Monday, April 30, 2012

April Mosaics



APRIL MOSAIC

The sky above
a yellow glove

Two observe
mushrooms curve

Long spikey
slow slippery

25 spot
3 cake pops

Bee in the window is dead
Cat in the window turns head

Tree in bloom
Vast amounts of room


River has meanders
Table has treasures


Cake plate view
(coins from 1892)

Sugar bowl twinkles
Cut glass crinkles

Flow Blue plate
Butter dish weight

Carnival glass shimmers
Tools made many dinners

Shot glass -- small
Pitcher -- tall

Pike's Peaking
Hawk's eating

Stack of three
Plate of cheese

Powell winery
Spring's green finery

Birdhouse gourds hang 
April's gone...dang!

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012




Poem #30, National Poetry Month, 2012

All 30 poems for this month make a mosaic of their own, a different sort of glimpse into my world -- the poetic version of what I was seeing and doing and thinking about. Here is a link to my 2012 NPM Poems. (My April photo mosaic is on Flickr here.)

In March, the Poetry Tournament at Think Kid, Think! was a watershed moment for me as a writer. I changed my identity from "person who sometimes writes poetry" to Poet. I'm excited to see where this new direction in my writing will lead. I have a brand new PINK writer's notebook to start filling...beginning tomorrow!



Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?




Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chalk-ku



Betsy, at Teaching Young Writers, is having a chalk poetry celebration tomorrow to cap off National Poetry Month. Write a poem, chalk it up, take a picture, and send it to Betsy!

Poem #29, National Poetry Month, 2012

Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Attitude Adjustment

Le's Flaming Poo Poo Platter


ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

Turns out
I didn't need the Venti Awake Tea
from Starbucks after all.
All I needed
was for Lynne Rossetto Kasper to say

Flaming Poo Poo Platter.

I laughed until I cried.
When I
caught my breath and
mopped my eyes
I no longer had a headache.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #28, National Poetry Month, 2012

On Saturday afternoons, as we drive here and there running errands and buying groceries, we listen to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me and The Splendid Table (with Lynne Rossetto Kasper) and Toss the Feathers (a local Celtic music program on our NPR station).

I was in a headache-y funk this afternoon. It's been a hard couple of weeks, topped by running the Keep-A-Balloon-In-The-Air-For-A-Minute game at our school carnival last night from 6:00-8:30 (with one 15 minute break).

I'll be forever grateful to Lynne Rossetto Kasper for saying

Flaming Poo Poo Platter

in the course of her show. The extended belly laugh that resulted turned my mood right around. Now all I have to do is say to myself

Flaming Poo Poo Platter

and I grin.




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Flaming Poo Poo Platter

Friday, April 27, 2012

WISE INVESTMENT


I have never said this to you, but you were one of my inspirations in my life. You invested in me so much in fourth and fifth grade. I used to never talk outside of my house, but today, I want to be a confident person, confident in what I am saying and teaching. So, thank you for your investment.

Investment.
That’s what teaching is.
We invest in the future
and then lose the receipt
when we send students on
to the next grade
or the next level.

We rarely know what our shaping
of each of these lives
will result in.
But we are certain,
absolutely certain,
that each and every one of them
is worth the investment.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012




Poem #27, National Poetry Month, 2012




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

POETRY READING



POETRY READING

I am listening
to the poet George Bilgere
and imagining my first poetry reading,
someday in the unknown future.

I, too, will walk right up to people
at the wine and cookies reception.
I will introduce myself
as the guest of honor and ask them
about their interest in poetry.

The first poem I read
will be the one about the lucky day
when I started a new roll of toilet paper
in two different public restrooms.

That was a day that started with
strong tea
and ended with
salty French onion soup and
a perfect
strawberry
tart.

Just before the onion soup on that lucky day,
I listened
to the poet George Bilgere
and imagined my first poetry reading,
someday in the unknown future.


© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012




Poem #26, National Poetry Month, 2012


Art imitates life.







Tabatha has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at The Opposite of Indifference.

Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Faith: Five Religions and What They Share




Faith: Five Religions and What They Share
by Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel
Kids Can Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

I'm always on the lookout for books in which my many-shades-of-whitetanbrown students from the U.S.-Mexico-Bangladesh-Jordan-Iraq-Somalia-China can find themselves.

This is one.

Illustrated lavishly with photographs of children around the world, the topics of faith, religion, the Golden Rule, religious leaders, worship, and prayer are explained with clear and unbiased language. This is a book that teaches about religion. It is not a book that tries to change the religious beliefs of the reader.

The table of contents helps the reader find information efficiently, and there is a glossary, an index, and a note to parents and teachers ("Ideas to promote tolerance and understanding") in the back.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Area, Perimeter, Volume -- a math poem



AREA, PERIMETER, VOLUME

Gardens and fences
and new tile floors,
towers of blocks
and a bulletin board border.

Perimeter says "RIM"
and area is flat,
volume takes space...
I know all of that,

but keeping them straight
in my head is a problem:
square? cubic? units?
perimeter? area? volume?

Some day I'll grow up
and need carpet and tile,
frame art and fill boxes...
THEN this will be worthwhile!

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012




Poem #25, National Poetry Month, 2012


Area and perimeter are SO hard for fourth graders to keep straight!




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?



unBEElievables



unBEElievables: honeybee poems and paintings
by Douglas Florian
Beach Lane Books, 2012

Douglas Florian does it again! A perfect trifecta of illustrations and poems and just enough information on every page.

I wish I would have had this book to show my student as a mentor text when they were writing their weather poems and including science information on the page with each poem.

Here's a favorite:

BEE ANATOMY

Lovely legs,
Lovely hue.
Lovely long
Antennae, too.
Lovely eyes,
Lovely wings.
But ouch!
How in the end
It stings!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cause and Effect -- a poem


CAUSE AND EFFECT

Someone stole
my teacher.
They took my
favorite one.

She helped me 
patiently,
she was cheerful
and great fun.

She's replaced 
by a big
meany who is
giving me more work.

Do you think
this could have happened
'cause the class just went
berserk?

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012


Poem #24, National Poetry Month, 2012

It was one of those days...



Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?


Slice of Life: What We Want for Our Students

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for some NCTE work and meetings. It was a good few days but one highlight stands out. During NCTE's Advocacy Day, I went into one of my congressman's office to meet with the congressman and his education policy aide.  I had scheduled the appointment a while ago. I am always a little frazzled when I am in DC--the buildings confuse me and I am always worried I'll be late. But I was early to this appointment, so I was waiting for my meeting after checking in at his office.  As I was waiting, a young woman walked out and said, "Mrs. Sibberson, Hi! You were my 4th grade teacher!" Of course I recognized her the minute she said, "Mrs. Sibberson." She had seen my name on the schedule and was excited to come out and say hi before my appointment.  I was soooooo happy to see her and to spend a few minutes hearing about her work and her life.  I hadn't seen her for years and it was so fun to see her all grown up, happy, and doing work she loved.


Over the past few years, I have run into several former students. I started teaching 1st grade 25 years ago so those 6 year olds are now about 31 years old!  Lots of my past students are in their twenties.  Every so often I bump into a student or get invited to a graduation party and visit with lots of past students and families  It is always such fun.  I have to say, the first few times I saw these amazing people all grown up, I felt a little old (actually, a lot old).   After all, I remember these kids dressed in Osh-Kosh overalls and it doesn't seem like that long ago that they lost their first teeth. To see them all grown up made me feel a little bit old at first. But only for a few seconds because the fun of seeing them now makes being a little old so worth it! 

It is a gift to run into a past student and catch up with how life is for him/her now.  I actually teach with a few past students and I love that I get to keep up a bit with their lives when I run into them at meetings, etc.  I ran into a few former students last year at a graduation party. And I've run into a few who have recently started jobs they love. I run into students planning weddings and students who are new parents.  I remember running into one student who had just discovered a passion for social work while another had discovered that she loved robotics.  I was able to see a few of my students in a high school musical last year and the talent was amazing.  One student has gone back to school to become a nurse and another student I ran into shared photos of her toddler son.  Last month, I ran into a student who not only filled me in on her own life, but on the lives of all of her friends that she knew I'd want to know about.  It was fun to hear about all they were doing, but even more fun to know that the kids in that class were still such close friends years later. 

Running into these students is always an important reminder of my role as an elementary teacher.  I want my students to learn at that level that they have lots of choices about what to do with their lives. I want them to know what is possible and to find work that they love and live a life that they love. I want them to be happy. I am realistic enough to realize that most adults won't remember much about their elementary years. They'll remember a few highlights, certainly, but maybe not the day-to-day events of the school years. What they will remember is the feeling of being part of an elementary school and part of a classroom community. I want that feeling they remember to be one of joy and possibility. I want them to spend those formative years of their lives knowing that anything is possible and I want them to realize that  learning and thinking with others is an amazing way to spend your time.

Seeing former students reminds me what it is that is important in my work with students.  I am reminded that before I know it, these little children dressed in Osh Kosh and with missing front teeth,will be all grown up.   This month, which is testing month for so many of us, is a great time for this reminder.  Of course I want my students to pass these tests. But I want so much more for them than that.

Tests!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wacko - a haiku



Iris in April?
Should be Memorial Day --
Seasons are wacko.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #23, National Poetry Month 2012

Truth in advertising -- this is neither an iris from my garden, nor is it an iris that's blooming right now (it's name is Fire and Ice, and it's from Mom's garden last June). 

But I  really did do a complete double-take last week when I saw whole beds of iris blooming in Denver. Some are blooming here, too. What's up with THAT?!?! Iris bloom at the end of May so that you can cut them and take them to the cemetery to lay on the graves on Memorial Day. Used to be, at least. Can't tell me nothing's wacko about the weather and/or the seasons...




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This week, I've done mostly professional reading. I have been in a little reading rut when it comes to fiction--so much going on that I haven't had huge chunks of time to read.  And I found out last week that I'll be teaching 4th grade next year. I am really excited about getting back to the classroom and have lots of professional reading to catch up on over the next few months.


My big reading this week was the professional book WHAT READERS REALLY DO: TEACHING THE PROCESS OF MEANING MAKING by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton. I'm about halfway through and I am LOVING this book.  It is amazingly brilliant and am so happy to be reading it.  I have been enjoying learning from Vicki on her blog, TO MAKE A PRAIRIE and am sorry I didn't read this new book the moment it was released. (I received a review copy months ago but didn't have time to get to it until now.)  Look for a review on this book soon. 


This week, I was able to listen to three Choice Literacy podcasts while running. (A big breakthrough as a runner as I shared on my running blog:-) I guess this isn't really reading but I consider it like an audiobook so I'm including it here. I never listen to the podcasts I do myself but I have wanted to listen to a few that Heather and Brenda have done. I read the transcripts but hadn't had time to listen to the interviews. So I listened to Oral Language and Understanding with Ellin Keene, Vocabulary, Comprehension and the Common Core with Dough Fisher and Making the Most of Small Groups with Jennifer Serravallo.

And, since I am focusing on my thinking/learning more than just reading, I'll share one last thing. Last week was my birthday. I turned 48. I was feeling old so I went back and revisited this Jane Fonda's Ted Talk that I loved on The Third Act.  I think that although she is talking to people closer to her age, there are lots of great messages to all of us about different stages of life. 




I did download GRACELING and hope to start that soon. It came recommended from several Twitter friends so I am sure it is great. Looking forward to it.


Treasures -- an acrostic poem



Two generations, in a time-honored
Relay, passing the baton of
Existence --
All of the
Stuff which seems
Unremarkable, but which defined, made
Real, connected the
Elder runner to the past in the present. Now it all
Stands ready to meet a new future.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #22, National Poetry Month, 2012

While I was home, I took all of the glass out of the china cupboard, carefully hand washed it all, then videotaped Mom telling the story of each piece. We had just finished when one of her friends came to  visit and told me I must see the "exquisite" teacups in the high cupboards in the kitchen. This led to another whole tableful of dishes with stories to be recorded.

I'm sure I'll be writing again about those family stories, about that sense of connectedness to the women in my family...through the dishes that have been saved...passed on (where else?) in the kitchen of my childhood home.



Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rhubarb

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Janerc

RHUBARB

Such a waste.
Leaves the size of elephant ears
discarded.
All that plant energy
composted.

And what's saved?
The tart stringy stem.

When chewed raw,
sour enough to make a knot
where jaw
meets ear.

Stewed for hours
with shocking amounts of sugar,
served with ice cream.

Savor the flavor
of spring.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012


Poem #21, National Poetry Month, 2012

Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chant of the Computer-Weary

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by newfilm.dk

CHANT OF THE COMPUTER-WEARY

update
download
Internet
code

password
fire wire
USB
load

keyboard
network
charger cord
mouse

sunshine
fresh air
out of the
house

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #20, National Poetry Month, 2012

Finally got the Internet issues resolved...this poem is a tribute to the joys and hassles of the connected life. I've got a lot of catching up to do tomorrow!




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

POETRY FRIDAY -- What to do if You are a Domino

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Tafkabecky

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A DOMINO

          Think in
black and white.
Fan before each player.
Clack authoritatively on the table.
Demand order.

          When
used to stand awkwardly in long lines,
play along. Then
choose a random time to fall. Cause
chaos.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012


This is actually yesterday's poem...Internet access is spotty for me right now, so today's poem will appear when it appears. Dominoes...

I had a fun time with this poem -- it surprised me by wanting its rhymes to be at the beginnings of lines, instead of the ends. And the idea that dominoes embody both complete order and complete chaos...I can totally relate!

Diane has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Random Noodling. I'll visit posts as soon as I am Internet-able!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three For Earth Day



Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors
by Jane Drake and Ann Love
illustrated by Heather Collins
Kids Can Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

This guide is organized first by season, and within each season by these categories of activities: Nature Lover, Outdoor Fun and Games, Snug Inside, and Look to the Sky.

Kind of sad that the sort of "mucking about inventing our own fun and games" stuff we did when I was a kid needs categories and step-by-step instructions, but we need whatever it takes to get this generation of kids outside!

This is a good book for kids, but also a good book for Environmental Club leaders (me), Girl Scout Leaders, Day Camp Leaders, Home Schoolers, and parents.




Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World
by Allan Drummond
Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

This picture book is good for many ages. The main text is embedded in engaging illustrations, but the sidebar information about energy is good for 5th grade and up.

The Danish island of Samso is very windy. This book chronicles the long process the residents of that island went through to make the transition to being almost completely energy-independent by harnessing the power of the wind.




Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story
by Thomas F. Yezerski
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

This gorgeously-illustrated picture book reminds me of A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry. They both are environmental histories about places in nature that humans came really really close to completely destroying...but didn't...and the slow and hopeful recovery process. Both have border illustrations that extend or elaborate on the main illustration or information on the page.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

West on I-70


4/18
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chedder

WEST ON I-70

The horizon circles me
like a coyote
warily
watchfully
remotely

The road shoots me
like an arrow
impassively
relentlessly
directly

Pikes Peak greets me
with a nod
discreetly
solemnly
distantly

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

4/17 Song of Smart


4/17



SONG OF SMART
(inspired by Opening Minds, by Peter H. Johnston)


Smart is not a have / have not --
it grows.

Smart is not a can / can not --
it grows.

Increase and build and grow your smarts
Don't give up on the hard parts
Make a plan and plan on change
Risk mistakes -- they grow your brain, 'cause...

Smart is not a have / have not --
it grows.

Smart is not a can / can not --
it grows.

Smart takes work, don't get me wrong
And work builds brains, makes your mind strong
Work is fun, it makes you YOU
Become -- grow -- learn, it's what we do, 'cause...

Smart is not a have / have not --
it grows.

Smart is not a can / can not --
it grows.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012


4/16 Haiku

4/16

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Len Blumin

Fox, hawk, meadowlark,
Big sky, wide open landscape:
Welcome committee.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

A Trip to the Ocean

I didn't get to go to the ocean for spring break, so I'm taking a virtual, book-based trip in this post!



At the Boardwalk
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
illustrated by Monica Armino
Tiger Tales, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Our Kidlitosphere pal Kelly Fineman takes us on a day-long rhyming visit to the boardwalk. We start with a jog in the morning fog, we eat plenty of yummy treats, play lots of games, and ride lots of rides. Oh, to be a kid again!





Three by the Sea
by Mini Grey
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Three friends are living happily by the sea until a (sly shyster of a) Stranger shows up and sows seeds of discord. The friends ride out the storm in their friendship, and when the Stranger leaves, they plant some of the real seeds he leaves behind. In spite of the problems the Stranger caused, some of the change he brought turns out to be for the best.



Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
by Kate Coombs
illustrated by Meilo So
Chronicle Books, 2012

I've never spent much time at the ocean, so without much experiential background, I wasn't sure I'd find a way into these poems. It was actually the gorgeous watercolor illustrations that drew me in, but the poems kept me there. Why bother with direct experience -- Kate Coombs teaches me about the ocean through her poems! And what a rich and varied collection this is! I'm not going to take it to school just yet. I'm going to keep Kate nearby as a mentor author. Not only will she be teaching me about the ocean, she'll teach me about writing poetry.



In the Sea
by David Elliott
illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, 2012

I was thrilled to see that David Elliott and Holly Meade have another book in their IN/ON THE... series (On the Farm, In the Wild). This (my humble opinion) is the best of the three, both in poetry and illustration. David Elliott is another of my poetry mentors. He writes short, but ever so strong. I love this:

The Urchin
Spiny.

The Sardine
Tiny.

The Mackerel
Shiny.

The Shrimp
Briny.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

FORGET-ME-NOTS: POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART by Mary Ann Hoberman

I know I did a post last week on the poetry books I've added to my collection this year. But since that post, I added another that I just had to share.  Mary Ann Hoberman's new book FORGET-ME-NOTS: POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART is fabulous! It is a big anthology with lots of poems. The poems are chosen because they are all perfect for learning by heart. I am not a big "learning by heart" person but the introduction to this book made me think about it a little bit differently.  Hoberman says, "When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes part of you."  She goes onto say that the poems in this book were chosen because they are "memorable".  She says, "Memorable has two meanings: 'easy to remember' and "worth remembering'.  She shares pages and pages of poems to memorizing, starting with shorter poems that readers can memorize quickly.  She moves on with various categories and then ends with longer poems that readers may want to memorize.  She adds tips for memorization on the last few pages of the book.

My memories of memorizing poems in school are not good. When I had to do this, I had to choose a poem, memorize it and say it out loud to the class.  I don't remember much else. But this book introduces the idea of memorizing poetry in a fresh and inviting way.  Not only is Hoberman excited about the idea herself but the illustrations by Michael Emberley make poetry performance look like such fun!  The book makes this idea of memorizing poetry something kids might choose to do!

This book definitely needs a place in classrooms and libraries. I think it will be the perfect invitation for kids who want to give memorizing poetry a try.  Not only does Hoberman give great tips but she has chosen a great many engaging poems. Such a great variety too! And for those readers who want nothing to do with memorizing poetry, this is still a great anthology to enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

IT'S MONDAY! What Are You Reading?

Thanks Jen and Kellee for hosting this weekly event at Teach Mentor Texts!



So, I have not been reading many books lately. Lots of online reading in little snippets. I've been busy finishing up my ebook project for Choice Literacy so I try not to get too caught up in many books--otherwise I won't do the writing I need to do.  But I did fit in a bit this week.


I read and LOVED NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern. What an amazing adult novel.  It was recommended by Jen and I am so glad I read it. I was worried at first, that it would be like WATER FOR ELEPHANTS which is not a favorite of mine.  But it wasn't.  This is a story of a circus--of magic, of love, of loss and of life. It is an amazing story-the characters will stay with me and I love the way the book is crafted. I'm not usually about setting but the setting in this book matters and I think it will live with me like no other setting has.  Brilliant.

I also read lots online. A few pieces stand out for me.   One of my favorite reads this week was a post by Kylene Beers.  In the post, "How Cancer Helped Me Find my Superficial Self" she shares a recent keynote she gave at a breast cancer awareness luncheon. A powerful piece by an amazing woman.  One I've shared with everyone I've talked to since I read it.

Another was a post by Jen at TEACH MENTOR TEXTS called WONDER REMINDS US THAT KINDNESS MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND. If you missed it, it is a must-read. I so wanted to attend the R.J. Palacio event at Anderson's this weekend but just couldn't fit it in. So glad so many of my friends posted all about it.  Sounds like it was a great day.

I've also been reading lots on the Boston Marathon which even I find amusing. I follow lots of running blogs these days and just like the Newbery Awards for reading teachers, the Boston Marathon is the topic of conversation on many of these blogs this week.  The race is today but with the predicted heat, the organizers are sending out lots of warnings to runners. I feel badly for people who have worked so hard for this--the weather is definitely a little bit unexpected. I loved this article about the technology piece of the Boston Marathon and I love that you can follow runners with their bib number. So fascinating how much technology has changed everything. I also enjoyed reading a little bit about fashion tips for the marathon. I also like this post about the day before the Boston Marathon by a mom/runner I follow. This mom has 12 kids--ages 3 to 16 and she is running the Boston Marathon. Amazing, really  :-)

I also thought this article on the Common Core was interesting and worth reading (from EdWeek).

And of course I read my regular blogs and tweets.  Heard about lots of new books, authors, etc.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pardon My French -- a poem about language



PARDON MY FRENCH

Do I parlez-vous Français?
Well, I really couldn't say.
I know that checkers are passé,
And what a fencer says: "Touché!"

Merci gives someone my thanks.
Money used to be called francs.
(Now they've euros at their banks).
Beyond these words, my mind's a blank.

No, wait! A lot is said "beaucoup,"
And ballerinas wear tutus.
When you're mad, shout, "Sacrebleu!"
That's enough of French -- "Mon Dieu!"

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012


Poem #15, National Poetry Month, 2012

This poem goes out to Josie's husband, Jim. He gave me the title...or should we say, gave it BACK to me, since I'm the one who said it first?!?

The poem has nothing to do with the original context, but that's probably for the best...




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Found Poem -- Steven King -- 11-22-63: A Novel



For a moment,
everything was clear,
and when that happens
you see that the world
is barely
there
at all.

Don't we all secretly know this?

It's a perfectly balanced mechanism
of shouts and echoes

pretending to be wheels and cogs,

a dreamclock
chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life.

Behind it?
Below it and around it?
Chaos, storms.
Men with hammers,
men with knives,
men with guns.
Women who twist
what they cannot dominate
and belittle
what they cannot understand.

A universe of horror and loss
surrounding a single lighted stage
where mortals dance
in defiance
of
the
dark.


by Steven King
Scribner, 2011
p. 615-616



Poem #14, National Poetry Month 2012

I was listening to 11-22-63 in the car this morning, and when I heard this, I shut off my iPod and just let King's words soak in. 

Later, during Saturday errands, I took the print copy of the book off the shelf at B&N, found my spot, and (like a spy or something) took photos of the text on the two pages.

On Thursday night (at the cake pop event), Cathy was talking about how she was living with her eyes wide open for the next poem. Yeah, me, too. And apparently, we should have our ears open as well. Thank you, Mr. King, for today's poem.




Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

GREEN by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (**gush alert**)



Green
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

If it's by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, I know I'm going to be surprised and amazed. This book takes surprise and amazement to a whole new level.

GREEN is an homage to the color green, to all of its shades and hues. Each spread is a painting that goes with the text, and each page has one or more cut-outs that include color from the next spread. The text seems to be a simple rhyming list, but as one who has worked really hard on the endings of my poems, I so admire the fact that her text is far from "simple" and her ending...perfect.

I read GREEN the first time for the language, barely noticing Seeger's signature cut-outs. I got to the end and said (aloud, to myself, in the still-sleeping house), "Wow."

Then I read it again and noticed the cut-outs. How the art in THIS page links magically to the art in the NEXT page. One page turn that makes me absolutely shake my head in wonder: The cut-out that describes the green of the jungle where the tiger is hiding says "Jungle" beside the text "green," but when you turn the page, the word "Jungle" disappears into the background of the salamander and the word "khaki" appears in the cut-out...wait a minute...that means the word khaki was hiding somewhere back in the tiger picture!!!

I read it a third time with my fingers. Finding every cut-out. Exploring what the exposed color means in this picture, turning the page and exploring what the color means in the next picture, and going back again.

This book is astonishingly, amazingly, delightfully BEAUTIFUL in every way.

I hesitate to even give you a link to the book trailer. It shows you the WHOLE book. I want you to hold the book in your hands and experience the surprises in the tactile way that only the real live book provides. But if you must...it's here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Choice Literacy Podcast with Kevin Hodgson

I had the opportunity to talk with Kevin Hodgson about technology in the Writing Workshop recently. The podcast is up at Choice Literacy this week. I have learned so much from him over the years and was thrilled to chat with him about his current thinking. Enjoy!

http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/1822.cfm

Poetry Friday -- CAKE-KU - a cake pop haiku



CAKE-KU

Planet on a stick,
I orbit, hungry --
a drooling comet.

© Mary Lee Hahn


Poem #13, National Poetry Month 2012

This poem was written in collaboration with Franki. She made the cake pops for a gathering at her home last night, and she "donated them" to my poem-a-day project, along with providing the title and poetry form for today's poem. Thanks, Franki!!!


Anastasia has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Booktalking.


Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I've Lost My Hippopotamus



I've Lost My Hippopotamus
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic
Greenwillow Books, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Kids just love Jack Prelutsky!

This collection has a different feel than the others. Maybe it's because James Stevenson isn't the illustrator. There are plenty of silly poems, but there are also some that are thoughtful...on a kid level.  Here's an excerpt of "I Planted a Whistle:"
I planted a whistle
And grew a flute,
I planted a shoelace
And grew a boot,
I planted a button
And grew a blouse,
I planted a whisker
And grew a mouse.
There are even a few haiku!

"Mole" 
Tunnel! I tunnel!
I never see my tunnels,
Yet they comfort me. 

DECLARATION - a sky poem, a tree poem


DECLARATION

I
am sky,

background
for your silhouette.

We
are trees,

earthbound
artists of form and substance.


© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012



Poem #12, National Poetry Month 2012

I have another student who is choosing words from the dictionary for her poetry prompts. I decided to choose one with her yesterday. I got SILHOUETTE. She got MERMAID.

Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining me in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, Linda at TeacherDance, Donna at Mainely Write, Laura at Writing the World for Kids (daily haiku), Liz at Liz in Ink (daily haiku), Sara at Read Write Believe (daily haiku), Jone at Deo Writer (daily haiku)...and YOU?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Supporting Readers at All Levels

I've still got a handful of readers in my fourth grade classroom who are reading beginning chapter books. As long as these books are what's "just right" for them and they are reading with understanding and joy, I don't mind. They'll get there, one book at a time!


Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk
by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Candlewick Press, 2012
review ARC provided by the publisher

A couple of my boys read this arc and chatted with me about it when they'd finished. This story is mostly about Stink and Webster, and Stink is as funny as usual. He's trying to get money for a Midnight Zombie Walk. The boys' favorite parts were at lunch time, when the characters in the book talked about gross zombie things, and the pages of extra information, like "Zombify Yourself," and "Zombie After School Snacks."



Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash
by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Miguel Benitez
Albert Whitman & Company, 2012

In this fourth book in the Zapato Power series, Freddie Ramos' super power shoes go missing and Freddie has to figure out how to deal with a bully and how to conquer his fear of putting his face in the water at the swimming pool...all on his own.


Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week
by Caroline Adderson
illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Jasper John Dooley is one of my new favorite characters! Seriously, how can you not love a character who has a collection of lint?!? (Including rare belly button lint from his dad's belly button!)

It's his turn to be Star of the Week, but things just aren't turning out right. His friend Ori has a new baby sister, and she seems to be getting all the attention, when it should be Jasper's week to shine. Even his wooden brother Earl bites him (gives him a splinter). But Jasper makes it all the way through the week to the day when his classmates write compliments to him.



Daisy's Perfect Word
by Sandra V. Feder
illustrated by Susan Mitchell
Kids Can Press, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Daisy is another great character! She collects WORDS! When her teacher announces that she's engaged, Daisy tries to figure out what the perfect gift should be. After she realizes that she wants to give Miss Goldner a special WORD as a gift, Daisy has to figure out which one is the perfect word.

I can't wait for the next books featuring all of these characters!