Tag Archives: Ethical ELA

Telling Truths: NPM22 Day 18

Over at Ethical ELA, Maureen has challenged us to tell a succinct truth in the style of Lucille Clifton for today’s #verselove prompt. This seems scary–to tell a truth that maybe reveals an ugly underside rather than finding the beauty in something ordinary. But I had a truth to tell–so here it is.

Taking Aim

i wish

the incessant

flow of words

that spew

like an

upturned fire hydrant

could solve

world hunger

and

establish planetary peace.

instead

they aim

their verbal arrows

indiscriminately

day after day

hour after hour

at friends

classmates

fraying my nerves

piercing my heart.

@kd0602

Photography: NPM22 Day 17

Today’s #verselove prompt was about choices…and I made a choice that was different from the intended direction (I think). So, today I decided to write a #smallpoem (close to Haiku) to go with a photograph–where I wrote with light.

Photography

Today I write with light

images speak my words

exposing sea treasures

@kd0602

Today: NPM22 Day 15

Today for #verselove over at Ethical ELA, Anna invites us to pick a favorite day and write an acronym poem giving the reasons why. Indecisive seems to describe me today–I could think of so many reasons why each day of the week is my favorite. So, to solve that problem, I picked TODAY.

Today

To decide was too much, concentrate instead on the moment, the now

Own each opportunity, observe carefully, orchestrate possibilities

Dance in the light, dust off the doldrums, decide to grab the joy within reach

Abandon burdens, anticipate with every sense, accept the now

Yank back the curtains, soak in the sun, seize this day: Today

@kd0602
Heart Rock Joshua Tree National Park

Shoe Seasons: NPM22 Day 14

To shoe or not to shoe…I’m not so sure that was today’s prompt for #verselove at Ethical ELA, but that’s what tumbled down into my poem today.

Shoe Seasons

In summer

I walk the beach

bare

flip flops shoved

in my back pocket

toes squishing in wet sand

ankles lapped by shoreline waves

Bare means risking

stings

by dying bees

(why do they come to the beach to die?)

globs of jelly

stingray barbs

Relishing the cool

salty sea water

soft sandy footbed

gentle caresses

by our mother

Earth

In winter

I walk the beach

shod

sneakers well worn

past their prime

cracked and holey

ready for a briny bath

by misstep

or rogue wave

sand seeps in

filling my shoes

and my home

with ocean confetti

There are only two seasons

for beach footwear:

bare

is best

@kd0602

Creative Joy: NPM22 Day 13

Today’s #verselove prompt over at Ethical ELA gives explicit directions to break rules! Stacey introduced the idea of a Gogyohka poem–a liberated version of a Tanka–a 5 line poem without the restraint of syllable counts. Strangely enough, I had introduced Haiku to my young students yesterday, inviting them to write 3 line poems without strictly adhering to the traditional 5-7-5 format.

To inspire their writing, we headed outside again today, this time with iPads in hand in search of tiny perfect things. (We had read the book by the same name before heading out–looking for tiny treasures so often overlooked.) When you’re 6 or 7, nearly everything is a treasure. They love the poppies that grow along the fenceline, the spiral of the succulents with their variegated greens, and even the gas meter–a metal contraption–that they don’t recognize as having a particular function.

And their joy inspired my Gogyohka today.

Creative Joy

Released from classroom restraint

they search the school grounds

for tiny perfect things

subjects for child-fresh photography

inspiration for unrestrained Haiku

@kd0602
Preset Style = “It’s Technical” Lightness = Auto-Exposure Size = Large Border = No Border

The Buzz: NPM22 Day 12

Today’s #verselove prompt over at Ethical ELA is the news. The news? I feel like there is so much I want to avoid about the news–especially for my writing. I considered all day just what take on the news I might embrace. And then the headline…out of our principal’s mouth during lunch today, “The queen bee has moved in…” That’s the news I am going with!

The Buzz

The queen bee has moved in

and her kingdom is swarming near the classroom door

Announced the principal

during lunch

the buzz buzzed

through the lounge

through the halls

adults swarming

considering

During our read-aloud

a lone bee

was discovered

on Madison’s head

then ushered out with a quick flick

By tomorrow

the queen will be resettled

along with her kingdom

well out of reach

of classroom doors

@kd0602

Quirky: NPM22 Day 11

Quirky is a word I love, but still, when I saw it as the #verselove prompt by Kim over at Ethical ELA I felt at a loss. What poem will I write that fits this category?

It’s our first day back after Spring Break–and my first April day with my students. We primed ourselves for National Poetry Month before Spring Break at the end of March by writing a collaborative Poetry Is poem. And today, I brought out a favorite Eve Merriam poem, Peeling an Orange to serve as a mentor text for students. (You can see my experimentation on day 1 of National Poetry Month.) We’ve studied a poem each week of the school year, laying down an appreciation for and familiarity with poetry and the interesting language it is known for. And we write poetry regularly–I love short writing forms (for all ages) and the permission to break rules that poetry allows.

I lay out all of this to establish my own quirkiness as a teacher of writing. My expectations for the 6 and 7 year olds in my class are sky high–and when it comes to writing, they seldom let me down. I establish early on my love for egrets–they make a great writing topic that my students come to know and expect. While they didn’t know much about them early in the school year, they are quite familiar with them now.

Finally–get to the point already! When I picked my students up after lunch today they rushed me, so excited they simply couldn’t stay in line. Mrs. Douillard–there was a snowy egret! What?! I was looking around the playground. Really? A snowy egret on the playground? No–it was flying over the playground. I missed it–but they loved it and loved knowing that I would love it. So, inspired by my students and their excitement, my quirky poem is a Haiku capturing this moment.

snowy egret flies

yellow footed pistons tucked tight

playground showoff

@kd0602

And here I circle back to the first grade poets I love and teach and their Peeling an Orange inspired poetry.

B wrote about lizards

Catching a Lizard

skittering like

the second hand

in all different

shapes and sizes

not very easy to see

but they are still very

tiny.

R wrote her own quirky piece

Squirrels

A fuzzy bushy fearless fighter rodent

when he bites you you immediately put your hand on your cut

and you will get rabies

chattering in the trees

gathering nuts for the winter

And C chose turtle as a topic

Finding a Turtle

A turtle’s shell is hard.

But inside it is soft.

It’s slow but

its heart is fast.

Some turtles

have strong shells

some are weak.

May Gray: NPM22 Day 10

Today’s poetry prompt is to write a definito, a definition poem, as described by Margaret over at #verselove at Ethical ELA. As is usual for me, I was inspired by a walk on the beach today…a walk in the deep gray of a thick marine layer that has blotted the sun. Here’s my definito (which likely is breaking all the rules of a definito).

May Gray

A weather term in frequent use

in Southern CA

characterized by

pervasive

persistent

thick

moist

gray

marine layer

tightly wrapping the sun in its cloak

keeping light rays at bay

May Gray can be sneaky

whispering its way into the day

in swatches of clouds

graying a brilliant blue sky

often settling only on the west side

of the freeway

Sometimes May Gray is protective

pushing forecasted heat waves back

into inland valleys

keeping the coastline cool

under its gray covers

May Gray is moody

dampening Spring Fever

cooling anticipation

of beach days

It might even be the reason

for the prevailing fashion:

short shorts and tank tops

paired with Ugg boots and puffer jackets

Just when you hope that summer is near

you remember that

May Gray is followed by its close cousin

June Gloom

and when it arrives in April…

Argghhh!

Go away, May Gray

@kd0602
May Gray in April

Heron Blue: NPM22 Day 9

Heron Blue

Misty tendrils

the softest breath

caresses my arms, musses my hair

exhaling as I inhale familiar saltiness

Not eggshell blue of soft pastels

or jay blue of bright flashes

today is heron blue

almost gray

dark

but not quite

after the sun fades

but before night arrives

In the distance

curved neck, sharp beak

unmistakeable silhouette

I hurry but not too fast

Your silence matches mine

while wave songs play in the distance

You stretch, becoming a roller coaster

of twists and turns

searching, scanning

hunting

patient

In a slow motion

stretch of wings

you lift

effortlessly launched

shape shifting into flight

I watch and wonder

energized by the power of stillness

and the reverence of blue

from sky to sea

to feathers

heron blue

@kd0602
Great Blue Heron in Flight @kd0602

Somehow Dixie over at Ethical ELA conjured this heron into my path today…the day she offered bird as our #verselove poetry prompt. Thanks Dixie–readers here know I love my egrets…and their cousin, the great blue heron is a welcome sighting any day!

Each Footstep: NPM22 Day 8

Participating in #verselove over at Ethical ELA feels like a daily workout, faced with innovative approaches to poetry that I might not otherwise attempt. And today is no different. Today Scott has challenged us to show something without telling. So here goes…

Each Footstep

Don’t let them fool you

It’s all about the shoes

pulled on over two pairs of socks

a smooth, thin inner layer

and soft cushy outer layer

crissed and crossed

hooked and tightened

tied in a double knotted bow

These boots are made for walking

And they log miles

on dirt

over rocks

through snow

into squelching mud

across crunching gravel

beside trickling streams

Heading nowhere and everywhere

filling my ears

with birdsong

and windy symphonics

the scritch of lizard toes

echoing thump, thump of woodpeckers

the chasing race of squirrels

My faithful friend

gives me a lens

to see anew

snapping scenic vistas

noticing nature’s intricate and unexpected artwork

heightening awareness and concern

for Earth’s fragile beauty

Each footstep connects me

to my breath

to the planet

to these booted feet

These feet were made for walking

@kd0602

(Showing hiking without telling that I hike…with my camera!)