Hungry Heron #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry, everyone! File this under better late than never.

Good evening from gorgeous (or gorges, as they case may be!) Ithaca, New York. This week I am participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s annual BirdSleuth educator retreat. 50 teachers from across the US have gathered together for four intense days of learning about Citizen Science work from a handful of educators and scientists from the Lab’s 250+ member team.

DSC_0015The setting for the retreat is the Lab’s stunning property in Sapsucker Woods. Some of you may be familiar with the property from watching two of the Labs many web cams, Sapsucker Woods Feeder and Pond Cams. The visitor’s center wing of the Lab, where our retreat is located, looks out upon a large lily pad-covered pond, and yesterday we were greeted upon our arrival by a majestic blue heron. She (or he) stood for the entire morning in the same spot, occasionally dipping her beak down below the pond’s surface for a bite to eat. During one of our late morning breaks, I took a walk over to one of the many lookouts on the banks of the pond for a closer look.

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When I reached the lookout, a gorgeous heron sculpture greeted me. Art imitates life, or is life imitating art? In any case the heron inspired two playful poetic offerings.

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heron stands watching

waiting patiently until

breakfast is ready

— Christie Wyman, 2018

breakfast is served

on nature’s best lily pad plates

to Sapsucker’s hungry residents

— Christie Wyman, 2018

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Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe is hosting this week’s roundup, and she’s got some great ideas to share from her time at Chicago’s Summer Poetry Teacher’s Institute. Join us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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Butterfly Dances #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday the 13th, everyone! Sylvia Vardell at Poetry For Children is our gracious hostess this fine Friday. Don’t miss her exciting news about the latest addition to the Poetry Friday Anthology series, Great Morning! Poetry for School Leaders to Read Aloud. I can’t wait to gift a copy to my principal for use during our new all-school Morning Mindful Moments and school meetings. So many of our Poetry Friday friends are featured in this collection. Bravo!

My poetic muse up and left me during the final weeks of the school year, but she’s back! She flittered and fluttered her way back into my psyche as I watered one of my garden beds the other morning. I planted milkweed seeds back in the spring in hopes of attracting monarchs, and had completely forgotten about them until I returned from a week’s vacation. Not only were the milkweeds there, but the visitors I’d been hoping for had arrived. Bee balm is also on their menu, too.

The seeds for this tanka came to me as I watched this beauty dance in celebration of summer’s bountiful pollinator feast. Now I’m on egg watch!

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butterfly dances joyfully from stem to stem gathering nectar from midsummer’s bright blossoms if you plant it they will come

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

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Swap treasures in the mail! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! I’m back after a bit of a hiatus while the school year finished up. Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is our hostess this week, and she’s showcasing some sweet summer souvenirs!

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On the very first morning of my summer vacation from school, our mail carrier delivered a delightful package from poetry swap-mate Brenda Harsham, who blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. It was bursting with color, ladybugs, and a friendship theme. What a way to begin the season!

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the best friends appear when you need them like ladybugs — Brenda Harsham

I adore ladybugs (how did she know?), so I will treasure her creative offering. I also chuckled when I saw Brenda’s return address on the envelope and realized we live SO CLOSE to one another and I know exactly where she lives! Let’s meet some day, Brenda!

And then, a few days later, this arrived.

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The True Definition of Vernal Pool
Vernal pools, could just as easily be called poke puddles, observation opportunities or wonders water. These pools typically fill when kindergarteners are indoors missing the outdoors due to seasonal weather. If you’re fortunate, Mrs. Wyman will bridge the gap between vernal pools and lessons with jackets, boots, journals, pencils and a wander plan. Hands will get muddy, wonders will arise, research will begin. Poems about frogs, leaves crustaceans and life cycles will be written. These pools will continue to lure insiders out-of-doors whenever there are learners near a Massachusetts woods and Mrs. Wyman to lead them. — Linda Mitchell

Wow. I’m not going to lie. This left me in a puddle of the-school-year-just-ended-and-I’m-a-bit-of-an-emotional-wreck tears. Some of you know of my fondness for vernal pools. Ok. Let’s be honest. It’s an obsession! I write about them often, in both poetry and prose. Linda Mitchell (we ARE going to meet IRL one day, Linda!), who blogs at A Word Edgewise, followed along faithfully during the month of April, as I wrote a poem a day about vernal pools as part of poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s 1 Subject 30 Ways challenge. My journey began here.  Linda had never heard of vernal pools and…well… “poems are teachers,” as Amy’s book is so aptly titled. Now Linda knows all about them! And her card will be treasured along with Brenda’s.

Many thanks to Tabatha Yeatts, who brilliantly coordinated this summer poetry swap!

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

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Spring is Here! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog is our hostess this week serving up some springtime poetry goodness.

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My Kindergarten poets are back to share this Poetry Friday post with me. They’ve been busily writing spring poetry and it’s amazing for me to see how independent they’ve become as writers this year. It just goes to show if you give them time, space, and inspiration, anything is possible! Our officially adopted writing curriculum doesn’t include poetry, but that doesn’t stop us from writing outside the boundaries of Writer’s Workshop. We write whenever we can — Literacy Workshop, Science Workshop, Genius Hour, you name it!

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My writers are so independent at this point that I was able to sit down for a few minutes and scribble a bit myself. They love watching me and the other adults who might happen to be in the classroom at the time sitting and putting pen to paper. They watch for a while, smile, and then return to their work.

Today I am sharing just a few samples of what we will be submitting to Carol Varsalona for her Sense-sational Spring Gallery. Here’s the invitation she shared with all of us. Won’t you join in with us?

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

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Photo and Poetry Exchange #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Margaret at Reflections on the Teche is our hostess this week. Last month she invited us to participate in her “More than Meets the Eye” photo exchange. Participants were asked to send a photograph from their own geographic area to their exchange partner and in return their partner would write a poem about it.  Today’s the day! (Click here to read her call for participants.)

Glacier

I was partnered up with my Kindergarten soul mate, Dani Burtsfield. She sent me a stunning photo taken in Glacier National Park. Here’s the message that accompanied it. “After perusing many of my photos, I have found one I think will be fun for you. It was taken in Glacier National Park in the heart of a very cold winter. What looks like a pile of dirt there alongside the riverbank is a beaver lodge. I have been going to Glacier Park for many years, and often took students there in the winter for a day of snowshoeing. Ever since 2006 when I started, the beaver lodge has remained there. We have yet to witness the busy beavers coming in and out of their lodge, but the rangers assure us it is a busy home to many!”

So much catches my eye in this photo. Those majestic mountain peaks! The striking colors. The contrast of the brown of the deciduous trees against the evergreens’ steady green hue. I feel a chill from the snow and icy-cold water, yet the bright blue sky warms my heart. And I can only imagine the activity in the beaver lodge nestled under its blanket of snow. I have never been to Glacier, but it is on my Bucket List, along with many of our glorious national parks. It was fun researching online a bit to learn which flora and fauna make their home in the park, and I wondered if any Native American tribes still had a presence in the area, or if they had all been relocated to reservations nearby.

There is a place

I love the suggested symmetry of the reflection in the water below of what rises above. That was the inspiration for my shape poem. In addition, I wanted to include a cautionary closing. In the mid-19th century, 150 glaciers existed in the park. By 2010, only 25 active glaciers remained. Sadly, climate scientists have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist. There’s a message there for all of us.

WaldenPond

In return, I sent Dani a photo I took at nearby Walden Pond last summer. I love walking in Thoreau’s footsteps and am always inspired to scribble in my writer’s notebook while I am there. I can not wait to see her poem! I hope you’ll visit her at Doing the Work That Matters.

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

UPDATE AS OF SATURDAY 5/12 at 12:27PM — HE CAME!!!

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

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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?

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

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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
Calm 
Still
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!

April

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

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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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Metaphor #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Greetings from NY’s gorgeous Hudson Valley, where I’m on a mini road trip. 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 to use a metaphor. My subject is, and will be all month-long, vernal pools. In yesterday’s list poem, I referred to vernal pools, a type of wetland habitat, as a biological supermarket. The number of animal species who find nourishment in this smorgasbord of an ecosystem is astounding! I wish I could take credit for that wonderful metaphor, but alas, I cannot. I also wish I could remember where I stumbled upon this clever phrase in my research on the subject over the last few years. It seemed the perfect anchor for a freestyle haiku.

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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, began is beginning to make her way in the world and find 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 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!

April

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

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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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