Friday, February 23, 2018

Found Poem

Unsplash photo by Andy Mai

These Days (a found poem)

These days, far too many whom we have admired
have proven to be bad.

We are all complicated individuals... 

If I were to dismiss every piece of art
because of something in the artist's life that is/was inexcusable,
I fear,
art would not be something I could partake in.
If I don't know the inexcusable now,
I may find out about it later.
I think this discussion needs to be continued.
It has my head spinning.

We are all complicated individuals... 

Yes, we can mourn and miss the good
that coexists with bad
inside a complicated person.
I think it is important to acknowledge and recognize both
even though it is hard to do.

We are all complicated individuals... 

Quite often,
is it not the case,
the real art comes from the troubled places in us?
And sometimes from the troubled among us,
who are blown about by unseemly urges,
who feel so out of the ordinary stream
that they lose sight of the channeling banks?
We need not excuse the wrong-doing to be touched by the art.

We are all complicated individuals... 

I don't know that to do with the bad and good,
except love people for who they are.
Help them achieve better than they did before.
We can't cut people out of the herd and consider our jobs done.
If trees fall, we make furniture.
When a forest burns, new seeds take root.
When our idols fall,
perhaps they will rise again
as mere people.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2018

This is a poem I found in the comments on last week's Poetry Friday post. I created it in appreciation for your thoughtful responses to my lament about the loss of the Writer's Almanac. They were just to good to leave in the comment boxes!

(Thanks, also, for all of the writing encouragement!)

Liz has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at Elizabeth Steinglass.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Poetry Friday -- Robert Frost

Unsplash photo by Andy Mai

On a Tree Fallen Across the Road
(To hear us talk)

The tree the tempest with a crash of wood
Throws down in front of us is not bar
Our passage to our journey's end for good,
But just to ask us who we think we are

Insisting always on our own way so.
She likes to halt us in our runner tracks,
And make us get down in a foot of snow
Debating what to do without an ax.

And yet she knows obstruction is in vain:
We will not be put off the final goal
We have it hidden in us to attain,
Not though we have to seize earth by the pole

And, tired of aimless circling in one place,
Steer straight off after something into space.

by Robert Frost

This is a poem for those times when you can not write an epitaph to save your life. (Ditty Challenge will have to wait.) When the three drafts you wrote for Laura Shovan's February challenge this week  aren't fit for public view. And when all of the good poems you've bookmarked over the years are from the Writer's Almanac, which is gone, and which you miss. Dearly. An accessible poem every morning. A bit of history. Garrison Keillor's voice, if you had time to listen. (Is it wrong to mourn the good done by a person who has been found to have been bad?)

Jone has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Check it Out.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Poetry Friday: Earth Verse

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up
by Sally M. Walker
illustrated by William Grill
Candlewick Press, 2018

In the author's blurb on the back jacket flap, we learn that Sally M. Walker majored in geology in college. How fun is it to show students that academic knowledge can be translated into poetry! This will be a go-to mentor text in my classroom for students who are having fun with nonfiction by writing in different formats.

The book features poems about Earth, minerals, rocks, fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes, atmospheric and surface water, glaciers, and groundwater. I didn't notice them at first, but there is a tiny icon at the bottom of the pages with poems that signals the topic and helps the reader see the connections between several pages of poems.

Here are a few favorites:

hotheaded mountain
loses its cool, spews ash cloud --
igneous tantrum

(volcano section)

a flat stone, skipping,
casts circles across the lake,
lassoing the fish

(atmospheric and surface water section)

hold fast, stalactite,
everlasting icicle,
stone bed for a bat

(groundwater section)

In keeping with the SALLY theme, this week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Sally Murphy!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Strong Girls Rock the World

Franki recently shared her love for Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood. (Olivia of @Livbits loves it, too. If you haven't watched her video, take a couple of minutes to do so. I'd add her to the list as the 15th young woman who's changing the world!)

I have two more Strong Girl books to add to your TBR stack and to your library.

Marley Dias Gets It DONE: And So Can You!
Scholastic Press, 2018

Marley Dias, founder of the #1000BlackGirlsBooks movement has written a book that is part memoir and autobiography and a whole lot Girl Power. This full-color book is jam packed with advice, inspiration, and action steps for young social activists. My favorite chapter is "Be The Change You Want to See in the World: Get Woke." She identifies three levels of Wokeness: Awareness, Consciousness, and Wokeness, then illustrates the levels using Disney Princesses. Cinderella is aware, Jasmine is conscious, but Mulan and Belle are full-on woke. It wouldn't be Marley Dias if she didn't have several sections on books and reading (her section on How To Read is fabulous!), plus an extensive booklist of books that feature black girls as the protagonist.

What Would She Do?: 25 True Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women
by Kay Woodward
Scholastic Press, February 27, 2018

This book features the stories of 25 women from all times in history and from all over the globe. For each woman, there is a short blurb, full-color illustrations, a single-page highly readable biography,  a quote...and a question that a modern girl might ask with an answer based on that woman's life and legacy. Because of all of these features, this book will be accessible to a wide range of readers, and will likely be one they go back to over and over again to dig more deeply into the lives of  these inspirational women.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Guest Post: The Impact of Read Aloud by Jaclyn Friedlander

Jaclyn Friedlander of Friends with Fins was a 4th grade student in my class several years ago. Recently, Jaclyn messaged me reminding me about a few of the books she remembers from 4th grade. It's always great to hear from a past student-even greater to hear about a book they remember. As a teacher, I see read aloud as one of the happiest and most important times of every day in the classroom. So happy to see that Jaclyn agrees! Enjoy!

The current cover along with the cover of the book that  we read aloud in class.
One of my favorite memories from elementary school was read-aloud time when we would sit on the floor and listen to our teacher read books to the whole class. Independent reading time was great but there was something magical about sitting as a group and imagining the story for ourselves while we listened to the teacher’s voice.

I can vividly remember some of the stories that have inspired adventures in my life. One teacher read Loch by Paul Zindel. The book we were reading together often sat on the ledge of the chalkboard and the cover of that particular book terrified me, but the story was so fascinating that I did research and reports on the Loch Ness Monster throughout the rest of my formal education. Then when I had the opportunity to go to England as an adult, I added a few days to my itinerary and made a special trip to Scotland on a hunt to see Nessie. I went on a tour boat and heard about the legend, its origin and how it has evolved, as well as scientific theory behind what the Loch Ness Monster is.

Another book that had a particular impact on me was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi. I remember as a 4th grader in Franki Sibberson’s class, LOVING that book and coming to school every day excited to hear the next chapter. My favorite part was when Charlotte chopped off all of her hair because she wants to fit in with the sailors, or so that’s how my mind remembered that moment. I recently re-read the book and she does chop her hair but for slightly different reasons. In the back of my mind I always thought it would be amazing to be like Charlotte Doyle and have an incredible adventure at sea.

Between hearing that book read to us and being passionate about the ocean, learning to sail has been in the back of mind as something I would like to do.  I have explored the sea as a scuba diver and I now have the opportunity to learn how to sail. I will be learning to sail tall ships with 85 lines and 13 sails, just like the one Charlotte Doyle was on! I’m excited to learn a new skill and see where this adventure takes me!
One of the ships that Jaclyn is learning to sail.

There is something inspiring about sharing stories aloud and you never know what great adventures, life experiences, undertakings, or professions the stories will lead to in the future!

Jaclyn Friedlander is the author of the Friends with Fins Children’s Picture book series and the host of educational marine science videos that can be found here:

Saturday, February 03, 2018

My January Reading

My reading goal this year (although a number on Goodreads because that is helpful too) is a bit more of a balance in my reading life.  So I looked at January to see how I did. I read 21 books in January (this picture includes one book from February).  I read:
  • 5 middle grade fiction novels
  • 7 fiction picture books
  • 1 YA fiction novel
  • 7 nonfiction picture books
  • 1 nonfiction poetry
I am missing adult fiction but I read a YA book so feel good about that.  I think looking at this list in this visual form that Goodreads allows each month will be helpful as I think about balance overall.  For February I'd like to fit in at least one Adult or YA novel.  I know I had more time to read in January than I will in February but I am hoping to continue meeting the goals for the year.