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Friday, February 28, 2014

sunshine part 2

Last week I completed Part 1 of the "homework" that comes with receiving a Sunshine Award--I shared 11 random facts and answered Ruth's 11 interesting questions.  This week I must list 11 bloggers who also deserve a Sunshine Award and pose 11 interesting questions for them!

My list will certainly include folks who have already been awarded, but I hope it will also include those whom I (and you) want to know more about.  These are people whose blogs, whose work, and whose simple existence bring sunshine to my juicy little universe.  Here they are, in alphabetical order:


Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
Ed DeCaria at Think, Kid, Think!
Carrie Finison at The Story Patch
Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today's Little Ditty
Penny Klostermann at a penny and her jots
Greg Pincus at Gotta Book
Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog
Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
Liz Steinglass at herself


I also want to shine a little sunshine on a now defunct blog, Book Aunt by the lovely Kate Coombs, which came to an end last April but whose spirit lives on in Kate's other kinds of work.

Here are my questions for these 11...serious writerly questions first, seriously personal questions at the end!
 
1) What's the first poem you remember knowing?  (You get to define "knowing".)
2) What's the first poem you remember writing? (You get to define "writing".)
3) Can you summarize your typical composition process in three easy steps? Okay, then, do it!
4) What classic or famous poem have you used as a model, on purpose?  Share if you care to.
5) With whom would you like to write a collection of poems?  (Living candidates only, please.)
6) What's the weirdest place or moment you've ever found yourself composing?
7) What's the weirdest place or moment you've ever been in, period?
8) Say you have an unexpected couple of hours to yourself at home.  What do you do?  Include details of food, drink, tools, rules, etc.
9)  Say you suddenly find yourself in my kindergarten classroom with an opportunity to relive the 5-year-old you.  What do you enjoy most?
10) Say Dr. Who shows up in his Tardis and invites you on a three-hour tour.  Where do you go?  Whom do you visit?  Do you bring anything back?
And, closing with an easy one,
11) When's your birthday?

To you whom I've nominated:  your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to
  1. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you
  4. List 11 bloggers
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Now I'm off to let those 11 know that I'm thinking of them...you'll find many posting for Poetry Friday at Poet! Poet! with Anastasia.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

sunshine part 1

 
As I mentioned last Friday, the mind-expanding Ruth from There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town has nominated me for a Sunshine Award!  Here's how it works.

  1. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  2. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you
  3. List 11 bloggers
  4. Post 11 questions
  5. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers
  6. for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.
Let me begin by sharing 11 random facts:

1.  Eleven is a favorite number of mine, being my birthdate and a prime number that kind of sticks out from the crowd.
2.  I have lived in New York, London, Paris, Munich (everybody talk about...pop muzik).  But not in that order--Munich came first, then New York, London and last Paris.
3.  Harriet the Spy and I are the same age. When I lived in New York City, my first apartment was on East 84th St. between 2nd and 3rd, just blocks from Harriet's spy route.  It was somewhat surreal for me to discover that all that NYC geography that I had read about was real and that I was IN IT.
4. I always imagine that physical tasks like painting a room or yard work are going to take much longer than I think--while I could sit and work on a writing-type project for HOURS without getting daunted.
5.  I believe that teachers should do some lunch and recess duty, or more exactly that teachers should enjoy lunch and recess with their class.  Eating and playing together is healthy.
6. There was a time when I spent every Sunday in an office under the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.
7. I believe in personal ads.
8. I own a series of mixtapes and playlists labelled "Music for Instant Attitude Adjustment."
9. If the sun is out I have to be in it, and in winter I need to look right at it.
10.  I'm a planner, not a pantser, but most of my best and most interesting ideas come in the moment, not during the planning.
11.  I have a dozen watches and a hundred earrings but no necklaces.

My 11 questions from Ruth are...


1.  What's your favorite song right now?
Easy.  "Happy," by Pharrell Williams from the Despicable Me soundtrack, with a video and lyrics totally appropriate for kindergarten and the power to instantly adjust even the crankiest attitude.
2.  What made you decide to start blogging?
I realized it was a way to connect with other children's poet types as well as to exercise writing and reading skills of many kinds.  It's also a place where I can exert complete and utter control over both content and style (unlike in all the other spheres of my life).  Huh--you'd think I'd post more often, considering that.
3.  What's your favorite post you've ever written?  (Link, please!)
No fair!  I love all my children/students/posts equally, of course....but if I have to pick one that does well what I enjoy most in my blogging, it would be this one. It connects oral tradition and literature with my work as a teacher, with my experiences as a child, as an adult and as a parent, and includes an original poem--demonstrating "the interdependent web of all existence," as we say in UU congregations--or at least my existence, my juicy little universe.
4.  What's a book you've given (or loaned) to multiple people because you love it so much?
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  I worry about nature-deficit disorder on a daily basis.
5.  What Hogwarts house would you be in?
All the quizzes (and more importantly, my children) say Hufflepuff.  I don't love badgers but that's fine by me.
6.  What's your comfort food of choice?
I'm a large-bowl-of-salty-snacks kind of person (pretzels and a glass of milk), but there are days when I could eat an entire chocolate cake (no frosting, again the glass of milk).
7.  What book character would you like to have lunch with?
Harriet--see above.  We would invite Claudia, too.
8.  What's your favorite podcast?
What's a podcast?  I listen to the radio.  NPR Morning Edition; sometimes All Things Considered; Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and This American Life if I get a chance.
9.  What's a movie you've watched many times?
Disney's Mulan, which my then 5yo son watched  incessantly the year we moved to France and he had to man up and pose as a French speaker in demanding and alien school environment.  What a wise boy he was and is.
10.  What are your favorite clothes to wear?
I can't adDRESS this right now.  I'm in the middle of an almost sick obsession with the idea of the capsule wardrobe and it's embarrassing.  It has to do again with complete and utter control.
11.  What's a book on your wish list?
That IS my wish list: 1) read a book. 
I'm having a lot of trouble with adult novels in the last few years (ie since I started teaching full time).  When I find one I love, I fall in and read it to the exclusion of all other unrequired activities, which may come to include basic things like showering and feeding the family.  They do say that books are dangerous. 

That's all I have time for this week, and it's a shame I didn't manage to get it done in time for PF.  But you can visit the roundup any time of the week with Karen at http://karenedmisten.blogspot.com/ !

Friday, February 14, 2014

scary valentine's day! and sunshine and march madness












It is a little scary here in the mid-Atlantic, with about 13" of snow arriving in two rounds yesterday.  School was cancelled for Thursday by 3 pm on Wednesday, and now school is closed Friday as well as Presidents' Day Monday--a 5-day weekend.  This makes a total of 7 snow days so far this year, but fortunately/ unfortunately (depending on who you are and what you lose) the State of Maryland has declared a State of Emergency, so those missed school days will not have to be made up in June.  Perhaps climate change is another reason why American school systems are going to need to shift to a year-round schedule with rearranged breaks...

Anyway, school Valentine parties are all rescheduled for next Friday and will have to be a little blip on the landscape instead of the big deal it once was in my 4's nursery school class.  One inspired year, following the lead of the children, we spent February pursuing MONSTERS.  In those days I played guitar, we sang every day, and I made up stuff here and there as needed...including the following celebration of love so powerful it's scary!  I don't have chords and can only dimly remember what tune we sang, so if anyone out there would like to compose a new tune, these lyrics are definitely for sale. ; )  We made crazy monsters with heart-shaped bodies and accordion-folded limbs to go with the song.

The Love Monsters

Look out!  Watch out!
The Love Monsters are coming!

Look out!  Watch out!
The Love Monsters are coming!

They come in every shape and size
They live under your bed
Their favorite day is Valentine's
They're pink and white and red

Their long arms stretch to hug you tight
Their sweet lips want to kiss you
Their long legs chase you day and night
When you're gone they miss you

Look out!  Watch out!
The Love Monsters are coming!
Look out!  Watch out!
The Love Monsters are coming!

HM 2014
all rights reserved

In other news, Ruth from There is no such thing as a Godforsaken town has nominated me for a Sunshine Award!  The award is actually a homework assignment of the best kind; here's how it works.
  1. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  2. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you
  3. List 11 bloggers
  4. Post 11 questions
  5. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers
  6. for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
My 11 questions from Ruth are
1.  What's your favorite song right now?
2.  What made you decide to start blogging?
3.  What's your favorite post you've ever written?  (Link, please!)
4.  What's a book you've given (or loaned) to multiple people because you love it so much?
5.  What Hogwarts house would you be in?
6.  What's your comfort food of choice?
7.  What book character would you like to have lunch with?
8.  What's your favorite podcast?
9.  What's a movie you've watched many times?
10.  What are your favorite clothes to wear?
11.  What's a book on your wish list?
I shall be working on this over the next week and I have a feeling I might have trouble finding 11 bloggers who have not yet participated...so if you're feeling sunshiny, let me know and I'll tag you.

And, last but not least, I find myself getting excited about the challenge of participating once again in the March Madness Poetry Tournament hosted by Ed DeCaria at Think Kid Think.  Ed is not only a technogeek who uses tools and statistics to analyze poetry (his "Poemetrics" approach) but has been tireless in his efforts to make the tournament a real reflection of poetic skill.  In the past there was some feeling that poets could win a round based on popularity or number of friends voting rather than on the success of their actual poem. This year Ed has introduced new opportunities for participation by the public as well as new guidelines for winning a match-up:

Unlike previous years where the public vote alone determined the winner, in 2014, #MMPoetry authletes must win two of three of the following separate votes to win their matchup:

  1. Public vote
  2. Classroom vote – this is where you come in!
  3. Authlete vote
Do you see that, teachers?  Your class can become a pre-approved official voting classroom, helping to ensure that the winning children's poems in the Tournament have actually been read by children!  (And voting classrooms are entered to win a really nice prize: a collection of FIFTY (50) children's poetry collections.)

Do you see that, poets?  Your poems will be voted on by kids and your poetry peers, not just the general public!  I encourage you to join me, Jane Yolen, Allan Wolf, Tiffany Strelitz Haber, Samuel Kent and prodigy Gloson Teh (and many more) by signing up to "compete"!  The application is here:
http://www.thinkkidthink.com/mmpoetry-2014/authlete-application/