Friday, October 1, 2010

Poetry Friday & #185 - You

The marvelous part about waiting for children, 
and helping them to teach us is what we learn ourselves...
The top teachers, I've found, whether in the center of the city, 
or a rural school, have an insatiable appetite for learning.  
When teachers learn, the children learn.  
Donald Graves

Along with so many writing teachers this week, I am very sad that Donald Graves, mentor and mentor to my mentors, has died.  You can read a notice about his passing at the Heinemann website.

This is my favorite book by Donald Graves.  Many children's voices have taken flight through the decades due to Donald's kind spirit and wise teaching of teachers.  While I never had the chance to meet or see him, his written words echo inside me as I try to become a better teacher and person each day.

Students - sometimes we write because something is too important not to write about.  This is how I felt about the death of Donald Graves and why I wrote about his passing last night.

Teachers - I encourage you to take one minute and a half to listen to this YouTube clip in which Donald Graves tells us how to begin a writing workshop.  Yes, it is the writing and the sharing that begin it all.

It is still Banned Books Week.  Surprise!  Surprise!  Even the dictionary has been banned.  You can read about "The Eleven Most Surprising Banned Books" at The Huffington Post.

Shop Indie Bookstores

May this Poetry Friday bring you good thoughts of the inspiring work of Donald Graves.  Jennie over at Biblio File is hosting today's roundup, so mosey on over to find out what is happening poetry-wise in the blogosphere today.

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Amy-I had the honor of attending a workshop taught by Donald Graves about 20 yrs.ago. As you said, he was a marvelous teacher. I own several of his books and have used them in my classroom with all grade levels. Your poem is a lovely tribute to him.

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  3. Amy,
    As I've told you, I teach all first graders at my school a special poetry lesson on Friday. Today was our 5th time together. We've always read and talked about poems, and written them together, but today was to be the first time they try it on their own. I based my lesson on your pumpkin poem from Tues. After they had written and shared and were busy writing in their writer's folders, a boy remarked to his table mates, "We are poets. Did you know that?" My heart jumped to my throat and I sat frozen, absorbing this profound moment. For them to think of themselves as authors and poets...and we're just beginning!

  4. I was just sitting here after reading your poem and I was wondering if there was a way to estimate the number of people that were touched by the teaching of Donald Graves.

  5. Linda & Lori, I feel so grateful to have been touched by Donald Graves's words. Don't you feel an even stronger responsibility now to the teaching of writing? Somehow I do.
    Sallye, I wish that I could be a fly on the wall of your poetry Fridays at school. I read your message on Friday on my tiny phone and just grinned out loud imagining that little boy realizing that he is a poet. Beautiful! Please, please, please let me know whenever you are willing and ready to visit for a Poetry Friday. And please bring Hairy too. :) A.

  6. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  7. This poem gives my heart a hug. Donald Graves and his work made me the teacher I am today. I lost another important mentor years back, but I know that she and Donald Graves are probably sitting on little chairs in a first grade classroom in the sky being delighted by student work together right now, and I can be at peace.