Tag Archives: challenge

Paint Chips and #USvsHate: NPM 2019 Day 22

I finally got the chance to break out the Paint Chip Poetry with my students–and they loved it! I shared a few of my attempts, explaining how the poems don’t have to be about color…they could use the paint chip words with whatever topic they wanted.

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And because there is an #USvsHate deadline for student anti-hate messaging on Friday, I encouraged students to write anti-hate poetry.

I wish I had taken a photo of the paint chips upside down on the back table where students were invited to choose 3 or 4 at random.  Some cheated a bit–giving back chips that they didn’t understand or didn’t like.  And some “borrowed” paint chip words that they saw and liked…from one of my poems or something they saw as I showed the huge variety they would have to choose from.

Some of the poems were simple…but oh, so interesting.  Aspen pulled “Sahara” as one of the paint chips and wrote this:

As I moonwalk

in the Sahara desert

I look up and see

the magical blue moon

and then look ahead at the

endless dunes

Luca (who broke his arm over the weekend and had to write wrong-handed today) wrote about the Earth on Earth Day.

Earth

It’s the neighbor

to the red planet

but unlike Mars

with its radical red

our world has a verdant green

and heavenly blue

with white clouds

like a blank canvas.

And Hudson, often reluctant to commit words to a page, wrote this piece in about 2 minutes! Clearly paint chips inspired him!

As I cross

those pearly gates

and cross the antique brass

I boarded that old ship

and expected smooth sailing

But soon a blizzard

created an iceberg

and before you know it

a big chunk of ice

sank that old ship that they called

the Titanic

And a couple anti-hate poems.  It was fun to see both the paint chip influence AND the influence of some of our class read-alouds.  We recently finished reading Save Me a Seat about a 5th grader who had recently immigrated from India to a school in New Jersey.  He found himself the victim of a charismatic, mean bully–making fun of him and treating him badly–to the point that he wanted to quit school.  The characters learn a lot about themselves…including the power of reflecting on their own actions.  I see evidence of this book in Elli’s poem:

Her name is Sunset

people think its weird

but I don’t get it

As she watches the bird making a nest

someone out of nowhere said

I hate you and hate the birds

As your wisdom tooth is growing

and the fire is blowing

hate shouldn’t be a thing

but kindness should always be a part of our life

the kindness of our joy

will bring us love

bad names like curryhead or bom bom butt

say who cares because that’s junk

things that do matter

are happily happy things

hate or no hate?

And Henry is thinking about how to make a difference through his poem.

US vs Hate

In a garden bed

with four leaf clovers

A boy makes good luck

turn into real life.

His wish was for everyone

to feel like they’re special.

A tiny change

makes a big change

A tiny change

makes everyone change.

For my poem I pulled four chips: wonderful wisteria, smoke signal, black tie, and lily of the valley.

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Sending Signals

Watch out for words

thoughts’ smoke signals

have fire to burn

causing damage beneath the skin

Don’t let a disguise

of suit and black tie

mask the danger,

excuse the vitriol

Listen carefully to your own words too

smell them

consider how they will affect others

Are you spreading wonderful wisteria,

lily of the valley

or the stink of malice

and stereotype?

©Douillard

 

Purple: NPM19 Day 21

For today’s offering an exploration of color.  A work in progress…doesn’t feel finished yet.

Purple

At the intersection of blue and red

purple blooms

breathing color

onto hillsides

hope into hearts

Sometimes

purple pains

spreading beneath

tender skin

until yellows pushes back

Purple sings

morning songs

trilling through dreams

til my eyelids

find the violet of daybreak

And whispers in shadows

hesitant, hidden

under cover of darkness

until light beckons

@Douillard

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Decadent Dessert: NPM 2019 Day 20

Some days are made for giving into temptation–this was one of them.  Dessert before dinner, yes please.  Where do you find the perfect banana split?  The places from our childhood memories no longer exist.  The local Dairy Queen went out of business over a year ago.  As we drove toward the beach for a walk, we caught a glimpse of the Handel’s ice cream place on the corner.  A quick internet search as we drove by confirmed, that yes, they do make banana splits!  So we added a walk to our walk.  After the beach walk, we walked to the ice cream place for a decadent dessert–before dinner.  The perfect topic for an ode!  (And yes, this is a quick draft…one that requires some more work!)

Ode to a Banana Split

Three sweet creamy mounds

strawberry, chocolate, vanilla

shoulder to shoulder

surrounded by nutritious

delicious (and healthy)

banana slices

more fruit runs down the hills

strawberry and pineapple

mingling with

night-dark chocolate

airy clouds of whipped cream

cling to the mountaintop

a ruby read cherry

shines like the sun

 

I succumb to this sweet temptation

happily shared

two plastic spoons

in perfect synchronicity

shovel in the sweet coolness

each bite

a tiny vacation

right here at home

©Douillard

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No Snow Day: NPM 2019 Day 19

In between conference calls and other work today, I squeezed in a beach walk.  My attention was immediately drawn to the kids using their boogie boards as sleds, sliding down the sand hill near the lifeguard tower.  Whenever I see that, my mind goes to a line in a poem (that may be mis-remembered, I can’t find it online) that goes something like…”Where I live it doesn’t snow.”

Today I went looking for some paint chip colors to help me with my poem.  No random draw today, I searched for words that I thought might be interesting…and then added one I came up with on my own: persistent gray.

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No Snow Day

Conjuring the blank canvas

of snowy banks

would-be sledders

venture to cliff’s edge

riding

boogie boards

down the rabbit hole

of slippery sand

in this place where

no snow falls

and persistent gray

doesn’t result

in a snow day

©Douillard

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Poem in Your Pocket Day: NPM 2019 Day 18

Today is Poem in your Pocket day…and I wasn’t in the classroom with my students today! But, they were all prepared.  Yesterday they picked one of their own poems (they had quite a selection since they’ve been writing a poem a day since April began), revised it, and copied it on a piece of paper to put in their pocket today.  And lucky for me, my teaching partner encouraged students to share their poems…both in the classroom and beyond.

I did collect a few poems yesterday so I would have some to share with you today.  Alice wrote a poem about a crummy old nail…maybe inspired by some of the ordinary poems I’ve written and shared.

Crummy Old Nail

Crummy old nail

served many

purposes

Crummy old nail

dented and

bent

Crummy old nail

proud and

historic

Crummy old nail

brave and

cautious

Crummy old nail

old with

wisdom

upon a

shipwrecked mast,

red

like a

cherry covered

in

rust.

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Her brother, Luca, also played around with the ordinary–using the still life structure we explored the other day.

Stool: Still Life

That small stool

standing in the corner,

sulking throughout the day.

It’s surprising when someone

comes his way.

He stops sulking and stands up straight

and if he is lucky,

they sit.

When they leave

he straightens up

and waits for others.

When the sun sets,

he stoops and sits

and lets sleep overpower him.

Snoooooooooooooooore!

I’m not sure what inspired Caleb’s poem…he wrote it on the still life day after he tried a still life poem.

Rocket

Getting ready for launch

fueling the tank

cold on the outside

warm on the inside

a big heart driving

not a robot!

5…4…3…2…1…blast off

you jump into the sky

like you’re on a trampoline

from day to night

in a single flight

in the starry sky

time to attend to dreams

And I’m still fooling around with paint chip poetry.  I pulled out some in the orange/yellow family today: fresh squeezed, chamomile tea, and yellow brick road.  Here’s today’s attempt:

Oz

I follow the yellow brick road

or in my case

the sandy sidewalk

that leads to the Oz I treasure

Blue skies and blue seas

are a canvas

for the fresh squeezed

dabs

dancing in the breeze

I breathe in and exhale

salt air and wildflowers mix to conjure

the soothing comfort

of chamomile tea

I feel it pulse through my veins

Aaaahhhhh!

©Douillard

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Paint Chippin’: NPM 2019 Day 17

After watching Molly and Margaret playing with paint chip poetry and writing amazing poems, I gave in and ordered by own box of paint chips (and some metaphor dice too). They arrived this afternoon…too late to use with my students this week, but just in time for me to experiment on my own.  I picked three paint chips and got started.

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I squeezed in a quick walk this afternoon between my late-running meeting and an appointment to get my hair cut.  As I walked along the beach, seagulls caught my eye…and my camera lens.  They became the inspiration for today’s poem draft.  (I suspect I will come back to tinker with this–I already have a couple of other versions, none that I am completely happy with!)

Moon Spotting

Through the looking glass

of my camera lens

I spy them:

a gaggle of gossips

black and white wings against

the puddle of sky

Without warning they rise

pounding the air

like the rushing waters of Niagara Falls

I hear them and look up

the almost-full moon winks and smiles back

©Douillard

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Exploring Still Life: NPM 2019 Day 16

As a way to help students go deeper with their poetry, we tried on some still life poems today inspired by Work Boots: Still Life by Jim Daniels.  I experimented a bit the other day with my poem about malasadas, and could see ways this approach might help my students. We practiced together using the classroom rocking chair as our subject.  I encouraged students to push their ideas, moving beyond the literal, stretching to unexpected comparisons.  Using the structure described by Go Poems, students then brainstormed a description of an item of their choice (a thing, not a person or animal) and then considered the deeper meaning of the item.  Using Work Boots as a mentor text, they wrote their own poems.

Frankie, who is obsessed with books, wrote this still life poem:

Poem Book: Still Life

On my shelf

just waiting to be read

it is a poem book.

So as I touch it

the hard cover is blank.

Open, close with a snap.

Floating on a river of poems,

feeling relaxed on my boat

taking me to places I have never been.

New words, new poems.

Places like the forest to the sea, on the fields

and in my bed.

Sloane, who was wearing a skeleton key necklace today, took that as inspiration.

Rusty Key: Still Life

The wispy key, sitting quietly

waiting to unlock the door to the world.

With waves swirling at the top

like octopus arms.

There on that silent table

at the end of this wonderful old key are two humps

like a camel

ready to click the invisible switch

behind the clockwork of the door.

That’s where the new world unfolds.

You see, this old silver useful and quiet key

can do so much.

The key finally breathes a sigh of relief.

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And my poem was about my alarm clock:

Alarm Clock: Still Life

Next to my bed

my alarm clock stands guard

silent glowing numbers

mark the invisible

beat of the day, keeping track of

seconds,

minutes,

hours,

days

When the time is right

the tiny bird chirps

insistent

incessant

tearing me from my dreams

as my hands reach and fumble

to press snooze

annoyed yet comforted

knowing it will chirp

again

I drift back to my dreams.

©Douillard