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?