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Grand Slam

16 Apr

I wish I could be in kid in Mr. Ward’s poetry class. He is a teacher in Nikki Grimes’  Between the Lines, known for his open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam.

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Publisher’s Summary: Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell—whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.

The novel in verse is narrated in multiple voices that alternate with Darrian’s. There are some tough issues in the book  but nothing, that would keep it out of my 6th grade classroom. It is definitely written for kids as there is a feel good ending and lots of hope for this group of high school kids.

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Out of the Frying Pan….#SOL15

31 Mar

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The end of the Slice of Life Challenge means that NaPoWriMo is about to begin.

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NaPoWriMo,National Poetry Writing Month,  is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. My Literacy differentiation group actually started today, since we only meet on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Th kids groaned when I told them about NaPoWriMo. We talked about what poetry is and how you get to bend the rules sometimes. I showed them my previous NaPoWriMo journals, but refused to read anything out of it yet. I gave them their NaPoWriMo journal (just a cover page on a bunch of folded pages) and their first prompt: write a poem with a lie.

They knew they had to take some time to quietly think, then write. It took them a bit to get settled, but I could tell when it happened, when the grumblers had turned into poets.

When they seemed to be getting restless again I announced it was time to share. They knew that sharing would be optional but that I would share my writing. I just wouldn’t share it before they started. I read my poem from today:

I didn’t take your toy.

OK, I touched your toy, but I didn’t take it.

Maybe I took your toy, but I didn’t play with it.

So, I played with it a little, but I didn’t have fun.

It was sort of fun, but I wasn’t rough.

I guess I might have been a bit rough, but I certainly didn’t break your toy.

Honestly!

The kids laughed and a few volunteered. I read my poem form last year, and then almost everyone volunteered.

By the end, I think I had them all convinced it wouldn’t be too bad a month.

Poetry in Motion

3 Apr

Are you old enough to remember the Gnomemoblile? It was a Disney movie from 1967.

It probably wouldn’t hold water with a lot of kids these days. But for kids who like cars, J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian have a cool collection  of crazy car poem ins Poem-Mobiles, creatively illustrated by Jeremy Holmes.

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Full of humor and wild adventure, the book takes readers on a road trip through a fantastical world in which cars can be made out of anything. The budding environmentalist might be interested in the Eel-ectric Car, “a battery-powered automobeeeeeeeeeel!”

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A busy person, who is not shy, might love to ride in the Bathtub Car. I would rather not, but it is funny to think about.

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I’m celebrating NaPoWriMo (National poetry Writing Month) with my Literacy Differentiation group. Each day we meet, we are writing a new poem. I think I will bring this book into class, share some ideas and then turn the kids loose to see what cool cars they can create.

 

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