Tag Archives: inspiration

When Life Becomes Poetry: NPM 2019 Day 3

It’s hard to top a day like yesterday…at least when it comes to poetry.  Today’s schedule was crunched, another minimum day and my last classroom day until after Spring Break. But we still made space for a bit of poetry inspiration.  Today I read a few poems from When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano.  Interestingly, she titles each poem in this lovely book by the date she wrote it, taking us through the seasons of the year.  We read April 3 (which was eerily a description of a day very much like the one we experienced today…I love this first line: “today the sky was too busy sulking to rain…”), June 15 (a piece about tasting sunshine), and July 10 (the title piece with the refrain “when green becomes tomatoes”).  And in a typical 8 and 9 year old fashion, my students, when they turned to their own writing, wrote about their birthdays!

Isla (who happens to share my birthday) was determined that her June 2nd birthday falls in the summer.  She wrote this piece inspired by when green becomes tomatoes:

June 2

When summer turns into my birthday

The sky is happy!

life is happy

it is the time to get…

everything I want

(more than sad)

(more than happy)

The best

When leaves are green and light is here

no thunder, no lightening

just…

wind blowing and birds chirping

when summer turns into my birthday

And Leah, who’s birthday falls a bit later in the month, gives a more tentative prediction using “I believe” to frame her poem:

June 23

On June 23rd

I believe it will be cloudy

with a hint of sun.

On June 23rd

I believe it will be hot.

On June 23rd

I believe flowers will bloom.

On June 23rd

I believe it will be my birthday.

I took my poem in a little different direction, thinking about how my three precious grandsons have grown from babies to active, sturdy three year old toddlers in what seems like a blink of an eye.  Just where does the time go?

April 3

 

When babies become toddlers

tiny fingers that used to grab mine

build towers as tall as they are

then topple them with belly laughs

When babies become toddlers

goos and gaas turn into words

that turn into stories

of wonder and adventure

When babies become toddlers

reading becomes play

finding objects, chiming in

anticipating

devouring each word, each page

with minds instead of mouths

When babies become toddlers

those once tiny feet patter

running faster than seems possible

running towards childhood

leaving babyhood behind.

©Douillard

This is Just to Say: NPM 2019 Day 2

Today we turned to William Carlos Williams for inspiration.  Using the book A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant, I introduced my students to William Carlos Williams.  I wanted to continue the focus on the ordinary as well as show a poet who continued his writing while working as a doctor.  I’ve been working to dispel the myth that poetry has to rhyme…and this book definitely helped make that point!

Once we learned a bit about Williams, we studied two of his poems to use as mentor texts for our own poems.  The Red Wheelbarrow surprised my students.  It seemed so short and so simple at first glance…and then they started to notice.  The word glazed really caught their attention…and made them think of doughnuts rather than rain coated wheelbarrows.  Then we started to play around with how to put our own content into a poem like The Red Wheelbarrow.  My third grade students could hardly contain themselves…they were so excited about writing!  Here’s a couple of their efforts:

With Caleb’s you can see the influence of living by the sea

The Colorful Afterglow

So much depends

upon

a colorful

afterglow

swarming with

bright colors

beside the turquoise

ocean

Luca captured the beauty of the ordinary

The Tree Full of Leaves

So much depends

on

a tree full of

leaves

being a home to

animals big and

small

standing tall over

the dirt path.

And Sloane turned her attention to a rock and strayed from a “so much depends” first line to create her own version of a poem inspired by WCW.

The Rock

So much pressure

is on

the rock by the river

feathered in river water

beside the ringing sound

of the river

We then turned our attention to Williams’ This is Just to Say.  They noticed right away that it seemed like a conversation–that the poet was talking to someone in this poem.  And that he seemed sorry…but not really sorry.  This poem seemed to give them permission to be playful…and even try out teasing their teacher!

Sagan knew I would appreciate this one (can you tell what conversation we have over and over again?):

Oops…

I forgot to show my thinking

in my math homework

again

even though it said to

show your thinking

I’m sorry

but at the same time

it’s way faster

and way more efficient

And Piper stretched to see use how far she could take a bit of teasing, making me the subject of her poem

This is Just to Say

Mrs. Douillard

I have destroyed

your classroom

which you were probably

going to use

to teach kids in

Forgive me

I was just trying

to have a good time

Some students played around with different foods, inspired by WCW’s refreshing sounding plums

Nathalie tried cherries

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the cherries that

were in the bowl

and which you

were saving for dessert

tomorrow

Forgive me

they were so sweet

and delicious

While Aspen imagined ice cream

This is Just to Say

I ate your ice cream

that was in your lunch

which you were probably

saving for after your

chicken

please forgive me

it just tasted so creamy

and so refreshing

We had so much fun on this second day of National Poetry Month!  Here’s my poem for the day:

Feeding Time

So much depends

upon the sea pulling back

revealing shallow

pools

teeming with tiny fish

and crustaceans

beside the hungry white

egret

©Douillard

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Fooling around with Poetry! NPM 2019 Day 1

It’s April 1st, the first day of National Poetry Month and a perfect day to “fool” around with some poetry!  Since my students are I are taking a poem-a-day challenge, we needed to generate some inspiration today to get us in the poetry frame of mind.

We started by reading Tiny Perfect Things by M.H. Clark, a book that focuses on the wonder and beauty of the ordinary.  Then we headed outside (it was an almost-summer day, 75 and sunny) with our iPads in search of tiny perfect things to photograph as inspiration for our poetry.  My students found lizards, beetles, and roly polys.  They found apple blossoms shaped like stars, California poppies peeking through the chain link fence, and cotton floating down from the cotton plant in the school garden.  They chased the monarch butterfly across the field in hopes of a viable photo.  And when we returned to the classroom, they wrote.

It’s conference week, so the days are short.  But I’m already loving their first drafts…and their willingness to share.  The variety was impressive…and the playfulness so satisfying! Here’s a couple to give you a taste.

Luke’s first draft poem played around with a repeated refrain:

Rose

You catch my eye

how white you are,

with yellow in the middle

and your pod red.

You catch my eye

on a pointy bush

and a soft flower.

You catch my eye,

you stand out.

Of all the flowers,

you are as white as snow.

You catch my eye.

And Alice couldn’t resist playing around with the idea of April Fool’s Day, inspired by her brother’s prank on another student:

Red Rug of Sap

It can be red,

it can be black,

my little red rug of sap.

It lays upon a tree

resting

til it is the day.

Check the calendar!

What is today?

April first!  April first!

April Fool’s Day!

Time to stain my finger

red or black

with my little red rug of sap.

My own first draft poem was inspired by the rusty chain and lock around the gate on the side of the school.

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Looped and Locked

 

Metal

weathered, rusted, oxidized

days, years, decades

outside

exposed

to fog

to rain

to sun

to briny sea air

still strong

linked like children holding hands

safety in numbers

comfort in connection

looped around the gate

and snapped shut

with a tiny, perfect

Master lock.

©Douillard

I’m looking forward to reading others’ first day of National Poetry Month entries today!

 

When is it Worth it? SOLC 2019 Day 16

When is it worth it to fly halfway across the state for a Saturday meeting?  Up at 3:45am, driving before the sun has even begun to think about peeking over the horizon, at the airport waiting for a flight before my regular wake up time.

Arriving well before the meeting time–because airlines work on their schedules, not yours.  Searching for coffee on a sleepy college campus, a futile exercise on a Saturday morning.

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(Luckily a Philz was right off campus…a pour over experience to fuel the day to come.)

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When is it worth it to meet face-to-face?  Our hunch was right.  We needed to be human, to be real, to not only see and hear one another, but to feel each other too. We were in need of an opportunity for a shared experience AND spaces for those small, informal conversations that build relationships and enhance the more public and formal interactions.

A network is a network when we are connected.  Today’s long day that spanned hundreds of miles of travel for our group was definitely worth it.

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I’m filled with information, inspiration, and hope…for the network, for the work, for the future.  And I feel the warmth and comfort of relationships reinforced, bonds renewed, and the tingle that will lead to growth and new ideas.

And the cherry on the top?  I was able to change to the earlier flight home!

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I Love Mondays: SOLC 2019 Day 4

I love Mondays.  Really.  There is something about the start of the week, a clean slate to write my life.  The fresh faces of my students, energized and eager after a weekend at home.  And this morning,  a rainbow guiding me on my drive to work!  A rainbow on a Monday morning commute has to be a good omen.

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In my classroom, Mondays are productive.  It’s the day I have the most uninterrupted time with my third graders.  We flowed from learning activity to learning activity, moving from engaged conversations about the right age for children to be left home alone to small group investigations creating geometric shapes from 4 triangles.  Recess times snuck up on us and the day was over in a blink.  My favorite kind of day in the classroom.

I ended my day with a mind clearing walk on the beach, matching the rhythm of my breaths with the inhale and exhale of the waves.  And as I reached my turnaround point, I found a message in the sand.

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I love Mondays!

Time’s a Ticking: Day 26

On Poem in Your Pocket Day my students carried an original poem and a published poem they had studied in their pocket to share with friends and adults around school today.  Although I have heard many of my students’ poems, I heard some I hadn’t yet heard as they shared theirs with me today.  And as always, poems inspire poems…and Jameson’s clock poem inspired my writing today.  Here’s his:

The Clock

 
Tick tock

tick tock

moving every second,

every minute

and every hour.

Watching,

looking

tick tock

observing.

Looking at action,

moments

and memories.

 

Jameson

clock

And my own:

Time

 

Time

ticks and tocks

a metronome

playing life’s rhythms

tapping the beat

insistent, urging

march, dance, move!

 

Time

stands still

frozen in terror

disbelief

or the monotony of boredom

clock hands

stubbornly standing in place

 

Time

races

evaporating like morning fog

gathering clouds of seconds

raining down

in the urgency of time lost

 

Time

hovers

nagging at the edges of consciousness

a stern taskmaster

demanding attention

 

Time

lingers

like sweet kisses

or the taste of chocolate

reminders of precious memories

 

Time

slips and slides

tomorrows become

yesterdays

creating a roadmap of the past

made up of everyday minutes

tick, tick, ticking

 

Time

 

Douillard 2018

We’re in the waning days of our 30-day challenge.  What will inspire today’s poem?

 

#haikuforhealing

It’s so easy to break a good habit, even after it has been well established. When I started this blog, I wrote daily for months on end.  Of course, I did it because I knew if I stopped (and I was afraid to stop for even one day), I would have a hard time getting back on track.

I guess I was right.

This week, my friend and colleague Kevin posted a prompt on the NWP iAnthology, inviting some short-form writing in the form of Haiku, 3 line poems, for the purpose of healing the spirit.  #haikuforhealing is a hashtag where people are sharing these poems meant to raise spirits.  I noticed Kevin writing them in December, making posters of them with inspirational images as their backdrop.  I enjoyed them…and thought about writing some of my own.

So when the prompt came up on Saturday, I decided to try my hand at it. I started with a photo I had taken and posted on Instagram.  I imported it into Canva and added my words. My first #haikuforhealing was born.

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On Sunday my schedule didn’t allow for a long photo-taking walk. Instead, I snapped a shot of the moon through the trees in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  I messed with it a bit in prisma, amping up the color. Hmmm…a Haiku about the moon?  I could do that.

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It rained quite a bit on Monday, but it had stopped by the time I left work. Knowing rain was in the forecast later in the week, I decided to take a walk on the beach on the way home.  The clouds were sitting low, hugging the horizon, as the sun tried its best to peek through.  Inspiration for another #haikuforhealing?  Why not?

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Should I go for four days in a row?  One of the things I love about living near the coast is the proximity to the trains. I hear them as I walk on the beach, I hear them as I teach, and they frequently hold me up at intersections as the guards lower, the lights flash, and the train barrels past.Today I was walking toward my car when the rail guards dropped, giving me just enough time to snap a few shots…and think about a Haiku…

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I don’t know if I have re-established a habit of daily writing, but I am four days into daily #haikuforhealing writing.  I’m enjoying it.  I like creating the poster with my photograph and words…and sharing it on Twitter (@kd062) makes me feel accountable (at least to myself).

Join in the healing, let Haiku shift your perspective and help you find inspiration, beauty, meaning…  And if you have other ideas to keep the daily writing fresh and doable, I’d love to hear about them!