Tricube Challenge #PoetryFriday

While April and National Poetry Month have ended, along with my #AvianAllusions project, I find myself still writing about my feathered friends. This may be in part because my remote Kindergarten poet/naturalists have embarked on an eight-week-long study of our backyard birds, guided by our mentor text, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Every Day Birds.

We are learning Amy’s book-length poem one stanza at a time, and doing a deep dive into the “every day” birds mentioned in that week’s stanza. This week we are all about Chickadees, Blue Jays, Nuthatches, and Goldfinch. Here are a few of their poem responses.

I also decided to take up Matt Forrest Esenwine’s tricube challenge. You can read all about that here, but essentially it’s a poem with 3 stanzas, each with 3 lines, and each line having 3 syllables. Here’s our tricube crafted out of the observations my young ornithologists made as we observed Cornell Lab’s FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods, which we do each and every morning all year long. With a little poetic midwifery magic, here it is.

Image: Cornell Lab of Ornithology FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods

And lastly, I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives (or if you are!), I’d love to have them join us! To learn more, click here.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Bridget, for inviting us to join her on this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her blog, Wee Words for Wee Ones. Thanks for hosting, Bridget!


Great Meadows #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #PoetryFriday

Thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday roundup, the second roundup of National Poetry Month! I can’t wait to see what Amy (and her little mouse friend) do with the words life, across, and curse. Here’s what’s happening in my neck of the poetry woods today.

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Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #10: Great Meadows

Great Meadows

A peek at my process

On April 10, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Down river to half a mile below
Carlisle Bridge, the river being high, yet not high for the spring. Saw and heard the white-bellied swallows this morning for the first time. Took boat at Stedman Buttrick’s, a gunner’s boat, smelling of muskrats and provided with slats for bushing the boat. Having got into the Great Meadows, after grounding once or twice on low spits of grass ground, we begin to see ducks which we have scared, flying low over the water, always with
a striking parallelism in the direction of their flight.” (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. April, 1852, p. 394)

Today’s concrete poem, which mirrors the image of the trees and their reflection in the water, is about a place that is very special to me and my husband, and apparently HDT — Great Meadows. Henry visited what is now the Concord Unit of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge often both on foot and via canoe. You can find us there on sunny Sunday afternoons walking the woodland and riverside trails (Henry’s canoe view), and the manmade dike trail that spans the wetlands, separating it into two pools. At times the birdsong — mostly red-wing blackbirds — is cacophonous but lovely. And it is always a bonus when a great blue heron or two are nestled among the cattails fishing for a snack.

And now for…

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Last week, members of the Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Matt Forrest Esenwine takes over today, again offering a line choice for the next host. You can find Matt’s line options on his blog, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth,
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
Michelle Kogan

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offers up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!

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Thankful #SOLC20 #SOL20 #PoetryFriday

Happy second Friday of the 2020 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers AND Poetry Friday, all! Today I’m slicing up a bit of poetry. Children’s poet and author Matt Forrest Esenwine is hosting this week’s gathering on his blog, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme.  Won’t you join us there? Slicing poetry on Fridays during the SOLC is a great way to flex those writing muscles. If you are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

Today was our first of two professional development days dedicated to preparing for online learning which begins in our district next Thursday. We have been closed since dismissal on Wednesday, and we’ve been cashing in our snow days to see us through as we boldly go where few teachers have gone before. Today I find myself thankful.



Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. 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 and every day during the month of March. And thanks to Matt for hosting this poetic side of this week’s double celebration! Happy Friday, all, and be well.



Open for the season #SOLC19 #PoetryFriday

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the final Friday of the 2019 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers AND it’s Poetry Friday. I’m slicing up a bit of cheerful, hope-filled poetry this gloomy Friday in New England. Carol is hosting this week’s PF gathering on her blog, Carol’s Corner. Slicers — Won’t you join us there as well? Links to all this week’s poetry posts can be found here.

In her post today, Carol offers up a daffodilled poem by Ralph Fletcher, who serves as a writing teacher mentor to so many of us. This blast of spring nudged me to revisit, retool, renew, and refresh one of the first poems I ever wrote. It was originally inspired, and continues to be, by the daffodils in my garden which are beginning to poke their heads up through the crusty late winter soil.

Open for the season (1)

Slicing small moment-inspired poetry on Tuesday’s during National Poetry Month in April is a great way to flex those writing muscles. And, if you are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

And introducing….

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem.png

On Monday members of the Poetry Friday family (some of whom are SOLC writers you will recognize) will be launching the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. (Click here to learn more.) Many of us have signed up to provide a line for the 2019 poem. Author/poet Matt Forrest Esenwine kicks things off on Monday. I’m excited to provide the 14th line on Sunday, April 14th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! We have no idea what the poem is about yet, so stay tuned! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

2 Kat @Kathryn Apel

3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

4 Jone @DeoWriter

5 Linda @TeacherDance

6 Tara @Going to Walden

7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown

8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading

9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog

10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem

11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters

12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine @Dori Reads

14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering

15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink

17 Amy @The Poem Farm

18 Linda @A Word Edgewise

19 Heidi @my juicy little universe

20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog

21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan

22 Catherine @Reading to the Core

23 Penny @a penny and her jots

24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @Write Time

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write