Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Wonderful World.12

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


The Empire State Building

A peach kabob1
A home for gods2
At the very tip
Kong loses his grip3

Fourth in height4
Icon of might5
Symmetrically planned
Art deco-ly grand6

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

1 In the book James and the Giant Peach, the peach ends its journey with a great squelch atop the pinnacle of the Empire State Building.

2 In Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, Mount Olympus is the Empire State Building.

3 King Kong tried to escape his captors by climbing the Empire State Building, but it didn't work out the way he planned.

4 In North America...for the time being.

5 The nickname of the state of New York is "The Empire State," a reference to its wealth and resources.

The Empire State Building's art deco style is typical of pre-WWII architecture in New York City.

Carol's "Edgewalk" from yesterday's CN Tower is a must-read at Carol's Corner.

Kevin annotated his poem for today, "Empires Rise and Fall," on Poetry Genius. (He is one, by the way.)

2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem.12

I've peeked in on our poem as it germinated and sprouted, but I tried not to pay too much attention so I'd be ready with an open mind when my turn came. I think you'll be as surprised by my line as I was!

You can check the sidebar to learn which poet from around the Kidlitosphere wrote which line so far. Thank you, Irene (Live Your Poem) for organizing this fun collaboration!

The emotional roller coaster early in the poem seems to have leveled out. Our speaker seems more confident and ready for the journey. The journey of a lifetime, perhaps.

Without further ado, the poem with my line added:

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let's get practical! What's needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I'll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams — 
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene's?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Wonderful World.11

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Stand Up Straight

Okay, Mom.
I get it now.
All those
were your way
of saying,
"Be proud!"
"Be confident!"
"Be yourself!"

I wish
I had listened.
I'd like to
go back
and tell my
teen self
those very same

And now,
as I watch
you bend
and shrink
with age,
my own
"Stand up straight!"s
take on
new urgency,
as does
my own reminder to
"Listen to your mother"
so I can soak up
every story.
every bit of wisdom
before it's too late.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

What a week. More than once, I've grumbled, "Who thought up this crazy Wonders of the World poem-a-day challenge?" 

Oh, yeah. I did. 

One of the things I've done to keep myself sane (and keep the poems coming) is to not write exactly about the wonder itself. 

For instance, when we visited the Great Wall of China, my poem was about dancing at a wedding reception. For the octagonal Porcelain Tower of Nanjing (aka: The Temple of Gratitude), I wrote The Eight Gratitudes. The Hagia Sophia inspired a haiku, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, A Note From the Architect, and the Channel Tunnel, a light at the end of any tunnel through which you might be toiling.

I am enjoying the company of Carol, at Carol's Corner, and Kevin, at Kevin's Meandering Mind. It would be awfully lonely without them, because between the day job and the daily poem, there isn't much time left over to go visiting all the other Poetry Month projects.

I'll make time tomorrow to make an exception. First I'll add a line to the Progressive Poem, then I'll read around the roundup and get a taste of all the poetic goodies.

Today Carol shares an arun about the Channel Tunnel from yesterday's wonder.
Kevin added humor to his poem for the CN Tower by making a webcomic.

Michelle has the roundup at Today's Little Ditty. Be sure to wish her a happy blog birthday -- her little ditty turned ONE this week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thrive by Meenoo Rami

We are thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Meenoo Rami's new professional book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching . We are early in the blog tour and there are many great stops coming up where you'll learn more and more about the book and Meenoo. So, our post will be the random things we love about Meenoo and the book--the reasons you'll want to pick it up soon!

I first "met" Meenoo on Twitter as #engchat was one of the first Twitter chats I participated in.  It was the one that hooked me on Twitter chats because it taught me just how powerful these conversations could be. And Meenoo INVENTED #engchat.  I remember her telling me when I finally met her in person at NCTE one year, that she created a talk for teachers on Twitter as a way to give back to the community that has given her so much. I realized then what a generous and genuine person Meennoo is. She mentioned that she was thinking of writing a book and I knew that whatever book she would write, I would buy it. I knew that whatever she had to say would be thoughtful and important.

I was lucky to interview Meenoo several weeks ago for a Choice Literacy Podcast. The podcast, "Finding Meaning and Joy in Teaching" can be found at Choice Literacy's website. So much of what she said in the interview continues to live with me.  As I think back on my 27 years of teaching, so much of what she teaches us are the things we don't learn in student teaching, but things that are most important to our lifelong work.  What she writes about are the keys both to being a true professional and to staying true to our students.

There couldn't be a better time for Meenoo to share her voice on the topic of (re)invigorating our teaching lives.  It is easy to be tired about our work these days -- tired from the mandates and the politics and the testing and the criticism.  And Meennoo describes, with honesty, how lonely this work can be if we don't reach out.  Then she reminds us how wonderfully energizing our work can be when we do reach out. I love that this book focuses on the people in our lives.

I love this book because after 27 years, it totally resonated with me.  I think no matter how long you've been teaching--20 days or 20 years, there are ruts in our teaching lives. There are times when staying energized gets hard and times that we feel alone, no matter how many wonderful colleagues we have.  Meenoo talks about those first few years of teaching and how lonely they often were, how isolated she sometimes felt. But she took charge of her teaching and her learning and reached out and found people to learn with.

And I love this book because it reminded me of mentors and I love the way that Meenoo thinks about them. She talks honestly about mentors who were assigned to her and she shares mentors who have been part of her teaching life.  I love that she doesn't talk about one mentor but the idea that we need lots of mentors and each mentors us in a different way.

Meeoo is someone you want to follow. Her book is powerful but so is her blog and her Twitter feed (@meenoorami). She shares thoughtfully and generously and invites us all into the network she has created-- a network of learners who thrive in even the toughest times.

THRIVE Blog Tour Stops!
Be sure to visit all these great blogs who are celebrating Thrive
Hear what they have to say about Thrive 
and read guest posts and interviews from Meenoo herself!
Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts!
Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
Kira Baker Doyle at Kira J Baker-Doyle, Ph.D.
Sarah Mulhern Gross at The Reading Zone
Kate Roberts and Maggie B. Roberts at Indent
Beth Shaum at Use Your Outside Voice
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Troy Hicks at Hickstro
Joy Kirr at Genius Hour
Tara Smith at The Teaching Life
Antero Garcia at The American Crawl
John Spencer at Education Rethink
Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers

Our Wonderful World.10

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


The Song of the Overworked

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
We thought it would never appear.
We toiled and we moiled ‘til we thought we would drop.
When we saw it we gave out a cheer!

Now we know we can make it the whole way.
Our steps have new vigor and zeal.
We’ll skip and we’ll prance and we’ll sprint to the end.
We can outlast this wretched ordeal.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

The Channel Tunnel is a fascinating feat of human engineering. I love that cross-section that shows how deep it goes. 

But my poem for today refused to be about this exact tunnel. First it wanted to be about earthworms and moles. Then I got the phrase "There's a light at the end of the tunnel" stuck inside my head. Maybe because it's been such a long week. Maybe because our state's "blessed event" is within sight at the end of this month. Maybe because I am starting to plan out my professional development and travel plans for the summer. 

No matter what you're working your way through, this poem is for you -- I hope you can see the light at the end of your tunnel.

Kevin has a visual poem today.

Carol's found poems for the Taj Mahal yesterday are at Carol's Corner.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Our Wonderful World.9

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


W is for Wonder

From the far end of the reflecting pool
the Taj Mahal is a W.

Unanswered questions carved in white marble:
What? Where? When? Why? and are you able

to fathom the love the emperor felt
when he had this tribute built?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Kevin's Taj Mahal poem is about the blues singer of the same name.

Carol and Catherine have Leaning Tower of Pisa poems from yesterday at Carol's Corner and Reading to the Core.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Our Wonderful World.8

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

8. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

A Note From the Architect

I didn't mean
for my tower to lean --
my work is usually not sloppy.

At least I know
that history will show
my creation will never be copied.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

A note about the architect: there is actually controversy about the architect of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Imagine that. No one made sure to leave concrete (pun intended) evidence that this mistake was his.

Be sure you go over to Carol's Corner and read her poem about the Hagia Sophia from yesterday. Wow.

Kevin used a Google tool to make his Leaning Tower poem today. It's at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Our Wonderful World.7

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

7. Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia began as Greek Orthodox church, then it became a mosque, and now it's a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

The whole time I was swimming my mile yesterday, I was thinking about religions. About how different religions fight to say that theirs is the true one, about the wars throughout human history that have been waged in the name of religion. There are many places (case in point, the Hagia Sophia) that have been declared holy by one religion, and the invading culture says, "Yes, this is holy...but now in OUR religion." Holy can't ever seem to be a shared holiness. Humans and our civilizations are fairly new to the planet and maybe the things we think are so important that we would kill for them are actually as fleeting as a cloud passing across the sun. It is that idea that gave me the image for my haiku today.

clouds block the sun
spires and domes are shadowed
brief darkness passes

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Carol's lovely and heart-wrenching poem for the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing yesterday is at Carol's Corner.

Kevin's poem for today is at Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

New Possibilities with Padlet

I'm participating in a Heinemann webinar series that Kristin Ziemke is doing . She is my new favorite person and I've learned so much from her over the last few weeks.  Her classroom is amazing and she embed technology in thoughtful and authentic ways.

One thing Kristin showed was a Padet she created for participants of the webinar series ( I know Padlet and I've used it lots. But I've used it in a very simple way. I've used it for kids to put sticky notes up as a way to think collectively I had no idea it could be used as a conversation starter with videos, images, padlets on padlets and more. Her Padlet gave me new visions for what Padlet can do. I didn't know you could change the background. I had missed so much about this tool. 

So I played around with a few ways to use Padlet as a way to begin conversations and as a way to collect our thinking. I also think it will be a great way for kids to access learning and to continue the conversation at home.

I played with a board to think about how I might use Padlet in Read Aloud.  We are currently reading How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.  I created a board with the cover of the book, a book trailer and a link to Barbara O'Connor's website.  We have had so much success with Corkulous as a way to stretch and collect our thinking around read aloud that Padlet seems to add even more options.  I can see adding a board within a board to do the things we are doing on Corkulous. And since it is web-based, it can be accessed from home and school.

We also played with a board to collect and add to as a class.  We have a bird watching area at our school and we've been spending time there for some of our science and math work.  The Padlet board shares the ways we are using various tools to collect information.  This is a site that will help us see how different tools can be used for different purposes. Hopefully it will start a conversation around tools that really help you observe and collect data in efficient ways.  

Today, I attended the Literacy Connection Event and Ruth Ayres spoke about Writing Celebrations.  She talked about the importance of writing celebrations--both the process and the product.   I'm thinking now of ways I can you Padlet for writing celebrations. I am thinking we can share lines we've written,a board of  links to finished products, a board of student writing with room for response. I am going to play some more to see where this thinking might go.

I have been playing with lots of tools over the last few years but, I so love finding one tool and thinking of new possibilities for use.  I am going to focus on this one tool for a while and think about various ways to use it, play around with what the tool can do and grow some possibilities!  Thanks Kristin for stretching my thinking about using this tool for more than one thing!

*For more posts on Digital Literacy, visit Reflections on the Teche for the Link Up!

Our Wonderful World.6

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

The Eight Gratitudes

I hope you won't think I'm wasting
one of my eight
by choosing daffodils.
They hold hope
in their cup-and-saucer blooms.

If I choose
books -- 
the ones I bought yesterday,
plus the ones that line nearly every wall of every room --
can they also stand 
for the authors,
and my fellow readers,
and a quiet afternoon 
spent curled up on the couch reading?
Is that cheating?

How could I not
include chocolate?

Or my mug of hot tea 
first thing
in the morning?

When I close my eyes
and think of home,
I picture my mother, 
looking out the window above the kitchen sink,
calling me 
to come and see
the sunset.

Yes, that's worth three:
home, mom, sunsets.

Number eight is silence,
which was broken just now
by the train's whistle,
and earlier
by the robins and wrens 
singing in the dark.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

As I read about The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, trying to find a starting point for a poem, I came across these names for the pagoda: "Bao'ensi, or "Temple of Gratitude," and I learned that the base of the tower is octagonal. That's all I needed. My poem would be, "The Eight Gratitudes," which is a poem I could probably (should probably) write every day of my life with eight different gratitudes per day. After all, there's a growing body of research that shows an "Attitude of Gratitude" is actually good for your health.

The original tower, built to honor either the Emperor's parents or just his mother, was destroyed in the 19th Century, but was rebuilt in 2010.

Amy has been writing about her mentor poems in her process notes for her daily poems at The Poem Farm. I didn't have a particular poem in mind as I wrote, but I tried to imitate the conversational tone of Billy Collins' or George Bilgere's poetry.

Kevin's Notegraphy is here.

Be sure to visit Carol's Corner to read the fabulous abecedarian Carol wrote about The Great Wall of China yesterday.