Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Poetry: Sonia Sanchez

This week writer/playwright/poet/activist/ Sonia Sanchez was appointed official Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. It's the first time we've had one, and I am so glad it's her. She has had a brilliant career with and extensive list of published works, awards and accomplishments. (Bio here). I have listened to her read her work over the years, as she has been a professor at Temple U., where she is still Poet in Residence. She has a powerful voice, speaking beautifully of justice and the strength of her people. Her recently published book Morning Haiku includes tributes to Emmitt Till and Eugene Redmond. I quoted one of her haiku poems back in 2008 on this blog and included a video of her reading.

One of my favorite poems of hers is this one:

by Sonia Sanchez

(after the spanish)

forgive me if i laugh 
you are so sure of love 
you are so young 
and i too old to learn of love.

the rain exploding 
in the air is love 
the grass excreting her 
green wax is love 
and stones remembering 
past steps is love, 
but you. you are too young 
for love 
and i too old.
...the rest is here. 
Another of my favorite poems of hers is this one:

Personal Letter No. 3

nothing will keep
us young you know
not young men or
women who spin
their youth on
cool playing sounds.
we are what we
are what we never
think we are.

... the rest is here.

I seem to be on an old folk's love poem track these days. Go figure.

You can read more about Sanchez and the Poet Laurette program here in the Philadelphia Inquire article. Today's Friday Poetry round up is hosted by Julie at The Drift Record. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Girft Books for Boys

I'm enjoying a trip to my local indie bookstore to pick up a few beginning chapter books for my first and third grade boys for Christmas gifts. Here's what they're getting:

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls... Written by Lenore Look, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. I got a couple Alvin Ho books because they are such fun adventure stories about a quirky second grader with just enough anxiety balanced by  creative problem solving.

Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (with Audio CD) by Anna Harwell Celenza, illustrated by Don Tate. I've heard so much about this book! I am really looking forward to sharing it with my 9 year old, who is always asking for more biographies.

Zac Power books: Poison Island and Deep Waters, by H. I. Larry. Exciting spy kid with super crime fighting powers! A fun website with games and parent-friendly forums! Total boy appeal!

Freddie Ramos Takes Off and Springs Into Action by Jacqueline Jules. A kid with superpower sneakers - what fun! "An ordinary boy in a city neighborhood learns how to use his new-found powers for good.  Illustrations by Miguel Benitez lend just a touch of comic-book style to this chapter book adventure." (Author's website quote).

And to balance the reading material I've made some Japanese fabric balls called Temari. Perfect for playing keep-away, indoor soccer, or hoops in the upstairs hall when the weather outside is frightful. I learned how to make these in the book omiyage by Kumiko Sudo. If you are handy with a needle and thread they are quick and easy, all made from scraps and so fun to stuff in a stocking.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reading the Winter Solstice with Kids

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming. Henry Holt & Co. 2005. This was a delightful gift my boys received a couple years ago. What better way to celebrate the coming of winter than to sing a song to a snowman as you create him? Magical. Check out the author's webpage for a sock snowman activity.

And of course, we have new mittens all ready for the snow!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Edublog awards; Teaching poetry sites

This week the 2011 Edublog Awards were announced. I have spent some time browsing all the greatest educational blogs and have found a few new-to-me winners. In the interest of Friday Poetry I would like to highlight a favorite of mine: A Media Specialist Guide to the Internet (because you never know when you will need a cybrarian!). I've been reading this blog for a while and always find it rich with ideas and resources. This week blogger posted a wonderful list of 34 Websites for Teaching Poetry. If you are teaching poetry or just enjoying it with children and young people you will want to check out these wonderful poetry websites!

I am having fun playing with this linked site, among others. Magnetic Poetry for Kids (here's my current draft of a short poem:)

She's also linked to the Library of Congress Poetry Web Guides, listing all sorts of poetry lessons.

Now please don't forget to save some time to check out all the other poetry related sites rounded up this weekend by Kate at Book Aunt.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paper Chains for the Christmas Tree

One of the activities in our Advent Calendar this week is to make paper chains for the Christmas Tree. I remember making them as a child in red and green construction paper. I've made them as a teacher with first grade classes for many years. It is a great joy to introduce them to my own two boys, who had never made them before.


I consider myself privilaged and honored to be the one who teaches them this! It's such a simple craft but so satisfying to watch the chain grow. I'm keeping a copy paper box full of cut paper strips (left over from one of our other gift projects) and glue sticks out, and they add to the chain in random minutes morning and evening. As it grows they discover some intuitive math activities that warm a teacher's heart. We made patterns, measured the table with it, and I anticipate them measuring themselves and the length of the dining room before we wind it around the tree. If you haven't done this with children for a while, or ever, I suggest you indulge in it soon!


And here's a book we are reading this week that compliments the "simple gift" theme - Ezra Jack Keat's Little Drummer Boy. Offering ourselves and our joyous passions to the Christ Child and to each other; the delights of this season!

Friday, December 09, 2011

"Just Enjoy Him" she said, and she did.


I am sad today, after hearing the news that my dear friend Judy (from the blog Just Enjoy Him) passed away yesterday. She had been battling inflammatory breast cancer for almost four years. We thought she had many more years but it was not to be.

Judy wrote about her life with such humor and honesty and courage. I started reading her blog back in 2007 when I first discovered adoption blogs. She adopted her son from Viet Nam in 2002. He's just about six months older than my son Buddy. Along with Judy I learned so much from adoption bloggers; from first moms, adoptees and other adoptive parents. She was able to put into words so many of the thoughts and feelings I was discovering at the same time. I always admired her spirit and irreverent spunk. I am so grateful to her for leading the way for so many of us. She took her blog name from her determination to enjoy her son with every fiber of her being, and to let go of the worry and anxiety that can come so close on the heels of adoption. She was honest and open about parenting struggles, and humble enough to learn from others and change her perspective to fit what her child needed. Her "Energy Boy" was the light of her life, along with her husband. Their joy leaked out of every pore.

She was also a librarian and generously shared her experience and insight with me when I began looking for a job in an academic library. When she discovered she had cancer, in December of 2007, we were all shocked and heartbroken. So many in the blogging world rallied around her and drew strength from her determined fighting spirit. I had a cancer diagnosis just a year later and felt as though I had been prepared by her example of how to deal; how to fight; how to love my life no matter what came. I had two surgeries and recovered. She had several surgeries, chemo in several regiments, a much longer battle, and then remission. Last year it came back and she was back in the fray. I have prayed for her, listened to her, laughed with her, and cheered her on in so many ways. I miss her voice, her insight, her snark, her irrepressible Facebook posts, her beautiful beaming smile and her silly planking photos.

There is just no way to tally up all the ways Judy gave of herself, or all that we gained by her courageous determination to share what she was learning and experiencing. Here is one of my favorite blog posts of hers where she shares some key points of what she learned along the way.

Heavy on my mind today is the weight of all her family has lost. Her husband and son are in my prayers this night. Judy had an unstoppable faith that was strong enough and deep enough to be angry at God and still hang on for a blessing. I pray for that tenacity and hunger for her family as well.

Jenna at Chronicles of Munchkinland posted about Judy, and Margie  at Komapseumnida did too. Bear's Mommy posted for Judy @ On Icarus' Wings.

If you have blogged about her passing leave me a comment and I will link to your post.


Friday Poetry: words on rocks

One of the gifts I am making my six year old son is a rock collection with words. Sort of a sight word vocabulary drawn from the creek bank. He loves rocks and collects them. On one recent nature walk he filled his pockets so full his pants fell down when he tried to run down the path ahead of me.

I love

He is learning to read and collects words. He reads signs everywhere we go. He reads me books every night before bed, often pausing in the reading to copy favorite words into the spiral notebook he has taken to carrying everywhere he goes. It slows down the story a bit but who can resist the power of claimed words?

great hope

I am quite taken with the fun of writing words on rocks. Once you start it's hard to stop! I left a lot of them blank, just so he could add his own selection, but I had to include many of my favorite beginning reader's words. I also found an old circus cookie tin to store them in. Carrying that around is a satisfying armful!

circus tin

Just for you, in honor of Friday Poetry, I have composed a haiku out of rock words:


One of the Advent calendar activities this week was to clean, fill and hang the bird feeders. I've been seeing a lot of chickadees in the forsythia bushes outside the dining room windows. Have you ever thought of writing words on rocks and making poetry or stories out of them?

Check out the other Friday Poetry posts rounded up by Robyn at Read, Write, How.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."


The other day our Advent calendar activity was to make these paper stars. I am so happy with the way they came out! The red one I made out of an old Christmas card.


It was a little too stiff and hard to get the glue to stick without holding it together for a while. I tried using pictures from the World Wildlife Fund Catalog, after we made our donation online. The photos of the birds and animals made adorable stars!


Then the holiday book we read was one of the sweetest things yesterday. Cuddled up under a quilt I was charmed listening to my youngest child read How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It has to be one of our all time favorites and it just moved me to hear my six year old read it himself for the first time. We have seen the animated movie so many times, (not the latest version, just the wonderful old cartoon version), and have also enjoyed the play performed with my oldest son doing the Grinch, that we practically know it by heart. We could discuss what was coming next and anticipate our favorite bits. We also had a good discussion about why the Whos wake up singing even without any presents, packages, boxes or bags. Definitely a holiday classic that can't be skipped!

Here is one more paper star that is hanging in front of the entry hall mirror. You should try some of these - they are lots of fun and not difficult!


What Christmas crafts are you enjoying?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Counting down to Christmas

It seems hard to believe but Advent is already here! This year we are counting the days to Christmas with a new Advent calendar I made out of felt stockings. (I shared directions to how I made them at my cousin's blog She Who Makes.) In each stocking is a card with a family activity to help us celebrate and prepare the way for the Savior's birth.

The picture above is a bit misleading because today's stocking is actually number 24. Since I have two sons at home they are taking turns pulling the cards out of the stockings, and Buddy's on the even numbered days. He pulled out the card that says, "Gather the Christmas books and read a story." We had to hunt around the book collections and find all the old treasures. I have collected a lot of Christmas books over the years and pulling them out is one of my favorite holiday activities!

Today we start reading The Way to Bethlehem by Inos Biffi, illustrated by Franco Vignazia. (Eerdmans, 1997).  From the introduction:

"Leading Children to Christmas - Today, Christmas is often reduced to a routine exchange of presents. This small book brings together words and images to guide children to the true Christmas, the Christmas that the Church has never ceased to celebrate. Derived from the Gospels themselves, this little volume simply retraces their account of the expectation and coming of Jesus. In addition, it recalls those saints who in various ways were close to the Child that first Christmas."

The gorgeous illustrations are painted in a medieval style in vibrant colors, pulling readers into the story by the passionate expressions on the character's faces. I plan to read a short selection each evening as we light the advent candles on our supper table. Other more friviolous stories will be read at bedtime to be sure!

I am unemployed this Christmas and planning to have a very simple, homemade holiday. I'll be posting about the gifts and decorations we made and the stories we read as we make our way toward Bethlehem. Won't you join us and share your celebrations?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Joining PiBoIdMo 2011

I'm signed up for the Picture Book Idea Month challenge over at Tara Lazar's blog again this year. All through the month of November we try to come up with at least one idea a day for a new picture book that could be worked on and written in the coming year. I did it last year and came up with a list of ideas for books... none of which got written as yet. But still... those ideas are brewing. It's fun just brainstorming ideas, after all. How about you? Could you come up with at least one good idea a day? Try it! If writing picture books aren't your interest maybe there is something else creative you could jump start with such a challenge?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Poetry: Micah Bournes on "normal hair"

I saw a friend post this video on Facebook this week and I had to pass it on. Micah Bournes performs his original poetry on the subject of "normal hair". I just love the joy and energy that blows through his presentation. He is a new-to-me poet and I am really enjoying his work!

Micah Bournes :: Normal Hair from Antioch Church on Vimeo.

Friday Poetry is hosted by Diane at Random Noodling.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Bitter Melon

by Cara Chow. Egmont, 2011. I really enjoyed this young adult novel about the relationship of a Chinese American high school girl and her old school mother. Francis is trying to live up to the expectations of her mother, who demands that she work her way into Berkley and become a successful doctor in order to support her old age. She accidentally signs up for the high school speech class and ends up on the debate team because she isn't assertive enough to explain to the teacher that her mother doesn't allow such things as after school clubs that might interfere with math homework. She is surprised to discover that she is actually pretty talented at debate and it's a lot of fun. A budding friendship develops with the daughter of her mother's best friend, who it turns out is helpful in following the path of deceit and deception hidden from her mother.

The problem that Francis discovers is that in order to really shine in the debating competitions she has to speak about her deep beliefs and aspirations, which are in conflict with her mother's goals. This requires a complex juggling of duplicitous finagling and double-think. As Francis gets more and more excited about discovering her unique intelligence and linguistic abilities she becomes more angry and rebelious toward her mother. She is still emeshed in the emotional, verbal and physical abuse her mother has used to control her all along, of course. Witnessing the breaking free of that slough is what makes this novel so compelling and engaging. I was rooting for Francis all the way to the end, and found myself thinking about her and wondering how she was doing long after I finished the book. It's a great story well told.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Poetry: Haiku after walking


three friends
a bench by the water
geese on the wind

.................. -Andromeda Jazmon

The Friday Poetry round up is hosted by the fabulous Jama. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Poetry; Birds not seen


biking with only an ipod
not wanting the weight of a good lens;
missing the Little Green Heron shot
-Andromeda Jazmon

I’ve been under doctor’s orders to exercise my knee after surgery this summer, so I have been forced to take some time to go biking in beautiful parks during the last outburst of Indian Summer’s stunning weather. Oh the photographic opportunities I have missed by trying to travel light! My belt pack carries an iPod with a very basic camera. In the photo above there is a Little Green Heron on the shoreline that doesn’t show up. How many other birds are hidden in the trees? Who knows what else we are missing?
I am about to head out to the library to study the new acquisitions to see if there are any great children’s books published in 2011 that have not yet been nominated for a Cybils award. Have you been watching the nominations come in? What is yet to be mentioned that you really loved?
Poetry Friday is hosted at FOMAGRAMS today – don’t miss any of the offerings!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Collecting Digital Citizenship Links

lounge chair under leaves

I've been working on compiling the best digital citizenship curriculum links to support educators. I have a wiki of library pathfinders (resource guides) here. I'm also using Pinterest as a more graphic based collection of links. I've also been following folks on but haven't tried curating my own stream yet. Have you?

Please let me know what you think of these alternate ways of presenting link collections, and offer your ideas for other good sites on digital citizenship.

Friday, October 07, 2011

From the trail

Dropping baggage,
Following the curve of
Light on fence rows.

- Andromeda Jazmon

I am in a period of lateral shift, reassessing the journey and reconsidering what's required along the way. Dropping some of the old assumptions and hoping for more light. Today's trail was just the balm I needed!

Enjoy more poetry at the Friday Poetry roundup today at Great Kid Books!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Review: White Water

by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Candlewick, 2011. (review copy). Set in 1962 in the Jim Crow South just before the Civil Rights era, this picture book is based on a real life experience of author Michael Bandy. The lushly illustrated book tells of a boy named Michael who confronts the segregation laws in his community. On a bus ride to town he experiences riding in the back of the bus and then drinking from the "Colored" drinking fountain. When he observes a white boy and his mama riding in the front of the bus and drinking from the "Whites Only" fountain he develops a deep desire to taste the "white water" and find out if it is truely "pure and icy cool, like mountain water" in contrast to the disapointing "warm, rusty water" of the Colored fountain. His obsession grows through daydreams and nightmares. His grandmother tells him he may not taste it but he hatches a plan to circumvent her supervision. He plays sick and stays home from school so he can go down town alone and sneak a taste from the white water fountain.

Braving a scornful bus driver, he manages to take a sip of the white fountain. Then a scolding white woman causes him to fall in fear to the ground below the fountains. He is shocked to find out that in fact both fountains deliver water from the same pipe, and taste exactly alike. His courageous act of defying adult-enforced racist law and convention gives him a revolutionary insight. His epiphany into truth vs. lies reveals his own unlimited potential:

"The signs over the fountains had put a bad idea in my head. But they were a lie. If they weren't real, what else should I question? Maybe there wer lots of things - like that nasty old white water - that weren't true. That had nothing to do with nothing. Maybe everything I thought I couldn't do was just in my imagination, too. That's when I realized - I could do anything."

Strickland's realistic watercolor paintings bring the experience to life and pull us into the brutal reality of living under injustice. Michael has the strength and determination to challenge the institutional racism supported by all the adults in his world. It is his driving curiosity and passionate determination that make him a hero and inspiration. Here is a story of American history that every child needs to hear and see.

I am nominating this book for a Cybils award in the picture book division. Go on over to the Cybils site before October 15 and drop the titles of some of your favorite children's books published in the past year!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Poetry Friday: At the Sea Floor Cafe

Odd Ocean Critter Poems by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Leslie Evans. Peachtree Publishers, 2011. Last June I received this lovely little collection in the mail from my friend Elaine Magliaro. (Elaine's review & author interview here.) We have been dipping into it and enjoying the wide variety of poetic forms that playfully and cleverly present fascinating portraits of ocean creatures. From snapping shrimp to dolphins to the Osedax legless worm that lives on whale bones at the bottom of the sea, each creature is celebrated in poetry and further described in short paragraphs that highlight each one's special features and adaptations. Bulion has a bacground in oceanography as well as poetry so she brings a unique skill set to the making of this fabulous collection. The back of the book includes a glossary of ocean creature terminology, further websites and books on oceanology to explore, as well as very helpful Poetry Notes describing and explaining the poetic forms and features used in the collection.

Leslie Evans, the illustrator, has training and experience as a printmaker. The colorful block prints she has created for this collection are dramatic and whimsical. See some of the prints here at her webpage. I adore the bright oranges and yellows contrasted with the blues and greens that make this ocean a magical place to explore.

One of my favorite poems here is a cinquain, a five line poem with specific syllable counts:

Crabby Camouflage

hermit defends
each secondhand shell home
with anemone jewelry.

"A jeweled anemone crab is a hermit crab that protects is soft body by moving into an empty snail shell. The crab camouflages its borrowed home by sticking colorful, living sea anemones on teh outside of the shell. anemones disguis the shell, and can also sting (and stun) predators that come too close to the crab. Ouch!"

Here is a video including a song for the Broody Squid:

For elementary grades studying ocean creatures and poetry this book is perfect! It brings together the music and form of poetic celebrations with the scientific and awe-inspiring study of the ocean. I would love to see this book used in classrooms and libraries everywhere.

Poetry Friday is being rounded up at Read, Write, Believe, where Sara shares some thoughts on her summer of less blogging. I can really relate to that! Stop by and enjoy all the rest of the poetry linked in her round up!

Also please note that tomorrow is OCTOBER 1 and that means CYBLS nominations are open!!! Get your lists of favorite children's books published during 2011 together and go nominate a few winners!!! I am delighted to be serving as a second round judge in the Poetry division, and I am so looking forward to seeing what all of ya'll are going to nominate.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Back to School @ a New School!

Sept. 16 007

I haven't posted much this past summer because I was totally focused on finding a new job. I am happy to report that I found a wonderful opportunity at a school in Philadelphia. I started my position as School Library Media Specialist this past week. It is exciting and overwhelming and will be really challenging and fun! I will be working with bright, charming, energetic children who have experienced economic challenges but who are eager to learn. My budget is not the best but the library space is really open, spacious, and beautiful.


I have already filled the windowsills with plants, which was one of my secret hopes and dreams for my new library position while job hunting. It wasn't the highest propriety, but to be honest on the job interviews where the library didn't have sunny windows I just wasn't falling in love as fast. Let's be real; in these long dreary Philadelphia winters green growing plants and sunshine makes a difference! I have had geraniums blooming in my school library for 11 years and I wanted to continue that tradition.

I am still getting my bearings and learning my way around the school. The computer lab where I will teach technology classes for grades 1 - 6 is still not quite ready for prime time and I have two 6th grades and a 5th grade coming on Wed. for the first instructional day of school. It will be interesting to see what the students bring to the table as I plan on spending the first weeks getting to know them and finding out what they know & what they want to do & learn this year.

crayon basket

I have a new Macbook Pro running Lion OS and Chrome, all new to me, so that is part of what I will be learning this fall. I haven't taught sixth graders very much in the past either so I am sure it is going to be a fun and enlightening year for me.

My goals are:

1. to get to know my students, faculty, administration and the culture of the school
2. explore how to use what resources and tools we have available to enhance and expand the curriculum as it is used
3. have a lot of fun and enjoy the people with whom God has blessed me.

What are you diving into this fall? What are your learning goals?

Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday Poetry Is Here Today!


Salvia spikes
behind my garden bench
or before?

-Andromeda Jazmon

I'm not sure I've got that haiku nailed yet. I might come back and edit it some more. I am trying to get the feel for the question in my mind; what comes first, the garden bench or the perennials? Some may plan the garden structures first and fill in with the plants but I would tend to throw the plants in willy nilly over a few seasons and then think "Hey I need a bench right here!" What do you think?

And check out my cool new QR code in the sidebar. Blogger now has a mobile edition so if you are reading on a smart phone or iPod you get better formatting for a small screen. It seems cool and fun but I am a bit confused about how they will be used for blogs. I mean it's posted here so if you see it on a big screen you can point your device with a QR reader & camera at it and get a link to open on the small screen. I am just not sure how one juggles the machines; are you reading over a friend's shoulder on their laptop and think "cool I want to see that on my phone!"? Or are you on your own laptop and see the blog post and think "I need to read this on the small screen." ?? Walking down the street and see it on a monitor in a window and pull out your phone? Really, what is the point of putting QR codes on a blog post? Who is using them?

I'm hosting the poetry round up today. Friday Poetry is a weekly celebration of poetry from all around the children's literature blogosphere. Anyone can join in just by posting a link to a poem, something about poetry, an original poem, or a review of a poetry book.

We try to respect copyright and authors and artists by not reprinting the entire poem of copyrighted works, often linking to the full text published at an approved site where permission has been granted.

Leave your name (poet or poem title) and the URL to your Friday Poetry post in the form below. Then come back later to enjoy the rest of the poetry!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Poetry Friday on Twitter & Facebook

monkeys 4

Today I am sharing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Nature. It's a lovely poem using the image of a mother coaxing her child away from toys at bedtime, which hits home for me these days.

As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
   Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
   Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
   And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
 Read the rest of the poem here.

I have been experimenting with using Twitter in the library lately, playing with Twitpic and using my iPod Touch to throw up photos of what is going on in the school library. We only have three weeks left of the school year so it seems like a good time for messing around. I think it's pretty cool that I can whip out my iPod and take a quick snap of something that the kids are doing and share it so easily. Has anyone else started doing this? The camera on the iPod Touch is not great so the pictures aren't print quality, but it's fun on the fly.

Now I am wondering about how to share poetry that way. Last week when the fifth grade was in the library they were talking about sharing poetry online and one of the kids asked the teacher if she had poetry on her iPod. I had to jump in and say I have that. There's a poetry app for that! The Poetry Foundation has got you covered. We all laughed but it's true. I can easily send poetry links to Twitter and Facebook. The difference between that and blogging is that the blog post stays up and is easy to find by anyone, while the Twitter feed flashes past and is easily missed. The Facebook page flashes by also, and I don't share that with everyone like I do the blog.

But blogging takes time, and I have that in short supply these days. I am really struggling to find the time it takes to write a good post so they are getting infrequent. I'm wondering about using Twitter for Friday Poetry posts. My Twitter feed is posted here, in the sidebar, and my blog is linked on my Facebook page. So if I share poems on Twitter it goes around in a circle. If a lot of us are sharing poetry we can connect and make it grow.

Anyone else up for a little experiment? Let's try sharing poems on Twitter with the hashtags #PoetryFriday and #Poetry and see where it takes us! If you know another hashtag in use or have other suggestions for how to make it work please leave a comment. Maybe we can use the list feature? Let's play!

The Friday Poetry round up today is hosted by Julie at The Drift Record. Enjoy!

Friday, May 06, 2011

School Poetry Wiki

I've been working all April on gathering poetry from around the school where I am a Library Media Specialist. (Click the image above for a direct link). I've pulled projects and examples of student work from each grade and used a wide variety of apps and tools to showcase what the kids are doing. It's been a lot of fun and I am really proud of their range of work. Take a look at pre-k poetry, kindergarten's creative response to Christina Rossetti poems, first grade haiku, second grade wordle words clouds of poems, and original poems from students in the older grades. There are also a couple short animoto videos of authors George Ella Lyon and John Steven Gurney, our visiting authors over the last two years. If you have a (free) wikispaces account you can leave a comment on the discussion pages. My students would love to hear your positive, encouraging feedback!

Friday Poetry round up is hosted at Family Bookshelf today. Love your Mother & enjoy a great weekend of poetry and springtime!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Haibun week

This is the week when the Maple trees open new leaves. It's the birthday of the leaves I will rake and compost in the fall. The beginning of shade. The opening of the roof over my hammock. The first day of green gold ceilings. The baby ripples of wind's laughter. The return of living emeralds.


wind chimes
thrilling in the key of verte;
today's leaves

It terrifies me that the next wind storm might bring this twisty old Maple (housing a colony of carpenter ants) right into my room; but I can't help wiling away the random minutes gazing out at the rippling green. I am enchanted by those little hands waving me away from the worries of the day. The oil of their birthing still fresh, the nibbled edges yet undone, each minute shrinks as they tenderly stretch and the glow fades.

new maple leaves

how they shine
the newest tender leaves;
oil of gladness

We had the poet & author George Ella Lyon at our school for a visit this week. She was telling the kids about how the trees breathe the world's breath and we are breathing with them. Carbon dioxide in, oxygen out, and back and forth. Yes, I thought, that is it. The little rustling, the tossing, the dance. Breath of the world.

new oak leaves

newest tossing leaves
fresh from the bud, already
breathing the world back

And there is this; the porch wisteria. I had tried to rip it out before I knew what it was. It is trained on a trellis now and each April brings more of these delicate trails of frothy blooming fountains. Only for a week or so are they purple. I spend the rest of summer hunting down the fingers of runners seeking footholds on my house siding. They sneak under porch and hide in the ivy. Like Pinky and the Brain they wake every morning anew to take over the world. I battle it only for the reward of this week.

porch wisteria

along the iron porch rail;
best loved enemy

-Andromeda Jazmon

I lost track of my daily haibun posts this week. Life interrupts once again. It has been a lovely month  though, hasn't it? Have you enjoyed the National Poetry Month posts? It's not too late to go back and browse what you may have missed. (Here are all of my haibun for the month.) And of course every Friday there is a  Poetry round up - today it is at Tabatha's. Enjoy your weekend!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

haibun #20

For a few hours this afternoon it was quite warm and humid. Driving home with the windows open the air was heavy with perfume from the magnolias that seem to burst into bloom all around us. It brought to mind long drowsy afternoons filled with the drone of bees. I heard a snore come from the backseat. I had to shake myself awake to remember the road.

magnolia confetti

open windows
drawing honey thick air;
magnolia in bloom

-Andromeda Jazmon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Haibun # 17,18,19

I got behind in posting this weekend so I am playing catch up today. Three in one!


slowing steps
for just a day or two
nodding narcissis

These days rushing past the doorstep to be on time is a chance to catch at beauty. The school year is winding down; or up depending on how many projects and performances one has scheduled. Sooner than we believe we will be advanced to the next thing; but for today a new bloom everywhere we look.

Obi Wan is a Jedi

My kindergarten son is content to sit with a pen and paper, leaning over the seat of a chair to write with great concentration while I finish up the taxes. He reads it to me later; a foreign language in print that is my native tongue when he speaks. "Obi Wan is a Jedi". The power of his words.

my pen
in his hands;
new paper

I tried cooking Indian food yesterday. I found a packaged kit in the health food section that looked yummy and not too complicated. Tandoori spices packed in with basmati rice. I cut up mango just to see Buddy's face when he tasted that sweet, soft tang. Such joy to feed someone who adores every new flavor. 

hand poised

his eyes wide
juice dripping down his chin;
ripe mango curry

-Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Haibun #16

I found myself staring out the kitchen window several times today, pausing from the housework to watch the rain on the backyard grass. It's a brilliant green now and ready for the first cutting of the year as soon as we get a clear day and time to get out there. Amazing how grass endures the drab, miserable, freezing months to bounce back to verdant, vibrant growth after only a couple warm days and a good soaking.

June 5 006

grass heads bend
under the weight of raindrops;
then spring forward

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Haibun #15

Puck dumped out his backpack onto the living room rug. There we were, putting the heads and arms back on Lego men. It's a rather quiet, focused activity, and a welcome contrast to the rest of the time when he was spinning in circles, laughing like a madman, taunting his brother, spilling crumbs all over the floor, or jumping up and down. Do you wonder why I call him Puck?

little smile

tiny heads and arms
each to each little toy man -
then they're off again

- Andromeda Jazmon

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Haibun #14

There is a crab apple tree in bloom right outside my window.  When I glance up I am likely to see a tufted titmouse, a cheery little gray bird with round black eyes, hopping from branch to branch directly in front of me. He is hoping to find a juicy little insect among the blossoms. Another time I might see a fat bee buzzing around between the pollen soaked petals. The blue sky peeks through, winking at me. What was it I was trying to get done?

crab apple 2011 013

watching the titmouse
in the blooming crab apple;
my day's work

-Andromeda Jazmon

(P.S. If you work where I work, please know that this is purely poetic license; I certainly do NOT ease off my rigorous work habits for a silly little thing like blossom gazing. That would be preposterous. It's just a poem.)