Tag Archives: poetry

4-3-21: NPM #3

On the days when I am in the classroom, I am always paying attention to the potential mathematical patterns the date provides. And I have to admit, I’m sad that this great date fell on a Saturday (and during our spring break to boot!). Here’s my rough attempt at celebrating this rare mathematical date pattern in verse.

April 3, 2021

4, 3, 2, 1…blast off!

Numbers descending

stepping down

decreasing

by one

A date

marking time

beating out a rhythm

marching down the street

Eventually circling

holding hands

standing shoulder to shoulder

bow and begin

a dance of numbers

4, 3, 2, 1

®Douillard

The 5: NPM #2

If you know the state of California, you’re aware it is a long state connected by a freeway affectionately called The 5. After hours and hours in the car yesterday, I decided to write a poem…using only one syllable words…in hopes of capturing that long drive up that never-ending ribbon of road. (With a few photos for visual impact–all taken from the passenger side car window.)

Spring Fever: NPM #1

Even with the best of intentions, my first poem for the first of 30 days of National Poetry Month is posted on day 2! Blame the road trip I set off on yesterday and the many other distractions that accompanied that start. But, alas, here is the poem…and expect another later today to “catch up”.

Spring Fever

The temperature is rising

infecting us all

even in masks

We’re itching

to be outdoors

running

playing

lazing in the sun

Like cats we look for

that puddle of light

that will evaporate

the cold and dark

of winter’s shadow

And create

a tunnel of green

straight into

Summer!

®Douillard

Tiny Perfect Things: SOLC #22

Today students continued their work with photography after we read Tiny Perfect Things. We took the iPads and headed out onto the track around the field to uncover our own tiny (or not so tiny) perfect things. We then used Elaine Magliaro’s poem Things to do if you are a Pencil as a mentor text to get started on a poem to accompany the photo each student selected.

We didn’t get to any sort of publication today, so I don’t have student texts to share with you. That will have to come later.

But, I did write with my students, inspired by this photo and our mentor text.

Photos and Small Poems: SOLC #16

I love the garden as an outdoor learning space for students. As you may have read yesterday, we began the process of experimenting with some photography techniques in preparation for some writing today. The PM group was rained out of the garden yesterday, but today was bright and sunny so they were able to catch up and try their hand at using the photography techniques.

Today students selected a photo from the garden, and in the spirit of Ansel Adams, transformed the photo to black and white using a filter in the iPad. This photo along with Eve Merriam’s poem, Peeling an Orange, became the inspiration and mentor text for their own original small poems. Before starting our own poems, we took the time to study Peeling an Orange carefully. We named what we noticed: the use of comparisons (similes and metaphors), the opposition of the words carelessly and meticulously (serendipitously, meticulous had been a vocabulary word earlier this year), the inclusion of sensory use (smell). Then I set a timer (something that I find focuses these third grade writers) for 7 minutes and off they wrote!

We shared a few, noticing the interesting comparisons, the use of strong verbs and other vocabulary and moved to the next step: creating a shared Google slide deck to display the photos and poems. While not everyone finished today, I did ask if students were okay with me sharing some of their writing on my blog. They were excited by the prospect.

Here’s a couple of student examples:

And one of mine (since I always write with students):

I’ve been intentionally prioritizing time for writing–from start to finish–in the classroom, in spite of the short time we have in our hybrid schedule. It is totally worth the time spent–and I am seeing the writing improve when students write in community. I look forward to more time for writing as my students return to the classroom for full days, in one group, beginning in mid-April.

Watching: NPM20 Day 30

On the last day on National Poetry Month, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, I found myself without inspiration for poetry writing.  So like all good writers, I picked up my phone to look for some inspiration.  I started generally on Twitter where I found myself going down the rabbit hole of pandemic politics–lots of uproar about beaches and closures in our state, with the governor “punishing” Orange County for bad quarantine beach behavior during the heat wave last weekend.  But I digress (you can see…I did go down that rabbit hole…)

And then I came across my friend Kevin’s blog where I found his pocket sized poem for today about watching.  And then I remembered the rabbit–not the rabbit hole–from this morning…and I used Kevin’s words to find some of my own.  (Thanks Kevin!)

Pandemic Morning Walk and Watch

Watching the wild rabbit on the black road

Watching the neighborhood walkers

Watching long-eyed snails crawl across almost dry sidewalks

Trying not to squish them

Watching misty dew drops slide down shrubs

Across crosshatched cobwebs

And down my unnecessary sunglasses into my eyes

Watching you as I cross the street

And the rabbit runs.

 

®Douillard

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Book Spine Poetry: NPM20 Day 29

Our school librarian posted a book spine poetry challenge for my students today.  With the poem-a-day challenge, students have done many different kinds of poetry, but I hadn’t introduced book spine poetry–so this was pretty perfect.  And I was inspired to create my own book spine poem as well.

I’m not sure if it breaks the rules to add a title…but I did it anyway.  Here is my book spine poem:

Write It

Quiet

minds made for stories

open a world of possible

between the world and me

rhythm and resistance

schooltalk

the power of habit

writing and teaching to change the world

Book Spine Poetry Mrs D

What poem will your book spines write?

Write About Hands: NPM20 Day 28

Our mentor text for today was Karla Kuskin’s Write About a Radish, a fun reminder that there are topics that are overused and sometimes we need to think about the mundane, the ordinary, the run of the mill when we go looking for poems.

My students had fun with this.  They wrote about grubs, paper, kumquats, an ant, a carrot and more.  I am reminded that it really does take daily practice and a commitment to trying things that feel hard or uncomfortable to get better at whatever skill you are working on.  I can see my students’ daily improvements, moments of breakthrough, troughs of lack of inspiration.  One of the benefits of the this remote learning environment is that I am writing feedback on the poems that are submitted each day–and I see the take up of that feedback in subsequent poems.

My own poems are lacking that kind of feedback.  But lucky for me, I am also learning from my students.  As I study their poems, I learn about my own.  When I see their fresh, unexpected moves, I imagine what those might look like in my own poetry.  And like them, the daily practice matters.

So my own poem, inspired by Karla Kuskin’s Write About a Radish.

Write About Hands

 

Write about hands

too many people write about diamonds.

 

The shiny gold setting

the faceted cuts

that reflect the sun

creating a sky full of stars

in the moonless sky.

 

These hands

with unrefined nails

and sun beaten skin

wear those diamonds,

a symbol of a love

that endures.

®Douillard

img_6783

 

Thesaurus of Color: NPM20 Day 27

Last year in April I experimented with paint chip poetry with my students.  It was so much fun to rifle through the paint chips, picking them at random and then incorporating them into poems.  I noticed right away how this color language elevated their poems, adding a layer of sophistication to their already beautiful ideas.

And in this time of remote learning I wanted to figure out a way to bring a version of paint chip poetry to my students.  Some google searches uncovered a thesaurus of color by a blogger on the web.  This color thesaurus became our new version of paint chip poetry.

Having played with poetry dice a couple of weeks ago, students had already experimented with incorporating words into their ideas and poetry from outside sources.  So today’s assignment to pick some color words to use when crafting their color-focused poems wasn’t a stretch.  And there were some wonderful results!

K played with yellow words:

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 6.02.43 PM

R took us out in space:

SPACE

 

AT THE CENTER 

MILLIONS OF TINY COLORS

LIKE SWIRLING BRIGHT BUTTER 

IN A MIXING BOWL, FUCHSIA,

 MAGENTA, GARNET, SCARLET,

THE COLORS OF THE GALAXY!! 

 

WHITE FLECKS, TOO, OF ROSES AND SNOW,

ORANGE OF SUN, BLUE OF THE DEEPEST SEA.

 

AND THEN THERE’S LIGHT.

NOT THE WHITE LIGHT OF THE STARS, BUT

THE LIGHT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY, WHERE

BIRDS DRIFT AND SOAR. THE BLUE OF ICE

DELICATE AS LIFE.

And E started with canvas and ended up with autumn’s leaves:

Canvas.

An ivory surface,

A beautiful sheet.

Changing over time,

But sticking to an overall beat.

Crimson red,

As hot as it is magnificent.

Apricot orange,

Chaotic as fire.

Butterscotch yellow,

Glowing like the sun.

Lime green,

Leaving a trail of bitterness.

Lilac blue,

Spreading seeds across the page.

Night sky purple,

Dark but not dreary.

All these colors,

Put into one piece of paper,

One pile of Autumn leaves.

For my own poem, I found inspiration in my neighbor’s lawn as I walked down the street to check the mail.

Flamingos

They arrived in a flamboyance*

of blush

every color of pink

from the palest of morning sunrise skies

to the mortification

of heat that creeps up the neck

to blaze in your cheeks.

 

Planting themselves

on the lawn

chewing bubblegum

en pointe in ballet slippers

a display of extravagant proportion.

 

A quarantine gift for a neighbor

A delight for the neighborhood.

 

®Douillard

*a group of flamingos

flamingosJPG

Pick some interesting color words and try your hand at writing some poetry under the influence of color today!