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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Frogs and Jasmine’s Journey #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo #ProgressivePoem

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 and master class, 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 repetition. My subject is, and will be all month long, vernal pools. When thinking about today’s challenge from Amy, my favorite amphibious friends leapt into my brain. The model poem for I Love Frogs! is a favorite repetitive poem in many Kindergarten classrooms — I Love Mud! (author unknown)

I Love Frogs! (1)


And now for the main event…Jasmine’s Journey!

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I hope you’ve been following along the journey of the 2018 KidLit 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, who landed safely, began wrapping her rootlet around a trellis and is beginning to make her way in the world. The process has been fascinating to follow and I am excited to dive in for the first time with a line just past the middle of the month.

Our special assignment given by Heidi, before the first seeds of this poetic, community garden were sown by Liz, was to write down our initial impressions, reactions, and predictions. When I read “Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched,” I had only just finished reading Melissa Stewart’s wonderful new book, A Seed Is The Start, about the seed life cycle. Lots of images were swirling in my head of seeds sleeping, hibernating even, until it is time for their debut. The coating cracks open and roots go down, shoots/stems go up, and the fun begins! I jotted down my wonders on my desktop sticky note and hid them.

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Needless to say I was excited for the journey! And it only got better when I learned of Jasmine’s TRUE identity. Keep reading!

So here goes. My line, the last, is in bold letters.

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she had!
Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

“Moon?” she called across warm honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”
“Come find me,” Moon called, hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in talons’ embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl’s toes, pale
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee’s party!

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
Jas grinned,




a new,

around          tender


a trellis Sky held out to her, made of braided wind and song.
Her green melody line twisted and clung.
Because she was twining poet’s jasmine, she 

I hope Michelle Heidenrich Barnes will forgive me for making Jasmine a hybrid of night-blooming jasmine and poet’s jasmine, because…It’s a thing! Poet’s Jasmine is a thing!

Climbing Jasmines (click here for more)

Twining jasmine vines, such as poet’s or common jasmine, (Jasminum officinale) and evergreen jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) will thrive in sunny or part shade locations, but flower production will be greater in sunny areas. Poet’s jasmine is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. It is deciduous in colder regions and semi-evergreen in warmer areas. Poet’s jasmine climbs to 10 or 20 feet and is prized for its fragrant white flowers. Evergreen or pink jasmine, grows well in USDA zones 8 through 11, climbing quickly 20 feet on a trellis, arbor or fence to provide a good screen. Grow these climbing jasmines in part shade if your primary purpose is to block unsightly views.

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Tag! You’re it, Michelle Kogan! Take good care of our Jas. Isn’t she lovely? And she comes from a long line (dare I say vine?) of poets! Perhaps you’ll paint her portrait some day. You are just the artist for the job!

I hope you will follow Jasmine’s journey for the remainder of our Progressive Poem month by clicking on the blogs in the list below.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!


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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