Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher


I own several writing craft books by Ralph Fletcher and was looking forward to reading his book on poetry. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  I love writing poetry, but I have this feeling if he stumbled onto my poetry blog he would dismiss it as a series of language arts assignments.

Last summer I was in a teacher workshop and excited when one of the assignments was to wrote a poem titled "Where I'm From."  Apparently I didn't measure up to my instructor's expectations.  She wondered why I didn't include sad things from my childhood.

I don't really write deep poetry.  I keep things light for my audience.  Besides, poetry is play for me.

This book focuses on writing from emotion and images.  Fletcher mentions form, but it's not a priority.

I guess I will stick with my language arts assignments.

I just linked up with Teaching Maddeness.  Visit her blog, for more good reads.

Monday, April 28, 2014

More ELA Lessons -- Free Downloads

All during the month of April I have been sharing different resources for teaching poetry.  I have a couple of freebies in my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook Stores I would like to share.

This packet contains four original list poems and directions to students for writing their own.

List Poems on TPT.  List Poems on TN.

Included in this packet are some patterns for writing poems about color using metaphors and similes. I have included several examples that I have written.
I discovered as I taught students that fourth, fifth and sixth grade students easily wrote similes, but writing metaphors was more difficult. Working at a more abstract level takes time and practice. My advice to the beginning teacher is not to rush the writing part, but keep helping students use their natural imaginations to make unusual connections.

Color Poems on TPT. Color Poems on TN.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quote of the Week -- April 27, 2014

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." ~George S. Patton

Friday, April 25, 2014

Water Cycle Poem

To close out writing poetry month I wanted to share a different type of poetry printable.  I have been working on a series of poetry eBooks and The Water Cycle poem is an example of how I integrate poetry with content.
Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Bug in Teacher's Coffee by Kalli Dakos

I can relate to Kalli Dakos as an educator who also writes poetry.  This collection of school poems is most appropriate for the beginning reader.  I may buy a copy for my classroom if I find myself teaching third grade next year.  I think my fourth graders would think themselves too sophisticated.

That said, I still recommend this book for the primary classroom.
For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Like Being a Free Agent

Two years ago I began applying for instructional coaching jobs.  I was disappointed when I didn't get hired, but recently I spent some time with our district's instructional coaches and recognized the blessing.

I noticed that the coaches felt the need to represent the district's decisions in the most positive light.  I don't.  I haven't been happy with the adopted curriculum in places and I have felt free to write my own lessons that meet my students' needs.  I noticed they felt like they needed to stick with the plan that was in place.

I know that when I'm bored, my students suffer.  I proved myself with a difficult class the first year I worked for my current principal.  As a result, she lets me have freedom to teach the standards the way I believe my students will best learn them. I'm in a place where I'm encouraged to be innovative and creative, and I get to turn around and share that with a larger audience on this blog.

I love when a disappointment turns out to be a gift.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quote of the Week -- April 20, 2014

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If Pigs Could Fly and Other Deep Thoughts

If Pigs Could Fly and Other Deep Thoughts is collected by Bruce Lansky.  Most of the poems are very short (four lines or so).  If you decided to have a poetry slam in your classroom to celebrate Poetry Month, this has some great selections for reluctant readers.

I love sharing poetry in a poetry slam.  It gives all my students a chance to practice reading fluently for an audience.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

How Writing This Blog Saved My Career -- Thank You

Eight years ago I went to the union sponsored retirement seminar to see how many more years I needed to teach in order to walk away with something.  I had been teaching fifteen years and I was so sick of it.

I learned that making it to twenty years would give me more benefits than if I stopped teaching before then.  So, I kept going, maybe not for the best reasons, but I kept going.

Six years ago I learned my school was closing and we would be moved to neighboring schools.  I've read several bloggers whose careers have been through this transition.  It's difficult. 

Five years ago I moved to the school where I teach now.  It was a rough move.  I had transferred schools before, but not with 200 students transferring with me.  My coworkers were fabulous and supportive.  We survived that first year, but it did nothing to convince me to keep going.

About the same time, our district adopted highly scripted curriculum in both math and literacy.  I felt asked to set aside everything I know about teaching and moving into a tiny box.  "Keep to the pacing guide."  "Follow the script."  Don't they realize what happens when you tell someone to just sit there and wait for instructions?

Three years ago, I submitted my first product to Teachers Pay Teachers and started blogging and writing my own curriculum in a systematic way.  I found the creative, caring teacher again.  As the holes in the highly scripted materials became evident, I had a world-wide set of tools to use. 

I know that when I'm bored, I'm not an effective teacher.  I love the exchange of ideas teacher bloggers have.  I know this has been the best professional development, I've ever had.

I guess I just wanted to say "Thank you."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quote of the Week -- April 13, 2014

“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” Stephen Covey

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Newly Released Products

I have been adding some paid products in my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook Stores:

Pet Poems for Poetry Notebooks TPT & TN

I have been writing poetry for several years and now I am collecting them by topic into eBooks.  My students wear my poetry books out.  This way I can print out a new copy as needed.

Geometry Vocabulary Activities TPT & TN

This 22 page unit covers the vocabulary: line, line segment, angle, ray, polygon, congruent, parallel and perpendicular.  It includes a pre- and post- test and several activities where students learn and use these words.

Sports Poems for Poetry Notebooks TPT & TN

This eBook contains 27 original poems with a sports theme.  You can print them out or have students read them on any device that supports pdf.

Games to 300 -- TPT & TN

This 15 page product contains eight activities with suggestions for variations.  I use these activities as math stations in my room or as interventions as needed.  All you need to use these lessons are counters such as beans, buttons, or math cubes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Poetry Printable #7

It's almost the end of week two of Write Poetry Month.  I hope you are finding a way to participate.

Poetry Printable #7 teaches how to write two poetry forms: a lune and a cinquain.  To download a free Google doc of Poetry Printable #7, click here.

If you missed the previous Poetry Printables, I have listed the original posts here:

Poetry Printable #1 -- Alliteration
Poetry Printable #2 -- Beginning Rhymes
Poetry Printable #3 -- List Poems
Poetry Printable #4 -- Noun Verse & Hay Na Ku
Poetry Printable #5  -- Talk Like Yoda
Poetry Printable #6 -- Senryu and Tanka

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

There's No Place Like School

I'm sharing some poetry books this month that may not be new, but they are new to me.  This anthology, There's No Place Like School, is edited by Jack Prelutsky.  He has contributed a few of the poems, but it was fun to find some new poets for children.

Happy Poetry Month!
For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mega Million Dreams

Every now and then I daydream about winning the Mega Millions lottery.  I know exactly the type of school I would start.  I could buy my own building, hire my own staff, and throw off the bureaucracy.  (I mentioned this dream to a few people the last time the jackpot was high.  My husband got excited about how he could contribute and several of my colleagues offered to come teach with me. It's nice to know I'm not living this dream alone.)

My school would be private, but if I had the kind of funds the lottery would supply, I wouldn't have to charge much tuition.  Students could come to my school regardless of ability to pay.  I would invest enough in a fund to maintain income.

Then I started thinking about the lessons we could teach with such funding: technology, science, literature, etc.  We could get quality materials and small enough class sizes to really make a difference.

One problem: I never buy a ticket.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quote of the Week -- April 6, 2014

"It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted." -Linda Conway

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rolling in the Aisles: A Collection of Laugh-Out-Loud Poems

Since April is poetry month, I am dedicating my April book reviews to some poetry anthologies.  The first one in this short series is, Rolling in the Aisles: A Collection of Laugh-Out-Loud Poems edited by Bruce Lansky.

I think sharing humorous poetry is a great way to end a day with my fourth graders.  It's positive and fun and I catch my students checking these books out of the school and public libraries.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Currently April -- No Fooling


April 1 has turned out to be a busy day.  I launched a Poetry Challenge for students and I started one for adults.  It was April Fool's Day today and my students and I so need a spring break.  I completely forgot to look out for Currently April.  Better late than never.

I'm listening/watching an episode of Castle.  I love the show, in fact I love most mysteries.

I'm loving that the sun is finally out.  We have had more than our usually share of rain here in the Seattle area.  It's time to dry out.

I'm thinking about spring vacation next week.  Anyone who teaches knows what I am talking about.

I want to stay home tonight, but I will go to the Beth Moore study at church.  It's always good when I get there.

I need more sleep tonight.  I was out later than usual last night and had trouble falling and staying asleep.  I hope tonight will be better.

My contracted hours are 8:30-4:00.  The students are there 9:00-3:30.

Our last day of school is June 18.

If you would like to join the blog party with me, click here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...