Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 17 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!


Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 17 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was Memories.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



Margaret Simon's students from Caneview Elementary in New Iberia, Louisiana, have done it again!  You can listen to their strong voices singing about that old barn.  Thank you, singers!



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

Freedom
by Amy LV


Students - Today's poem does not have much of a story behind it other than it began with some notebook writing.  I knew which tune I would write to because I knew that we were lucky enough to have guests with the same tune here today. But which topic should I choose?

I wrote about a few ideas in my notebook, and some were too silly for today's rhythm and song.  I adore this tune, and I wanted to write something worthy of it.  I hope I did.

Today we have a special Poetry Peek from Joy Keller's fourth grade poets Brooks Hill Elementary in the Fairport Central School District in Fairport, NY.  These students have been researching oceans, and they used their research to write a class song...to the same tune as my song for today.  

Taking information and restructuring it into the rhythms and lines of a poemsong is a complex task, and these writers did a beautiful job here. This might be something that other classes wish to try.  It's a glorious way to culminate a unit in science or social studies.  And when you read this poem (and tomorrow, listen to these students' singing voices), you will feel that you are in the sea. 

Thank you so much for sharing your song with us today, students.  It's a treat!  Welcome to teacher Joy Keller and her fourth graders.


We began by brainstorming a list of topics that had to do with the ocean (the water, fish, ocean mammals, etc.), and then the kids grouped themselves based on which topic they wanted to write about. Each group wrote a stanza. We talked about syllables and emphasis, but most of them just felt when they got it right by repeatedly singing it! We finished with a discussion about the order in which to put the stanzas and--voila!--we had our poem.

I think the trickiest part was that everyone kept singing the tune of "You are My Sunshine" instead of today's secret tune so that we messed ourselves up. I asked my musician husband why this was happening, and he gave me the very technical answer of "They're kinda alike at the beginning." :)


The Ocean
by Mrs. Keller’s Fourth Graders

The ocean’s turquoise, with bubbles floating,
There’s emerald seaweed, with ruby coral.
With pearls in clams and some diamond seashells,
Barnacles cling to opal rocks.

From the sunlight zone down to the twilight zone down
To the midnight zone down to the abyss,
From the abyss down into the trenches,
Those are the levels of the sea.

There are the mammals that live in oceans,
They have to come up for a breath of fresh air.
The whales have blowholes that spurt out water
Dolphins and seals will splash and play.

Fish breathe through their gills, and swim in schools,
And they have scales, and they have fins.
Sharks have sharp teeth, and the sailfish swim fast.
Tripod fish even walk around.

Deep in the ocean, strange fish are glowing.
Most fish down there have bioluminescence.
Bioluminescence is like a bright light bulb—
That’s what helps fish to catch their prey.

Invertebrates live down in the ocean.
They don’t have backbones, but some have hard shells
Like jellyfish and lobsters and crabs and
Octopi squirting out black ink.

Don’t throw your garbage into the ocean
You’ll hurt the fish and you’ll cloud the water.
The dirty bottles and destructive poisons
Can really ruin our gorgeous seas.

Robyn is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Life on the Deckle Edge. Have fun feasting on the poems all day, all week long!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 16 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 16 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was You and Me.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

Time
Photo by Amy LV


Students - Today's poem is about something that always strikes me.  Old barns. Whenever I drive here near home or far away in other rural areas, I fall in love with barn after barn.  There are so many stories in old barns, and I wish that I could bewitch each old barn I see...bewitch it into talking for just five minutes...so that I could learn the stories from its past.

Yesterday, I had a long drive home from Vermont, after two delightful days teaching in the Georgia Elementary and Middle School.  On my way, I passed many old barns, and the one you see above simply stole my heart.

Today's poem is a simple verse, full of simple solid noun-words: barn, moon, cow, cats, children.  I wanted my poem to feel sturdy and safe, just like a steady barn.  I wrote it while driving, in my head, once again stopping at gas stations to jot on the paper below.  Because I was driving, most of the revision was invisible...in my old singing head!

You can think about your writing even when you are not writing; just let the ideas and sounds play together in your head.  You can think about writing at any time at all: when you are riding your bike, sitting on a bus seat, looking out of your living room window at the rain.

The wondrous poet Eve Merriam once said, "I've sometimes spent weeks looking for precisely the right word.  It's like having a tiny marble in your pocket, you can just feel it.  Sometimes you find a word and say, 'No, I don't think this is it...' Then you discard it, and take another and another until you get it right."

We can all be like Eve, thinking about our writing during all times of day, carrying words in our pocket, patiently waiting and searching for just the right ones.

Poem Draft (Most Revision Done in Head While Driving)
Photo by Amy LV

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 15 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 15 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was Librarian's Song.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

If you are a classroom of students who figures this out, and if you would like to share your voices singing today's poem, please just send me a link to your SoundCloud (easy free app) recording, and I will post it here tomorrow.

Joe's Pole and Tackle Box
Photo by Amy LV


Students - This is a shorter song...and I am imagining that you will not have a very difficult time figuring out the tune.  I wrote this one in my head while driving eight hours to Vermont, and it was fun to sing, tap my steering wheel, and drive.  Every once in a while, I would pull over into a parking lot and write down a draft.  I am especially happy with "Dig fat worms" and all of line four and the "sh" and "ch" sounds in the final line.

Today we are halfway through the songs.  So far, this has been an interesting challenge for me.  I took it on to try out some new meters and to practice listening carefully to the stresses in words, and I can feel my meter muscles stretching.  I hope that your listening-to-syllables-and-stresses-muscles are stretching too.  Thank you for playing along this far, and thank you for your comments and notes and audio clips!

Teachers and Other Adults - If you are new here...please know that I also keep a Facebook page for The Poem Farm.  This page includes poems for grownups, links to all things poetry for children and adults, articles, quotes, neat poetry products...just poem-y things I love. You can find that page here, and I welcome you.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 14 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 14 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was Painter.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



Guess what?  Mrs. Holt's reading-loving students from Ladue Fifth Grade Center in St. Louis, MO figured it out, and they were kind enough to share their voices with us here today.  Right now, these students are studying poetry, writing their own poems, and enjoying many mentor texts to understand form and topic choice.  As to how they solved yesterday's tune-puzzle, Mrs. Holt writes, "We don't have any extraordinary tips for figuring out the song, but our strategy was to try out different rhythms from your list until we thought it made sense."  You can hear their voices below.



Thank you so much to these students for singing with me today.  I welcome any classes to do the same; simply send me your SoundCloud (easy free app) link in an e-mail, and I will include your voices here too.

And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

National Library Week Web Badge
from the American Library Association


Students - Happy National Library Week!  This is a special week to celebrate the wonder of free libraries, fabulous librarians, all of the good people who work in libraries and all of the resources we find there.  Today's poem is a poem to honoring libraries and librarians.  

There are times when it just feels right to write a poem for a special person or a special day.  You might think about those you love or about holidays that mean a lot to you or well, you might make up your own celebration, as the character does in I'M IN LOVE WITH CELEBRATIONS by Byrd Baylor.  It is a joy to celebrate others and things we care about through poetry.

Read More at IndieBound

You will notice that today's poem has a repeating stanza, or chorus.  This has been something new for me this month.  Usually in poetry, I do not include a repeating stanza.  But sometimes, in these poemsongs, I do.

Below, you will see a new book of poems about celebrations.  It was just born this National Poetry Month!  Happy birthday, book!  Congratulations again to Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, who brought together many many poets and put together this beautiful volume in both English and Spanish for all of us.

Read More at Pomelo Books
Photo by Amy LV

Now, go find a librarian to hug.  Say, "Happy Library Week!"  This is important.

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 13 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 13 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poems were Ocean Writer and The Best Dog.  Here is the tune that goes along with them, below. Did you figure it out?



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

Vase of Flowers - 2011
by Georgia LV


Students - Painting and writing are very similar to each other. Both require facing a blank page and making something new. Both ask us to look outside and inside ourselves, to find what it is we have to say.  Both welcome us as explorers!

Today's song was a little bit of a challenge for me because it has a very different rhythm and pattern.  It was a fun puzzle, and what is interesting for me is that writing these as songs makes me think of them as songs.  I want to try to step back and see if I can see them as poems - do they still work as poems...or do they need the tunes to work?

This week begins NYS Common Core testing.  It is very important to be sure to play outside, draw, paint, do all kinds of things to express your gifts.  Humans are multifaced, and by exploring many ways of making, we discover who we are.  I wish you some good messy play!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 12 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 12 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was In the Harbor.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

One Pen at a Time
Photo by Amy LV


Students - Yesterday I began trying to write to the tune/beat of a different song, but you know what?  I just wasn't in the mood for that tune, so I switched to this one instead.  It is funny to me that one tune would not somehow appeal on a certain day, but this is exactly what happened.  Now that other meter is all counted out and waiting for the just-right day.

I do adore the idea of octopi and writing and ink.  In fact, I wrote another octopus-writer poem back in 2010, and you can read it here if you wish.  It is interesting to hold onto your writing, students, because if you keep at it, you will notice themes in your own work.  Who knows? Maybe in 50 years, I'll have a complete collection of octopus-writer poems.

Did you know that the preferred plural of 'octopus' is actually 'octopuses' and not 'octopi'?  Here is why.


Well, I certainly AM a "fan of quirky words" - so much so that this seven letter delight landed in my thirty-five word poem not once, but twice!

Which quirky words do you like?  Consider making a list of these and then just choose one to write from. Simply place one of those quirky words atop a fresh page...and go! Writing from one word often yields surprising poemjourneys.

There is a second poem to go with today's song, and it is actually the first one I wrote.  You can read/sing it below.  I am curious as to what you think of the differences between these two and if you prefer one to the other.

Hope and Eli at Camp - Summer 2000
Photo by Amy LV


Please share a comment below if you wish.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 11 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 11 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was City Home.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?



Here are our friends from Margaret Simon's class at Jefferson Island Road Elementary in New Iberia, Louisiana.  They got it!  As always, I welcome you to share your SoundCloud (easy free app) recording with me via e-mail, and I will be happy to include your voices here too.



And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

Hint - Both stanzas of this poem are written to the syllable and meter count of the first verse of today's selected song.  I repeat the pattern of the first verse twice rather than changing it in verse/stanza two.

Friendship
by Amy LV


Students - One can never know where a poem will come from.  I often say that I like to trace a poem's family tree back in time, to figure out its roots, where it came from.  Today's poem came from a conversation.

On Thursday at Arcade Elementary, I was eating lunch in between assemblies, when a lady who works at the school walked into the empty-except-for-me auditorium.  She was looking at my puppets and books, and I said, "Hello."  She said "Hello" back and stayed to chat for a while.  

During this warm chat, I learned that my new friend adores lighthouses.  She likes them so much, in fact, that she stops at lighthouses on her travels and asks to speak to the lighthouse keepers. Then she writes down what she learns about the different lighthouses.  She has many stories and has met many interesting people this way. In fact, one keeper even offered to sell her the lighthouse!

Isn't that fascinating?

I loved talking with someone new this week, and it is clear that I kept our conversation in my mind.  That conversation came out in today's poemsong.

It is funny how sometimes I will not hear a word for many weeks or months and then, suddenly, I hear it over and over. After talking with my new friend about lighthouses, on Friday I found this great NY TIMES parenting article about "lighthouse parenting."  Clearly, I was meant to write about a lighthouse for today. Lighthouses are following me!

Pay close attention to the images and words and sounds that seem to be recurring in your own life.  Any one of these might give you an idea to write about.  What is following you?

Remember - it is National Poetry Month, and you can learn about poetry happenings all around the Kidlitosphere, all month long, at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Please share a comment below if you wish.