Friday, June 28, 2013

Poetry, ALA, and CC

It's time for the annual conference of the American Library Association and I am lucky enough to be presenting a session along with my friend and collaborator, Janet Wong. If you're in Chicago for this event, we hope you'll join us on Sunday morning at 10:30 (McCormick Convention Center room S405). So far, 186 people have signed up to attend our session and we are THRILLED! Here's the lowdown:

Celebrating Poetry Fridays & Common Core Curriculum Connections 
Pausing for poetry every Friday is becoming a tradition in the children’s literature world and many librarians are incorporating this practice into their teaching and programming activities. In addition, the new Common Core standards include a poetry component highlighting a need for meaningful skills instruction. This proposed session will offer guidelines, instructional strategies, and print and digital resources for sharing poetry with children (ages 5-12) weekly while incorporating these required skills in meaningful ways. 

We'll kick off with an artsy "Poetry Is" slide show with images and poetry quotes.

Then we have a terrific PowerPoint slideshow highlighting our major points, if I do say so myself.  :-)  We'll be doling out the facts, connecting with the poetry standards from the Common Core and reading a lot of poetry and demonstrating how it can be celebrated with a bit of teaching tucked in along the way.

Here are a few nuggets to entice you:

When we think about what poetry does for children—and in just a few minutes of sharing on a regular basis—it’s a pretty impressive list. Author and literacy expert Mem Fox noted, "Rhymers will be readers; it's that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” 

Writer and scholar Rebecca Rupp commented, “Poetry makes you smarter…. and all kinds of research indicates that rhyme, rhythm, and imagery boost memory formation and recall.”

The Common Core Poetry Standards in a nutshell!
Kindergarten: rhythm; sounds
1st Grade: senses; emotions
2nd Grade: repetition; alliteration
3rd Grade: forms and types of poetry
4th Grade: structure; meter
5th Grade: themes, metaphors, similes

Common Core Standards for Poetry
RL.K.5; RL.1.4; RL.2.4; RL.3.5; RL.4.2; RL.4.5; RL.5.2; RL.5.4; RL.5.5; RL.5.6; RL.5.7

What is The Poetry Friday Anthology series
(poems + mini-lessons)
*Quality poetry, previously unpublished, contemporary, diverse
*K-5; 6-8 (based on appeal and appropriateness, not Lexiles)
*Poem for every Friday at every grade = 36 poems for each grade level 
*Weekly themes across the gradesschool, pets, weather, food, families, holidays; connections across the curriculum (science, math, social studies)
*Take 5 strategies tied to Common Core (and TEKS in Texas) for every poem
*Plus, we offer a resource BLOG with links to each poet’s web site, plus each grade level is available in e-book form

We'll demonstrate our "Take 5" approach using poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology, as well as from other works of poetry-- like Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends, the bestselling children's poetry book of all time!

We'll also share poetry blog and web site resources too. We'll pack in as much as we can in our 60 minutes, I am sure!

Finally, Janet has promised interesting snacks to the first 50 people who show up and I have a ton of poetry "swag" to give away: poetry post-its, Poetry Friday buttons, poetry pens, poetry bookmarks, and poetry air fresheners for those long car trips this summer! Plus we have a few copies of The Poetry Friday Anthology (for K-5 and for middle school) to give away as door prizes. I have an excellent poetry trivia quiz to test your Poetry IQ! (For example, do you know what is widely considered the best-known American poem?)

Wishing you all a wonderful Poetry Friday-- which we will extend to continue through Poetry SUNDAY this week! Meanwhile, head on over to Amy's place at the Poem Farm for more Poetry Friday fun!

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Children's Poet Laureate named

The next Children's Poet Laureate was announced today by the Poetry Foundation.  
It's Kenn Nesbitt. 

Kenn's recent works include:
Nesbitt, Kenn. 2009. My Hippo Has the Hiccups with CD: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
Nesbitt, Kenn. 2010. The Tighty Whitey Spider: And More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
Nesbitt, Kenn. 2007. Revenge of the Lunch Ladies: The Hilarious Book of School Poetry. New York: Meadowbrook Press.

His web site, Poetry4Kids has been a go-to site for poems, activities, and fun for kids.

The Children’s Poet Laureate was established by the Poetry Foundation in 2006 to raise awareness of the fact that children have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them. The Children’s Poet Laureate receives a $25,000 cash prize and a medallion that includes the inscription “Permit a child to join,” taken from an Emily Dickinson poem. The Children’s Poet Laureate serves as a consultant to the Foundation for a two-year period and gives at least two major public readings for children and their families, teachers, and librarians during his/her term. He/She will also serve as an advisor to the Poetry Foundation on children’s literature, and may engage in a variety of projects and events to help instill a love of poetry among the nation’s youngest readers.

Previous Laureates

2011 J. Patrick Lewis

2008 Mary Ann Hoberman

2006 Jack Prelutsky

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sharing poetry in Bali (Part 2)

playing soccer in the courtyard

While I was in Bali for the IBBY conference, I also had the opportunity to visit a small school-- always an eye-opening experience. This was a school that served a population of some 40 children, most of them with special needs (learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, etc.). The headmaster picked me up and drove me out and I toured the tiny building with its half dozen small un-airconditioned rooms with small homemade wooden chairs and tables.
moms hanging out with toddlers
the school library and library volunteer
 Moms sat outside in the open area and were welcome there. Children played-- some babies and toddlers there with their mothers. It was a relaxed and happy environment. I went into each room and smiled and chatted-- including a tiny library with a few shelves of paperback books and a small crate of toys.

Most of my time was spent in a small classroom with the oldest kids-- about a dozen-- working alongside their regular teacher-- she told me she was a former hotel worker whose English was good, so she volunteered to help out at the school. She was a natural and had a real knack in taking every moment and making it a language learning lesson.
practicing English words
a boy with autism adept on his notebook computer

I brought a pile of poetry books to share (and donate) and a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology (or course). Although their knowledge of English was extremely limited, I did share the first stanzas of several poems-- as their teacher helped translate each key word. I shared:

(K-1) "Happy Song for the First Day of School" by Patricia Hubbell
It's my

(K-14) "Mrs. Betty" by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Knock, knock!
Who's there?
It's Mrs. Betty!
She brought us a pot
of homemade

(One bright little girl recognized the "knock, knock" formula for jokes and pointed that out to me!)

(K-27) "Animal Talk" by Charles Ghigna
Ducks quack
Doves coo
Dogs bark
Cows moo

(They loved making the animal noises for this poem!)

Then we sang a variety of songs in English that were familiar to them and I joined right in. Plus, I chatted at length with the kids, answering questions and asking them questions.
this same boy thought of using his computer to take our photo while the teacher used my camera
her English was amazing!
The little girl who knew the "knock, knock" formula was quite adept with English and eager to converse-- she told me about TV programs she had watched about Sasquatch, ghosts, and zombies! The kids were eager to show off and were high energy!

a classroom for the younger children
What a privilege to spend a few hours with them and see the dedication of the staff and the eagerness of kids to learn new things. It's a good reminder of the heart of teaching-- caring about kids and helping them learn.

P.S. Two days later I came down with a bad cold-- just a little sampling of what teachers face every day in working with children! I remember getting sick at the beginning of every school year when I was a classroom teacher, as I built up my immunities for the year. Looks like that's another universal part of teaching!