Friday, November 30, 2012

Inspired by Poetry

Some of the best poems are often those that are inspired by another poem.  The concept is to take the framework of a poem you like, and then revise it to make it fit you.  Just remember to always give credit to the author by stating, "Inspired by . . ."

The Other Me
Written by Kristine O'Connell George

The other me knows what to wear,
fits in, doesn't stick out,
is one of them.

The other me remembers jokes,
doesn't get teased
by anyone.

The other me doesn't have big feet,
doesn't stumble,
doesn't drop her lunch tray.

So where is she,
this amazing
Other Me?

Reading Workshop students, please take this poem, or another of your favorites and write an "Inspired by" poem.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Makes a Good Poem?

Today we will ask the experts.  Students in Reading Workshop, what makes a good poem?  Or, what makes a poem good?  As you looked through poetry books the last two days, what did the best poems have in common?

When you looked through a book, what made you want to keep reading it?  What made you want to put a book back and try another one?  What made the difference between a book that grabbed your attention and gained your interest from a book that bored you?

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Friday, November 16, 2012

No It's or Is's Allowed 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.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

You Need Some "ing" in Your Poetry

Is your poetry alive?  Or does it just lay there squashed and ragged, like a mushy apple smashed on the road?  Maybe it needs a little "ing" put into it.

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, scaping, flailing, editing, revising, writing . . .

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let's Start With a Little Poetry

Last year students came up with all kinds of ideas about why they couldn't do poetry.  In their minds they were thinking, Poetry is Not Me.  And as they listed these ideas an amazing thing happened--they became poets.

This year, I wonder what we can do with these thoughts??????  Hhhhhmmm, maybe we can use them as poetry starters.  After all, anyone could write a poem about one of these topics:

Poetry is unreasonable
We can't connect
Poetry isn't the ice cream for my milkshake
Poetry is the book with no words
When I ring the door bell, poetry never answers
Poetry is a charging bull (and I am a red cape)
Poetry punches me in the mouth
Poetry is the math that just doesn't add up

Or any one of the many ideas listed at Poetry is Not Me.  Give it a try, Reading Workshop students and see what you can do.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Pit of Poetry

As we begin to study poetry, take a minute and compare.  Does either poem describe you as a poet?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Are You a Title Champ?

Student blog post titles from Reading Workshop students have been a little on the lame side lately.  What's a teacher to do but have a contest and offer extra credit to the winners?  Hopefully titles in the future will grab the readers' attention.

Students were writing a blog post about their opinion of the main character in the book they are reading.

Great job to title contest winners.  You can visit their blogs at

Megan's Thoughts  with the title What You See Isn't Always What You Get writing about Jazz in Define Normal

Jaili's LA LA Blog with the title Just Another High School Geek writing about Annabelle in Girls Acting Catty

Colten's Country with the title A Courageous Main Character writing about Amy in 39 Clues, One False Note.

Monday, November 5, 2012

So Long Wordpress, Student Blogs are Moving

After using Wordpress to host student blogs for the last four years, Reading Workshop students will be switching to Edublogs.  Wordpress has supplied a great service at no cost.  It is easy for students to use and worked well.  However, there seems to be an increasing amount of ads on blogs when the viewer is not logged in.  As much as I can understand their need to support their service, I would prefer to have ad-free student blogs.

This may cause some inconvenience to those that have spots bookmarked and I apologize for that.  The links on the sidebar under 2012 Student Blogs should be correct.

So long Wordpress.  Here we come Edublogs.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jupiter Grades

Well, we are really headed for Jupiter starting with the second grading period.  Jupiter Grades is an online program (similar to Engrade, Progress Book, and others) that hosts students' grades and other information so that students, parents, and teachers can access them at any time from anywhere with Internet access.

This is a building-wide move being made to increase access for students and parents to grades and discipline reports.  If you are a parent, you will soon be receiving information to enable you to view your child's grades.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, please don't hesitate to contact the school office.