Gifts in the Mail #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Rebecca at Sloth Reads is our hostess this week. She’s got a super review of I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: and Other Nonsense For mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith. I’ve been meaning to get a look at this book, and I’m grateful to Rebecca for lighting a fire under me. It looks terrific!

I’m sure you’ve seen lovely poetry postcards here and there from Jone MacCulloch’s students at Silver Star School in Washington state over the last month or so.  Each year her students lovingly create and send out these works of art during National Poetry Month. April was such a crazy month that I completely forget about signing up. And then these lovely gifts arrived in the mail.


Having just participated in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s National Poetry Month informal study of her wonderful Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann, 2017), it was only fitting that I receive a poem that does just that — teach! Alexis does a lovely job here of teaching me about the importance of the Mandan people’s permanent villages made from individual earthen homes. Alexis whet my appetite for learning more about the Mandan people!


And Sarah D’s fun, amphibious poem was particularly appropriate for me as my focus for Amy’s challenge was vernal pools, which found me writing a poem every day for 30 days about vernal pools and their inhabitants. How fun that this particular poem hopped into my mailbox! Well done, Sarah!

I Love Frogs! (1)

Frogs are fun to write about, aren’t they, Sarah D? This is one of my 30 poems that my Kindergarten scientists have been enjoying. Ribbit!


I hope you’ll join Rebecca and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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I’m Persuaded #SOL18

I had my doubts. Could they do it? Would they get it? My Kindergarten writers have written amazing poetry, how-to-books, imaginative stories, even information books all year. But persuasive writing? How would my writers do tackling problems, real problems?

Perhaps my doubts were really in myself. Could I teach this type of writing unit? It is unfamiliar territory to me. Way out of my comfort zone. It’s not a genre that I have written myself, and writing teachers need to write.

Yesterday we launched. I was ready for the mini lesson. My chart was ready. The paper store was stocked up with poster, letter, poem, petition, and book-making paper, ready for writers to make their choices. And then this happened.


Now I feel guilty that I had my doubts and questioned their abilities, my abilities. Now I know better. Now I know to trust. Trust in them and trust in myself.


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


Patiently Waiting #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! This week’s celebration of all things poetic is over at Jama Rattigan’s always delectable Jama’s Alphabet Soup. She just took a batch of steaming hot blueberry muffins out of the oven. Help yourself!

Ode to Blueberry Muffin

And now for something completely different…

Jama is pining away for her first bluebird sighting. But I, on the other hand, am waiting for my first hummingbird of the season. Have you seen one yet? I captured this particular cutie in the act last July 4th. I’ve heard they have been spotted in the area, so I know they are on the way to my feeder. It’s just a matter of time. And so my tanka.

waiting patiently
waiting patiently
for your first springtime visit
you move swiftly and
silently undiscovered
perhaps you have come and gone

My feeder has been out for one week now, filled with homemade nectar lovingly concocted in my kitchen. Every time I walk past a window or door that affords a view of the front garden where the feeder resides, I sneak a peek hoping, praying to see my darting diminutive friend once again. I know we’ll see one another soon, but the waiting is hard.



I hope you’ll join Jama and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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Kindergarten Joy #SOL18

The sun is shining brightly.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Light breeze blowing.

Recess is happening.

What could be more joyful than the squeals of two Kindergarten girls as they chase a tiny white cabbage butterfly through the newly mown grass?



Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


The Greens of Spring #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Brenda Harsham is hosting this week’s celebration on Friendly Fairy Tales and I’m joining in the fun by jumping in to the not-so-way-back time machine for today’s offerings. I’m resting up a bit from participating in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s amazingly fun “1 Subject 30 Ways” project. Having written 30 poems related to vernal pools over the last month, I’m filling my creative well back up again and luxuriating in daily scribbles in my writer’s notebook with no agenda, no deadline.

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I also had the enormous pleasure of participating in this year’s Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem in April, contributing line 18 to our gorgeously collaborative work, “Poet’s Jasmine, Blooming Lovely.” If you haven’t met our sweet Jas yet, I hope you’ll stop by Live Your Poem, where the project’s organizer, Irene Latham, will continue to care for our young poet.

Spring has finally arrived in the northeast, and I think it’s here to stay. In just one short week filled with intense, unseasonably high temperatures, the world around us has come to life.

Green Tanka

This tanka from last spring feels appropriate for this week. The number of shades of green that appear each spring continues to amaze me.

Copy of Open for the season, cry the robin and red-winged blackbird Flags, banners, and bunting billow in the early spring breeze Earth_s springtime awakening beckons me, my senses No

Is there anything more cheerful then daffodils that greet you in the morning?


I hope you’ll join Brenda and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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89 Days Straight? I’m Exhausted! #SOL18

I can’t believe that…

  • Every day during the month of February I wrote a poem for Laura Shovan’s annual February Daily Poem Project, and commented on most everyone’s poem.
  • Every day during the month of March I sliced during the 2018 Slice of Life Challenge, and commented on anywhere from 3-12 slices daily.
  • Every day during the month of April I wrote a poem for Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “1 Subject 30 Ways” poetry challenge, working my way through her brilliant Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann, 2017).

Yikes! That’s a lot of writing! I’m exhausted, but that means I wrote every day and shared in some way every day for 89 straight days. And I even began writing Morning Pages in my notebook during April and wrote a blog post about writing poetry with children for the TeachWriteChat Blog.

I think I’m going to take a couple of days off until Poetry Friday. Please excuse me because it’s nap time!


Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?


How Many Times #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Oh my! Happy very last day of National Poetry Month and the final day of this poetic challenge. I have been tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she wrote and shared a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, was also a bit of an informal book study and master class, as she’s used her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. For those of you who did not follow along, her posts all month long were a treasure trove of poetic knowledge. Don’t miss them before they disappear on Thursday. Thank you, Amy!

Today’s 30th and final poetic technique chosen by Amy is to use sensory language. In Poems Are Teachers, Amy suggests minimizing, or omitting altogether, visual descriptors, forcing the author (and reader) to rely on their remaining senses. My subject is, and was all month-long, vernal pools. While I adore our local vernal pool, I am equally fond of the walk along the trail to get to it. It is a journey I would gladly take daily if I had the time to do so. For today’s final installment, I have chosen to honor the well trod path that guides me and my Kindergarten naturalists to our beloved vernal pool. I have intentionally not included an image alongside my words, as I so often do, hoping readers will be able to imagine this magical walk we take. Join me!

How Many Times
How many times
Have my feet tread this path
Soft mulch underfoot
Each step
Releasing pine’s soothing perfume
As I make my way
Through the sea of green to you
The dew of an evening past
Gently raining down upon my face
The brook’s familiar murmur
And Bird’s sweet melody 
Guiding my way
Until I am at peace
How many times 
Have my feet tread this path
Never growing tired of 
This journey
Or destination

I hope you’ve been following along the journey of the 2018 KidLitosphere Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. This poem has magically, and quite literally this year, been growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine, a seed, and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine, from a long line of poet’s jasmine, made her way in the world and found her poetic voice. The process has been fascinating to follow and I was excited to dive in for the first time with line eighteen. I hope you will take a peek at Jasmine’s journey by clicking on the blogs in the list below.  Doraine’s final line today was exquisite!


2 Jane at Raincity Librarian
4 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
Jan at bookseedstudio
6 Irene at Live Your Poem
7 Linda at TeacherDance
Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
12 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
13 Linda at A Word Edgewise
15 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Sarah at Sarah Grace Tuttle
18 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
19 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
20 Linda at Write Time
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
28 Kat at Kat’s Whiskers
29 April at Teaching Authors
30 Doraine at Dori Reads


This post is part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.

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