We Didn’t Get Recess!

It was a field trip day today. The third grade went to the zoo. Walk, walk, walk. Ooooh! It’s seals! Walk, walk, walk. Put your hand in the water, keep it still. Use just two fingers…touch a shark! Walk, walk again. Play, play, play. Pretend to camp in the tent. Mold the kinetic sand. Build a tower with the magnetic blocks. Time to get in line and wait, wait, wait. Enter the butterfly garden for a moment of wonder to see so many fluttering all around.

Then rush, rush, rush over to the picnic area. Gobble down some lunch. Walk, walk, walk. Climb, climb, climb up the bleachers. Laugh and clap for those entertaining dolphins. Walk, walk, walk. Watch those bear cubs…are they fighting? No, playing! Walk a little more. Laugh at the silly monkeys, just hangin’ and swinging. A short walk to spy a tiger. Is that really an eagle? Time to go already? Walk, walk, walk in the bright (and hot) sunshine.

Get on the bus. A short ride back to school. Down the steps, then head back into the school. And what was heard as we passed through the door? Hey, we didn’t get recess today!

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Celebrating Poetry

The Panther Poets (8 girls and 1 boy- unfortunately due to an unexpected thunderstorm our one boy arrived too late) performed today at our district Multicultural Festival (today was the 31st!). The poetry we presented:

Langston Hughes- Dreams, The Dream Keeper, Dream Dust, Poem, and My People

Eloise Greenfield- Harriet Tubman

Alma Flor Ada- To Poetry

Margarita Engle- Sharing Dreams(Cesar Chavez), Two Languages in the Library (Pura Belpre)

Jane Medina- Me X 2, Yo X 

Pimpollo de Canela/Cinnamon Shoot- Traditional Rhyme from Puerto Rico

My Country- Lilith Rodriguez

Liberty- Janet Wong

The girls were all dressed up and they recited beautifully. I was so happy and proud! And the girls glowed with their accomplishment. The parents were so pleased.

All because of poetry.

That’s a celebration.

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They’re Slithering through the Halls

A little slice from the school day…

Our social worker was seen leading a kindergarten class through the hallways from one side of the building, where she picked them up from music, to the other side of the building, where there classroom is. It’s the longest walk in our building. The “silent snakes,” kindergartners with their hands pressed together, wiggling from side to side as they walked, slithered through the halls. They paused at the halfway point for a “silent dance,” hands waving high in the air, before slithering on.

So cute! (And quiet!) (And no one complaining “he cut me” or “she pushed me” or anything at all!!) Hooray!

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Poem for My Friend

She lies in a hospital bed
Tired from the battle
Yet still seeking strength
To keep fighting, to live on

Enduring the indignities
Her disease has brought
Still seeking strength
To keep fighting, to live on

Hoping her struggle
Will add to knowledge,
Help future warriors
To keep fighting, to live on

She lives by faith in her
God, who she loves
Placing her hand in His
To keep fighting, to live on

Sustained by her loving
Husband, daughter, son and daughter-in- law
Moved by wanting more time with them
To keep fighting, to live on

Hope of the future
In the joyful anticipation of
Her first grandchild, reason
To keep fighting, to live on

Inspiring her friends
Showing the way to
Face life’s greatest troubles,
To keep fighting, to live on

And when this war is over
Cancer will not have won for
In knowing her, we have learned
To keep fighting, to live on

We have seen the reality
Of love, the sacredness of life
And know without doubt, it is worth it
To keep fighting, to live on

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Celebrating Sweet Moments Here and There

We started testing on a Wednesday, continued every day through the next whole week, and wrap on Monday. Testing with two groups takes the whole morning every day, and most afternoons have been filled with make-up tests for kids who were absent. Throw in a couple of difficult discipline situations that affected a lot of students and staff, and it seems like a time without much to celebrate…yet when I think about it, there were some sweet moments here and there that do call for celebration:

* the long-anticipated author visit with Sonia Nazario, sponsored by our district ESL department- she is such an enthusiastic and passionate speaker
* students loved a mini-lesson on onomatopoeia, singing along happily with the short video we watched
* a Sunday afternoon spaghetti dinner (sauce made with our mom’s recipe in hèr cast iron Dutch oven) with my brother and his family
* sleeping in on Saturday (didn’t set the alarm!)and waking to rain falling
* calls from my grown up children on the 17th anniversary of my husband/their dad’s death…good to share the remembering

The sweet moments are always there, but sometimes seem so fleeting in the middle of the ordinary, the boring, the difficult- pausing to write them down makes them linger longer.

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Feeding a Horse

Pick some grass
Hold your hand flat
Feel soft warm breath
Warm wet tongue…

Delight!

Inspired by Laura Purdue Salas-
15 Words or Less Poems

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A Rhyme Gone Wrong

Like many teachers, I have been doing poetry writing with students recently since April is Poetry Month. We often start with a discussion of the question “What is poetry?” Rhyming always comes up. Someone will say poems have to rhyme, but then, of course, someone will point out a poem we read that did not rhyme. When students start writing poetry, many want to make their poems rhyme. It does not always go well. In a fourth grade class, our mentor poem was “Today” by Eileen Spinelli. The poet names all the ways she will notice things and find a poem. A few lines focus on thing she hears. Here are some lines from one student’s poem (and I really am not making this up!) It is a case of rhyme gone wrong.

I will listen to
the birds whistling a melody
and quietness like a felony.

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