Friday, December 18, 2015

A Christmas Poem

Can you believe that Christmas is next week? If you celebrate, do you decorate a Christmas tree? I love the tree tradition and I have several different ones in my house (including an aluminum tree with Star Wars ornaments!). But this poem by Joseph Bruchac from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations captures the simple beauty of a live tree. 

And if you'd like to use the Take 5 activities from the book that accompany this poem, here you go:
1. If possible, set the stage with the smell of a Christmas tree—with live branches, scented air freshener, or a pine-scented candle (if allowed). Then read the poem slowly with a pause after each stanza.
2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the repeated and crucial word "tree."
3. Work together to draw a picture or create a collage of a Christmas tree based on the details in this poem (green branches, colored balls, lights, star). Then read the poem aloud again together.  
4. Pair this poem with the picture book Christmas Tree! by Florence and Wendell Minor (HarperCollins, 2005) and identify all the different kinds of Christmas trees pictured in the illustrations.
5.  Match this poem with “Oh Summer Books” by Diana Murray (June, pages 162-163) because of the tune connection (“O Tannenbaum”), “Tree Day Celebration” by Ibtisam Barakat (April, pages 104-105), and poems from Winter Trees by Carole Gerber (Charlesbridge, 2008), or link to Christmas poems with Manger edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Eerdmans, 2014).

This is just one of a dozen December holiday poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Of course we also have poems for Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve, too, among other special occasions this month. And of course we have even more poems for a dozen holidays in EVERY month of the year, January through December. Get your copy now and be ready for 2016!

Meanwhile, join the Poetry Friday fray over at Random Noodling where Diane is hosting the festivities! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

National Cocoa Day

Various sources claim that either December 12 or December 13 is National Cocoa Day. Here in Texas it's warm again (near 80 degrees!), so it's not exactly ideal cocoa drinking weather, but I am going for it anyway. I love hot cocoa, so I was happy to see this "holiday" exists and we thought it would be a fun one to include in our anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Read it now or save it for a chilly day!

And if you want to use the "Take 5" activities that accompany this poem in the book, here you go:
  1. As your poetry prop, hold a mug as if it were full of hot cocoa and read this National Cocoa Day poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Share the poem again and invite children to chime in on the repeated phrase It’s cocoa, it’s cocoa while you read the rest of the poem aloud. Hold up your mug to cue them.
  3. Use details from the poem to work together and make a list of things that contain cocoa. Another resource is
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (Charlesbridge, 2013). Talk about where cocoa comes from and how the interdependence of rain forest plants and animals is essential to its growth.
  5. Connect with “On the Day of the Dead” by René Saldaña, Jr. (November, pages 292-293) and with selections from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutings by Pat Mora (Lee & Low, 2007) and The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell (McElderry, 2015).

Now check out the Poetry Friday fun over at A Teaching Life where Tara is hosting the party!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Launching the "remix" of science poetry for KIDS

Janet (Wong) and I are so excited to announce the launch of our latest venture! (Yes, that is Janet being excited!) It's The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KIDS.
This new book features 248 poems by 78 poets, along with illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang. It's arranged thematically by science topics such as what scientists do, the science fair, classroom science, kitchen science, matter, earth & sun, space & sky, water, weather, surviving disasters, land & soil, ecology & conservation, endangered & extinct, the human body, engineering, computers, math, and the future. 

This is the companion volume to The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers published last year (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem. The new "remix" features ONLY THE POEMS and not the "Take 5" teaching activities. Plus, it offers 30 "bonus" poems not featured in the teacher's edition. Here's a sample double-page spread.

You can find more sample poems from the book at Pinterest here.

Below is the cover of the "Teacher Edition" of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (as well as the CCSS and TEKS). 

And just for fun, did you notice that the robots on the cover of the new book look a tiny bit like Janet and me? 
And don't forget our "celebrations" anthology with perfect poems for many December holidays including a December birthday poem for people like me who have birthdays during this holiday time! 

Now, head over to Buffy's place for our Poetry Friday celebration! Buffy (Silverman) also happens to be one of the featured poets in our science poetry anthologies, too! Here's a list of all those fabulous science poets who contributed:
What an amazing group, right?