Friday, April 29, 2016

Overcoming the Monster

Recently in Reading Workshop we have been discussing the meaning of the lyrics in the song The Monster by Eminem. In this song, he relates the struggles he has facing himself and his doubts. We studied the lyrics and looked at this from the standpoint of the poetic voice.

Students final assignment is to compare this to their own life and how they overcome.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Need a Pun?

Image from @thefunnyworld.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Image from @Fin_1stFootball

The Test

The Test

By David L. Harrison

It's not my fault
if I flunked the test.
This room's too cold
To do my best.
My foot's asleep,
I've lost my gum,
I've got a fever,
This pencil's dumb,
My collar's tight
There's pain in my head,
I couldn't hear
A thing you said,
My throat is sore,
I need a drink,
And . . .
What's that? You say I passed the test?
Well, if I do say so, I did my best.

The Test is from Somebody Catch My Homework available HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Casey at the Bat

Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Thayer

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Need a Rhyme


So what do you do when you need to rhyme?  How about going to Rhymezone?  When you are writing a poem and you need a word bank to help you, Rhymezone is a great resource.  All you do is type in the word and it gives you a bunch of choices.  Don't forget though, a poem still has to make sense and be meaningful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


by Sara Holbrook

You can't hold me
angry, angry,
When I'm angry
angry, angry.
There's no comfort
in your touching when I'm mad.

If you talk to me, I'll fight you.
If you reach for me, I'll bite you,
'cause I'm angry,
'cause I'm angry,
'cause I'm mad.

Though at first it wasn't you,
I was mad, but not at you,
till you held me,
or you tried,
to push my mad aside.
I'm a raging storm inside.
You can't hold me
and you tried.
Now I'm angry 'cause you tried.

Now I'm angry with an anger
you can't hold and I can't hide,
angry, angry
angry, angry.
Can't control me,
angry, angry.
You can't hold me,
angry, angry.
So don't try.

The poem is from the book, I Never Said I Wasn't Difficult. You can buy it HERE
Image from

Rewrite Your 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 . . .
you have
rewritten it.

Make your poem
writing a poem

rewriting it
rewriting it
rewriting it


what you
a poem




Poem from Seeing the Blue Between compiled by Paul Janeczko.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Impose Your Will

Celebrate Poetry

 In Reading Workshop we are celebrating National Poetry Month. Students are reading and writing poems. Many will be shared on their blogs. Today's poems are inspired by Donald Graves from his book, Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash. These poems tell of the trials of growing up.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

These Amazing Kids

I have sat and watched sixth grade students take tests this week. All I can say is that I am amazed. The work ethic and effort I have witnessed is unbelievable. Students gave everything they had to do their best. As a teacher it is humbling to see such effort. I am so glad to have had the chance to spend the year in language arts with these students.

The MAP Test measures students' growth throughout the school year and the scores were through the roof. Students took the first MAP test in September. It projected a score that they should achieve by the end of the year. Over 92% of the Reading Workshop students exceeded the projected score and most were much higher than projected.

If I was in charge of schools, I would put an immediate end to testing. I know it serves a purpose, but there are better ways to evaluate students, teachers, and schools. Unfortunately, testing controls education today. I guess this points even more towards what a remarkable event I witnessed this week. 

No one in schools likes testing, and especially not students. Considering this, the drive and determination I watched this week will be something I will remember always. And even more important, this strength of character will lead these students to unimagined successes down the road.

Great job Reading Workshop students!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spoken Word Poetry

Ms. Woerner shared this video today in Reading Workshop. Taken from the famous basketball movie, Coach Carter, it has an excellent example of Spoken Poetry.

Timo Cruz:

Our deepest fear
is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us.
Your playing small
does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened
about shrinking
so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We were all meant to shine
as children do.
It's not just in some of us;
it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously
give other people permission
to do the same.
As we are liberated
from our own fear,
our presence automatically
liberates others.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bad Poem

This poem is from the book Seeing the Blue Between available HERE.

Here's a Few Poem 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
World Hunt
I Hate to Lose
My Truck Got Washed Today
I Want to Cry
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

Image from

Friday, April 1, 2016

Dentist and the Crocodile

Dentist and the Crocodile 

by Roald Dahl

The crocodile, with cunning smile, 
sat in the dentist's chair.
He said, "Right here and everywhere 

my teeth require repair."
The dentist's face was turning white. 

He quivered, quaked and shook.
He muttered, "I suppose I'm going t

o have to take a look."
"I want you," Crocodile declared,
 "to do the back ones first.
The molars at the very back are easily the worst."
He opened wide his massive jaws. It was a fearsome sight––
At least three hundred pointed teeth, all sharp and shining white.
The dentist kept himself well clear. He stood two yards away.
He chose the longest probe he had to search out the decay.
"I said to do the back ones first!" the Crocodile called out.
"You're much too far away, dear sir, to see what you're about.
To do the back ones properly you've got to put your head
Deep down inside my great big mouth," the grinning Crocky said.
The poor old dentist wrung his hands and, weeping in despair,
He cried, "No no! I see them all extremely well from here!"
Just then, in burst a lady, in her hands a golden chain.
She cried, "Oh Croc, you naughty boy, you're playing tricks again!"
"Watch out!" the dentist shrieked and started climbing up the wall.
"He's after me! He's after you! He's going to eat us all!"
"Don't be a twit," the lady said, and flashed a gorgeous smile.
"He's harmless. He's my little pet, my lovely crocodile."

The book, Poetry Speaks to Children contains this poem and is available HERE.