Blue Jay Poetry Part II #PoetryFriday

Last Friday, I shared the original poem, Blue Jay, that my Kindergarten poets and I crafted together, as well as our process. (Click here if you’d like a refresher.) Many of you asked if I would share some of their artwork once the poem was the official “poem of the week.” Well here they are!

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Poetry pal Irene at Live Your Poem is our host today for Poetry Friday. She has 13 fun and interesting connections to the number 13 for us on this Friday the 13th. Won’t you join us?

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Blue Jay: A first poem is born on #PoetryFriday

My Kindergarten poets are excited to share their first poem that hatched this year with the world! It was a fun adventure, combining our love of poetry with developing research skills and addressing science content knowledge.

IMG_7771The poem we were studying this week was Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Every Day Birds. In Kindergarten we love our poems short and sweet so we are able to memorize them or read them ourselves. For our study we focused in on just the first stanza.


Blue jays are one of our every day birds in Room 1. Many of them visit the feeder outside our classroom window and they are certainly loud and bold!


We wanted to learn more about Blue jays, other than the fact that they are loud, blue, and a bit intimidating to smaller birds that also like to visit us. We did a bit of research on PebbleGo, one of our favorite kid-friendly databases that our school subscribes to.


First we came up with a list of body parts or key identifying features. Next we added words explaining their role or importance to Blue jays.


Here’s where the poetry midwifery, as Amy herself once referred to it in a conversation, comes into play. The teachers pointed out a pattern that they noticed — identification, movement, eating. We proposed a few line swaps, and…



TAH DAH! Kindergarten poetry magic. As you can imagine, our poets are proud as, well, Blue jays! They are looking forward to illustrating their personal copies of the poem which will go into their poetry folders. They can’t believe their work will be sitting right next to Amy’s!


Violet, who is thinking about pumpkins today, is our host today for Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us? 

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My teacher is a poet! #PoetryFriday

During the first six weeks of school every year, classrooms all over the world work hard to build a sense of community. In elementary schools we do this by playing name games, turning and talking with a partner, and sharing similarities and differences. We learn about each others’ favorite colors, foods, books, fears, wonders, and hobbies. My Kindergarten students already know I love to read poetry. I began reading poetry to my class on the first day of school, and will continue to do so daily throughout the year. Not just during a poetry unit or during National Poetry Month in April, but each and every day. This week I revealed another side of me: that I write poetry, too!


After taking our first monthly walk to the vernal pool in the woods behind our school on Monday, I shared what would be the poem we’d study all week long — Today I Took a Walk. Posted on chart paper in our meeting area, it didn’t take long for one of my already-reading Kindergarteners to say, “Hey! You wrote that poem! It says “Christie Wyman” at the bottom where the author’s name always goes! That’s you!” They were astonished, gobsmacked, dumbfounded! This then lead to a wonderful discussion about how and why I write poetry. I shared that I keep a notebook of ideas, observations, and wonders. I shared that sometimes I write poetry about what’s in my notebook, but other times I just want to learn more about something like birds,  frogs, trees and fossils.

All of this got me thinking that it’s important for our students to see us as human. They need to know that we are curious and we explore. That we take risks and we struggle. While not everyone writes poetry, most of us have something that we are passionate about or that we mess around with from time to time. It might gardening, hiking, baking, or some other creative outlet.


If you are a teacher, what could you share with your students about you that might surprise them? Help them see you in a new light? How could you show them that you are curious, that you take risks, that you never stop learning?


Laura at Writing the World for Kids is our host today for Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us?

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Fairies For #PoetryFriday


Do you believe in fairies? I do, and they’ve flitted in and out of my thoughts often lately. On a recent walk, we came upon these fungi, and they are always a sign to me that fairies are present.

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Ever since I learned of the Cottingley Fairies and the mysterious photos taken of them (perhaps!) years ago, I’ve been obsessed! The 1997 movie Fairy Tale: A True Story provided me with the back story. If you have not see in, do! During a recent visit to MOMA in NY, there they were again in an exhibit of faked photos. Now I am reading Hazel Gaynor’s truly magical The Cottingley Secret: A Novel, which embeds the fantastical tale within a fresh, modern story. All of this has me revisiting these winged friends.

In her book, Gaynor refers to a poem, “A Spell for a Fairy”, by Alfred Noyes. I managed to track it down, after a bit of surfing.

A Spell

by Alfred Noyes
(An Excellent Way to get a Fairy)

Gather, first, in your left hand
(This must be at fall of day)
Forty grains of wild sea-sand
Where you think a mermaid lay.
I have heard that it is best
If you gather it, warm and sweet,
Out of the dint of her left breast
Where you see her heart has beat. (for more, click here…)

To learn more about Alfred Noyes, and to explore his poetry, click here.

I tried a sequence of haiku inspired by my ethereal friends.

Come Hither Fairies



Our dear friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who is celebrating the launch of her latest poetry collection this week, Read! Read! Read!, is our hostess-with-the-mostess this week. Join the celebration down on her magical farm, The Poem Farm, that is.

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In Poetry Love with #Read!Read!Read! on #PoetryFriday


Have you ever been head-over-heels in love with a poem? There’s just something about it that you connect to? I am completely enamored with Reading from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new poetry collection, Read! Read! Read! As a Kindergarten teacher, I have 20 young beginning readers and writers who are trying to make sense of the magical secret alphabetic code. Amy’s delightful poem (the whole book, to be perfectly honest!) honors this most joyful of times in a young reader and writer’s life.

Here’s the text of Amy’s poem:



make letters.


make words.


make stories

that fly like birds

from pages

in your book

to branches

in your brain

where they sing

into your soul

like soothing

summer rain.

— Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Read Read Read

And don’t miss Irene Latham’s lovely post today on Live Your Poem, because she has more about Read! Read! Read! and an interview with Amy.


Michelle from Today’s Little Ditty is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love!

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New Kindergarten Poets #PoetryFriday

Last Friday I shared the poem I would be using to kick off a new year of poetry love in my Kindergarten class — Back to School. (Click here to read that post.) My young poets have been with me now for just three days and they have fully embraced our Poem of the Week routine, as well as their Poetry Folders. When asked what a poem was, one young lady shared that it was “like a very small story” and a young gentleman shared that “they rhyme a lot!” A very small story, indeed, and while we will be reading lots of rhyming poetry, we will certainly be reading and writing lots of non-rhyming poetry as well.


When we study a poem written by someone else, we spend time talking about how it makes us feel, and what we see in our heads when we listen to the words. Here is just a sampling of what we envision for Back to School.

P.S. Remember the young lady who said a poem was like a very small story? At the end of the day today when asked in front of the class what her favorite thing we did all week was, she said learning a poem and having a special place to put it. When I announced there would be a new poem to study on Monday her face lit up. I think we are going to get along pretty well!


Matt, our poetry pal from Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love! He certainly has lots of exciting news to share with all of us. Congratulations, Matt, on your successful book launch!Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM

Back to School #PoetryFriday

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Happy September! I am putting the finishing touches on my Kindergarten classroom today, in anticipation of the arrival of my new students on Tuesday.  Our first poem of the year, I believe, sums up the enthusiasm for which we embrace a new year of wondering and learning together here in Room 1.

Summer is over, fall is here.

Back to school for a brand new year!

Pack your things, on the bus you go.

Make new friends and say hello!

Reading, writing, learning more, 

Than you ever did before!

Adding numbers…1,2,3.

So much to do and learn and see!

I’m so glad to meet everyone.

Get ready for a year of fun!

— Candace Quester


Our poetry pal from down under, Kat at Kat’s Whiskers, is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday. Why not join us there and spread some poetry love!

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