Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy World Book Day


Revising Poetry

Take a piece of advise from Lee Bennet Hopkins in his poem titled, Dear Poet. Take one of your drafts, Reading Workshop students, copy it twice, and write three versions.

Dear Poet,

Do you want
to write a poem?

Forget it . . .
until
you have
rewritten it.

Make your poem
stronger
by
not
writing a poem

but
rewriting it
and
rewriting it
and
rewriting it

until--

what you
have
is
a poem
like
no
other
poet
has
ever
written--

or

rewritten--

before!

Poem from Seeing the Blue Between compiled by Paul Janeczko.

Do You Use Commas?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why We Use Punctuation


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inspired by "You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown"

Reading Workshop students, write an inspired by poem about yourself. Please take note of the pattern of three line stanzas with the first two line rhyming.

You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown
By Nikki Grimes
From the book Meet Danitra Brown

You oughta meet Danitra Brown,
the most splendiferous girl in town.
I oughta know, 'cause she's my friend.

She's not afraid to take a dare,
if something's hard, she doesn't care.
She'll try her best, no matter what.

She doesn't mind what people say.
She always does things her own way.
Her spirit's old, my mom once said.

I only know I like her best
'cause she sticks out from all the rest.
She's only she--Danitra Brown. 




You Oughta Meet Your Teacher
Inspired by You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown
By Nikki Grimes

In sixth grade, the weirdest guy
Never see him wearing a tie
A casual Mr. McGuire

Even though he is a teacher
He acts a little like a preacher
pushing kids to do what's right

Always cracking a little joke
Finding ways in minds to soak
a little learning

Constantly yelling about hard work
No one dares act like a jerk
in his classes.

Singing out, a horrible sound
making students' brains pound
Another day in language arts

Need some rhyming help? Check out Rhymezone.

Where Do You Learn?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

What Will Your Verse Be?

Will your inspired by poem tell your tale?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inspired by "Where I'm From"

In an inspired by poem, writers use the original poem as a guide. Lines, spacing, rhythm, and stanzas usually mimic the model poem.  The topic is similar but adapted to fit the writer. 

Using George Ella Lyon’s poem as a model, write your own inspired by “Where I’m From” poem. Think about sensory details of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch in your life. Picture your house and your neighborhood. Consider people that are important to you--parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, and people you admire. Think about things from your life that made you like you are--activities, events, family traditions, and hobbies.


Where I’m From 
by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls  and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I’m from He restoreth my soul with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.


I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded–
leaf-fall from the family tree

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do You Know A Lot?


Reading Poetry

Poems are built on ideas, experiences or emotions in a condensed form that makes the reader search for understanding.  The reader should slow down, think about each line and the words in it, and then reread and reconsider.

However, to understand poetry the reader must not go gently, but should attack.  As we begin to spend time in Reading Workshop with poetry/word study, students must overcome their fears and dive into the language of poetry.  Whether it be as a reader, analyzing the work of others, or when revising their own work, students must go full speed ahead.  They need to take the advise given by Eve Merriam.


How to Eat a Poem

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice
that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

What is Merriam's point?  What about the poem makes you think that?  What thoughts do you have when tearing into her poem? Or others? How does this compare to the way you revise your own poems?

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/10362168/sizes/s/

Monday, April 13, 2015

How Would You End the Book Essay


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Let's See, What are Good Poetry Titles?

Weird Students
Mismatched Socks
Riding Vader (My Horse)
I Ate Too Much Chocolate
Cheesy Biscuits and Garlic Breath
Hard Workers
Eli is Not So Shy Any More
Just Plain Megan
Cafeteria Noise
Why Do You Make Me Have to be Mean?
The General aka Mrs. Hardin
Frank the Tank (Kaminsky)
Frank Gets Class
Rainy School Days
Zoom aka Carter
Zoom Thinks He's a Super Hero
The Last Class Was Boring
It Was All My Fault
I was Boring
We Were Still Asleep
Last Night I Had Bad Dreams
Why Does Tacey Work So Hard?
Distracting Class
Off Topic
Writing
World Hunt
I Hate to Lose
My Truck Got Washed Today
I Want to Cry
Not
720 Classes in a Year
My Heart's a Stereo
I Want to Be the Next American Idol
Everybody Now, Slide to the Left
Courage Enough to Write
My Diet Starts Next Monday
Grandma Has Gas
Talk Less, Write More
Afraid of Poetry
Dreams, Desire, Dedication, and Dish Washing
My Chucks Have Blue Shoestrings
Whining Instead of Working
Flo Rider (I Cry)
Music Makes Me Think
Are We Going to Sing Today and Other Questions Students Ask Every Day
Can I Go to the Bathroom?
How Many Topics Should I List?
Is This OK?
Allison Got Her Name on the Sign
Seriously, Aren't you a Little Sick of Cats Because I Am
Alexis, Allison, and Ashton
Earn a Brave Buck
A Little Less Cry and a Lot More Effort
My Sense of Humor is Underappreciated
Nose Pickers
Eddie's Hair
Take a Load Off Fannie
Morning Announcements
It's For not Fur
Red Card
You Can't Have My List
I Wonder What You Don't Know That I Don't Know
A Spot in Time and It's Not a Dalmation
Spaghetti Face
I Hate Sporks



The Author's Feelings

Have you ever thought about what the writer was feeling? In most instances, great writing is the result of situations or problems that spark strong feelings. The writer is faced with an emotional situation and uses writing as an outlet. 

Sometimes feelings of joy need to be shared. Other times relief in dealing with sadness or grief comes from sharing through writing. In this poem, Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes, he describes facing the challenges in life. 


Well, son, I'll tell you:

Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',

And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

What was he feeling as he wrote this poem? How does that relate to your feelings as a reader? Do think there is usually a connection between the author's feelings and the reader's feelings?

Image from http://beninjapan.blogspot.com/

Bring Some "Ing" to Your Poetry

Good poetry is alive, bringing the reader inside and making him think, or wonder, or laugh, or cry. And to bring the reader in nothing works better than action verbs. Thus the need for some "ing."

Screaming, shouting, racing, zinging, glistening, clinging, spinning, howling, catching, hooting, buzzing, violating, falling, sprinting, vaulting, pouncing, scaling, attacking, lunging, foraging, galloping, whipping, creating, gambling, whaling, slashing, wondering, listing, faking, destroying, escaping, dreaming, visualizing, imagining, bouncing, scraping, flailing, editing, revising, writing . . .

Make Your Words Count in Poetry

Cut out all those words.  This is poetry so you don't need them.  In fact, if the word doesn't do something to clarify meaning, or help make your point, just delete it.

Get rid of all those annoying little words and leave only the ones that matter.  You really don't need all those "it's" and "is's."  Nor do you need those are's and were's. Trim the fat and excess words.  Make your poem meaningful and exciting.

The best thing about poetry is that the author makes the rules.  You can choose whether or not to use capital letters, sentences, and punctuation.  The only rule is write in the best way to make your poem meaningful and understandable.  Just write so your reader relates to your message.




Author's note:  There are divided thoughts about using apostrophes in certain circumstances to show plural.  The general thinking is that it is allowable in a few instances if it helps considerably with making text more easily understood and more readable.

Image from http://kerileebeasley.com/

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Make a Poem

Take this poem and rewrite it. Make it yours. Use your imagination. Be creative. You can read other student's poems HERE.

A boy
walked down
the path

He thought
about kids
at his school

He wished
they were
a little nicer

He didn't know
how to make
it happen

He tried
smiling at them
and it worked.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tell Me About the Main Character


I Hope You're Learning Your Yours

Using language correctly tells others that you are intelligent, thoughtful, and responsible, some of the time. Then there are cases like this:






Image from @grammarly