Friday, August 28, 2015

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Neighborhood

I just returned from Cape Town, South Africa, where I attended the IFLA conference (for librarians worldwide) and had the opportunity to do several talks about poetry in a variety of locales (including for the newspaper and national radio). One thing that was universally popular was the whole idea of Poetry FRIDAY! The idea of pausing for poetry at the end of the week just grabbed everyone across the board. And I just love that! So here we are celebrating another Poetry Friday. Welcome, everyone!

Here's a poem that I shared several times that was a always a big hit-- along with the "Take 5" activities for introducing and sharing this poem, "Welcome" by Linda Kulp Trout. It's from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, of course! And all these images are available on Pinterest, too.

And if you'd like to share the poem in Spanish, here is "Bienvenido" too.

Now you're all set for celebrating Good Neighbor Day next month (on September 28). Meanwhile, dear poetry neighbors, please add your link to your Poetry Friday post this week below. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Poetry for young people in South Africa

I have been so lucky to be attending the IFLA conference (for libraries and librarians) in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been an opportunity to serve on the standing committee for the Literacy and Reading section, meet colleagues from around the world, and talk with South Africans in several locations about poetry for young people. I also found out that there is a big poetry festival next week in South Africa, the McGregor Poetry Festival. Wish I were going to be here a bit longer to check it out!

First, I visited the people at Enlighten Education Trust in Hermanus (an hour away). They do all kinds of things for kids in the area, including reading programs, music and toy programs, counseling, and more. I spoke with a small group about poetry for young people in the U.S., and particularly my "Poetry Friday" work-- and they loved that notion of sharing poetry on Friday-- and getting kids involved in the (Take 5) process. What a dedicated group!

Then, I spent the morning with the people at PRAESA, a group dedicated to book promotion and literacy development-- especially their joyous Nal'ibali reading club. Once again, I talked about what Janet (Wong) and our beloved poets are doing to make poetry available and accessible to young people-- in ways that are participatory and developmental. What a fun group!

Finally, I loved being with Jean Williams (who arranged ALL the previous visits) and the lovely IBBY-SA visitors at Biblionef. There were teachers, authors, and literacy advocates-- all with great questions and ideas. Here, I presented about a dozen U.S. books of poetry, read bunches of poems aloud, and shared our PFA books and approaches too (complete with Pocket Poem cards and postcards which were a big hit!). What a creative group!

I was also able to buy a few books of poetry at an area bookstore-- and wish I had time to explore more. I picked up an ABC and a nursery rhyme collection-- both with an African theme-- clearly for tourists, but very fun, engaging, and informative. There were two poem collections in Afrikaans that looked like delicious nonsense, but I couldn't read them, of course. And I didn't find titles in any of the other 10 languages of this country and I was told there were very few. There's a rich tradition of songs and poem chanting, but not poetry publishing-- but each audience told me they were inspired to pursue this further. I hope so! I tried to make a case for how this special genre has some unique things to offer and every child deserved a chance to hear, read, and write poetry!

Meanwhile, I feel so privileged to have this interaction with so many different people committed to books, literacy, and empowerment for children and young people. Inspiring! 

P.S. Plus, I saw, bought, and ate my first pomelo! (The fruit that Pomelo Books is named after.) And it's delicious! (Like a grapefruit, but much sweeter!)
Now, don't miss the Poetry Friday fun over at Reading to the Core

Friday, August 14, 2015

Start joking around!

I once read that children laugh approximately 400 times a day! Adults? Adults laugh about 15 times a day-- not nearly enough since laughter is supposed to be good for the heart, circulation, and stress.  So it's time to share a joke and a chuckle with the kids in your life. Try this poem and these activities from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations to get you started! And if you don't have your copy of this collection ready for the new school year, you can get it here. 

And here are the Take 5 activities for sharing this poem:
  1. Set the stage for this poem in honor of National Tell a Joke Day by telling a favorite joke (e.g., Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide). Then read the poem aloud slowly.
  2. Share the poem again and invite children to say the important final line (Go share your favorite joke!) while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Check out jokes submitted by children, click for the punch line, and vote on favorites at Encourage children to submit their own jokes, too.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Why the Chicken Crossed the Road by Tedd Arnold and others (Dial, 2006). Talk about all the different interpretations of this old joke and work together to draw a new one as a group.
  5. Link with “Laughing” by Cynthia Grady (May, pages 140-141) and with funny poems from If You Were a Chocolate Mustache by J. Patrick Lewis (WordSong/Boyds Mills, 2012) and I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky (Greenwillow, 2012).
Now head on over to Heidi's Juicy Little Universe for lots more Poetry Friday fun!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Poetry on Pinterest

Are you a fan of Pinterest? It's a website that offers a virtual "bulletin board" of visuals that often link to other sites you can learn more (and often buy things). It's an interesting tool for actively collecting images and ideas, particularly for crafts, projects, recipes, events, etc. Very teacher-friendly and also a black hole for losing yourself in a multitude of "pins." 

For poetry, I have found it an interesting source of ideas and inspiration-- and in the spirit of full disclosure, Janet (Wong) and I have used it to share poem "cards" based on our Poetry Friday books (more on that later).  Here are a few links to get you started.

Poetry Quotes
I love quotes about the power of poetry and you'll find many presented visually on Pinterest. Here are two quick examples. When I have time, I hope to add a bunch of my own that I often use for presentations. I think the combination of powerful words and powerful image is really thought-provoking. 

There are also many full-text poems to find on Pinterest too-- which worries me. Just in case you weren't aware, it is NOT okay to post a poem in it's entirety UNLESS you have permission from the poet (and the publisher) to do so or IF the poem is in the public domain. Shel Silverstein's work, for example, is NOT in the public domain, but you can find it online. In our case, Janet and I do secure permission from poets before creating visuals for their poems and sharing them online. Here are two poem examples I found on Pinterest (and I can't vouch for the rights question). I do like the WAY they are presented-- with the page of the book visible in interesting ways.

Teaching Poetry
There are also many ideas for presenting and teaching poetry-- although many are links to materials for purchase. But even simple visuals can be useful. Here are a few examples that I found fun and interesting: fingerprint poetry, found poetry, and a poetry tools graphic.

There are also many great lists of poetry books-- which is so helpful since the COVER of each book is included in each list. Plus, links to poetry performance videos (most available on YouTube, too), and more.  If you've found other poetry resources you love, please let me know. I'm still learning.

The Poetry Friday Anthology series on Pinterest
Meanwhile, please indulge a bit of self-promotion as I share the "boards" we have for our Poetry Friday series here. You'll find nearly 100 full-text poems with accompanying visuals that we have created (with permission of each poet) and provided for you to link or download and use in the classroom, library, or anywhere you want to share a poem with young people. There's a Pinterest "board" for each book-- our K-5, middle school, science, and celebrations anthologies. Here's one sample poem from each book along with a link to the Pinterest "board" for all the poems from each book that are currently posted. Enjoy!

Now head on over to Tabatha's place where she is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering. See you there!