and you can see my previous post on it here) is that it draws on the work of past and contemporary children's poets like David McCord and Marilyn Singer but also on the work of adults' poets like Sylvia Plath and Wendell Berry.  The more we children's poetry people can convince "adult" poets that their work can speak to young people, the more chances we have to show that our work is worthy of adults.  And when the topic is science--deep, knowledgeable, informative science--the "seriousness" of our work comes through especially loud and clear.

2)  Here's one from Mary Ann Hoberman herself, perfect for the CP Blog HOP and which showcases Hoberman's terse blend of rhyme, rhythm, imagination and information.

Frog | Mary Ann Hoberman

Leaps on
Long legs
Jelly eggs
Sticky tongue
Tricks flies
Spied by
Flicker eyes
Wet skin
Cold blood
Squats in
Mucky mud
Leaps on
Long legs
Jelly eggs
Laid in
Wet bog …

And here, from Felice Holman, a favorite of mine for pinning down that feeling that is at the core of middle childhood, that key to Growing Up, that moment when you see yourself suddenly from outside, as just one thread in the interdependent web of all existence.

Who Am I? | Felice Holman

The trees ask me,
And the sky,
And the sea asks me
                         Who am I?

The grass asks me,
And the sand,
And the rocks ask me
                         Who I am.
The wind tells me
At nightfall,
And the rain tells me
                Someone small.

Someone small
Someone small
                      But a piece

3)  Say Mary Ann had asked me for a poem for The Tree That Time Built...I'd have sent her this one, from Pumpkin Butterfly, also published in 2009.

Charles Darwin’s Garden Party 

balsam fir
spotted dolphin
pink verbena
garter snake
fragrant white water lily
grizzly sow
Crater Lake 

gnarled pinyon
Painted Hills
tag alder
red bat pup 

beebalm and bluebonnets
mountain lion
fungus cup 

Death Valley
prairie dog 

Virginia creeper
Keyhole Arch
black-browed albatross 

Moose Creek
tiger shark
I just never get tired of all the wild diversity in the world!  Thanks to those who invited me to hop along.  I "hop" to invite some others to participate in the coming week.  Now let's all hop on over to The Poem Farm with Amy for today's roundup!

Friday, September 20, 2013

catch them unawares

I spent yesterday evening writing a social story for one of my new Minnows, so I didn't write a poem or a post.  But I can share the joy of of this OIK moment...

We're working with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears this week and alongside it, enjoying reading and preparing for a Teddy Bears' Picnic this afternoon.  Watching the video above, Angelo said, "What are they talking underwears for?  You put that on your buttie-butt!" 

Friday, September 13, 2013

pfams weather

We had some exciting weather yesterday outside our kindergarten classroom: at 1:35 we went out for our five-minute scream-and-chase-fest and noticed, despite the sunny sky and sweltering heat (and the screaming), some pretty powerful rumbles of thunder.  By 1:45 it had grown darkly cloudy and the rain was peltering down.  Lightning had joined the thunder, which was then joined by gleeful and fearful shrieking of 5-year-olds. 

We stopped looking at yesterday's-best Writing Workshop work and spun around on our blue sitting lines to face the weather graph, where we recorded.....our first rainy day in September!  And wind!  And still red-hot out there! 

[As I struggled to maintain control amid the storm and get everybody settled into Think-Draw-Write-Read mode, my parent volunteer, in for the first time, spoke the words we teachers long to hear, because so many people believe otherwise:  "This is a very difficult job--I don't know how you do it."]

All of this weather sent me looking for a sudden storm poem.  I picked up The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School and found three mighty enjoyable Week 9: Weather poems.  7th grade has Leslea Newman's "After the Blizzard, Outside My Window," and 8th grade has the rather exquisite "Sunbeam Confesses Its Love of Geometry" by Mary Lee Hahn, but it was in 6th grade that I found a poem closest to my stormy afternoon.  In case it's not obvious--I identified with the general. 

Racing the Clouds | Jacqueline Jules

The sky
is the color of a battleship.
wait with heavy breath,
like tense soldier listening
for a general's barked command.
The battle
will begin tonight.
But now
the sidewalk summons,
and a warm breeze kisses my cheek.
I'll take a chance
and race the clouds.
Hear my heart pound
in rhythm with my feet.

©The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School 2013

The round-up today is with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, a new place for me.  And really, don't miss my Tuesday post below, a poem I found in my Comments inbox.  It's just too good (better than my blog lately).  And oh my gosh!  I almost neglected to mention that I am now a member of the Poets' Garage!  This is a wonderful development for me and I'm grateful for the opportunity, plus I like the cool badge.  Thanks to all the poets and clever administerial types who make the Garage run like greased lightnin'.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

OIK Tuesday: I will certainly be back

I was trying to write for my kindergarteners, from my kindergarteners, but then I found this comment in my inbox, too perfect to resist.

Its like you learn my thoughts!

You appear to grasp
so much approximately this,
like you wrote
the e-book in it or something.
I believe that you can do
with a few p.c.
to pressure the message home
a little bit, however other than that,
this is excellent blog.
An excellent read.

I will certainly be back.