Friday, July 6, 2018

Repetition in a Poem of Home

I am not really here.


I am dipping back today to welcome the writers from Jennifer Serravallo's Reading and Writing Book Strategies Summer Camp Community to Poetry Friday! Today visited writing summer camp for the last day of Poetry Week, and I feel so lucky to do have done so.  If you do not know about this camp, please feel free to visit here to see all of Jen's poetry lesson videos for this week.

All new visitors, please know that I post poems and poemthinking for students each Friday during the school year, and you may also search for poems here by both topic and technique.

Our Front Garden Full of Milkweed
Photo by Amy LV

A Monarch Visitor!
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem idea is about a place I see every single day - our front garden.  I have been thinking a lot about gardens lately because I am not very good at keeping them, but gardening is something I wish to do better.  My front garden, however, is no longer mine.

I have turned it over to monarch butterflies.

See, monarchs need milkweed, and monarch numbers have been down due to pesticides and habitat loss.  So when milkweed began growing in our garden voluntarily, I chose to let it stay.  And as you can see in the picture above, monarchs are visiting!

Today in my notebook, I wrote about this place, and my commitment to monarch butterflies.

Notebook Drafting 
Click to Enlarge

You will notice some repetition in today's poem. Often when I read or write a poem, I think about which words or lines might be wise to repeat.  I play around with these words and lines, allowing them to weave in and out and curl around each other.

In Welcome, you will find a few repeated words or phrases. Notice which lines and words repeat.  Notice where they repeat too, as there are many ways to use repetition. And remember, the more we notice as writers, the more techniques we have to try on our own as writers.

Tricia is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Each week many of us gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post, and you can always find the host of the week in the left sidebar here or at any participating blog.

Now...back to summer, back to watching the monarchs!


One Milkweed Leaf
Photo by Amy LV

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Stepping into Summer...

The Poem Farm Pasture
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Each morning that I walk around our back pasture, a mama bluebird darts from this house you see above.  She does not want me to know about or to disturb her babies. Earlier in the season, she would fly as close to my head as possible, trying to frighten me away.  I wish she knew that I will never harm her or her children.

Today's poem is simply about a daily moment in my life during this season.  It is important for me to go outside and to do things - to experience the small majesties of the seasons and to pay close attention to what I see and think.  Sometimes children ask about why I do not have a television or video games, and my best answer is because I know how short life is, I know how addictive such things are, and I wish to save any little brain and heart and soul space for the people and animals and things that mean the most to me.

Writing about bluebirds today made me think about a poem from my new book, WITH MY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT MAKING THINGS (Clarion, 2018).  If you are looking for something interesting to do this summer, make something with your own hands.  You are capable of so much.

Teachers - If you are interested in resources for sharing this book, Erika Thulin Dawes from School Library Journal has written an extensive and beautiful post full of resources HERE.

Click to Enlarge

Today is the final Poetry Peek for the 2017 - 2018, school year, and I feel fortunate to welcome Stephanie Jeppson's fifth grade poets from Crossroads Elementary School in Riverbank, California.  These students created this presentation all on their own, and I am grateful to them for publishing it here!  Welcome!

Click the Box to Enlarge

These students' poetry, books, and presentation inspire me to think about all kinds of poems and too, about the magic that happens when we work together.  Thank you very much to Teacher Stephanie Jeppson and to these poets and makers for joining us today as we lean into a summer filled with words and love.

Last week I welcomed Teacher Dana Kofitsas and her third graders with their collection of lovely, thoughtful poems.  If you did not see these, please do so HERE.  A joy!

Karen is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Karen Edmisten with two beautiful poem offerings.  Each week many of us gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post, and you can always find the host of the week in the left sidebar here or at any participating blog.

And now, I say goodbye for a bit as The Poem Farm will be on vacation this summer - vacation at home.

I plan to paint these bluebird houses built by the hands of a young 4-Her named Dylan.

I plan to spend good writing time in my new/old little camper named Betsy.

And I plan to pick berries, feed hummingbirds, make jam, knit, move plants around, and to organize many of the poems here at The Poem Farm.  I will not be sharing new poems, but hopefully I will have things in a bit more of an organized fashion by the time I return on Friday, August 31.

Happy summer to all, dear friends!


Please share a comment below if you wish.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Let Mint Speak....And a Peek

Front Garden...Hi, Mint!
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Last week, I visited Harold O. Brumsted Elementary School in Holland, NY as a volunteer for the grand annual Arts and Hobby Day.  I brought my red suitcase full of nature treasures and so enjoyed drawing and writing with both third and fifth graders. We drew and wrote about shells, pine cones, feathers, and chewed and drew mint leaves from my garden.  You can see some mint in the photograph above.  It is to the left of the picture, peeking up from in between the rocks.

Notebook Snip
Photo by Amy LV

Drawing a bit of mint, I was overtaken by the beauty of each leaf.  When held to the light, a person can see each tiny vein, each little hair on a mint leaf's stem.  This plant I pull so ruthlessly from my garden (it DOES take over) became new and precious to me.

After drawing for a time, I knew that I needed to write in the voice of the mighty, much maligned mint plant. Treated as a weed, I thought that mint deserved a chance to speak.  

To which other person, animal, plant, or inanimate object would you like to give voice?  Writing persona - or mask - poems is a ton of fun and also offers us insights we might not have when always writing in our own voices.

Today I am tickled to welcome Dana Kofitsas and her third grade poets from Stony Lane Elementary School in Paramus, New Jersey.  When you read these poems, you will see right away how these students have learned so many important things from their study of poetry. Read to notice their varied and thoughtful topics, figurative language, line breaks, endings, and use of repetition.  How lucky we are to have them here this week!

Click the Box to Enlarge

Thank you so much to all of these poets and to their teacher Dana Kofitsas for joining us today.  Poetry brings us together, teaches us about writing, and makes us whole.

On June 1, the second grade poets of Crossroads Acadamy Quality Hill visited the Poem Farm.  If you did not yet have a chance to read their wonderful anthologies, please go back to June 1 and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Kiesha is hosting this past week's Poetry Friday roundup at Whispers from the Ridge with a song for summer.  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Hello & A Poetry Peek from Missouri

My New Notebook
Photo by Amy LV

Students - This week I filled up the last pages of my notebook and bought a new notebook, the one you see above.  I am excited when I complete a notebook, but I also feel a little bit sad to say goodbye. (I feel this way about novels too!)

I wrote today's poem as a poem of address, or a poem written TO something else.  Sometimes it is interesting to pretend that another person or animal or object is listening to you...and to write directly TO it. This poem sounds like I really do talk, except for the rhyme part, and it is something I often think about.  Each time I begin a new notebook, it feels strange to enter this new paper room, to write on these new paper walls.  I do get comfy in a new notebook after a while.  It takes a few pages of writing in a notebook before I feel at home.

If you don't know what to write about, consider writing TO a person or animal or object.  Or think about a feeling related to your own writing life.  Or perhaps, make a list of many different events in life (riding your bike, having a haircut, playing with a dog) and the feelings that go with these events.  Approach a topic from a feeling place...and off you go!

Today I could not be happier to welcome co-teachers Emily Callahan and Nicole Johnson and their 44 second grade poets from Crossroads Academy Quality Hill Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.  Some of you might remember Emily Callahan from when she was a fourth grade teacher at a different school.  Back in 2016, she and her students taught us all about Popcorn and Poetry, which has caught on in many new places. 

How lucky we are to have these poet guests! Enjoy every moment.

If you wish to learn about this class's poetry journey through slides, do so here.

Or if you'd rather learn by watching a five minute movie, you may do so here.

Click the Box to Enlarge

Enjoy a peek at this thoughtful class poetry anthology...fingerprints on the cover!

Second Grade Poetry Anthology - Read HERE
Book by Second Graders of Crossroads Academy Quality Hill

Do not miss this chance to read this book by three authors.  What a challenge!

Book by Authors Jude, Christian, and Matthew

Watch Ben's movie book to learn about cats and 20 ways to approach a topic.
(Thank you, Ben, for your generous dedication!)

Wow!  I am very grateful to these students for their posts here today.  Thank you, writers and teachers!

If you did not have a chance to read last week's beautiful fourth grade poems, shared by teachers Lauren Coffey and Patricia Nesbitt of McNeill Elementary in Bowling Green, Kentucky, please be sure to head on over and dive in. We are fortunate to have so many gorgeous words to wallow in...and teachers, I invite your class to share in this space too.

Deep gratitude to all of the generous sixth grade bloggers from Michelle Haseltine's class of Brambleton Middle School in Loundon County, Virginia.  For the whole month of May, they took OVER my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, filling each day with pictures, ideas, and endless enthusiasm and fun.You can visit over there to find all kinds of ideas for your own summer notebooking.  What a blast!  I'm currently seeking blog takeover classes for the 2018-2019 school year. Teachers, if you're interested, please let me know.

Buffy is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Buffy's Blog where you will find a cool seed storm!  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Writing Together Makes Life Good

Poetry Books!
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is dedicated to all of all of my poem reading and writing friends!  Here in the United States, it is the end of the school year.  These last few weeks and days are inviting me to reflect upon the many clever, sharing poem lovers I have met all year long.  I am thankful.

And sometimes, when I feel thankful, I write.  I wish each one of you many poems and many good poem reading and writing friends.

On this bright day in May, please keep reading to find a lovely gift for all of us...

Today, on their last day of school, I could not be happier to welcome Teacher Lauren Coffey, Volunteer Teacher Patricia Nesbitt, and the fourth grade poets of McNeill Elementary School in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  It has been a joy to read these students' poems and to learn about their process.

Please sit back and enjoy this collection of beautiful, thoughtful words...

Click Full Screen Icon to Enlarge

To celebrate these young poets' work, I am offering a giveaway to a commenter on this post.  Please comment with words to these poets on today's post to be entered to win a copy of my POEMS ARE TEACHERS: HOW STUDYING POETRY STRENGTHENS WRITING IN ALL GENRES.  I will draw the name of one commenter next Thursday, May 31 and will announce the winner next Poetry Friday, June 1!  Thank you, Heinemann, for the book to share.

And is Friday and I continue celebrating my new poet friends from Bowling Green, Kentucky as I also invite you to visit two places.

Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, the magnificent 6th Grade Blog Takeover continues.  Michelle Haseltine's students are running the show over there for the whole month of May, and it has been a joy!  Please note that I will be drawing another giveaway winner of a commenter on one of this week's posts.  And I'll be drawing that winner's name tomorrow!

And this week, you can find the Poetry Friday roundup over at Margaret's place, Reflections on the Teche.  Learn all about what's happening poetry-wise in the Kidlitosphere this week and read Margaret's lovely sonnet for sandpipers too.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mending Song - For Paramus

Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is for my friends in Paramus, New Jersey.  I am thinking about them today, sending peace and healing love in the wake of yesterday's school bus accident.  If you ever know someone who is struggling or suffering, please try to reach out.  We need each other.  


Rebecca is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Sloth Reads with a book review of a wonderful book and a giveaway too.  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Wish for Today

In a Tree
Photo by Amy LV

Students - The picture you see above is our son!  On Monday, he decided to read in a box elder tree in our yard.  But he did not choose to just sit on a branch.  Rather, he chose to tie his hammock into the tree's branches.  The book he is holding is THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES.

I have been thinking about trees lately as my father has done a lot of work on our own family tree, and I often wish I could go back in time to meet my long-gone ancestors.  Today's poem marries our son's reading tree with this longing to know the people of my past.

If you're wondering what to write today, you might consider thinking about what's been popping up in your mind lately or you might begin by recalling an image from this past week.  I often take photographs of scenes that interest me to write about later.

Another idea is this. You might choose to simply lift my title, "A Wish for Today" and use this to inspire your own wish poem.  What is one wish you have for today? Earlier this week, I visited Harris Hill Elementary School in Penfield, NY, and some of the kindergarten students were writing wish poems.  Perhaps they helped to give me this idea too!

You may have noticed that this poem rhymes the following words: tea, tree, see, me. This did not just happen.  After I wrote the first two lines, I knew that I wanted to keep rhyming with tree, so I made a list of words that rhyme with tree and then chose from there.  The words led the way to this poem!

COMMENTER ALERT...Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I am so excited to host the sixth grade notebookers of Michelle Haseltine's class for the first ever notebooks blog takeover!  Every single day of May, a new student or pair or group of students will share tips and ideas for notebooking.  Please stop by for inspiration and writing ideas!  And leave a comment; comments mean so much to writers of all ages!  Plus, someone will win a cool new notebook each Saturday!

Jama is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Jama's Alphabet Soup with bluebirds and blue...  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post!

Please share a comment below if you wish.