Sunday, April 18, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.18

suddenly there's shade
branches with buds subitize
shadows gain substance

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021


Saturday, April 17, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.17

old trees make new leaves
bark is rough but roots are strong
spring becomes summer

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021


Text Set: Short Texts for Grades 3-8

 Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

As teachers, we are always looking for quality short texts. Short texts are great for mini lessons, read aloud, book clubs and more.  I've been finding so many great new publications with short pieces that I wanted to share them. The books I'll share this week are best for grades 3-8. I haven't necessarily read these books cover to cover and that is part of the beauty of these books--they offer short, stand alone pieces. When I get books like this, I usually do a pretty intense preview to get a sense of features and format. Then I read a few to get a sense of what is in the pages. I then dip in and out of them when I am looking for something specific.

I love Wonder Women of Science, a new book filled with women in science. The subtitle, "Twelve Geniuses Who Are Currently Rocking Science, Technology, and the World" says it all. This book shares the stories of incredible women and their journeys to the work they do now. Each 10-20 page piece has facts, photos from childhood, and more.  Readers learn about the people behind the science as well as a bit of science.  There is so much to each one of these mini-biographies.

These two books focus on stories of people taking action.  In Our Future, the author gives us a two-page spread about each activist, telling us a bit about their work and their motivation for the work.  Illustrations, photos and quotes are part of this book. In Muslim Girls Rise, each two page spread tells the story of one Muslim woman and the change she is creating in the world.  Both books focus on current issues. being addressed. These books show how much you can learn from short texts.

The short pieces in Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Human Migration start with a drawing.  Artist and author George Butler observed people migrating and captured many in drawings. From Syria to Kenya, Butler records human stories through art and writing. Each story is unique and the visuals can also be studied independent of the text.  An incredible book.

Poetry is always a great choice when looking for short texts. The poetry by poet Naomi Shihab Nye gives readers so much to think about. Everything Comes Next is a newer anthology that included past and current poems by the author. Honeybee includes poetry as well as short paragraphs/pieces that can be used independently.

There is nothing like a great short story and these two books are filled with incredible short stories. Both edited anthologies, Ancestor Approved and Once Upon an Eid include the voices of many authors. The stories have depth and most can be read in one sitting.  Not only do these books provide fabulous short texts but they may also introduce readers to Indigenous and Muslim authors who may be new to them.  Short texts are a great way to discover and fall in Leo with new-to-you authors

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous independent children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Three for Earth Day


When will we decide
to stop squandering our home?
We act like there's time.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Nowhere Else to Go
by Linda Sue Park

Go read Linda Sue Park's poem. I'll wait.             There. You understand now why I couldn't excerpt it, right? You need to read all the way to that powerful last line, which sends you back to the title, and then down through the poem again. 

This was our Weekly Poem for this past week. Our routine goes like this: on the first day, I just read the poem.  My students follow along on the share screen, but we don't talk about the poem. Just read it and let it start soaking in. Then, each day after that, we dig deeper into what we notice about the words, the shape, the craft. Finally, towards the end of the week, we get to possible meanings.  It took most of the week, but they totally got this one. Got what Linda Sue Park was doing with the clues at the beginning and that last line that sends you back to the title.

The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics
by Susan Hood
Illustrated by Christiane Engel
HarperCollins, 2021

An introduction by Milo Cress, founder of
17 poems
Facts on every page
Fabulous illustrations and quotes
Scientists and children from around the world working on the problem of plastic
An author's note
A timeline
"Sources and More" to go with every poem/topic (great websites!!)
Poetry notes about the forms used in each of the poems
"For Further Reading"

Jama has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.15

ask those hard questions
spotlight inequalities
then make good trouble

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.14


white privilege abounds
black lives matter on yard signs
and I write haiku

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.13


we teach the wrong things:
task completion, not passion
test taking, not joy

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

We've got seven weeks left, and I'm focusing as much as possible on passion and joy. Our newest fun: about 1/4 of the class is learning a new language using the DuoLingo app. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.12


this kitchen table
we are aging together
worn at the edges

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.11


after the cold snap
glorious magnolias
wear brown in mourning

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Saturday, April 10, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.10


sun shines through dirty windows
with no prejudice

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Text Set: Research-Books that Invite Readers to Learn More

 Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

If we want our students to understand that research can be about so much more than Googling an answer to a single question we have, we have to help them recognize their own curiosities. We also want them to know that often, the more you learn about a topic, the more you want to learn. There are several books that give readers just enough information to want to know more. This week's list features books that invite readers to learn more.

Go Show the World introduces readers to several Indigenous people who have impacted our world.  This is a picture book format so each person is introduced with an illustration and several Ines of text. At the end of the book, the author shares a short biography about each person introduced.  Using this book as a springboard for discussion about which people you are interested in learning more about, now that you know a little bit, could be powerful.

Many readers have people they love to read about. For me, I love to read about Jane Goodall. I tend to buy almost any book that comes out about her.  Books like yesterday's and the updated version of Enough! introduce readers to people they may be interested in learning more about.  The people featured in this book are featured because they changed America by protesting in some way.  So, readers learn a bit about people (who they may want to learn more about) as well as the issues they stood up for (which they may want to learn more about.) in this book.

Picture books are a powerful and effective tools for introducing young readers to times in history that demand more study and understanding.  Unspeakable shares the horrific events of The Tulsa Massacre and readers may want to learn more about this time in history.   Readers will leave with an understanding of this tragedy along with questions that would require more learning.

This book, by the author of We Are Grateful introduces readers to several Native American Truths in We Are Still Here. Traci Sorrell teaches readers about times in history that is often left out of history classes.  This book covers so much and each truth is a big topic on its own. Readers will definitely want to dig deeper to understand and act.

Poetry naturally invites engagement and curiosity. These three poetry books (Bravo, Shaking Things Up and Voices of Justice) introduce us to people who have shaped our world.  The poems and illustrations are powerful and give us just enough to want to know more. These poems can be used independently or as part of the entire anthology.

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for next week's Text Set!

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!


Friday, April 09, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.9


singing in the dark
first one voice, then a chorus
early morning birds

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Hmm...looks like I wrote a version of this haiku last week! These two haiku reflect not just the glory of springtime, but also my despair about (and hope for) the direction our country is poised to go. Let's be the wrens! Let's be the chorus!

Happy First Full Week of National Poetry Month! I can't wait to get caught up on all you've created! Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.8


one slice of peach left
in a wide indigo bowl
early morning sky

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.7


nervous, excited
first day at April
together at last

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

My Remote Learning Academy students have been troopers (most of them, for the most part, most of the time). They've been learning through a screen and working in isolation for more than a year now. This month, they've been granted a small reprieve. It comes in the form of state testing, which must be done in person. But even the price of a morning spent testing is not too high for the opportunity to be inside a school again, in the physical company of classmates. We get two days this week, two days next week, and two days at the end of the month. This is what will get us through to the end of May. For once, I'm glad for the chaos known as state testing. 

For those who are following my spring bloom haikus, here's what the Virginia bluebells look like just one day later. See why they are classified a "spring ephemeral?" Now they are blue. Now they are bells.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.6


Virginia bluebells
at first neither blue nor bells
spring ephemeral

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Sorry I sent you off to Google for sessile trillium yesterday!
(Here's one of ours...see the little one to the right?)

And here are my Virginia bluebells as of today.
They are getting the faintest blush of blue.

Monday, April 05, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.5


sessile trillium
blooms at the base of our oak
formerly forest

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Sunday, April 04, 2021

National Poetry Month -- #haikudiary.4

impulse purchase
packets of zinnia seeds
still too early

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Text Set: The Power of Studying One Idea Across Multiple Texts

 Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

Studying one idea across multiple texts is something we do so often as readers.  We can show our students the power of doing this when building understanding/learning something new. When we read across several texts about a single topic, we build knowledge, examine perspectives, build on first understanding, change thinking as we learn more, and ask more questions. When we think of standards, when we read across texts, we practice synthesizing, we are learning true research and we learn to support our thinking with evidence. This week's text set explores books to use to study the idea of protest marches across several pieces of short text.

Both of these books are fabulous for starting the learning about Marches. They both have basic information. Sometimes People March share many reasons for marching with good information at the end of the book. In We March, we better understand the experience of being part of a march though simple text and illustrations. Both will be good to set the stage for more learning about marches.

Marching for Change takes a close look at 3 different marches. These marches are 3 that students may know about and the book gives detailed information about each one.  There are photographs that will help readers connect to a visual. This book can be included in the research by reading about one march or all three. 

These two books take a close look at two different marches that may not be as well known to students.  Starting with the basics of marches and then getting to the specifics of different marches with these books will help children build understanding. Readers of All the Way to the Top may go on to read more about activist, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins current work. These books provide two ways to learn more--learning more about a specific march (The Teachers March) and learning more about a single person's role as an activist. Both ways of learning about marches and protestors are important to bigger understandings. 

Together We March can provide weeks of mini lesson work. The book explores 25 different protest marches. The introduction is one that will add to the study of marches in this text set. Then readers can read more about marches they may know about and discover less known marches to build initial understandings.  Each short piece provides a great deal of new information that will help readers build on, grow, and change their thinking. 

Children's participation in marches will most likely be of interest to young readers and these two books that look at the children's march of 1963. Let the Children March looks at the whole of the march while The Youngest Marcher focuses on the youngest child who was arrested for protesting. These books focus on two stories about a single historical march and the important role of children. 

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous independent children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

The 2021 Progressive Poem is Here!

This is the first time I've had a line so close to the beginning of the Progressive Poem, and the responsibility for setting the tone and direction of the poem is awe-inspiring. 

Kat Apel got us started the way Donna did last year -- each poet offering two lines from which the next poet can choose, then that poet offering two lines, and so on.

Linda Mitchell chose Kat's line

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

and offered me the choice of these two lines:

Easily contagious sharing smiles is my plan.


Don't fret about a fever, loss of smell, or taste

Let's think this through. If I go with the first choice, we've got a nice rhyming couplet out of the gate. Additionally, the seed-of-a-theme of kindness is carried on with the contagious smiles. And there's a plan offered up in that first choice. On the other hand, the second choice links the "case" in Kat's line firmly to COVID. And actually, that's a deal-killer for me. Enough with the COVID already!!

I'm going with 

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I checked with Linda, and she gave me permission to add the dash in her line.

Now, on to the choices I'll provide for Donna. If she wants to write another rhyming couplet, hopefully I've given her words she can work with. (Who am I kidding? Donna is the QUEEN of creative rhyming!) 

Maybe she'd like to pick up the voice of the speaker again? (Feel free to add a dash at the end of the line if you want...if you choose this one, Donna!)

I'll spread my joy both far and wide

Or maybe we need to elaborate on the plan to share smiles (and keep going with the middle-of-the-line dash). What are the things that give us joy?

Puppies, babies – what makes you giggle?

Have fun, Donna! Have fun everyone else! Just like every year, I can't wait to see what we create!

Here's where to find the poem throughout the month:

1 Kat Apel at katswhiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.3


razor blade north wind
winter is not quite over
wear wool once more

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Friday, April 02, 2021

National Poetry Month: #haikudiary.2


dark, darker, darkest
those moments just before dawn
wren sings from the fence

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Thursday, April 01, 2021

The Poetry Friday Roundup is HERE!


Welcome to the first Friday of National Poetry Month! Susan has the Poetry Month Project Roundup for lots of Poetry Friday bloggers' projects. Today we'll get to see your work in progress!

The 2021 Progressive Poem is off to a great start! Follow its progress through the blogs at this post from Margaret.

And as for me? This year, all I can manage is a haiku a day. I briefly thought about skipping a year, but that didn't last. How could I NOT write a poem a day in April?!?!

Here are my poems from April 1 and April 2.

Now, on to the roundup!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

National Poetry Month 2021: #haikudiary


maple trees blushing
forsythia in full joy
forecast calls for snow

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021