A Hat Trick of Poems and a BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! Giveaway #PoetryFriday #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019

I am leaping into Poetry Friday this week for several reasons, most importantly because my cyberspace friend Catherine Flynn of Reading to the Core (honestly, when are we going to meet IRL, Catherine?) is hosting this week’s gathering.  Won’t you join us there? I’m bringing a hat trick of poems to the celebration.

Catherine threw out an International Women’s Day poetry challenge to everyone a few week ago. I love a challenge, so I turned to Wonderopolis (as one does) for a bit of text to craft a blackout poem with. I found Wonder of the Day #401: What is Suffrage? and uncovered this blackout/list poem.

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If you are teaching students how to write blackout poetry, Wonderopolis is a great text source!


Next, and the reason why I am leaping is that the amazing Georgia Heard’s new collection of poetry for children, BOOM! BELOW! BLEAT! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices (WordSong/Boyds Mills Press) is about to celebrate its book birthday and I am not waiting until March 12 to talk about it. My Kindergarteners and I have been having a blast reading these fun poems together. I’m joining Georgia today for a celebration of #FrogFriday!


While many members of the animal kingdom are represented in the book, our hands-down favorites are the frog poems. Many of you know that in my district we study our campus vernal pool and the frogs that make their home there. I love taking my students out to the pool in the late winter when the spring peepers begin to let us know spring is on the way. We want to see them SO BADLY, but can only hear them. I’m pretty sure Georgia wrote “You Can’t See Us, but You Can Hear Us” just for us. Thanks, Georgia!


Aaron DeWitt’s gorgeous artwork does a great job filling us in as to what we are missing visually in the forest. I think we are going to have to add a performance of this to our spring celebration for parents. Don’t you?


And “We Don’t Say Ribbit!” is proof positive that poems are teachers. Frogs and toads most definitely don’t say Ribbit!


We love the back and forth dialogue between our amphibious friends in this poem. Another gem!

And now for the best news! Our good friends at WordSong/Boyds Mills Press have generously donated a copy of the book to give away to one lucky Poetry Friday reader. To enter, just leave me a comment referencing BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! I’ll let you know if you are the lucky winner! Thanks, Boyds Mills!

March Thaw (2)

And lastly, to close out the hat trick, changes are starting to happen outdoors and in my classroom, and I suspect other classrooms, too.  I love this time of year!


Thanks to Catherine for hosting this week’s celebration! Happy Poetry Friday, all!



Where I’m From #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Catherine at Reading to the Core is our hostess this week. She has a wonderful preview of the latest in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s Poetry Friday Anthology series, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud. I, for one, can’t wait to see this collection IRL and share with my principal. This will be the first year we have Morning Announcements and I think a copy will make the perfect gift for her. Don’t you? Congratulations to Catherine, who also has a poem in the book, “Walking for a Cause.” Hooray!

During the summer months, many educators are reading Sara K. Ahmed’s brilliant book Being The Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension (Heinemann, 2018). In her chapter “Exploring Our Identities,” Sara suggests having students craft their own “Where I’m From” poems, featuring details about their identity. This idea originally stemmed from George Ella Lyon’s poem “Where I’m From.” (You can read more about Lyon’s original poetry challenge here.) What a wonderful exercise for students to focus in on what has been meaningful to them in their lives, and has helped shape their identity.

I’ve been playing around with this challenge all summer, digging deep into the memories of my childhood. There are so many! Which to use? These are the handful that rose to the top of the heap.

I_m from
I’m from
Bleacher seats in Fenway Park
Scribbling box scores
On my father’s knee
Sandcastles carefully crafted
On the beaches of
Peaks Island and Dennis
The backseat of an unairconditioned blue 60s Chevy
Crayons melting in the back window
Chugging from coast to coast
On an adventure filled with memories to last a lifetime
I’m from the bottom of a tin bucket filling up
Kerplink kerplunk
With lowbush blueberries
Coated in salty Boothbay air
Drifting across the gut
That secret opening in the woods
Along Stony Brook
Where moss is damp and cool on a hot summer day
And the hope of fairy spotting lives on
A classroom in the basement
Teaching stuffed animals and anyone who’d listen
Rehearsing for today, tomorrow
I’m from roots sunk deep
In Scottish peat
Slathered in haggis and thick cut orange marmalade
A wee dram for good measure

If you’ve tried a “Where I’m From,” I’d love to hear about your journey!



Thanks for visiting and join us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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