Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chalk-A-Bration 2

It doesn't take long,
not hard to find a space.
Go get some chalk
and poetry the place!

Chalk and poetry now seem to just go together and I hope you will join in the Chalk-A-Bration today, and on the following dates:
June 30th
July 31st
August 31st 

Please link your chalk poetry and/or illustration below in the Mister Linky. For the back story on this idea and more specific instructions visit here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Chalk...2!

Do You Chalk Too?
 What? You didn't get a chance to chalk it up on April 30th? Not to worry, Chalk-A-Bration 2 is scheduled and ready for your dusty and poetic pleasure. So, if you choose, begin picking out your prime piece of asphalt, sidewalk or fence rail and get chalking! Photograph it, link it to the May 31st Chalk-A-Bration post here at Teaching Young Writers, and check out all the chalky poetic goodness of your fellow chalking friends on May 31st.

Not sure what I am talking about? Check out the more detailed description here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Sequel

Staring in
the morning dark
I see the day
about to embark.

I tiptoe slowly
to my spot,
quiet whispers,
my day unlocks.

I relax,
my minutes fade
but I am ready
for the day.

It was the kind of morning that is filled with a headache and stumbling as my husband and I awoke from a frequently woken slumber. That feeling where you are not refreshed but you are enough to get going, so you do. I have an early meeting, only a minute to spare, so I sat down to write my slice. It reminded me of a poem called Just I wrote a while back; it almost feels like a sequel. I have referenced "staring" in my posts lately because I have that tense end of year feeling. You all know, it is so full of emotions. I have so much I want to do yet I don't really feel like I have a whole lot more to give. I just want to sit in the sand and recharge. But, I will do the day anyway, as many of you will. It will come and go and onto the next and before I know it I will long for school again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Staring Into May and Reading At The Same Time!

This week there is some revisiting, rereading rethinking and reflection as we stare into the month of May.

I love Leo Lionni books. I typically do an author study early in the year because his books speak to working together and solving problems. We will be revisiting his stories this week with a focus on story elements. His stories like It's Mine and Swimmy have such great "problems" and "solutions."

Over the weekend my family and I took some long car rides and an audio book seemed like just the thing to pass the time. We listened to Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo. I forgot how much I loved this story and I think my husband fell in love with the characters as much as my kids did. I might need to look for The Tiger Rising next, such good stories.

Today I read Oh No, George! to my students. They laughed out loud and were making predictions like crazy! As I said earlier, we are working on story elements and our focus this week is finding the problem and solution within a story. Let's just say this book is full of problems that George finds himself in the middle of. The ending is left a bit, up in the air, and I think we may write our own endings since the kids had great ideas about what George might do next!
For Mother's Day I got some book buying money (yahoo) and ordered myself a copy of Mentor Author, Mentor Texts, by Ralph Fletcher. I am excited about this book for a few reasons. I have been a fan of Ralph Fletcher since I first heard my mom talk about him many years ago when she gave me all of her Craft books. I am going to the All Write conference in Indiana in June, and he will be there presenting. And, this book seems like just what I need right now to make what I am already doing with mentor texts and author studies SOOOO much better and more intentional. As I read bits of the first chapter I felt like it will be a book that causes me to pause and really think about why I use mentor texts and what I hope to gain. I look forward to the confusion because I know I will be better once I sift through it all. Take a peak here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Write Space

Finally...I have it.
I was inspired a few weeks ago when Ruth posted a photo of her freshly cleaned art area where she creates with her kids. I thought to myself, "I have a spot, I have a table, I have too much other stuff everywhere." And that overwhelming feeling took over and I felt defeated.
Then Friday night came and I started anyway. I started sorting, got the baskets, garbage bags and motivation to purge and did just that. Recycled a lot, made an area in our garage to put all the "to donate" stuff, and kept going. And, now, three days later, for the first time, I am sitting in "my space." I love it, it feels good, and I get a feeling great things are going to happen here.
My writing space (don't worry, we don't use the fire place)!

And on the opposite wall, my kids much improved crafting area!
(I love that I can join in or just watch from my new spot).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Books That Make a Splash

 Visit Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts the hosts for this meme. A great place to find children's books and YA! If you want a better and longer reading list, check them out!
I have been reading all things poetry lately and trying to really get more aquainted with children poets. I recently picked up a few books that were new to me and had to share.

Splash! Poems of Our Watery World by Constance Levy

I am finishing up a unit on earth and earth materials so these poems about water are a great accompaniment to my lessons. I want to share so many but I must pick a couple to give you a taste if you have never seen this book. So, rather than me try to tell you about it, I will let the poems speak for themselves.

A teardrop
looks like sadness
and has a salty taste.
A raindrop tastes of sky
and brings a shower.

A dewdrop is a new drop,
a taste-of-morning-brew drop
and is probably delicious
to a flower.

Full Moon
on Mirror Lake

on this still,
smooth lake
in its forest place,
the wandering,
wondering moon
becomes acquainted
with his face.

Water Wizard

I am a wizard of shapes and moods:
I'm ice, I'm fog.
I grow your food.

I quench your thirst,
I flood, I launder,
I mirror, I skip,
I race, I wander.

I dribble and drip,
I float a ship.

I soothe a throat,
I brew your tea.

I swim in you,
you swim in me.

Another poetry book I picked up late last week and plan to share with my students is call Give Yourself to the Rain by Margaret Wise Brown. Here is one of my favorites from the book. It crossed my mind that each student could probably take a line and illustrate it for a class book; might be a neat project.

In the Woods

Silence of the deep green wood
Where little sounds are heard
The flutter of such tiny wings
The buzz and sudden springs
Of grasshoppers flying from the grass
Where the shining beetle traffics pass
Near the roots of the long green grass
And in the birch trees
The rustling of sunlit leaves
The silence of logs, the coldness of stones
Deep in the deep green wood alone
Where the little sounds are heard
And the terrible clap of the wings of a bird
Flying to break
The high silence
Of the still blue sky.

I have been looking for a book of concrete poems, poems that form a picture. I thought these would be fun to share and show the flexibility that poems offer. I found a great one that relates to water again! (I have gotten really lucky)!
Splish Splash by Joan Bransfield Graham, Illustrated by Steve Scott

Here are two that I thought were fun and would be easy for my students to imagine creating.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A New Notebook

 Poetry Friday is hosted by Wild Rose Reader!

A Notebooks First Page

The thoughts are coming,
I hear them on their way.

Like butterflies
Not promising to stay.

Here they are
Imprinted on the page.

Words fluttering
then settling
Now permanently placed.

I got a new purse the other day. As I was un-filling the old and filling up the new I realized there was no way my current notebook was going to fit. Oh no...or...wait, a new notebook!!!  And off to the bookstore I went to peruse the newest selection of compact notebooks. Then, there is sat, in my new purse, for a week, no words.  Hmmmm. I was a bit perplexed, that first page is always so important, what will it say. Then it hit me, so I wrote. And now, my notebook is officially broken in and ready for action!

(Notebook scribbles...I don't keep it pretty)!