Linda Kulp Trout

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating Veterans Day!

Something that most people don't know about me is that I am a veteran. Forty-one years ago, I joined the Air Force. Our country was just ending its involvement in Vietnam. Joining the military was not popular at the time. Many people discouraged me from enlisting, but it turned out that joining the Air Force was one of the best decisions I ever made!

I grew up in a VERY small town.  Actually, there were only about sixty residents.  We had a small country store where we got our mail and some groceries.  My family struggled just to pay the rent and put food on the table.   Education was not a priority, and college was never an option. Life was about work, worry, and day-to-day survival.

I wanted a different life. So, when a recruiter came to my high school  to talk about the benefits of joining the military, it seemed like a good choice for me.

Here I am in my dress blues and fatigues.
The picture are pretty faded, but they were taken in 1974! In the bottom pic, I'm the short one  on the left.
The very next day, I walked from school to the recruitment office and took the written exam.  My highest scores were in communication so I was told that I could choose either journalism or communications as my specialty.  My first choice was journalism, but there was an eighteen month wait for an opening. Communications had an opening in just a few months. I wanted to get started before I changed my mind so I enlisted as a communications specialist.

Basic training was tough, but I was determined to stick with it. I loved being in the Air Force. I met people from all over the country, flew on air planes, visited big cities, and life felt like an adventure!
The only downside was that I worked a crazy schedule with long hours and had very few days off. When my son was born my priorities changed, and my husband and I decided not to reenlist.

I am very grateful for my time in the Air Force because it opened up many opportunities for me.  My VA benefits helped me to go to college, buy our first house, and provided medical benefits.  Most importantly, it was a pathway out of poverty. 

I'm proud of being a veteran, and I'm especially proud to have my poem "Dear Veteran" included in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS  compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. My inspiration for the poem didn't come from my own experience as much as it came from the men and women who risked their lives for our freedom.  Every year, as a community service project, my students write thank you notes to our veterans.  I wanted to do the same in the form of a poem. Veterans (along with the men and women currently serving) are our true heroes!

Veterans, this poem is for you! 
You fought
for our freedom. You kept our country safe.
Today we proudly honor you,
-Linda Kulp Trout, all rights reserved

The poem is a cinquain, but I couldn't get the format to work.   : )

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A "ME" Poem

This month’s DMC challenge came from master poet Lee Bennett Hopkins. The assignment was to write a “ME” poem.  I don’t often participate in writing challenges (mostly because of time),  but as soon as I read “ write about a simple moment in childhood that changed you in some way,” a memory popped into my mind and I wanted to get it down before it was gone. There's more I'd like to say in this poem when I have time. 

 Calico Kitten

Walking home from school
I found a kitten,
almost hidden,
beneath a bramble bush.

Lying on the ground
bone thin and shivering—
her tail was quivering,
as I wrapped her in my jacket.

Afraid she might die
I carried her inside—

When she licked
warm milk
from my fingertips,
I knew she would survive

Then she curled herself
into my lap,
and thanked me,
with a purrrfect

I found the kitten when I was twelve, and I've had cats in my life ever since.  Here is my Daisy playing with her toys. She has a basket full of toys, but she only plays with the ones that contain treats. She is very spoiled kitty! 

Be sure to check out Today’s Little Ditty for a wrap-up of the “ME” poem challenge, and you can read Michelle’s fabulous spotlight interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins here.

I hope you're as excited about autumn as I am. I love this time of year! Now, let's go visit Janet and the rest of the Poetry Friday folks at Poetry for Children.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Poetry: All in the Family

​My granddaughter, Evie, is loving kindergarten! One of her first homework assignments was to make an "All About Me" bag. Earlier this week, I found this post on Facebook.

For Evelyn's all about me homework project she asked me to take this picture of her holding Lullaby and Kisses Sweet open to Grandma's poem "Snack Time."  She wants to tell her class that she likes to write poetry with her grandmother. She came up with this all on her own!

Look at that face!   When I read those words and saw the picture of my precious girl, my heart just melted.  I love being a Grandma!  When Evie and Victor (my adorable grandson) come for their next visit, we're going to the Land of the Little Horses (sounds magical, doesn't it)!  I can't wait to write a poem with Evie about our adventure.  We're going to try to get Victor in the act too, if we can get him to sit still long enough. He loves to sing and dance!  I tried to attach of video of my little guy dancing, but it just wouldn't cooperate.  I'll try again soon.
 Now, let's head over to Linda's place at Teacher Dance for today's poetry roundup.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another New Year

The first week of school always fills me with a mishmash of emotions. One minute, I'm excited about all the adventures the new year will bring.  The next minute, I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the changes in the curriculum and daily procedures,  and the next I'm wishing I could sleep-in  just a bit longer.  A new school is exhausting!  One thing that keeps me going is getting to know my sixth grade students. Learning about them and their hopes and dreams lifts me up and makes me want to give them my best.

Like most teachers, I start the year with a lot of getting-to-know-you activities.  I decided to try something a little different this year inspired by Irene Latham's Progressive Poem and Janet Wong's poem "Another New Year." 

After reading Janet's poem to my classes, I asked each of my students to contribute one line to our progressive poem.  I started them off with the title, and the first line.  After the poem was written, I moved a few lines around and created stanzas, but the lines are their exact words.   Some students had trouble coming up with a line they wanted to add. I told them they could repeat one of the lines they liked.  Here's what we came up with:

Middle School

Another new year
Being ready to learn and grow
More classes to go to
More teachers to give you homework

Making new friends
Getting a locker
Using a lock on your locker
Getting to class before the bell rings

More classes to go to
The teachers are nice
Changing for gym
Having fun

Getting good grades
A lot more homework
Walking to class with my friends
Not getting lost

Being nice, nice, nice
More friends to make
Eating lunch earlier
Crowds in the hall

Making new friends
Finding my classes
Changing for gym
Wake up early

Going home earlier
More homework to do
I made it through the first day
learning new things

Middle school is fun!

Check out The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School to read Janet's poem "Another New Year" and many other fantastic poems middle school students love. The link takes you to Pomelo Books where you'll find an abundance of resources to bring poetry into your classroom!  

Speaking of great resources, be sure to stop by Poetry for Children where the PFA series co-editor, Sylvia has the Poetry Friday roundup!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Poetry Friday

Has this ever happened to you?  The other day I was in my bedroom folding laundry when something just outside the window caught my eye.  At first I thought it was a large dragonfly, but as it came closer, I realized it was a hummingbird. I'd never seen a hummingbird up close so seeing this tiny golden-green bird hovering above our zinnias was very exciting. Then, two more hummingbirds arrived!

I ran to get my camera, but by the time I got back, my visitor was gone. Next thing I know, I was sitting next to the window for more than an hour, camera poised waiting for a chance to snap their picture. They must have seen me because I didn't see them anymore until the next morning.

All week, I've watched as several hummingbirds come for a sip of nectar before zipping off to my neighbor's bird feeder. I kept a camera next to the window and raised the blind, ready to capture these beauties.  I waited and waited, but they didn't come back until I lower the blind.  I stood at the window and watched as they took turns landing on the stem and plucking the petals from the zinnias.  In a matter of minutes, the zinnias were nearly bald!

before                                                                                                                  after

After many, many tries I finally got a few pictures of my new friends.   Every morning, I open the curtains and there they are!  On Wednesday, I was late leaving for work because I couldn't tear myself away from the window.  (My cat shares my obsession.)   I wrote a tanka to help me remember the experience.                                                                                                     

 Camera Shy
Hello, hummingbird
welcome to my flowerbox.
Sip on some nectar
while I get my camera—
        Hey friend, where are you going?
If you love hummingbirds as much as I do, check out Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems by one of my favorite poets, Kristine O'Connell George.  This excellent collection of poems records a family's observations of a mother hummingbird and her babies. It's a perfect addition to any classroom library!



friend, where are you going?TTTTT

    Tabitha is hosting today's Poetry Friday at  The Opposite of Indifference.  Hope to see you there!           

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Poetry Friday: Mystery Seed

It was my plan to post on Poetry Friday every week this summer, but it hasn't happened.  I'm teaching a summer program, taking a class, and working on a picture book manuscript. Along with spending time with family and catching up on some household projects... Gosh, life sure does get busy, doesn't it?    

The thing is, I often have an idea I'd like to post but talk myself out of it because I don't feel that I can write it well enough to share in a short amount of time.  I start analyzing every sentence and it never feels quite good enough.  I'm trying to release (my one little word) that kind of  thinking  because it has kept me from getting the writing practice I need to grow.  I've made an agreement with myself to write from my heart and only proofread/revise once.  I'm going to try my best to stick to that agreement. Although I haven't posted, I do read and enjoy your posts every Friday.  I want to join in the fun!  So here goes!

 It's Thursday 11:00 PM, and I just finished a first draft of a poem about something very special that happened this week.  I wanted to get it down now while it's fresh in my mind. Like I said, it's in very rough form.  I'm not sure if I'll do anything more with it or just let it be a memory to share with my granddaughter.

Mystery Seed
  -for Evie and Grandpa

 Her tiny hands planted you
     in a styrofoam cup—
     a gift for her grandpa

 Barely a sprout--
     he gently tucked you
     into his garden

 Then he smiled
     what you might become

For weeks his sturdy hands
     sheltered you
     from beetles, weeds, and storms

Swaddled in sunshine, water,
     and Grandpa’s love—
      you thrived

Your roots stretched and grew
      until you no longer needed
      his constant care

The day you blossomed—
      he sent her your picture
      and she smiled


                                                       Evie and Grandpa's flower

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Last week, I shared my poems from the POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS along with a chance to win a copy of the teacher/librarian edition. I'm happy to announce the winner is the lovely Linda Baie!  Congratulations from one Linda to another! 

This week I received an email showing the beautiful postcard Janet Wong made for my poem from the POETRY FRIDAY FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL ANTHOLOGY.  I love it!  Janet and Sylvia Vardell are two amazing, generous, hard-working ladies.  I am extremely grateful to be part of the PFA family! 

Can you believe this is the final Friday of National Poetry Month?  Whew!
It has flown by, and if you're like me, you're way behind on reading all of this month's juicy blog offerings.  It will probably take me until sometime this summer to catch up! Right now, though, I'm heading over to No Water River where my challenge buddy, Renee is rounding up a whole new batch of goodies! While you're there, be sure to check out Renee's excellent poetry videos.  I showed Renee's performance of "Jabberwocky" to my students today. They enjoyed it so much, they wanted to watch it a second (and third) time! What a great discussion we had about language afterward!
  For more great poetry videos, check out Sylvia's blog Poetry for Children.
Happy Poetry Friday!



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Poetry Friday: Celebrations and a Giveaway!

I’ve wanted to write this post for weeks, but with the unexpected loss of my mother-in-law, being under the weather for the past two weeks, and a crazy-busy schedule at school… Well, I just never got around to it until now.

I’m so proud to finally share my poems from the newest creation by our poetry superheroes Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations.

I love every one of the anthologies in the Poetry Friday Anthology series.  I use all of them with my middle school students.  Janet and Sylvia have made it easy for teachers, parents, and librarians to access high-interest poems and activities that meet CCSS standards.  (I’ll be sharing some of the many ways I use the various editions in a future post.)  

I'm giving away a copy of the teacher/librarian edition of  CELEBRATIONS.  Leave a comment to enter. The winner will be randomly drawn Monday, April 20.

I wrote poems for four different holidays. I was thrilled to learn two of my poems were accepted!  The first poem is for National Good Neighbor Day!

I also wrote a poem for Veteran’s Day.  I’m a veteran so it meant a lot to me to have my poem included. I joined the Air Force forty-one years ago. Our country was just ending its involvement in Vietnam.  Joining the military was not popular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Here I am in my dress blues and fatigues.
The picture are pretty faded, but they were taken in 1974!
I had it easy. In those days, women weren’t permitted to serve in combat zones. My inspiration for the poem came from the men and women who risked their lives for our freedom. Every year, as a community service project, my students write thank you notes to our veterans. I wanted to do the same in the form of a poem. Veterans (and soldiers) are our true heroes!
You fought
for our freedom.                                                                                                                                   You kept our country safe.
Today we proudly honor you,
-Linda Kulp Trout, all rights reserved
Be sure to stop by Robyn's place at Life on the Deckle Edge to read more about The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, an interview with Janet and Sylvia, and many other poetry offerings!



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Purple Plums

Earlier in the week, I posted pictures of my grandchildren on Facebook with a promise to share Evie’s poem today.  I've been under the weather today, but I want to get this written before the meds kick in.

I was very excited to share Lee Bennett Hopkins’ latest anthology Lullaby and Kisses Sweet with Evie and Victor because one of my poems is included. It was so much fun to read the poems to them. Evie was especially intrigued, and enthusiastically interjected comments about her own experiences. For example, after reading “Spaghetti” by Laura Purdie Salas, she said, “Yeah, Victor is messy like that too!” To Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s  “My Tricycle” she said, “My bike has two wheels, but it has training wheels too. One, two, three, four.”  I loved hearing her make connections to these adorable poems.

Then, holding the book in her little hands, she piped up, “Hey, I have a poem too, listen to this:

Purple plum, purple plum—
Squish, squish, squish

Purple plum, purple plum                                     
I love them in my
Dish, dish, dish!



As soon as she was finished reciting her poem, she gave a little giggle and ran off to play with her brother and Grandpa.  Simple as that!

 Of course, I was tickled she modeled her poem from mine, but even more important is how she made it her own!  She wasn’t all that impressed to find Grandma’s poem in a book; she’s seen that before. Instead, she was inspired by poems that touched her heart. This little book spoke to her, and she wanted to be part of it. Isn’t that the reason we write poetry?  No review by a publisher or editor is more meaningful than the reactions of a child who sees herself in words we wrote.

I wish I had thought to have her illustrate her poem.  I can just imagine a whole page full of squished up plums!  I don’t want to miss that opportunity again so the other day I bought a little blank book. Now Evie and I can start our own poetry collection!  I think it will make a perfect keepsake.

Evie lives in a language-rich environment where her Grandma reads her poetry, and Daddy reads her picture books.  She and my son have been creating their own stories together since she was an infant. Evie delights in telling her stories to Mommy and anyone else who will listen! In her mind, making stories and poems is just part of her day.

Playing with words comes natural to young children, but not all children have the good fortunate to have quality books like LULLABY.   I want to change that, at least in my own small way.  I have decided to donate copies of LULLABY  and a few other favorite titles to a local charity that helps low income mothers in Evie and Victor’s honor. I’ll share more after I’ve gotten more information. I want other children to experience the joy of words the way my grandchildren do.

Whew!  I hope I didn't make too many typos, my head is pretty stuffy and my throat feels like sandpaper!   I'm off to take those meds!

For more poetry,  head on over to this week's host, Author Amok,  say hello to Laura and see what everyone is wearing for National Poetry Month.






Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!


Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming up this Monday, March 2.  How will you celebrate?  Many schools celebrate by participating in Read Across America. If you are planning a to participate, this NEA site has some great resources including booklists and the Read Across America poem which begins:

Read Across America
  -Anita Merina

You're never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You're never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you've got.

In schools and communities,
Let's gather around,
Let's pick up a book,
Let's pass it around.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Did you know that Seuss was Theodor Geisel's middle name, and he appeared on the show To Tell the Truth in 1958?   I didn't know either of those facts until I watched the documentary Dr. Seuss' -Rhymes and Reasons.  I enjoyed learning more about his journey to become one of our most loved authors.  (Some content might not be appropriate for children, so please preview it first.)

Last weekend, I bought a few more titles to add to my Dr. Seuss collection. I plan to bring those to school next week to share with my students.  Due to testing, my school is postponing our Read Across America until March 9th. We're celebrating by having classes decorate their door to represent a favorite Dr. Seuss book/character, a period with the entire school will drop everything and read, and we're encouraging students and staff to come dressed as their favorite book character. 

We all have a favorite Dr. Seuss book.  Mine is HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. I used to read it to my sons (and I still read it to my students) every Christmas. Now my son reads it to his children.  I love the message that no matter who we are or what we've done, we can change.  Recently, my granddaughter and I read GREEN EGGS AND HAM.  What fun to hear her giggle, "I do not like green eggs and ham!" Then of course, we made green eggs and ham for breakfast, and she liked them!  Oh, the power of Dr. Seuss!

Finally, I couldn't end this post without sharing a few of my favorite Seuss-isms!  Come join in the celebration! Share your favorite Dr. Seuss book and Seuss-isms in the comments! 
The lovely Heidi is rounding up today's Poetry Friday at  My Juicy Little Universe.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
 -Oh , the Places You'll Go!

     The more that you read,
                  the more things you will know.
       The more that you learn,
         the more places you'll go.
                       -I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
                                            A person's a person, no matter how small.
                                                        -Horton Hears a Who!                                   

 And what happened then...? Whoville they say
 That the Grinch's small heart
 Grew three sizes that day!
     -How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

We love you, Dr. Seuss!
      The lovely Heidi is rounding up today's Poetry Friday at  My Juicy Little Universe.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Change in Perspective

Like many of you,  I subscribe to Your Daily Poem and The Writer's Almanac. I look forward to receiving a poem in my email every day.  I've gotten to read many amazing poems that I might not have discovered otherwise.  I especially love it when I read a poem that connects to my life.  Today's poem was so touching, I wanted to share it.

The poem "17 Sounds of a Boy with Autism" by Anjie Kokan could have been written about my two-year old grandson.  Recently, we found out that Victor is showing signs of autism. As a teacher, I've worked with many autistic children and know their struggles. So, it has been heartbreaking to think of the challenges my grandson might face. 

Victor is mostly non-verbal, but through therapy, that is beginning to improve.  His vocabulary is quickly growing!  He is a very loving, smart, and happy little boy. He sings and dances and makes us smile.  My son and daughter-in-law are extraordinary parents who are patient, supportive, and provide him with every possible opportunity to enhance his development, and it's working!  The future is bright for our little guy!

What I especially love about this poem is that it gives us a different perspective on autism. Just like the boy in the poem, my grandson has a need for sensory stimulation and Anjie describes that need so beautifully. So, I'm sharing it in honor of my precious grandson who brings joy into the lives of everyone who gets to know him.


17 Sounds of a Boy with Autism
           -Anjie Kokan

Lego pieces sliding on the wood floor
with Mr. Potato Head eyes
sandwiched in the middle
The shaking of a house
with the bouncy applause
for Toy Story at 4:32 a.m.
A quiet sigh of awe while the train
whistles beyond the bay window
The unnecessary gush of tap water delight
Eggshells cracking open on the linoleum floor,
scrambling feet sliding through that yolky goo
Quick scribbles on the Magna-Doodle
His bedroom door opening and closing,
opening and closing.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Be sure to stop by and say hello to Linda who is hosting today's Poetry Friday at Teacher Dance .

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I’ve been thinking about the One Little Word I want to guide me in 2015. I tried out a lot of words, but couldn’t seem to find THE ONE that felt right. 

Last Friday was my sixtieth birthday.  I had spent much of 2014 anticipating how turning 60 would change my life. It felt like the beginning of old age and the end of possibilities. I could have easily allowed myself to sink into a murky pool of despair, but I decided to celebrate my age instead. So, I reinvented my birthday and threw a party in honor of my friends and family to thank them for being an important part of my life.
We had a DJ , played trivia, sang karaoke, and laughed a lot.  What a fantastic time!
During the party, my four year old granddaughter, Evie, sang “Let it Go” from FROZEN. 
Every little girl seems to know the words to the song, and I’ve heard Evie sing it before but never really listened to these words. 

Let it go, let it go!
Can't hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don't care what they're going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.

It's funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I'm free!

-from Disney’s FROZEN
Read the rest of the lyrics here.

They were the right words at the right time, and suddenly it hit me. Turning sixty is the perfect time to let go of some of my notions about growing older. (My generation is fortunate to have many wonderful role models much older than me who are doing amazing things.) Sixty is the perfect time to release the fears and self-doubt that have held me back and kept me from moving forward.  Sixty is the perfect time to take some risks, try new things, and bravely become my own true me.

My One Little Word is RELEASE. I’m going to spend 2015 learning to let go and allow myself to flow freely in the direction of my dreams while enjoying every precious moment!

Have you chosen your One Little Word?  I'd love to hear about it!

 Tabatha is hosting today's Poetry Friday.