Linda Kulp Trout

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!