Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Things That Matter

photo via Unsplash

I saw a tweet this morning encouraging us all to be historians -- open our notebooks and capture these times on paper in a format most likely to be "pass down-able." We should record our responses, our feelings, our points of view. I'm going to do that, AND I'm going to log bits of the journey with distance learning here as well. I started with my (very rough) poem, which was written Thursday and shared yesterday.

Here are some thoughts from the last day of face-to-face learning yesterday:

More than anything, my students crave the assurance that some semblance of our routines will continue. Will we have read aloud? Yes! I can do that with Screencastify. Will we do Poetry Friday? Yes! We can find poems online (especially at The Poem Farm) and share them with Flipgrid. Will we have morning announcements (my Social Justice Club wrote the features for Women's History Month)? Yes! I have access to the doc with the Women's History features and I can share them with Screencastify or FlipGrid. Word of the Day? Yes! Birthday ritual (singing in 7 languages) for the two who will have birthdays? Yes!

On Monday, we will receive direction from Central Office and begin working on the nuts and bolts of how to make Distance Learning happen. No matter what, I'll work to keep our routines intact.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Uncertainty

photo via Unsplash

Twenty Questions in Three Voices With No Answers

Can I sleep in every day?
Can I play video games all day?
Who will take care of me?

How will I feed my children?
Who will care for them?
What if I lose my job?

Who will feed and care for my students?
How will we fill this gap in their learning?
How can we help?

Why are they taking away all the fun things?
How come we can't have our carnival?
Why is this happening?

How will I feed my children?
Who will care for them?
What if I lose my job?

How will we fill this gap in their learning?
Will testing season be cancelled?
How can we help?
How can we help?
How can we help?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

At this point, I know as much as you do. Ohio schools are closed for three weeks starting Monday. It will be relatively easy for me -- no child care, internet access, lots of books to read, a garden to tend, a sorely neglected house to clean, art supplies, writer's notebook, April Poetry Month project to concoct. But for our families...

There's nothing we can do right now except wait and see. Will we be required to provide distance learning? Will our students have the support to do any of the activities we send home? How will our free/reduced lunch children be fed? How can we help?

I've missed the Poetry Friday community for the past few weeks. I cleared the last of my big hurdles this week with the publishing of the Casting for Recovery Ohio online auction. Check it out and bid, if you're so moved!

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Thanks, Matt! And good luck with Madness!Poetry.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Let's Dance!

Let's Dance!
by Valerie Bolling
illustrated by Maine Diaz
Boyds Mills Press, March 2020
review copy provided by the publisher

With a cast of characters as diverse as the world of dance itself, and a rhyming text that just begs to get you up and moving, this book is going to be a favorite to read aloud or read alone. It's got my favorites -- fabulous endpapers (featuring rainbow colored dancing shoes and instruments), and back matter that gives more information about the dances: Flamenco from Spain, Kathak from India, Irish Stepdancing, the Long-Sleeve dance from China, the Kuku from West Africa, the Cha-Cha from Cuba, and the more familiar breakdancing, line dancing, disco and ballet.

Fingers snap

Turn, twirl
Twist, swirl


Marilyn Singer's Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing would make a fabulous companion book. If you wanted to do a whole study of dance, you could use A Mighty Girl's list of picture books featuring dance.

Welcome to A Year of Reading, Valerie! Happy Book Birthday on March 3!

Valerie Bolling has been an educator for over 25 years and a writer since age 4. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College and currently works as an Instructional Coach with middle and high school teachers.

In addition to writing picture books, Valerie writes a Monthly Memo for teachers that she publishes on Twitter, and she has been published in The National Writing Project’s Quarterly and NESCBWI News. Recently, she had a poem accepted for publication by Cricket Media.

Valerie is a member of NCTE, SCBWI, the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Authors Guild, the WNDB Mentorship Program, #12X12PB, 2020 Diverse Debuts, 20/20 Vision Picture Books, and a picture book critique group.

Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.

Karen has the Poetry Friday roundup at her "Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title."

Friday, February 21, 2020

Poetry Friday: Election Security

via Unsplash

"Who will stop the people who want to cheat?" 

-- Tabatha Yeatts

I joined Tabatha in writing Election Security poems this week. I managed a nonet, but I have two others still struggling to leave draft form. One features a squirrel burying acorns, and another that will double as a response to Buffy's DMC challenge, if I can just figure out the last stanza!

Your Vote Only Counts If It’s Counted (A Nonet)

not digital,
not ephemeral.
In your hand. Palpable.
A vote that will be counted.
An actual piece of paper
holding officials responsible.

© 2020 Mary Lee Hahn

Cheriee has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Library Matters.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Poetry Friday -- When They See You

Via Unsplash

Valentine Letter From Shadiya

I Love you so much
I ned you so much Miss Hahn
I nau you is so tieard
because I see yor pekchar in the book
I want show you your pekchar in 2018
You is so nice Miss Hahn
I see yor pekchar in the book
my firend has the book
you is so difrend in 2018 and 2020
I see you
and I see you is so tieard
if you ned hilpp
I can hilpp you.

Shadiya was new to the U.S. this fall. She is from Kurdistan, and speaks a rare dialect of Kurdish that has left her linguistically isolated in ways that none of our other EL students experience. There are no bilingual aides available to help her navigate our world. Every bit of English and our 5th grade curriculum that she has conquered has been won with grit and determination.

She must have always had this big heart we see in her letter to me, and it gives me comfort that the harsh reality of her isolation has not made her bitter and withdrawn. Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup. She begins and ends every day by giving me a hug. She keeps me centered and helps me remember why I do what I do.

Thank you, Shadiya. Yes, I am "so tieard" this year. But where would I be without you?

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope someone touches your heart like mine has been touched! Check out the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.

Monday, February 10, 2020

My Eclectic Reading Life

Kent State
by Deborah Wiles
Scholastic, April 21, 2020
review copy provided by the publisher

This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands.

It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work together and make changes. We can only hope this book will help this generation to do the same. This history of youth activism is one we definitely want to be repeated.

by Judd Winick
Random House Books for Young Readers, February 4, 2020

A very satisfying ending to the HiLo story line. All the pieces do indeed fit, and as usual, the story is filled with big truths. (Don't despair! A new book comes out in 2021!)

For popular "next in the series" books like this, I get first dibs! When I take this into the classroom, we'll draw sticks for the order of the readers. Each reader gets the book for 24 hours and then must pass it on.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
by Robert Dugoni
Audible Audiobook

This is my current listen. It's our book club book, and I started it without reading any reviews or synopses. I'm loving it. This book has lots to say about the power of family and friends, about discrimination, and about the lingering effects of bullying.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Some Things Never Change

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860

The Socialist and the Suffragist
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“My cause is greater than yours!
You only work for a Special Class,
We work for the gain of the General Mass,
Which every good ensures!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You underrate my Cause!
While women remain a Subject Class,
You never can move the General Mass,
With your Economic Laws!”

Said the Socialist to the Suffragist:
“You misinterpret facts!
There is no room for doubt or schism
In Economic Determinism–
It governs all our acts!”

Said the Suffragist to the Socialist:
“You men will always find
That this old world will never move
More swiftly in its ancient groove
While women stay behind!”

“A lifted world lifts women up,”
The Socialist explained.
“You cannot lift the world at all
While half of it is kept so small,”
The Suffragist maintained.

The world awoke, and tartly spoke:
“Your work is all the same:
Work together or work apart,
Work, each of you, with all your heart–
Just get into the game!”

This poem is in the public domain.

Does this bickering sound familiar? 
"MY side is right!" 
"No, MY side is right!!"

I'm with the world -- "Stop fighting and get to work -- make things better!" (...she said in her sternest, tartest Teacher Voice.)

Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Deowriter.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Webinar

Just a quick post this week to invite you to this webinar. You do not have to be a member of NCTE to take part!

Join the National Council of Teachers of English and the Center for Learning, Literacy, and Engagement at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, March 11 at 4 pm ET for a webinar conversation with award-winning poet Willie Perdomo as he talks to educators about his life as a poet. Perdomo will introduce his own approach to writing, share and discuss two of his poems, and dedicate ample time for Q&A. Willie Perdomo is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The Crazy Bunch, recently named one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2019. He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.

 Kat Apel has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Schooled

foggy view of the sheep farm by our school

It was foggy yesterday.
On my early morning walk,
I considered ways to describe fog.
None were new:
it shrouds and blankets and conceals,
it muffles and oozes,
smooth and thick.
Of course it sneaks,
famously tiptoeing.
It is pensive, introverted,
secretive, and calming.

Later, I asked my students to describe fog.
Suddenly, fog was new again:
clouds too lazy to float,
earth auditioning for a scary movie,
floating water,
clouds coming down to say hi.

At that moment,
I was the fog
and they were the sun,
illuminating new ways
to see the world.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

Catherine has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Poetry Friday for A New Year

This gapingvoid graphic.

This podcast review of Auld Lang Syne by John Green, for all the AKR fans out there. (Grab a hankie before you listen...)

This New Year poem by Barbara Crooker.

And this book...

16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow" 
by Lisa Rogers
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Schwartz & Wade (September 24, 2019)

This is a book about how we write poetry every moment we're alive, awake, and aware. It's also a book about how to read poetry. How to imagine into a poem everything that shapes 16 words into an entire world.

Now it's time to CONTINUE over to Carol's Corner for an inspirational poem by Maya Angelou and this week's Poetry Friday roundup.