Thursday, June 22, 2017

welcome, summer: the round-up is here

Welcome, Poetry Friday friends, and glory be to the circle of the year!  We have come around again to that moment I love, where another year of teaching (my 30th!) is concluded and the summer break lies open ahead of me with time to do the things I have put off for days, weeks, months: writing, reading, rethinking, planning....nothing!

I like to think of myself as 50% teacher + 50% poet, but as all you other full-time teachers will attest, teaching is not a job which allows itself to be easily contained in a given chunk of time or attention. And if you add in a couple of family milestones, it's even easier for the 50% poet intentions to be overwhelmed by the ever-greater percent teacher obligations.

Just when we think we've got the hang of [insert your grade here] 2nd grade, along come new [insert your new initiative here] Monthly Instructional Reading Level assessments, and when we've got the hang of MIRL, along come [insert your next big thing here] Elementary Math Assessment Tasks, and when we've got the hang of EMAT, suddenly we realize that the daily discomfort is not an issue of "simple" overwork--it's an issue of INTEGRITY.  Am I spending my time in the classroom doing what I know is right for the children, or am I spending my time carrying out the agenda of adults who don't know my students?

The best classroom moments for me are when we are doing poetry.  Is it selfish to be thinking of expanding those moments, or is there something about the Lead Learner's passion that intensifies learning for everyone?  Right now I feel pretty certain about the latter.  On the very last day of school, I invited my class to collaborate on an acrostic poem using their class name, the Diamond Miners.  I typed their suggestions straight into a prepared format so that I could print it out and they could glue one last gem into their Poetry Anthologies.  Here is what they wrote:



What strikes me about this is the vocabulary they pulled out.  They knew we were celebrating our year, and I did give 6 or 8 examples of words we could start with (including "daring"), but other than that, my 2nd graders showed that they had actually taken in and now own the following concepts that were taught, modeled, discussed and practiced:

*accomplishment through effort, motivation and persistence, as by accomplished figures in American history
*moral courage, as in doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do
*open as in "open, open, o o long o"
*knowledge, as in what we know and have learned even if that doesn't include a silent k
*morning meeting as a way of greeting the day and each other, practicing silliness and mindfulness together
*intellectual risk-taking even if you're not sure
*that normal learning is enough for some
*that caterpillars metamorphose and so do we
*that "radioactive" is more than a cool word starting with R that names a song
*and that stamina, from the first day of school when we learned that IRS stands for "Independent Reading Stamina" to the last day of school when we all needed one more blast of stamina to get through, may be the most important learning skill

The surveys and letters I asked my students to write in the last days of school did not reveal this learning--a poem did! And it proves to me also that this poem also, used as a greeting and a game, sank in over 10 months.

Diamond Miners, diamond diggers
finding all the precious rocks.
Diamond Miners, diamond shiners,
lock them in your treasure box.

And just in case you can't guess, your treasure box is your mind and/or your heart.  Thanks for coming by today!  I wish you all a wonderful summer and look forward to being much more regular in my Poetry Friday participation than over the last 6 weeks.  Please leave your link below--it makes such a pretty patchwork--and enjoy the bounty!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

closing time

As I write this on Wednesday morning, there are still 7.5 days of school on the calendar, but for me only 6--tomorrow I will take off to see Daisy graduate from high school, and next week a morning to watch my son's promotion from 8th grade.  As a teacher, of course, I'm used to endings, but this year feels a little different, a little more momentous!

"Lyrics as Poetry" is a favorite theme of mine, and Tabatha has explored it thoroughly too, but the difference between a poem and a song IS marked, especially when the mood and melody of a song works to enrich the lyric.

I feel that way about this song, in which the structure and bittersweet tone the verse is what stands out and sticks with me rather than the refrain.  Others must feel the same way, because this song is used everywhere from radio stations to baseball stadiums to signal an ending.

I have always assumed it was beloved and often replayed because it captures that precise moment of graduation from high school or college, as young people step out into a new stage of life, so it was interesting to learn that it was written about an impending birth--that first "baby" step into a very new and different stage of life!

So, let my 30th year of teaching come to an end, let Duncan's little-boy days come to an end, let my firstborn's whole childhood come to an end. May it all close full of grace and gratitude.


Closing Time || Semisonic 1998


Closing time
Open all the doors and let you out into the world.
Closing time
Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl.
Closing time
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time
You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from.
Closing time
This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come.
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend.

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Yeah, I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

Monday, May 15, 2017

the clash, remothered, and call me, maybe

Tabatha's got poetic song lyrics at her blog this month--including advice songs on Friday!--and so I offer these, remixed for six moms to perform at a karaoke party for our graduating seniors...


Should You Stay or Should You Go || The Clash

Darlings we got to let you know--
Should you stay or should you go?
If we say that "you are mine"
You'll be here 'til the end of time!
So we got to let you know
You should not stay, yeah, you should go!

It's always "please, please, please"
You're happy when we're on our knees
One day it's fine and next it's black
And now we want you off our backs
Well, we got to let you know
You should not stay, yeah, you should go!

Should you stay or should you go now?
Should you stay or should you go now?
If you go, there will be trouble
And if you stay it will be double
So we got to let you know


This indecision's bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
We don't quite want to set you free (si no me quieres, librame)
We don't know who you're supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
We don't know which clothes even fit you (no sabes que ropas me queda)
But we got to let you know (me tienes que decir)
Should you cool it or should you blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Split!

Should you stay or should you go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
Should you stay or should you go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
If you go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if you stay it will be double (si me quedo sera el doble)
So we gotta let you know (me tienes que decir)
Should you cool it or should you blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Should you stay or should you go now? (tengo frío por los ojos)
If you go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if you stay it will be double (Si me quedo sera eldoble)
So we got to let you know (me tienes que decir)
You should not stay, yeah you should go!


Call Me Maybe || Carly Rae Jepsen


I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked for you as it fell
And you were on your way

I trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I always waited for this
But now you're on your way

Your hand was holding
Diapers, skin was showing
Long nights
Learning, knowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just raised you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other kids
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

You'll take your time with the call
Bet you can't wait until fall
You give me nothing at all
And still you're on your way

I beg and borrow and steal
There's no denying it's real
I didn't know I would feel this
But you're on your way

Your hand was holding
Diapers, skin was showing
Long nights
Learning knowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so so bad, bad, bad, bad....

It's hard to let go of you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just burped you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other kids
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
So call me, maybe

Thursday, May 4, 2017

may bloghopper




In the merry merry month of May,

I will be a reader and a commenter while I pull together and revise my (not nearly daily) math poems.

I look forward to portrait poems, #wonderbreaks, crayon poems and Malvina singing it--and all the other April series that I missed.

And now, May the Fourth be with me as I hop forth!

Friday, April 28, 2017

npm17 calculations




April 28

thousands

when I see it in words, I can keep it straight:
ones
tens
hundreds
thousands
ten ones= a ten  (that's its special name)
ten tens = a hundred (another special name)
ten hundreds = a thousand (the next special name)
ten thousands= ten-thousand?
                              that's not fair!
                             why doesn't ten-thousand get its own special name?
and then
ten ten-thousands = a hundred-thousand!
                                                 that's not only unfair,
                                                 it's getting confusing now,

kind of like trying to pay for a college with its own special name
that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars
and you don't know exactly what you are getting for all those thousands
                                                                                      and ten thousands
                                                                              and hundred thousands
of dollars that you are committing to spending.

at least with the numbers
neatly organized in periods of three digits (oh yeah, I've got the vocabulary)
you know exactly where you stand
and the special names don't matter so much

draft (c) HM 2017


The roundup today is over at Teaching Authors with Joann Early Macken.  I hope you can count on me to make it over there even as the count-down to decision continues!

Friday, April 21, 2017

npm17: 1+5+16+42 = infinity





1 teacher + 5 mentor poems for two voices +16 second-graders + 142 days of school = infinitely intriguing poems by 7-8's!






Dog and Cat in the Park
      by Melvin A.R.

Hi! Let’s go play
in the park, or on the
monkey bars,



So first, we’ll do what I want,


but if you don’t do
what I want,


then we can play everything
we want.




Oh, let’s play tag,
We can make a map
of the park,

and then we’ll do what I want,


and you don’t do
what I want,

then we can play everything
we want.

 **********************************

Yellow and Pink in Color Land
            by Nathan Z.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
yellow so bright

see me in the night

see me shine like a star

see ME so majestic

I think I’m brighter

pink in the morning

see ME so bright

see me brighting up the morning


     I think I’m brighter

                                   
                                           *****************************

                               Jacob and the Moon on the Moon
     by Jacob L-M.

Moon, are you made
out of cheese?

Can I eat you?

Maybe we can have a
snack together?

No, I don’t think so.

Yay! Mmm! Is this
New Zealand cheddar?

Definitely.


Yes certainly!

No! You cannot eat me!

Why yes!  Did you bring any
food?

Well, I have no choice.
We can have my cheese.

Of course!  Do you like it?

I’m glad!


                                ******************************

Soccer Ball and Kid on the Soccer Field
                     by Kelly M.

Kick me kick me
kid!
I am a
big soccer ball
so kick me
kid!




If you do
I will give you
a goal!!!






Okay I will
kick you but
first let me
put my cleats on
then I will kick you



Here I go!!!

*************************************

Wolf and Bird in the Forest-Woods
            by Joseph S.


I’m a wolf who howls
at the moon.

I live in a forest.  I jump high
and I eat birds.



Sometimes I go in
the dark and I
catch birds.


   

I’m a bird who flies
in the sky.

I like the sky.  I make sure
I look for food.  If I
get food I bring
it to my babies.


And I need to get out
of here!

                                            *******************************
                          
                              Ms. Mordhorst and Students in School
            by Roselyn H.


Dear Students

I hug you up

Oh yes, I do,
yes!


I don’t mind at all
oh no I don’t

I hug you up with love
happy wishes to you






The round-up today is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.  Let's have some poetry conversations!


Dear Ms. Mordhorst

with every piece
and with all your heart

Oh do you?
Oh  how nice


Oh I hope you don’t


we do too!
we love you.





Thursday, April 20, 2017

npm17: numbers 19 & 20


April 19

take apart and break apart
compose and decompose
flip the cards and roll the dice
to see how this game goes


if the sum is seventeen
color it [rhyme fail]
hang a number on the hook
to balance left and right

race to know it fast by heart
slow down to understand
tell your method: "First I took..."
use your feet AND hands

greater than and less than
hundreds, tens and ones
a rubber band around the sticks
playing math is fun

April 20

I had a great idea and then I lost it---

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

npm17: numbers 17 and 18

April 17

I know the answer right away.
It's almost like I
can feel in my guts the number
that goes in the blank,
and it blurts out fast.
But the teacher keeps saying,
"the answer isn't the most important part."
How could the answer be less important
than any other part of the problem?


April 18

Fact Family

A small family, a "nuclear" family,
relatives living under one peaked roof,
three members bonded together
for life.

Is this greatest one, the 10, the great big papa bear?
And this 6, is she the middle-sized mama bear?
If so, then 4 over here must be
the little wee baby bear.

Or is this 8 the mom
with her two twin 4s--
their parents are divorced now,
and do they ever get to
see their dad?


Or maybe this 9 is the hermana
and this 7 is the hermano
and the 2 is the toddler nino
who keeps running off,
and they stay home alone sometimes
when their papi goes to work
and their mama's home late.

Once upon a time
there was a fact family...




Sunday, April 16, 2017

npm17 numbers 15 & 16




April 15

A Strategy You Can Count On
  for Joey

First I had to learn
what a strategy is.
You can have a strategy for a lot of things:
doing a cartwheel (stretch as high as you can
before you start),
carrying your lunch tray (lay your bottle of milk
on its side),
keeping b and d straight (thumbs up
for b and d!).

So this strategy is my favorite. My dad taught me.
It works for addition AND subtraction. 
You just COUNT ON.

If the problem is 4 + 9,
I like to start with the bigger number,
so I think “9” and then I count on 4 more,
one finger for each number, and I say “10, 11, 12”
and I land on 13. See?

If the problem is 13 – 4, I have to start
with the smaller number, so I think “4”
and then I count on until I get to 13,
one finger for each number,
“5, 6, 7, 8, 9.10, 11,12, 13,”
and how many fingers is that?  It’s 9,
so the answer is 9.

And if the problem is 4 + __ = 13
that works the same way,
and if the problem is __ - 4 = 9
it seems like it should work the same way
but 5 doesn’t make sense, so I’m still figuring that out.

Another thing that doesn’t make sense
is why I don’t get P for Proficient
when I use my COUNT ON strategy,
because I’m really good at it.

draft ©HM 2017

April 16

My teacher says you can't take
a bigger number from a smaller one.
She's wrong.
You just have to be hero enough
to make the leap to less than zero.



Friday, April 14, 2017

npm17: numbers 9-14

So it turns out that a five-day road trip to visit colleges with international grandparents is more than enough balls to juggle; and while I have been entertaining the odd mathematical thought (and some even thoughts too), there has been no moment during which to actually write anything down.

This was not true during our last Spring Break trip with the intrepid "Dad and Mad"--Granddad Damian and Mamie Madeleine, who ordinarily are to be found in Lille, France, but who will throw in with any agenda we propose.  Last time we visited the Grand Canyon, and from that journey arose many promising drafts, such as this one, which I will count and then follow with another infinity poem.

April 9

Collectively

millions and
billions and
trillions of us
each of us our own particular
grains and
shapes and
three-dimensional
crystals and
infinitely numerous
colors
formed through unimaginable
eons and
from uncountable
eruptions and
erosions and
somehow we are all called
sand

©HM 2012?
********************************

April 10

2 reaches down
out of an open window—
“one hand at the end of an arm
grasping another hand”
is what I wanted to write,
telling a story of clasped
human hands, a cliffhanger
story of two tangoing in thin air—

but looking now very carefully,
I notice that 2
does not in any obvious way
resemble “two”.

Perhaps 2 was originally more like
Z, a connected pair of horizontal lines,
and for speed in writing became curved
because after all
we do probably need 2 more often
than Z.

© HM 2017

Brahmi numerals (lower row) in India in the 1st century AD

 



(My brief research seems to corroborate this guess, and no, this formulation of the poem is not for young readers, but let’s let that go as a first draft.)

*********************************
April 11


they call it Horseshoe Falls
and try to count the amount
of water that passes here:
six million cubic feet per minute.
what does that even mean?

but I just want to wear
this wrap of water
this pounding cape of pour
this cloak of furious flow
I want to wear this glinting infinity
this neverending Niagara
of water

©HM 2017


It's now 8 am, so I'll post my link and keep updating all day, in case anyone wants to follow the progress of my progressive catch-up today.  The roundup on this very Good Friday indeed is with Doraine Bennett at Dori Reads.  And speaking of progress, the Progressive Poem is on receives its line 14 today from Jan Godown Annino, and what a cracker it is, about-facing from Margaret Simon's line 13.  The poem has taken on exciting extremes of temperature--slam!
**********************

April 12: a special poem in honor of said Granddad's birthday, yet to come...

******************************

 

















*******************************
 April 14

Feeling Kinda Dumb

Plus means addition:
putting some in!
Minus means subtraction:
taking some out!

Plus jump ahead!
Minus jump back!
Plus: more and more!
Minus: less and less!

It all makes sense:
higher, then lower, 
forward-back like a dance,
to the right to the right
totheright totheright totheright;
to the left to the left
totheleft totheleft totheleft.

It all makes perfect sense
until I have to "find the difference,"
find the difference between
4 and 13.

Um...the difference is 
that this number is 4
and that one's 13.

And it's pretty obvious to those of us who are even a little observant that 4 has only one digit and 13 has 2 digits, and the digits are not even alike in any way, and also four has only one syllable and is spelled with four letters, which is cool because it means 4, while thirteen has two syllables and eight letters, which doesn't match up in the same way at all, so that's another difference, and also 4 is even because two people can each have a partner for the dance, while thirteen is odd because six people can have partners and one person is left out of the dance.  So I can actually find quite a lot of differences between 4 and 13.

But none of them is 9.



©HM 2017

Done!