Poetry Month Day 13: A Win for Standardized Testing

*Special thanks to S.T., whose gratitude for her time together with classmates together inspired today’s poem Dear Standardized Testing, Thank you. Thank you for bringing me these loveys – Thank you for bringing me these loveys – these loveys who miss one another Thank you for bringing me these loveys – these loveys who missContinue reading “Poetry Month Day 13: A Win for Standardized Testing”

Right Poem, Wrong Assignment

Today I had my fourth graders write about something small, taken for granted, or unappreciated. We started with a poem I wrote and shared about lowly feet. Then it was time for the kids and me to get cracking. I meant to do the assignment along with them. I really did. But I couldn’t thinkContinue reading “Right Poem, Wrong Assignment”

More Important Things

Once again, I got to enjoy composing alongside my students today. This group of fourth graders was also working on “important” poetry, but we decided on pencils as our object. Here’s my contribution: The Important Poem The important thing about a pencil Is that it is sharp. It’s long, it’s yellow And you can twirlContinue reading “More Important Things”

Finding Trusted Readers

Sometimes, I don’t have all the answers. (Whaaaaatttt? Stop the presses! And don’t tell my children.) Naw, just kidding. But really. I know I’m not the only one who gets blind to my own writing, unable to either see or overcome the shortcomings of my craft. That’s when I need somebody else’s eyes on my work.Continue reading “Finding Trusted Readers”

Going with Plan B

I wasn’t going to have them watch it. As part of my daily blogroll, I came across the wordless animated short “How to Wait for a Very Long Time,” and the first thing I thought as I looked at the title was, “This will be a quick way to teach my kids patience and persistence.” AndContinue reading “Going with Plan B”

The Premiere! World Takeover Day

  You know, as a teacher, I’m never quite sure which ideas will go in one ear and out the other, and which ones will take hold. Several months ago, my fifth graders and I were talking about the power that we each individually have. I joked that we should each look in the mirror inContinue reading “The Premiere! World Takeover Day”

Putting Myself Out There: Part 1

Oh heavens. What a slippery slope. It starts with sharing this video about the typewriter orchestra with my young writers. And then a conversation about how musicians see the music in everything. And how poets see the poetry in everything. “Mrs. Levin, that would be cool to do.” “Yeah, it would.”… “Hey…I have an idea.Continue reading “Putting Myself Out There: Part 1”

Using Images to Establish Mood

A little while ago, my fourth graders and I began to pair poetry and art to show how words and images are powerful creators of emotional imagery. First, we talked about art. What mood do artists create, and what techniques do they use? Color? Light? Shade? Brush strokes? Position and treatment of the subjects? It wasContinue reading “Using Images to Establish Mood”