Friday, May 10, 2013

Moon Mama and a Poem about Writing

Phoebe and Her Two New Kittens (Born Wednesday!)
Photo by Georgia LV

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

Students - Today's poem grew from a real farm happening this week.  We foster kittens here, but we've never had kittens born here because we have our own cats spayed and neutered.  Well, we were fostering a pregnant mother, Phoebe, and it was such fun to wait for her kittens.  On Wednesday, they were born...two tiny snugglers.  

In writing today's poem, I wanted to honor Phoebe and her sister, Freya, who is taking care of four kittens of her own up in our barn.  After all, Sunday is Mother's Day!

Freya and Her Four Kittens
Photo by Georgia LV

So, I just began writing and writing, and the whole poem shaped itself around the idea of the moon.  I loved that image.  Then, on purpose, I repeated words: kitten, treasure, moon, snuggle.  What was the hardest part of writing this poem?  The ending!  I believe it took me as long to write the last line as it took to write the whole rest of the poem.  Sometimes writing is like that, but having faith that your hard work and persistence and willingness to wait for just-the-right-words, often gives you just the line you wish for.

Four of Freya's kittens are ready to be adopted right now, so if you are interested, please drop me a line to my e-mail address at amy at amylv dot com or leave a message in the comments.  We are in the Buffalo, NY area.  Here's a bigger picture of them for you to see!

Happy Mother's Day to all moms and teachers and friends of children everywhere!  And children, a poem for your mother is a splendid gift!

Hope and Kittens
L-R: Tundra, Guinevere, Wilbur, and Otter
Photo by Amy LV

Today I am very grateful to welcome kindergarten teacher Nicole DiBattisto and her students from Quest Elementary in Hilton, NY.  Last week, I had the good fortune to visit Quest as a visiting author.  I know many of the teachers at Quest from writing workshops, and it was a delight to see them again.  Librarian Stephanie Harney had students share poems in their pockets (and in her husband's shirt pockets), and the day was full of festive poem fun! 

Nicole's young students wrote a poem about writing poems, and I had the chance to read it. After being charmed by their words, of course I asked if Nicole would be willing to share here.  She was, and so I welcome Nicole and her poets to The Poem Farm today! 

Isabella, Tessa, and Madison 
Photo by Nicole DiBattisto

Write A Poem
by Mrs. DiBattisto's Class

Look at the world in a different way.
Look through your heart.

Break the rule
use white space
Wow how cool.

Sometimes a poem is long.
Sometimes a poem is short.
Maybe it will have a song.

Maybe it will repeat.
Maybe it will rhyme.

Write a poem...

This how it all came about:

1.      I threw out the idea of writing a poem about poems.

2.      We started talking about what we knew about poetry and how to craft a poem.

3.      Kids started saying what they knew.

4.      I typed their words.

5.      We looked and read  what we had and moved things around, added some, and took things out.

6.      I guided the students to think about how we could include what we know about poems into the actual poem.

7.      We added some rhymes, noticed that we already had repetition and white space.

8.      We read it a few times and decided we liked it the way it was.

And there it is!  An absolutely delightful how-to poem about writing.  Thank you so much to this class and to Nicole for sharing this poem and their process with us today.  I imagine that many many students will be reading it for inspiration for their own poetry.

I would also like to extend a special thank you to teacher Joe Long and his fifth graders at Iroquois Intermediate in Elma, NY, for surprising me with their beautiful classroom door decorated as the cover of FOREST HAS A SONG.  Around the edges of this door, you see leaves filled with poems - theirs and mine.  Illustrator Robbin Gourley (I sent the photo to her right away) and I were simply tickled.

Door Decorated by Fifth Graders and Teacher Joe Long
Iroquois Intermediate
Photo by Amy LV

Anastasia is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at her poetry blog.  Visit her place to check out what is happening in the poetic Kidlitosphere today!

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  1. So much to love here today! Congratulations to the kindergarteners for a wonderful poem. And then that amazing Forest door... High Fives to those artists and writers.

    LOVE the idea of a mama cat as moon. And I've always had a thing for cat names - what delightful ones at your farm! Hats off to you for caring for all of these (and spaying/neutering your own) - and thanks for sharing such furry wonder.

  2. Wow! So many goodies here! I love seeing both YOUR process and the writing workshop process. Thanks for participating in Poetry Friday!

  3. Such a delightful post. Sweet kitties and poems. Love that decorated door, too :).

  4. I love all this -- the moon mama, the purrs of pure pleasure, the classroom poem, and that classroom door with your lovely cover!

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

  5. Love that moon mama and her treasures! And the kindergarten poem is delightful.

  6. Wonderful piece for mothers, Amy, and about writing poems for the class, and that door is fabulous. What a nice thing to do to welcome you! Thanks for all!

  7. I love this poem, and YES, a poem for your mother is the best gift. I will be teaching a lesson I got from Nancie Atwell later in the month on that very theme to my middle schoolers -- Haitian Mother's Day is the last Sunday of the month.

  8. As a cat person, I loved your poem. And the doorway was beautiful - very welcoming!

  9. LOVE that last line!

    Would love to adopt kittens, too, if we didn't have a big 18 lb. bruiser of a This-Is-MY-House rescue kitty! He might eat kittens for breakfast!!

  10. I love your moon cat, and it made me think about the phases of the moon and the traditional Native American names for the full moons.

    The Harvest Cat, the Snow Cat, the Thunder Cat - I think I will write some poems about them! Perhaps they are the round, full mama cats before the kittens are born. BTW you give kittens marvelous names!

  11. How could Kurious Kitty not like today's post? Have a great Mother's Day, Amy!

  12. So much to take in, Amy! I love the sweetness of your poem and the lilt in your reading voice. That door is magical...I am inspired now to do the same!!!

  13. I just can't imagine how much that decorated door meant to you. It is just awesome.

    Loved your poem!!!