Beware! Take care! #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Happy National Poetry Month! This month I am 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 is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!

Today’s poetic technique chosen by Amy is a word or brief phrase end. My subject is, and will be all month long, vernal pools. The idea for today’s poem originated from a desire to give salamanders some air time. Frogs need to share the spotlight with these very shy creatures.


My Kindergarten naturalists loved meeting Spotty up close on Wednesday when our biologist-in-residence, Emilie, met us at our vernal pool. We talked about the spots serving as a warning to predators and that they have a toxic substance in their bodies that is distasteful to those who decide to try them for a snack. This led me to collect other examples of vernal pool inhabitant defense mechanisms, and Beware was born.

Beware Take Care
Take care
Eft’s neon warning
Daphnia’s shape shifting
Green frog’s alarm-call yelp
Spring peeper’s aggressive trill
Snapping turtle’s serrated shell and saw-toothed tail
Four-toed salamander’s disconcerting dancing disconnected tail
Predaceous diving beetle’s piercing mandible
Water snake’s merciless and painful bite
Salamander’s noxious skin secretion
Dragonfly’s airborne assault

How seriously cool is it that four-toed salamanders can disconnect their tail and that it keeps moving? Disconcerting to say the least!

I also hope you will stop by Live Your Poem daily to follow along the journey of the 2018 KidLit Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. The poem will magically, and quite literally this year, be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine has taken off on a journey with Owl by the light of the moon. The process is fascinating and this year I am diving in for the first time with a line right in the middle of the month — April 18th.


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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4 thoughts on “Beware! Take care! #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

  1. I am loving learning all of these things about your vernal pool, Christie. And these small creatures have so very many ways of defending themselves. Your collection is wonderful – are you putting them into a book for your students? xx

    Liked by 1 person

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