Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

Out of the Frying Pan….#SOL15

31 Mar


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


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.


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.

A Good Time Was Had By All

27 Apr

Every year the Oregon Association of School Libraries holds a big Fall conference. And every Spring, each region hosts a small conference. Fortunately for me, as the region 1 rep, I get the pair up with the region 4 rep to plan this conference. We decided on a poetry theme, since the one day event would take place at the end of April,national Poetry Month. Then came the scramble for presenters. I think we did a great job and ended up with a fun & informative day for people, who have some really great ideas to take back to their buildings.

First up was Nancy Sullivan, librarian at Madison High School in Portland. She shared her experience with poetry slams, which started small 10 years ago and has now gone city-wide with Verselandia.


Tickets to this event, which is this Tuesday, April 29th,  are only $10! You can buy them HERE! I already have my ticket. Maybe I’ll see you there.

We followed Nancy;s presentation with on e by Deborah Vaughn, who is the Oregon coordinator for Poetry Out Louda contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. 


Although the official contest is designed for high school students,we all went away with ideas on how to make poetry recitation work at any level.

I was the last presenter before lunch. I shred what I’ve done with NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month.


After lunch, attendees shred their favorite poetry idea then rotated through three stations:  looking at online poetry resources,  browsing a selection of poetry books selected by  Multnomah County Library’s School Corps, creating a pocket to celebrate poem in your pocket day.


It was great day and a good time was truly had by all.


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.


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!”


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.


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.



1 Apr



National Poetry Month begins today, and therefore, so does NaPoWriMo (National poetry Writing Month). I am celebrating it with my reading differentiation group. Ideally we would write a poem every school day in April, but OAKS testing has stepped in to confound things. We meet today & tomorrow, then not again for 2 weeks because groups are cancelled for testing. Sigh.

The website for NaPoWriMo offers many things, not the least of which is a prompt a day. Sometimes these are not really 4th grade friendly, but many times they are. Over the years, I’ve collected the best ones and now have an arsenal of poems that 4th graders can begin and do a good job on within the limits of our group time.


Today’s prompt uses the Bibliomancy Oracle. My prompt came from Robert Frost.

Here are your waters and your watering place.

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.


from “Directive” by Robert Frost

And here is my response:


All day long

I talk, listen, advise, ask.

Sweet bliss

when I get home

to the peace, the quiet

and sit down

to cup of tea

a book

a dog on either side,

I am whole again.


Jane Yolen, Jane Yolen

10 Apr

Jane Yolen has been around a long time. According to her official website,  http://janeyolen.com , she has written over 300 books, of which 214 are still in print. Yowza! Even more amazing is the fact that, although she is 74 and has earned a break, she is still writing and shares her knowledge and experience by collaborating with others. She has 2 collaborations out right now, both of which are reading.

Because it is National Poetry Month, I absolutely must mention Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist, written in collaboration with Rebecca Kai Dottlich.


As the title indicates, all the poems in this book begin in a fairy-tale and re-tell the story from opposing perspectives. I’m going to use this book for today’s NaPoWri Mo prompt.  Not every kid knows every fairy-tale, but they all know some, and summaries of each tale are provided at the back, just in case. The book is beautifully illustrated by Matt Mahurin, who imbues a dreamy (or nightmarish) quality into his art. 

My second Jane Yolen book of the week is  Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, murderesses, Thieves & Other Female Villains written in collaboration with Yolen’s daughter, Heidi E. Y. Stemple and illustrated by Rebecca Guay.


This book is a combination straightforward history  and graphic novel.  Each chapter tells of one naughty female in prose and ends with a graphic representation of  Jane & Heidi discussing each personality.The book provides a detailed bibliography and I know of a few people who were dismayed to see Wikipedia referenced. But here’s my 2 cents on that: everybody uses it so it is good to see it used in conjunction with other resources so kids can see how to make Wikipedia work for them.

NaPoWriMo #2

4 Apr

Yesterday was a blast. The kids had fun, but I think I had even more fun. We certainly laughed a lot. Here’s the poem I started yesterday. And just do you know, Knot + Otter = Knotter


There are very crafty creatures floating in the sea

And sailors tell long stories of their creativity.

Knotters lie about until a vessel comes along

Then jump aboard to lend a hand when sailors tie knots wrong.

They tie fantastic sheep shanks, running bowlines and half hitches

And they compensate for sailors who tie ropes up into glitches.

Not quite finished.  I’m still working on the ending, but I think Jack Prelutsky would like it.

Today, we are tackling holidays, inspired by J Patrick Lewis’ World Rat Day.


Lewis has taken real, honest to goodness holidays and written poems to honor those days. There are some really wacky things out there. There are also serious organizations that choose odd things to celebrate for a year. The FAO declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato. They had good reasons, but it sounds funny. They’ve named this year The International Year of Quinoa, for similar reasons, but it doesn’t sound quite as silly.

So, today, my class will create a new holiday that they think should exist and write a poem to commemorate it.  I hope we will laugh again today.


3 Apr

I’m celebrating  NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) with my high 4th grade literacy group. Our goal is to write a poem everyday we are at school, so I’m looking everywhere for ideas to steal. Today I’m using Jack Prelutsky’s  book Stardines Swim High Across the Sky as our inspiration.


I told the kids that poetry lets us play with language and Mr. Prelutsky does just that in this book, creating new creature and describing them in verse. And they are wonderful. They are whimsically funny  and clever, much like the kids in my group.  Additionally. the collage  illustrations by Carin Berger blends animate and inanimate objects that perfectly capture Prelutsky’s zany animal world. If you do nothing else with poetry during National Poetry Month, you should share this book with someone.

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