Friday, January 26, 2018

My Someone Does Something....



Look Outside!
by Amy LV




Students - This poem about my husband Mark.  He is a hawk-spyer.  When we drive in the car, he always sees hawks and counts hawks.  I have written about this before because I think that hawk-spying is a neat habit...and because of Mark, I am now a bit of a hawk-spyer myself.

At times, it helps me to have a starter line when beginning a poem. Today's starter line was simply a statement about a person - My father spies hawks.

This gave me the idea that I could write many poems starting in a similar way - My someone does something.  I might think about quirky things that my loved ones do, or my favorite actions of friends.  I might think about things I've seen strangers do....or I might imagine the habits of people or animals I invent.

Here are some possibilities of similar poem starters I might try:

My mother reads books.
My friend tells good jokes.
My grandma plays poker.
My brother hugs cats.
My grandpa writes letters.
My goldfish looks lonely.

For each of these, I simply filled in the blanks as below:

My _______________  _______________   _______________.

You might wish to try this too.  Think of the people and animals in your own life.  Think about strangers you have seen.  Make someone up! Try writing some starter sentences as I did.  You may find that one of them makes you want to keep writing.  (I am feeling like writing about a cat-hugging brother and a lonely goldfish right now!)

A large part of a writer's job is to find ways to get started. If you try out this way-to-get-started, and if it works for you....please let me know!

And if you would like to know more about red-tailed hawks so that YOU can become a hawk-spyer....visit the The Cornell Lab of Ornithology where you can learn so much about all kinds of birds.

At Sharing Our Notebooks this month, I happily welcome third grade teacher Dina Bolan and her writers from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  Please read their nonfiction notebook entries, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a lovely new notebook.  Comment by month's end, please.

It has been such a joyful week of visiting schools!  This week I visited Pavilion Elementary, Byron-Bergen Elementary, Elba Elementary, and Pembroke Elementary, all in Western New York. Thank you very much to the wonderful people in these schools for your warmth and hospitality. If you are a teacher or librarian, please know that I am now scheduling school visits and poetry residencies for 2018 - 2019, and you can learn more here.

Carol is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond Literacy Link. Each week, we gather our posts together at one blog, so if you visit Carol this week...you will be introduced to many new poets and blogs and books.  Please join us!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Write About a Quiet Kindness



Friend of Kitties
by Amy LV




Students - Our eldest daughter attends college in New York City, and this week she told me a story about a lady she met while walking back to school from a babysitting job. The lady was standing near some scaffolding, reaching down and into a cut-out in the wood.  When our daughter stopped to chat, she learned that this lady is a feeder-of-city-cats.  This lady and some of her friends regularly bring canned cat food and blankets to homeless city cats.  I think that this lady is a special spirit, and I am very grateful know that she exists.  I loved hearing the story and right away knew that I would write about it in my notebook.  I did not know at that moment that I would write a poem...but here it is.

Sometimes people write poems about folks they admire.  About people they believe make the world a strong and light-filled and happier place to live in.  We can write thank you letters and opinion pieces or give written awards to such people.  Or...we can also write poems about them.  We don't even need to know the people or see them in action.  We may just learn a story about such a person, as I learned one from our daughter.

Here's a little challenge for you.  Listen to people talk.  Watch people.  See if you can uncover a kindness, a gentleness, a surprise-and hidden-goodness that many people might not know about.  Write a poem about this person or kind act, not using the person's name, but just offering it up to the world.  I sure would love to read such poems - and maybe even share them here. Such poems and stories make me want to be better myself, so I like to read as many as I can.  If you write a poem celebrating a kind act (and if you really work on it), I welcome you to have your parent or teacher send it to me through my CONTACT ME button....and I will write back.

Did you notice that the sentences in this poem get very short at the end?  I did this on purpose.  The first stanza is one long and rollicking sentence, describing the many kinds of homeless cats one might find in the city.  The second stanza, on the other hand, focuses on the actions of one human: kind and good.  I wanted that part to be read slowly.  With pauses.  That's why the lines and sentences are so short.

Here are some photographs that our sweet daughter sent to me after reading this poem:

From a Distance
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Closer
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Even Closer
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Closest
Photo by H. VanDerwater

The Educator Collaborative is currently (now through February 14, 2018) running its Global Kind Project 2018 for classrooms.  Please check it out if you are interested.  You can connect with others from all over, sharing stories and finding ways to be kinder....together.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home,  I am superhappy to host third grade teacher Dina Bolan and her third grade writers from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  Please read their nonfiction notebook entries, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing.  I will send the winning name a cool new notebook!

Please visit Kay's place today's Poetry Friday roundup at A Journey Through the Pages. Every week a group of us gather our posts together at one blog, so if you visit Kay this week...you will be introduced to many new poets and blogs and books.  We welcome you!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ask Your Cat, Ask Your Art, Ask.


Peace Dove
by Amy LV



Students - This year I made some peace cards by carving and printing my own rubber stamp.  Today I decided to write about this stamp, but I was not sure where to begin.

I remembered talking with a wise boy who said,  "I'm not a cat whisperer or anything, but once when I didn't know what to write, I asked my cat.  And then I knew."

So I decided to ask the dove of my stamp what it wanted to say. And then I knew.

I was also helped by this quote from Picasso, about his famous Dove painting. Picasso's father had taught him to paint doves, and addressing the 1950 Peace Congress, Picasso said, "I stand for life against death; I stand for peace against war."

May we listen to our doves, our hearts, our cats, and our inner voices as these will point toward kindness.  And they will give us writing ideas too!

Stamp and Cards
by Amy LV

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home,  I am tickled to welcome third grade teacher Dina Bolan and her third grade writers from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  Take a peek at their nonfiction notebook entries, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a snazzy new notebook selected by me! 

Jan is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup at Bookseedstudio. Her post honors the memory and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and you will be grateful to find the resources she shares. Please visit! 

Please share a comment below if you wish.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Poems Can Make Statements



Disconnected
Photo by Louise M.




Students - We all have things in our lives that trouble us, that we see as worries or dangers.  For me, one of these things is the way that technology connects us...but sometimes seems to disconnect us even more.  Today's poem explains the way I feel sometimes.  Perhaps you have felt this way too.  Life is full of ups and downs and beauties and concerns.  

And we can write about any and all of them.

We can comment on the world through our poems.  And when we're lucky, the poems we write will meet others at the right time for them.  Most of the time, we will never even know when this happens.  But we still write.  I would love to read some statement poems by young writers, so if you're writing them, please feel free to share them with me through your teacher.

Writing can lift the world.

Speaking of goodness, over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I am happy to welcome third grade teacher Dina Bolan and her third grade writers from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  Take a peek at their nonfiction notebook entries, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a new notebook of your own!

Thank you to Librarian Jone McCullough for featuring my READ! READ! READ! with illustrator Ryan O'Rourke over at Check It Out today!  There's a giveaway for the book, thanks to Boyds Mills Press, so if you leave a comment by next Thursday...you may win a copy.

Catherine is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup by celebrating the wonderful new book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR: POEMS OF RACE, MISTAKES, AND FRIENDSHIP by Irene Latham and Charles Waters over at Reading to the Core. Please visit! 

Please share a comment below if you wish.