It was amazing to read about the class in Amy Arnberg’s article, A Study of Memoir.  My f avorite part was the conversations between the students about memoirs and their sincerity in their comments.  This goes to show how much effect immersing into a topic with your class can have.  It was a long process and the teacher I thought did such a great job at breaking down the parts for mini-lessons and getting them ready to write their own.  It seems they were very ready to write their own by the end of the study.  Of course the young ones I teach are not going to be able to do the work that these fifth graders did, but  are able to reflect on memories in their writing.  This is actually a lot of what we do already…write about your experiences and put in details of how it made you feel.  Their writing journals, I guess, could be considered a collection of memoirs!

Writing my own memoir makes me a little nervous.  For some reason, I’ve always had a had time recalling events in my life when I was younger.  I have to really rely on pictures!  It was kind of reassuring when I read Dohl’s book and he mentioned that he couldn’t remember much from when he was very little either!


Add a comment March 14, 2010

Concrete Poem

The Sun

Shining us with light

beaming with pure delight

reminds us of summer days

wrapping us up with its warm rays

helping beautiful plants to grow

allowing the earth all its beauty to show

Add a comment March 11, 2010

Found Poem

Add a comment March 10, 2010


I am a baby whale                               

I live in the depths of the ocean

I wonder where my mother and I will travel today

I hear the songs of my mother, creaking like a swinging door

I see the sunlight glistening through the water as my mother pushes me to the top for my

first breath of air

I want to be enormous like my mother is now

I am a baby whale

I breathe through my blowhole spouting out air like a geyser

I feel my mother’s slippery skin next to mine as we glide through the ocean together

I drink her rich milk that helps me to grow strong fast

I am comforted by the protection from my mother and know that she will keep me from harm     

I understand that my mother is scared of no animal in the ocean

I also understand that it is man that I will fear all my life

I am a baby whale

I hope to be as graceful and wonderful as my mother swimming through the ocean

I was once a tiny baby relying on my mother for food and protection

I am now a year old and separated from my mother on my own to search for food to eat

I try to be the good hunter that my mother was finding the tiny krill that we love so much

I wonder if I will every see my mother again or are we separated forever by this vast ocean

I say to man leave us alone to roam freely wherever we please

I am a baby whale

Resource:  Esbensen, B. J. (1994).  Baby whales drink milk.  Harper Collins:  New York, NY.

Add a comment March 9, 2010


Wonderful spring time

Refreshing warmth the winds bring

Inviting us out

Add a comment March 9, 2010


I loved reading the books I Am the Mummy HEB-MEFERT, Dirty Laundry Pile, and Atlantic.  With my young students, one of my favorite things is to read passages such as these  and have them guess what I am describing.  Teaching kindergarteners to see things from a different perspective and is very hard, but they love to try and guess something I am describing.  These IPoems are great ways to do that!  I am willing to try and write one together with my class.  We can “pretend” to be something, such as an animal and see where it goes.  In Kucan’s article she mentions that writing these type of poems are a way for the students to “continue thinking about and imagining” a story they have read.  I love this concept….I am always trying to discuss stories after reading them, getting the students to put themselves into the story.  An IPoem could be a great way for the students to put themselves into the story or character’s life.

While reading Dirty Laundry Pile, I found one poem that I just really related to.  I just read it to my husband and we both laughed the whole time because we could imagine our cat saying all of these words!  One thing I thought of while reading all of the IPoem books is that they really bring the character to life.  I loved the language in the mummy book!

Add a comment February 24, 2010

Class 4 – Acrostics

After reading everything about poetry last week I posted it made me a little scared and nervous.  But after reading about acrostics I got excited!  This is definitely something that I could do with my little ones…and really have some fun with it.  I definitely enjoyed reading the acrostic poems in African Acrostics and Silver Seeds.  I especially enjoyed Silver Seeds because of how short the poems were..because these are the types of poems that my kinders and first graders would be coming up with.  This book would be such a great book of poems to read to them.  Both the Elliot book and Frye, Tranthen, and Schlagal article mention that you need to expose children to great examples of poetry first and this book is a great way to introduce that.  Chapter 8 in Elliot’s books mentions that children need to hear great vocabulary through listening to poems.  She also mentions something that really caught my attention.  Elliot discusses reading books to her grandson and how important that is to do at a young age because later on in life children will be using the vocabulary they are exposed to at an early age.

Exposing my students to vocabulary is such a large part of our curriculum, but this made me wonder if i am exposing them to enough variety of writing styles such as poetry.  This has definitely encouraged me to expose my students more and bring in more poetry to my classroom.  The Frye, Trathen, and Schlagal article discusses how important it is for the teacher to model and actually write poetry in front of the students first before letting them do it on their own.  So even though writing poetry scares me, I am excited about trying an acrostic poem with my young students and think they will really enjoy it as well!

1 comment February 16, 2010

Invitation for Writer’s Notebooks

Writing Invitation

1 comment February 12, 2010

Class 4-Virtual Class Meeting

The very first slide from the powerpoint really stuck with me.  Niki Grimes said that poetry “takes you on a short journey and touches your heart” and also says that poetry “tickles your funny bone”.  The book Love That Dog definitely takes you on a journey through a time in this boys life and in the end really touches your heart.  Speaking of touching your heart, mine was touched as I read Brown Angels.  To see pictures of children alongside those poems really made them even more special and I couldn’t help but grin as I read each poem and looked at the smiling faces in the pictures.

I loved the idea of co-creating a poem with your class.  The powerpoint really placed a lot of emphasis on scaffolding poetry and that you can’t just teach someone how to write poetry.  You have to provide opportunities for them to express themselves through poetry and model yourself.  I think this is what was happening in Love That Dog.  The teacher never seemed to put too much pressure on the boy to write…it just kind of happened naturally with him after reading so many different poems.

The last idea of the PowePoint was to use the SAID model to write poems.  I love this idea because it makes poetry so simple.  It made me think of the book all the small poems and fourteen more.  Every one of these poems are so simple yet say so much with the words used in them.  This SAID model seems to be something that younger children can do, however I still wonder how you do poetry with kindergarteners.  Yes, we read poetry and even have poetry folders, but can children this age create poetry on their own once they are able to write?

writing a poem about…paper clips:  it’s amazing how this author of Safety Pin can take something so simple and turn it into this beautiful poem!  Here are some words that come to mind when looking at a paper clip:  seems to never end, so efficient, seems to be smiling at you, mouth opening up to chomp down on pieces of paper, stiff yet flexible.

Links from Class 4:  I loved the link to Joyce Sidman’s page.  I found a book called MeowRuff for young children and she even provides several activities to go along with this book.  One of the activities is a concrete poem about one of the animals.  Before I hadn’t realized that this could be poetry, it would be very appropriate for kindergarteners.  We start labeling in kindergarten and this type of poem would be go right along with that.  I also loved the link to the page of quotes about what makes a good poem.  After all this thinking and reflecting about poetry, these helped tie it all together for me and see poetry in a differnent way.  I look forward to next week’s class to hear ideas from other teachers and how i can use poetry in Kindergarten.

Add a comment February 11, 2010

Poetry…it scares me!

Yes….writing poetry and interpreting it has always been a weakness for me.  From all of these readings, it seems maybe I wasn’t taught how easy it can be!  In Certo’s article he mentions that children need to be guided through poetry, whether writing it or interpreting it.  He also mentions that the best things to write about are everyday things just like in the book all the small poems and fourteen more.  I loved browsing through this book reading them.  One that stuck out to me is the one titled “kitten”.  As I read it I was picturing my cat doing the exact thing when he was little and it even made me laugh a little because it’s such a funny sight. 

I will admit I feel a little better about poetry after reading Love That Dog.  It was simple writing, but turned into poetry just by the way the author phrased them and put together.  Teaching kindergarten and first grade, I wonder how children this young would react to writing poetry.  I’m not sure if the kindergarteners would be ready for that.  However, they enjoy hearing and reading poetry.  Each of my students has a poetry folder and every week we learn a poem, usually that goes along with whatever we are learning about.  We read it every day, look for sight words, rhyming words if there are any, and on Fridays illustrate their own poem.  Then they add it to their poetry folders.  The first graders have to take them home every Friday and read it to at least two people and then return it on Monday.  It’s great to hear the students reading a poem in four days that they couldn’t read the first day!

1 comment February 9, 2010