Friday, February 14, 2020

Poetry Friday -- When They See You

Via Unsplash

Valentine Letter From Shadiya

I Love you so much
I ned you so much Miss Hahn
I nau you is so tieard
because I see yor pekchar in the book
I want show you your pekchar in 2018
You is so nice Miss Hahn
I see yor pekchar in the book
my firend has the book
you is so difrend in 2018 and 2020
I see you
and I see you is so tieard
if you ned hilpp
I can hilpp you.

Shadiya was new to the U.S. this fall. She is from Kurdistan, and speaks a rare dialect of Kurdish that has left her linguistically isolated in ways that none of our other EL students experience. There are no bilingual aides available to help her navigate our world. Every bit of English and our 5th grade curriculum that she has conquered has been won with grit and determination.

She must have always had this big heart we see in her letter to me, and it gives me comfort that the harsh reality of her isolation has not made her bitter and withdrawn. Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup. She begins and ends every day by giving me a hug. She keeps me centered and helps me remember why I do what I do.

Thank you, Shadiya. Yes, I am "so tieard" this year. But where would I be without you?

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope someone touches your heart like mine has been touched! Check out the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

On a Snow-Melting Day

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring
by Buffy Silverman
Millbrook Press, February 2020

On the day before our snow fell last week, I noticed that my daffodils are poking up! This will be the perfect book to share as I encourage my students to keep their eyes open for the signs of spring. Fun rhyming text and engaging photographs make this a great book for children of all ages.

Monday, February 10, 2020

My Eclectic Reading Life

Kent State
by Deborah Wiles
Scholastic, April 21, 2020
review copy provided by the publisher

This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands.

It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work together and make changes. We can only hope this book will help this generation to do the same. This history of youth activism is one we definitely want to be repeated.

by Judd Winick
Random House Books for Young Readers, February 4, 2020

A very satisfying ending to the HiLo story line. All the pieces do indeed fit, and as usual, the story is filled with big truths. (Don't despair! A new book comes out in 2021!)

For popular "next in the series" books like this, I get first dibs! When I take this into the classroom, we'll draw sticks for the order of the readers. Each reader gets the book for 24 hours and then must pass it on.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
by Robert Dugoni
Audible Audiobook

This is my current listen. It's our book club book, and I started it without reading any reviews or synopses. I'm loving it. This book has lots to say about the power of family and friends, about discrimination, and about the lingering effects of bullying.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Some Things Never Change

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860

The Socialist and the Suffragist
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“My cause is greater than yours!
You only work for a Special Class,
We work for the gain of the General Mass,
Which every good ensures!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You underrate my Cause!
While women remain a Subject Class,
You never can move the General Mass,
With your Economic Laws!”

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“You misinterpret facts!
There is no room for doubt or schism
In Economic Determinism–
It governs all our acts!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You men will always find
That this old world will never move
More swiftly in its ancient groove
While women stay behind!”

“A lifted world lifts women up,”
The Socialist explained.
“You cannot lift the world at all
While half of it is kept so small,”
The Suffragist maintained.

The world awoke, and tartly spoke:
“Your work is all the same:
Work together or work apart,
Work, each of you, with all your heart–
Just get into the game!”

This poem is in the public domain.

Does this bickering sound familiar? 
"MY side is right!" 
"No, MY side is right!!"

I'm with the world -- "Stop fighting and get to work -- make things better!" (...she said in her sternest, tartest Teacher Voice.)

Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Deowriter.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Webinar

Just a quick post this week to invite you to this webinar. You do not have to be a member of NCTE to take part!

Join the National Council of Teachers of English and the Center for Learning, Literacy, and Engagement at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, March 11 at 4 pm ET for a webinar conversation with award-winning poet Willie Perdomo as he talks to educators about his life as a poet. Perdomo will introduce his own approach to writing, share and discuss two of his poems, and dedicate ample time for Q&A. Willie Perdomo is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The Crazy Bunch, recently named one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2019. He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.

 Kat Apel has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Schooled

foggy view of the sheep farm by our school

It was foggy yesterday.
On my early morning walk,
I considered ways to describe fog.
None were new:
it shrouds and blankets and conceals,
it muffles and oozes,
smooth and thick.
Of course it sneaks,
famously tiptoeing.
It is pensive, introverted,
secretive, and calming.

Later, I asked my students to describe fog.
Suddenly, fog was new again:
clouds too lazy to float,
earth auditioning for a scary movie,
floating water,
clouds coming down to say hi.

At that moment,
I was the fog
and they were the sun,
illuminating new ways
to see the world.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

Catherine has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Poetry Friday for A New Year

This gapingvoid graphic.

This podcast review of Auld Lang Syne by John Green, for all the AKR fans out there. (Grab a hankie before you listen...)

This New Year poem by Barbara Crooker.

And this book...

16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow" 
by Lisa Rogers
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Schwartz & Wade (September 24, 2019)

This is a book about how we write poetry every moment we're alive, awake, and aware. It's also a book about how to read poetry. How to imagine into a poem everything that shapes 16 words into an entire world.

Now it's time to CONTINUE over to Carol's Corner for an inspirational poem by Maya Angelou and this week's Poetry Friday roundup.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Poetry Friday: Thanks

THANKS by W.S. Merwin
This poem starts out easy, but it gets complicated real quick. Kind of like life. In her commentary, Tracy K. Smith says of the poem,"It insists upon a fierce form of moral reckoning."

Nonetheless, I'm giving thanks for YOU, as well as for every bit of this complicated messy achingly beautiful world. Listen to the podcast and read the whole poem here.

Thanks, also, for Michelle Kogan's POWER filled Poetry Friday Roundup. The last roundup of the year. I almost missed this one...what day is it today? Lookie there! It's Friday!!

The January - June 2020 roundup list is in our sidebar for the grabbing (or message me and I'll send you the code) and on the Kidlitosphere website.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Poetry Friday -- The Power of Short Writing

I found this great article that reminded me about the power of short writing. SHORT writing seemed like just the thing for this past SHORT week and its potentially SHORT attention spans. It was also a good way to keep working on one of my main goals as a teacher of writing -- I want my students to be fluent as writers. I want them to be able to get an idea and run with it, to take risks, to get words on the page...and then go back and make those words communicate more clearly and effectively.

We started the week by writing 50 word summaries of the read aloud we finished last week, Indian No More by Charlene Willing Mcmanis.

I think JC did a great job with her summary! She is an EL who has only been in the US (from Hong Kong) for five months.

I love GP's themes, especially, "No matter what road you get, you still have to drive." I'm thinking he's heard that one at home!

This one is my favorite. HM clearly has some challenges with his writing conventions, but his thinking is SO intact. He found some sketches of butterfly chrysalises in his writer's notebook, from back in the fall when we watched caterpillars grow and change. He drew them on his paper, but I wouldn't let him get away with randomness. I told him he had to connect them to the story. And he did. He so did. The butterfly stage represents the family's happiness on the reservation. The pupa stage represents their sadness and struggles. But after the pupa stage comes another butterfly, so they WILL be happy again. And "they will always stay Indian."

After our 50 word summaries, we went on to Get Curious -- Encyclopedia Edition. I gave each child (or pair) one volume of our classroom set of encyclopedias. The assignment was to 1. Browse, 2. Get Curious, 3. Take Notes, 4. Write a haiku. Here's one by ZA about Kimchi.

Kimchi’s important
It is traditionally
Used in Korea


Next, we did Get Curious -- NewsELA Edition. JW read articles about the impeachment process (mouths of babes, my friends...mouths of babes), and JF read about the tourists who were killed by a volcano in New Zealand.

Donald Trump is bad.
Donald Trump should be Impeached.
Donald Trump is bad.


14 die on New Zealand’s White Island During Volcanic Eruption

December 9th
The blast left 30 people hurt
Words were things like help


Here's to SHORT WRITING on almost the SHORTEST DAY of the year! Buffy is hosting the "Almost Solstice" edition of the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Teaching is hard.

Teaching is hard. No, wait. Let me rephrase that. Raising up twenty-seven 10- and 11-year-olds to be kind, responsible citizens is hard. Doing that makes adding and subtracting fractions with common denominators look like a piece of cake.

We make mistakes. (At least I do.) But hopefully, we also reflect, and talk to our unpaid counselors (brother, husband, friends), and come back the next day ready to do a better job.

This is year 36 for my tradition of making cookies for my class to decorate. And this year, I made the mistake of holding cooking decorating over their heads as if it is a reward for good behavior.

And it's not.

And it never has been.

Cookie decorating is a gift I give to my students. It's a gift of my talents and my heart. It has always been and always should be given with joy and love.

Like a parent, I must compartmentalize my disapproval of and frustration with a child's behavior, and my love for the child as a growing, learning young human. As an adult, I must model for my students how to criticize constructively while loving unconditionally.

I'll stop there, because I need to go iron my Pajama Day pajamas and get to work.