Exhaustion

We had a class trip today.  I feel like I will never get up from this chair.

 I’m Tired

I’m tired of being misunderstood,

nerves are shot,

weak – like old wood.

I’m tired of being ill,

no energy, can’t think,

losing my skills.
(read the rest here)

Poetry Friday

Children Learn What They Live
Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph. D.

If children live with hostility,
they learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
they learn to be shy.

If children live with tolerance,
they learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement,
they learn confidence.

If children live with praise,
they learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness,
they learn justice.

If children live with security,
they learn faith.

If children live with approval,
they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance, and friendship,
they learn to find love in the world.

 

Sometimes we lose sight of what our students learn from us when we aren’t explicitly teaching.

Poetry Friday

I’ve been having trouble falling asleep lately, so this poem seemed especially apropos this week!

Whatif by Shel Silverstein
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Music on Poetry Friday

I decided to share some song lyrics for this week’s Poetry Friday. This was one of my favorite songs in college and I heard it on the radio on my drive to school this morning. It’s a great song about moving forward in life while still remembering the good times.

In This Diary
by The Ataris

Here in this diary,
I write you visions of my summer.
It was the best I ever had.
There were choruses and sing-alongs,
and that unspoken feeling
of knowing that right now is all that matters.
All the nights we stayed up talking
listening to 80′s songs;
and quoting lines from all those movies that we love.
It still brings a smile to my face.
I guess when it comes down to it…

Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up
These are the best days of our lives.
The only thing that matters
is just following your heart
and eventually you’ll finally get it right.

Breaking into hotel swimming pools,
and wreaking havoc on our world.
Hanging out at truck stops just to pass the time.
The black top’s singing me to sleep.
Lighting fireworks in parking lots,
illuminate the blackest nights.
Cherry cokes under this moonlit summer sky.
2015 Riverside, it’s time to say, “goodbye.”
Get on the bus, it’s time to go.

Poetry Friday

Today I announced Poetry Friday to my classes. I explained that is it done online each week and that we will be bringing into our classroom from now on. We worked with two poems today- one for our poetry and one for our reading strategy lesson. The kids really enjoyed it and seemed enthusiastic about making Poetry Friday a weekly occurrence! I am very happy and already planning what we will do next Friday.

Today’s reading strategy lesson focused on reading difficult text. I had the students read “Don’t Go Gentle into that Dark Night” by Dylan Thomas. They read it once, then rated their understanding on a scale of 1-10. They highlighted parts that confused them (some highlighted the whole thing!), and circled words and phrases they understood. They repeated these steps twice more, for a total of 3 readings. After finishing, they answered a few questions about the process- how they felt, how their thinking and reading changed over the course of the three readings, and any questions they still had. I gave them very little background on the poem and sent them to work. At the end, about half of each class decided the poem was about death. We discussed reading and rereading for difficult text and how it helped them. I then told them that another strategy for reading difficult text is to get background information. At that point, I told them the poem was written about Thomas’ ill father, before his death. All of a sudden, a collective lightbulb went off- they got it! Immediately, a hand went up. When I called on the student, she said, “Ms. Readingzone…..this poem is so sad. And I didn’t even know that until I reread it and got background information!” It was a great feeling. :)

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Poetry Friday

It’s been snowing here, on and off, for about 48 hours.  We only have a dusting, but the kids and I have been hoping for a snow day soon.  I stumbled on this Billy Collins poem and love it! 

Snow Day
by Billy Collins

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

 Read the rest here… 

Poetry Friday in the Classroom

Today my class celebrated their first Poetry Friday!  As a part of their reader’s binder, they are responsible for choosing one poem a month and writing a paragraph explaining why they chose the poem. The paragraph may include connections to the poem, favorite lines, specific likes and dislikes, or almost anything else. The poem and the paragraph are kept in their reading binders and at the end of the year they will have 9 poems and explanations! The poems can be any published poem by any author they choose. They may be funny, sad, descriptive, modern, ancient, short, long, etc. (This assignment is adapted from Linda Rief).

Today the November poems were due. I have each student open their binder to the poem and then we have a “Poetry Museum”. The students drift around the classroom, stopping at each desk to read the poem their classmate chose for that month. It’s a great way to expose the class to new poems and poets and they really enjoy it! I also walk around the room (checking for completion and reading the poems), and I share my favorites with the class. After about 10 minutes, we come together as a class again and the students share their favorite poem (besides the one they chose!). It is a lot of fun and the students definitely enjoy it. Today I was told, more than once, “I used to think poetry was boring, but this is fun!”

I’m sure you are wondering what types of poems the students choose. Today we had poems from the following poets: Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelustky, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, and Billy Collins, to name a few. The poems ran the gamut from haikus, to sonnets, to concrete. Some poems rhymed and some did not. Some were one stanza and some were many more! Some poems were funny and some were serious. Some poems celebrated the winter season while others celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas. One poem was about turkeys and one was about dandelions. Each poem was completely different and each one introduced the students to something new and unexpected.

I love walking around and hearing my students compliment each other on their choice of poem. They talk about how funny this poem is or how they agree with what that poet is saying. They ask where other students found their poems and before I know, we are immersed in a world of poetry.

If you are able to, I highly suggest getting your class involved in an activity like this. There is nothing else like it, and the students don’t even realize how much they are learning. I am seeing it lay the seeds of a love of poetry in my class and I love it!

Poetry Friday!

Where the Sign Ends

There is a plait where the sign ends
And before the structure begins,
And there the gravel grows soft and white,
And there the supermarket burns crimson bright,
And there the morass-bistro rests from his floor
To cool in the peppermint window.

Let us leave this plait where the snake blows black
And the dark structure winds and bends.
Past the pivots where the aster fluoride grow
We shall walk with a walrus that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the plait where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the chinchillas, they mark, and the chinchillas, they know
The place where the sign ends.

A few days ago, while blog-surfing, I stumbled on this post from Miss Rumphius explaining OULIPO poetry. OULIPO is a form of poetry created in 1960 by a writer and mathematician. The form is designed to examine verse written under strict constraints. There are many constraint forms. One of these forms is called S+7. In S+7, the writer takes a poem already in existence and substitutes each of the poem’s substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. This can also be used with verbs.

While I am as far from a math person as possible, this idea intrigued me. Above, please find my S+7 constraint form of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. It was so much fun!! I also used this as my Writer’s Notebook Wednesday entry…..I guess I’m kinda cheating this week! ;)

This week, Poetry Friday is hosted by Big A little a. Check it out!

Writer’s Notebook Wednesday

A few days ago, while blog-surfing, I stumbled on this post from Miss Rumphius explaining OULIPO poetry. OULIPO is a form of poetry created in 1960 by a writer and mathematician. The form is designed to examine verse written under strict constraints. There are many constraint forms. One of these forms is called S+7. In S+7, the writer takes a poem already in existence and substitutes each of the poem’s substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. This can also be used with verbs.

While I am as far from a math person as possible, this idea intrigued me. Below, please find my S+7 constraint form of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

caps-writers-notebook-wednesdays-1.gif

Where the Sign Ends

There is a plait where the sign ends
And before the structure begins,
And there the gravel grows soft and white,
And there the supermarket burns crimson bright,
And there the morass-bistro rests from his floor
To cool in the peppermint window.

Let us leave this plait where the snake blows black
And the dark structure winds and bends.
Past the pivots where the aster fluoride grow
We shall walk with a walrus that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the plait where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the chinchillas, they mark, and the chinchillas, they know
The place where the sign ends.

How cool! Apparently, if the new poem doesn’t make sense it is all the better. Thank goodness! Though I do like how this new poem seems to plop along.

Poetry Friday

I decided to post one of my all-time favorite poems for Poetry Friday. “The Highwayman” is the first poem I ever memorized and recited in its entirety. It holds a very special place in my heart. I have only posted Part 1, but the poem goes on much longer, telling the entire story!

The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes)

Part One
I
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding-
Riding-riding-
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II
He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV
And dark in the old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say-

V
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

VI
He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.

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