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Listening to voices

30 Apr

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month. I’ve been doing NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) with the students in my elective class, and we will keep going a while longer, since I only get to see them every other day.

I don’t often just sit and read a poetry collection – I am more likely to read a novel in verse – but I have been reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners at school during independent reading time. The collection has given me hope and inspiration.

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Publisher’s Summary:Acclaimed and award-winning poet, teacher, and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye’s uncommon and unforgettable voice offers readers peace, humor, inspiration, and solace. This volume of almost one hundred original poems is a stunning and engaging tribute to the diverse voices past and present that comfort us, compel us, lead us, and give us hope.

Voices in the Air is a collection of almost one hundred original poems written by the award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye in honor of the artists, writers, poets, historical figures, ordinary people, and diverse luminaries from past and present who have inspired her. Full of words of encouragement, solace, and hope, this collection offers a message of peace and empathy.

Voices in the Air celebrates the inspirational people who strengthen and motivate us to create, to open our hearts, and to live rewarding and graceful lives. With short informational bios about the influential figures behind each poem, and a transcendent introduction by the poet, this is a collection to cherish, read again and again, and share with others

Backmatter includes biographies of all the people mentioned in her poems.

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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.

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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