Thursday, August 28, 2014
I teach six classes of Reading Intervention. My students are not only struggling readers, most of them also have special needs. They don't like to read, and they aren't shy about letting me know it. Short, high-interest texts work best for them. The Poetry Friday anthologies compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have become my go-to resource. Having the elementary, middle school, and science editions make it easy to find just the right poem to complement my lesson.
This week I used two poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School edition. I made a power point presentation of "The First Week of School" by Janet Wong. The poem begins:
First week here: it's like a show.
Lots of kids that I don't know.
Where am I supposed to go?
Janet Wong all rights reserved.
After reading the poem, I asked the "Take 5!" question: What are the best and worst parts of the first week of school?
This question gave students an opportunity to share their feelings about starting middle school. My hope was to help them feel connected to their classmates by discovering that they were all feeling the same mixed emotions. I heard a lot of, "Me, too!" comments so I think my objective was achieved!
The next day, I read aloud "Another New Year" also by Janet Wong. My objective was to encourage students to think about trying something new this year.
I used the "Take 5" prompt: Brainstorm a list of in-school and after-school activities that are offered on your campus for students to consider. Next, I gave them a poetry frame using parts of Janet's poem, but leaving space for students to write their own responses. My sixth graders really loved this activity, and I love how they put their own spin on it! Several of them volunteered to have their poem projected onto the screen and proudly read it aloud to the class.
Below is one of my favorite examples by a young man who claims he doesn't like poetry (the underlined sections were written by the student). I'll share more of their poems next Friday.
Another New Year
Another new year:
another new start.
I'm thinking I should
get to class on time.
And try to open
and not fall down
in the hallway.
For fun I could learn
to do visual arts.
(Pull friends into
a homework group
or theatre group?)
Our chess team
is meeting today.
I guess I could join.
I'd need to practice.
I'll play every night
till I go to sleep.
This is the year
I do my best!
Isn't that great? The Poetry Friday anthologies make it easy for me to motivate students to read and write poetry, AND to practice much needed listening and speaking skills. With all the demands on my time, I am extremely grateful to Sylvia and Janet for compiling these teacher-friendly, student-friendly volumes. More of their fantastic resources (including pocket poem cards and poetry movies) from the Poetry Friday series can be found here.
Jone is hosting Poetry Friday this week, be sure to Check It Out.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The ABC's of Writing Poetry for Children is a correspondence course that is different from most others because it is self-paced. This feature was very attractive to me because with teaching full time and being a grandma, life is busy! Knowing that I had control of how long it took me to finish the course let me focus on enjoying the lessons without rushing through. The class is a one-on-one exchange with a tremendous amount of feedback and support from Heidi. The 5 DVDs and a 65-page workbook were informative, and it was helpful to have both resources to refer back to as needed.
Heidi has all the qualities of a great teacher. She is warm, patient, encouraging, and inspiring. Best of all, with over 200 published poems, she knows poetry! When I decided to write this post, I asked Heidi if she would mind answering a few questions, and she graciously agreed. Heidi's passion for teaching is evident in her responses.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from memories, music and observing children, to note just a few. But consider this: babies learn about the world through their five senses. A writer who zeros in on that will find buckloads of ideas! As you go through your day, be aware of things that might spark a flame…
Audibly-- silly sounding words, children talking, city noises, nature sounds, popcorn popping, fireworks, etc.
Tactically--sticky glue, the cool fluidity of water, softness of a pet's fur.
Taste--the startling sourness of a lemon, the creamy sweetness of ice cream.
Smell--cookies baking, the smell of rain.
Good question! After choosing a topic, I brainstorm for ways to present the poem. Sometimes poets get stuck writing the same style of poem over and over. Boring. Try something new! Experiment!
How'd you get
Those legs to grow
A parody of a familiar nursery rhyme is always a favorite. A mask poem is another fun form. ("A mask poem is ME pretending to BE something I'm not!") I used both forms in my poem that begins, "I'm a little jump rope, red and white…" It's based on the Mother Goose rhyme, "I'm a Little Tea Pot."
Sometimes the meter seems to picks itself! If I've captured the first few words of the poem, they may set the pace for what follows. Other times I make a conscious decision on what meter to use. If the poem is about something exciting, I might use anapest which is the same meter as in "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Listen to the beat: ta ta TUM ta ta TUM ta ta TUM ta ta TUM. Wouldn't this meter be a good match for a poem about a galloping horse?
Do you write in a notebook or on the computer?
I enjoy writing poems for children's magazines, particularly Highlights, High Five, and Hello, plus the "bug" magazines, Babybug, Ladybug, and Spider. Keeping my poems circulating to a variety of magazines increases my chances of getting a sale. Currently, I'm working on a rollicking rhyming picture book about road construction (Well, it's not quite at at the "rollicking" state yet. It still has a long way to go!) I also started a poetry collection about the construction trades, (carpenter, brick layer, painter, etc). Both are geared for primary grades. Wish me luck!
In addition to writing for magazines and anthologies, Heidi has writes nonfiction, fiction, song lyrics, and articles. You can read poems from her award winning book Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems here.
For your viewing pleasure, check out Heidi's poem, "Food Fest" from the Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School which is featured in Renee LaTulippe's fabulous poetry video. You can watch it here.
A special thank you to my friend and teacher, Heidi Bee Roemer for being my guest here on Write Time today. For more inspiration, be sure to visit the multi-talented Irene at Live Your Poem for today's Poetry Friday!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
As I was thinking of what I'd like to share today, I came across my copy of the beautiful anthology Inner Chimes: Poems on Poetry selected by Bobbye S. Goldstein. I've owned this book for almost twenty years and return to it often for encouragement and inspiration. The poems express the joys and frustrations of making poems and speak to writers of all ages. It's an excellent resource for writing teachers.
The poem I'm sharing is by Felice Holman. I love this poem, and I really needed to read it again today. If you write poetry, it might just become one of your favorites too!
The Poem That Got Away
There I was and in it came
Through the fogbank of my brain
From the fastness of my soul
Shining like a glowing coal—
The nearly perfect poem!
Oh, it may have needed just
An alteration here or there--
A little tuck, a little seam
to be exactly what I meant--
The really perfect poem!
I'll write it later on, I said,
The idea's clear and so's my head.
This pen I have is nearly dry.
What I'll do now is finish this pie,
Then on to the perfect poem!
Read the rest of the poem here.
Be sure to drop by Poetry for Children for today's Poetry Friday party where the multi-talented Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (Pomelo Books) have a very exciting announcement that you won't want to miss!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Last week, my four-year old granddaughter, Evie, read a book to her preschool class during circle time. She was so proud to be able to read it all by herself!
Over the years, I've taught preschool, elementary, and middle school. One of the most rewarding experiences for me is sharing the excitement when a child reads his/her first book. I wrote this little poem to capture that experience.
Come look, come look--
I'm reading, I'm reading,
I'm reading a book!
I just found it here
on the library shelf
and I can read every word
all by myself.
Come look, come look--
my very first book!
Linda Kulp- all rights reserved
It won't be long before he reads his very first book!
Be sure to stop by to visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for more poetry offerings.
Friday, July 11, 2014
I've been busy teaching summer school, and the days just seem to be speeding by. I can't believe the summer is half over already!
- The lessons were well-structured: model, practice, apply, feedback.
- The assignments and daily interaction with Renee and my classmates kept me motivated.
- There were opportunities to apply new skills to my WIP.
- The lessons meet the needs of a variety of learning styles (verbal, audio, visual, kinesthetic).
- A lot of information was packed into this course, but it was always entertaining and FUN!
Most courses end, and that’s it. Not The Lyrical Language Lab! At the end of the course, Renee provided us with a packet containing all of our assignments and her feedback. She is also creating an e-book of our course so we can review as needed. And, we had the opportunity to join an online group of course alumni so we can continue to learn and support each other. How wonderful is that?
If you're looking to “punch up your prose,” add to your poetry toolbox, or add to your teaching repertoire, I hope you’ll head over to No Water River and check out The Lyrical Language Lab.
I can't end this post without mentioning another excellent resource. If you are in need of coaching, consulting, or critiquing, Mentors for Rent is the way to go! Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard are the providers of this outstanding service. Both of these ladies have years of writing and coaching experience and share a wealth of knowledge about the business of writing for children. I can tell you from personal experience, they work hard to help clients reach their writing goals. Check out their website for more details.
Okay, I hope I didn't sound too much like an infomercial, but I know there are folks like me who are looking for resources to reach the next level in their writing.
Now sit back, have a cup of tea, and let's enjoy today's poetry offerings.
Thanks for stopping by!
First Cup Edition
Laura at Author Amok shares, "July 2 was the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. I'm celebrating with a post about Debbie Levy's latest picture book, "We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song." In free verse, Levy covers the history of "We Shall Overcome" from slavery, to the Civil Rights Movement, and its worldwide popularity today."
Matt comes to us today with an original poem at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme.
Tabatha shares a roller coaster poem by Heidi Mordhorst at The Opposite of Indifference.
Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge brings us fortune cookies and a poem by Irene Latham.
Donna had some fun with her grandchildren this week over at Mainely Write, and she also share's a poem by Linda Baie.
Linda shares a summer swap poem by Margaret Simon at Teacher Dance.
Over at Gathering Books, Myra shares a poem by Iphigene.
Reading to the Core brings us a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Heidi is looking for suggestions about a classic poem for her revision project at My Juicy Little Universe.
Diane is in today with an original poem at Random Noodling. She also brings us a short post about FIREFLY JULY at Kurious Kitty.
Laura is in today with a poem by Irene Latham from her new book DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST.
Margaret shares a poem by Wendi Romero at Reflections on the Teche.
Irene is in today at Live Your Poem with Quilts, & Pears, & the Summer Swap.
Monica over at Cartwheels shares at original poem today.
Violet offers us some summer advice today.
Becky shares an adaptation of Rilke's unicorn poem at Tapestry of Words.
Second Cup Edition
Tara is in today with a post inspired by the news at A Teaching Life.
Bildungsroman comes to us with an Emily Dickinson poem.
Sylvia has a must read tribute to the poetry of the late, great Walter Dean Myers at Poetry for Children.
Jone shares a postcard she received from Joy Acey at Check It Out.
Joy is in today with an original summer poem at Poetry for Kids Joy.
Amy is at The Poem Farm with a poem about spirit animals inspired by Laura Shovan's post last week.
OK! I think that's it for round two. I posted all the links in the Comments section also, just in case. I'll check back later this afternoon in case anyone else drops by. I apologize for not giving a better description for each of today's offerings, but I'm on a time crunch (like always), and the computer was not cooperating! Now, I'm going to get my tea and read these wonderful offerings! Thank you to everyone who stopped by Write Time!
Mary Lee at A Year of Reading stopped by to bring us some "Chicory".
Jen from I am a teacher et cetera just popped in to share an interesting piece she's been working on. I like it!
Carol invites us over to Beyond Literacy Link for some summer serenity along with a writing invitation.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Happy Poetry Month!
I've been checking out the poetry projects on the kidlit blogs this month. I love having an entire month to celebrate poetry. Every year, I dream of writing a daily post to celebrate National Poetry Month, but I quickly talk myself out of it because I worry that I won't be able to fulfill my commitment. Well, this year I'm determined to devote more time to writing so I bought a little notebook and labeled it National Poetry Month. Although I'm not posting them, I'm scribbling something resembling a poem every night before I go to bed. I use the word resembling because some nights after a long day at school (and a long commute home) that's about all I can manage! Yep, it's messy, but I'm following the advice of real writers who tell us to just get something down. I've already seen some connections. Who knows, I might even find a few decent ideas for poems hiding in there!
Still, I really want to take part in the celebration so I'm extremely grateful to Irene Latham of Live Your Poem for organizing the progressive poem for folks like me who just want to dip a toe into the waters of National Poetry Month. Like many others, this is my third year to participate.
It's fun to follow the poem's progress each day and wonder where it might go next. Part of the excitement is that it's impossible to plan a line until the poet who precedes you writes his/her line. Yesterday, the talented Tabatha Yeats added a whole new twist to the poem. I love how she opened to door to some interesting possibilities. As I read the poem again and again, it felt very dreamlike so that gave me an idea for my line. I hope it works!
Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let's get practical! What's needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I'll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams
Okay, Mary Lee, I've taken us to dreamland, I can't wait to see your creative imagination take us next!
Want more poetry? Michelle at Today's Little Ditty has this week's Poetry Friday roundup!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Valentine Hearts selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins is perfect for young readers because they will relate to poems about everything from heart-shaped sandwiches to hoping for a special valentine and a love note for a special pet. I am honored to have a poem included in this very gorgeous little book.
Outside my window
on the icy ground below
a little bird sings:
A valentine melody
just for me!
Linda Kulp, all rights reserved
Click here to read two poems from the collection by two very talented poets, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Marilyn Singer.
Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury in Love Poems by Nikki Grimes is a true “valentine delight” with poems about many different types of love. The rhymed and unrhymed poems are written in variety of forms including: letter poem, list, and free verse. I love the vivid imagery and deep emotions in this collection. Here is the beginning of one of my favorite poems from the collection.
He pulls her close
She strokes his face
Their thoughts fly to
Their starting place
Read the rest of the poem here, and you'll see why I'm such a big Nikki Grimes fan.
Check out these links for a few Young Adult collections I love:
I Am Wings and Buried Alive both by Ralph Fletcher
A Lion’s Hunger: Poems of First Love by Ann Turner
Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing by Gary Soto
Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love by Pat Mora
I found the next two collections several years ago while browsing the poetry section in my local Borders. It's unfortunate that so many wonderful book stores have closed. I used to have a lot of fun discovering treasures such as these.
Also check out: Love Poems by Charles Ghigna. After you read these beautiful poems, you might want to pen your own poem for someone you love. Charles provides us with inspiration and advice here.
Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni. I come back to these poems again and again!
If you have other favorite collections of love poetry, please share the titles with me so I can add them to my bookshelf.
Be sure to stop by to see Linda at TeacherDance for more Poetry Friday to love today!