Thursday, October 29, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Space is a Word

Back on September 3, Laura Purdie Salas shared a poem written using a wordplay form that was the challenge Nikki Grimes offered up at Today's Little Ditty back in 2015. She featured this form in her October newsletter, "Salas Snippets."

I forwarded Laura's newsletter to my school email and luckily it surfaced right when I needed it.

We had finished our big Life Science unit, and covered our Space Science standards. Rather than giving a traditional test, I wanted my students to interact with the information in a creative way. "___ is a Word" poems were perfect! 

After studying Laura's examples, we noticed that this kind of poem always has a description of the chosen word in the first line, and it tells more about the word or the shape of the word in the poem.

Here's the poem we wrote together:

And here are a few of the poems my 5th graders wrote (click on the images to enlarge them):

Moon is a Word by J.

Pluto is a Word by A.

Planet is a Word by Z.

Orbit is a Word by S.

Pluto is a Word by A.

Linda B. has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Autumn Acrostic

a tree in our neighborhood


At first, it goes
Then it is
Undeniable. Almost like
Magic, summer is gone.
No more shorts and swimsuits.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020 (with input from students on the last line)

My original last like was "naked trees," but "naked" is still a squirmy word for fifth graders (which I LOVE), so I gladly accepted this perfectly child-centric alternative last line.

We have been blessed with a glorious autumn, but my heart goes out to those who have had drought and fires, hurricanes and flooding. 

Jama's serving up warm cider and donuts with an autumn poem which, like mine last week, features an apple orchard. It's all kinds of perfect. Head over to the Poetry Friday Roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup and check it out.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Poetry Friday: "I am overtired"

by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

I know I've been perky and positive in the past about my remote teaching gig, and all of the positives are still there. But I'm here today to tell you the other part of the truth: teaching remotely is hard. So so so very hard. Sit at the kitchen table completely stuck saying over and over again, "I don't know how to do this" hard. Long hours hard. Just longing to hand out a worksheet instead of making everything hard. How can I possibly reach every child hard. Overwhelmingly exhausted hard.

So even though this poem is about apple picking, it is about teaching remotely. How it takes over every waking and sleeping minute. And just at this moment, on a Friday after a late night of conferences on Wednesday and another this morning (and I still have to get ready for math), 

"For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired."

Janice has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Salt City Verse.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Letting Go and Holding On

Being a Remote Learning Academy teacher is a non-stop life lesson in letting go of what's not important right now, or what's overwhelming right now, or what just won't work through a screen. On the flipside, it is also a non-stop life lesson in holding tightly to all the things that are most important.

Read aloud is one of those most important things for sure. The workshop model, too. I'm kinda sorta making workshop work. Word Game Wednesday is alive and thriving. And I've managed to bring back Poetry Friday. 

I gave my students a slide show filled with some of my photos for inspiration. We started with 15 Words or Less and Haiku. Five students have poems they're willing to share today. I copied their slides into a Poetry Friday slide show, and today after we share, I'll offer a new challenge: write a Nonet.

Here is the Nonet I wrote as their mentor text:

of wish,
globe of stars,
summer snowflake,
granny in the grass.
Some say you are a weed,
but to me you are magic.
Even though I blow you to bits,
you never hold a grudge -- you spread joy.

Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

(Hat tip to Amy LV for the inspiration for the line "granny in the grass.")

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