Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dream Anthem and A Poet-Tea!

Gouache Painting by Georgia LV

Click the arrow to hear Barry sing this song to you.

Today's poem came with a melody first.  Earlier this week, my friend Barry Lane sent me a melody that his guitar wrote.  I received a sound file of the guitar music followed by one with Barry singing "La la la la la...." to the beat of the melody.

My job was to write some words to go with it.  Barry asked for a song for children, something to children or about children...and this is what wanted to be written.

Do you play an instrument or have a friend or family member who does?  If you do, you might want to try writing from a melody first.  If you do not, you can simply use any melody from a song you already know.  For example, if I were to write a poem with the beat to TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR, the syllable pattern would begin like this --

La        La     La      La     La     La     La
Twin    kle    Twin    kle    Lit     tle     star...

But of course it's not all about syllables.  It's first about meaning.  And I do believe deeply in listening to dreams.

At the same time Barry and I were playing guitar and writing, Georgia was up painting and painting.  Her phoenix is a beautiful expression of rising, and we are grateful to her for allowing us to use it with this little song.

And now...a very hearty welcome to second grade teacher Barbara Phillips and her young poets for today's summer Poetry Peek!

My name is Barbara Phillips. I teach second grade at Monroe Local Schools in Monroe, Ohio. In addition to teaching, I was chosen as a 2012 Wonder Lead Ambassador for NCFL’s Wonderopolis. Wonderopolis is great website to engage children of all ages in Wonder and expose them to nonfiction on a daily basis. Each day they pose a new Wonder of the Day question. The Wonders are on many different topics, but some that teach children about poetry include:
#169 - What is an Acrostic?
#202 - What is a Sonnet?
#221 - What is a Limerick?
#575 - What is a Poetry Slam? (including Amy's ideas & suggestions)

We spent the year reading and talking about poetry. We learned about different kinds of poems including: mask, list, found, shapes, and pattern. Students learned that poetry is written differently than stories, doesn’t have to rhyme, can have rhythm, sometimes has line breaks and that often times poems have lots of white space. Our year long poetry began on the first day of school when we shared Rebecca Kai Dotlich poem, “Sky Wish” from CLIMB INSIDE A POEM by Georgia Heard and Lester Laminack.  (Thank you to Rebecca for allowing us to post this poem today - Amy.)

Sky Wish
I wrote my wish
upon a kite;
closed my eyes,
grabbed its string --            

through wind
I ran,
let it fly . . .
my wish came true.
It flew into
that wide, wide map
of sky.
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Ccollected by Georgia Heard 
and Lester Laminack 

Students wrote their wishes for 2nd grade on strips of paper to hang on the tail of our kite hanging in our classroom.

Here is a VoiceThread of my students sharing their own wishes.

During the month of April, National Poetry Month, we spent lots of time writing our own poetry. We used many of the poems we had read during the year as our mentor text. We also enjoyed a Chalk-a-bration. During our unit one activity that we tried from Amy’s website was from the Dictionary Hike. I had each student write the name of an object/topic on a piece of paper. I put all the suggestions in a cup and drew one out each day. The first few days, I modeled writing my own poetry with the object. This was a great way to engage students who were having a hard time thinking of their own topic or just struggling in general.

Here are a few our poems.


I make noise,
a real good noise!
I am black and shiny.
I play Jaws and nice music
and fancy music.

I play fast music too.
I play jazz
just for you!

A lot of people play me.

by Nolan

I See a Piano

I see a piano playing
smooth in the parlor

I see a piano with
Its keys unlocking
Beautiful sounds

I see a piano with
its notes so high

Can you help me
reach them?

by Sam


Summer air
Summer flowers
Summer swimming
Summer swinging
Summer water
Summer grass
Summer butterfly
Summer camping
Summer vacation
Summer fun!

by Kayla

Ice Skates

Swishshsh, Glide!
Swishshsh, Glide!
Around the rink
I’m getting dizzy!
I’m getting really hot!
Oh, here we go again!

by Audrey G.

In order to celebrate the WONDERful writing and writers, we decided to invite our mothers in for a Mother’s Day Poet-Tea.

Another teacher and I purchased teacups and saucers at thrift stores for students to plant a flower in for decorations and to give to their moms for Mother’s Day.

I also brought in mismatched tablecloths to cover the desks to make our room look fancier and to give the room more of a “tea” feel.

Allison even made a sign at home to welcome our moms. The kids were so excited to host their moms for such a special occasion.

During the Mother’s Day Poet-Tea students shared poetry that we had been reading all year in groups. Several students were brave enough to stand up and share individual poetry that they had written on their own. Students also shared their poems from own poetry books with their own mom. As a teacher, it was very rewarding to see students and their moms interact. I know that all the moms were very proud of their children. After students shared their poems, everyone had lemonade or iced “tea” and cookies while we watched our end of the year imovie. What a great way to celebrate our poetry!

Much gratitude to Barbara and her student poets for joining us today.  These poems and this tea are warming and beautiful...and I would not be surprised to hear about other classrooms of young poets hosting Mother's Day Poet-Teas next spring!

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday smorgasbord over at Check it Out.  Check it out!

Please share a comment below if you wish.
To find a poem by topic, click here. To find a poem by technique, click here.
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  1. Wow, Amy, so much to enjoy on your post today. The poem/song and illustration by Georgia-just great, a sweet song for students to begin a poetry time, maybe at the beginning of the year. And, the work by Barbara's students and their poet-tee with their mothers-how wonderful that is, to have such a celebration of their poetry writing. I loved the wishes, and the examples. Congratulations to the class for all their words!

  2. Georgia's painting looks fabulous, and I think Iphigene would like it, too. I enjoyed your collaboration with Barry Lane for Dream Anthem. I am a dreamer myself, and I believe in the power of childhood and dreams. That Poet-Tea sounds really fun. I enjoyed the kids' poems, and particularly adored Rebecca Kai Dotlich's Sky Wish. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful things Amy. Enjoy your weekend! :)

  3. Hi Amy,

    Such wonderful creativity is celebrated here today beginning with Georgia's stunning painting. The words and music of "Dream Anthem" are beautiful. I think that I would like to read your poem and "Sky Wishes" to kick off the new school year. And if I was in 2nd grade, I would love to be in a class like the one that you featured today!

    Many thanks. I am hoping to be a more active writer and blogger...summer has slowed me down some. Hope all is well with you.
    ~ Theresa

  4. So much to love! Georgia's painting is vibrant, the new song is great, and I really appreciate this teacher's enthusiasm and creativity. Making such memories for those students! (And their moms.) Shout-out to young poet Sam for the clever line: "Its keys unlocking
    Beautiful sounds" - wonderful!

  5. Another wonderful post! Thanks, Amy!

  6. Wow, a full cup here today! Thanks for sharing everything!

  7. GAH! Too much to love about all this -- the painting, with one of my favorite colors, the sweet sweet song, and the Poet-Tea - wonderful! I especially like "I See a Piano" -- these kids are inspired!

  8. Gorgeous painting, Georgia!
    Loved hearing about the song-->poem process, Amy!
    Wonderful classroom stories, Barbara!

  9. I lied this post! So much to smile about...especially the kiddos!

  10. What a lot of interesting things happening in this post. Especially enjoyed the song-poem process description, Amy.

    Also loved Barbara's classroom experiences. I can't imagine a child leaving her classroom and not loving poetry!

    Violet N.

  11. Too many things to love here. Really love the Mother's Day Poet-Tea idea!