“Some may wonder why,” a golden shovel, and a challenge reminder #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone is our lovely hostess this week. I had the great good fortune to meet Molly IRL, as they say, a couple of weeks ago at Heinemann’s annual teacher tour in Portsmouth, NH. Molly and I have been chatting through comments here on PF, on our Tuesday Slices, and in the TeachWrite Facebook community for some time. It was fun to finally meet face to face, albeit for just a short time…this time!

Molly has been crafting the most gorgeous sonnet for some time now, and it’s finally ready for it’s debut. Don’t miss it! You’ll be swept away by The Solace of the Ocean.

One of my goals for the summer was to try different types of writing (tipping my hat to you, Jennifer Laffin!), including new poetry forms. A golden shovel was on my hit list — taking a line from someone else’s poem and then using each word in that line as the last word of each line of the new poem. But which poem to borrow a line from?

I’ve been talking a lot about notebooks this summer with the goddess of writing notebooks, Michelle Haseltine, the TeachWrite community, and on other social media venues, so notebooks it is! Who better to borrow from then Ralph Fletcher, one of the pied pipers of the students-using-writing-notebooks community. His poem, It’s a Place, was the perfect fit. (Click the link to read his original text.)

So here it is, my first golden shovel, borrowing from Ralph’s first line, “Why am I keeping this notebook.”

Some may wonder why (Golden Shovel)
Some may wonder why
But its who I am
Whiling away the hours, my pen and I
Words sounds, feelings, oddities, life, stored away for safe keeping
Ready and waiting for a time such as this
To be quarried like gemstones from my notebook

Poetry challenge reminder: I’m hosting Poetry Friday next week, on August 17. I threw a bird-related poem challenge out last week to anyone willing to fly along. Your poem can be about any bird you like, or birds in general. It can be in any form you like. Just wing it! If you are stumped, take a look at all the bird-related wonders on Wonderopolis.org. Choose one and create a “found” poem by highlighting key words, or why not try a “blackout poem,” crossing out/covering up unused words.


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

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Wonders of Science #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

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!

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Today’s poetic technique chosen by Amy is to be inspired by science. My subject is, and will be all month-long, vernal pools. The inspiration for today’s poem came straight from the “Find Ideas in Science” section of Amy’s book. A resource she suggests are the “Wonder of the Day” articles on Wonderopolis.org. Last year my Kindergarten class and I submitted a wonder to Wonderopolis and this winter it was published — Wonder of the Day #2105: What Is a Vernal Pool? (Click here to read more.)

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fairy shrimp, rare flowers
survive harshest conditions
find homes in vernal pools
wetlands, grassland areas
climatic conditions
vernal ponds
ephemeral pools
rains arrive
small as small puddles
large as shallow lake
bacteria, protozoa, algae
multiply rapidly
food source
aquatic invertebrates
eggs resting, waiting
all-you-can-eat buffet
frogs, snakes, birds, mammals
species grow
bursts of color
reawaken when winter rains return
amazing adaptations

Using the text from this WOTD, I created a blackout poem, highlighting the text I wished to keep and slightly blacking out what I did not wish to use. As is true with all of my poems for this challenge, it remains a draft that I will return to. For now, the visual image of the final text appeals to me. It somehow reflects the ebb and flow of the vernal pool life cycle.

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!


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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I found it in the vernal pool! #SOLC18 #PoetryFriday

Time for one final Slice of Life and Poetry Friday mashup for 2018! This post also serves as a bit of a warmup for National Poetry Month, which launches on Sunday. The annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge is organized by Two Writing Teachers. And this week, Heidi Mordhurst is hosting Poetry Friday over at My Juicy Little Universe. I hope you’ll stop by there as well and learn about this year’s Progressive Poem, lovingly begun in 2012 by Irene Latham. It will magically be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. It’s fascinating and this year I’m diving in for the first time with a line right in the middle of the month — April 18th. Stay tuned and check in on Sunday to see how Elizabeth Steinglass kicks things off.

First up, a poem found in the text of an article about vernal pools in Mass Audubon’s spring issue of “Explore.” Vernal pools are very much on my mind today as it is 50 degrees early in the morning and raining just west of Boston. These are ideal conditions for amphibians to breed in local vernal pools. As some of you know, because I write about it frequently (sorry!), our science curriculum in Kindergarten in my district focuses on several natural communities abutting our school property — the vernal pool community and the organic farm community, with its farm stand and chicken coop. We begin teaching our Kindergarten scientists about the vernal pool community on the first day of school, but at that point, most of its inhabitants have moved on. In fact, the vernal pool is often no longer there when we take the first of our monthly walks. We patiently wait throughout the long New England winter for things to change, and they finally have. This magical forest community is coming to life once again.

Vernal Pools
Waiting for spring
Spectacular, natural
Vernal pool season
Symphony of calls
Temporary, isolated
Spring rain
Woodland hollows, low meadows
Breeding habitat
Warming spring days
First soaking rain
Big Night
Chorus of wood frogs quacking
Tiny fairy shrimp eggs survive
Spotted salamanders congress
Spring peepers sharp, peeping calls

You can read the original text here. And to listen to a majestic chorus of wood frogs, click here.

And my second offering for the day is an acrostic tribute to the Slice of Life Challenge, which sadly wraps up tomorrow with our final posts. It’s tough going at times, but I wouldn’t give up participating in this community for anything.

Slice of Life Acrostic

To learn more about acrostic poems, and perhaps share with your students during National Poetry Month, check out Wonderopolis’ “Wonder of the Day” #169: What Is an Acrostic Poem?


If you want to take a peek at the Padlet of writing ideas I’ve created, I’m happy to share. It grows every day.



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