Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Poetry break!" A Boy and His Dog

Poetry break a video by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.
This is a poem for two voices. One voice is the boy and the other, is his dog. This simple poem is easy to read and even more fun to dramatize! With a friend, take turns being the different voices, as you act out the poem. Or you can use a favorite stuffed dog and you can do both parts. In this video, the dog's part is played by my daughter, Sienna and her stuffed dog. Thanks Sienna!
  by Amy Merrill1
  "A Boy and His Dog" by Zaro Weil
  by Amy Merrill1
, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother Goose Monday: A Tea Pary

  by Amy Merrill1
, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.
Mother Goose has been invited to a a Mother's Day Tea Party! She's received her invitation and is ready for tea. Two rhymes that go perfectly for this time of year are: "Polly Put the Kettle On" and "I'm a Little Teapot!"

Mother Goose has brought her tea kettle, tea, cup and saucer, as well as a little tablecloth, and a dainty doily. What perfect time to talk about etiquette (party manners) for a tea party! Don't forget to lift your cup and hold out your pinky as you sip your tea!

"Polly Put the Kettle On"                        by Mother Goose
 Polly, put the kettle on.
Polly, put the kettle on.
Polly, put the kettle on.
We’ll all have tea.

Sukey, take it off again.

Sukey, take it off again.
Sukey, take it off again.
They’ve all gone away.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Origami & Poetry ~ Perfect Partners!

It's Poetry Friday!  Celebrate with me!  Today's round-up is being hosted by Elizabeth Steinglass.  Visit her blog, Growing Wild to link to many wonderful Poetry Friday posts!

One of my favorite poets is Kristine O'Connell George.  Her many poems seem to celebrate the simple joys of childhood.  Two of those joyful simplicities are playfulness and possessing an  imagination.  I adore her book, Fold Me a Poem.  It is a lovely collection of poems about animals created by Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.  One of my favorite "Poetry Breaks!" is accompanied by a quick demonstration on how to fold an Origami dog.  I begin with a brief explanation of Origami, followed by the reading of a few poems from Fold Me a Poem.  Displaying the bright, bold, and beautiful illustrations that Lauren Stringer created to accompany George's poetry is always intriguing for students and it helps those who are unfamiliar with Origami, to get a better understanding of it. 
I also booktalk and introduce George's adorable Little Dog Poems and Little Dog and Duncan books ~ two sublime books of poetry for dog-lovers!

Be sure to check out all of the great Origami resources and links on Kristine O'Connell George's website!

Click here for directions on how to fold an Origami dog. 

Below are some photos of my "Poetry Break!" that pairs George's poetry with the folding of an Origami dog.

Poetry and Origami inspired one of my students ~ the day following my "Poetry Break!" she brought a little Origami book from her own collection.  It was about folding pets.  She showed me the various animals that her book demonstrated how to create and declared, that we needed to fold a cat and that, "now I need to learn a poem about cats!"
  by Amy Merrill1
, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

  by Amy Merrill1
, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

  by Amy Merrill1
, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Tribute to Caroline Feller Bauer

 Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids.  I can't wait to visit and indulge in all of the poetry treats that she has gathered!

Remembering Caroline Feller Bauer

Last week I discovered that my "Poetry Break!" mentor,  Caroline Feller Bauer passed away. 
I first had the great pleasure of seeing her present a full-day literacy workshop.  I was totally enthralled with EVERYTHING that she shared - storytelling, poetry, songs, puppets, props, and endless ideas for bringing books and reading to life!  I saw Dr. Bauer's dynamic presentation a second time, devoured her books, wrote letters to her (she responded to each of my letters!), and began to try MANY of her literacy-loving ideas! 

Over the years I have continuously referred to Dr. Bauer's jammed-packed resources.  I lovingly read and reread her books over and over again. 

Click here to read School Library Journal's tribute to Bauer. 

Here is one of my first posts where I share a video clip that features one of my favorite poetry resources, Bauer's Poetry Break Book!
I have never publicly shared a poem but in honor of my "Poetry Break!" inspiration, idol, role model, and friend (through reading her words I feel as if she is a close, personal friend), I decided to share a simple, little haiku poem that I have written. 

In memory of Caroline Feller Bauer . . .

always searching for
the perfect poem to share
it's "Poetry Break!"

Thank you Caroline . . . your legacy will live on.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hound Dog Adventures

Unpopular Rex a video by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.
Welcome to a new kind of "Poetry Break!" My "Poetry Breaks!" always consist of me popping into classrooms to share poems with students and their teachers. For this "Poetry Break!" I created a video (after about 437,000 re-takes, I finally called it a night and used this one! Oh, and I also had several technical difficulties! So please bear with my novice video-making skills!).

The idea began with Mrs. Connie Buchinsky, a first grade teacher at my school. She asked me for poem ideas to utilize in a lesson. We chatted about poems, poetry books, and her lesson. After she took home J. Patrick Lewis' book National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, she showed me the poem she had chosen. I loved it and proceeded to tell her a story about a personal connection that I made to the poem. Connie loved it and told me I needed to make a video of what I had just told her. She wanted to be able to incorporate the story and technology into her lesson.

So, I figured I'd try a virtual "Poetry Break!" This way, I can share more poetry love with more students, more often, and allow students to access the poems whenever they wish! (I feel it is so important to hear poetry read and recited aloud ~ so many, many benefits to this! This could be a whole post itself!).

I will attempt to post a "Poetry Break!" video a couple of times a month. I think it will be a fun and worthwhile adventure!

If you'd like to read my post about Hug Your Hound Day, click  here!

Thanks to Connie, for inspiring me to create "Poetry Break!" videos!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration

Today's Poetry Friday Round Up is being hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.  Make sure you visit her blog to find out about the poetry treasures that she is sharing 

I celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day at my school with many students and staff.  I began by creating a display of poetry books with a Poem in Your Pocket bulletin board (when we returned from spring break).  Later I added a "Poet~Tree" bulletin board (a bulletin board tree display that features many poets' pictures on leaves).  Of course, I haven't yet thought to take a picture of it!  I do plan to do so and post it soon, though!

Next, I began telling students and teachers about the celebration (I also celebrated last year, so some of my students remembered it!) during my "Poetry Breaks!" and lessons (push in teaching times as well as my small reading groups).  

The day before Poem in Your Pocket Day, I gave my small reading groups a poem for them to put in their pocket.  

Finally, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, I put Bobbi Katz's "Pocket Poem" in my pocket to read to as many students and teachers that I saw!  Read the poem at Bobbi Katz's website ~ click here.  

As an extra special treat, I was able to give my students a beautiful poem bookmark!  The bookmarks were a gift from Amy Ludwig Vanderwater!  She sent bookmarks with a lovely poem from her exquisite new book, Forest Has a Song.   

Thank you, Amy!!!!
  by Amy Merrill1

One of my students didn't have a pocket for her poem, so we created one with a self-stick library pocket!

Poem in your pocket

Poem in your pocket by Amy Merrill1 

 A first grade student had a poem in her pocket to read to me today!  She pulled this little note out to read her poem.  She said her "nanny helped her with it."  I love it! 

Poem in your pocket

Poem in your pocket by Amy Merrill1

Another first grader had a poem in her pocket!  She was bursting with excitement ~ she couldn't wait to read me her poem!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mother Goose Monday: Stick Puppets

  by Amy Merrill1
My daughter, Sienna's Nursery Rhyme Stick Puppets (from Pre-K!)
Nursery rhyme stick puppets are fun, easy to create, and can be used in many different ways.

When my 13 year-old daughter, Sienna was in pre-k, we received these nursery rhyme puppets from her lovely teacher, Miss Danielle! At our parent-teacher conference, Miss Danielle gave us these puppets along with a printed copy of the accompanying rhymes. It was a fun, literacy-related tool that Sienna's teacher provided for her students to share in a language game with their families. What a fabulous way to encourage literacy in the home!

I have kept Sienna's nursery rhyme puppets for all of these years and now use them with my own students at school. They also make a great visual reminder of the nursery rhymes that we've already done together as well as a quick and easy method for students to self-select rhymes that they would like to revisit for recitation and dramatization!

Nursery rhyme stick puppets can be made a number of different ways but the easiest way to create them is by using die-cut shapes to represent a rhyme. Simply attach the shape to a craft stick. You can also write the rhyme title on the stick, if you wish. Store the puppets in a can, box, pocket chart, or wherever you find it most convenient. Select a rhyme to recite.

Thanks to Miss Danielle for these precious nursery rhyme stick puppets ~ they hold a special place in my heart!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Poetry is Priceless!

Diane from Random Noodling is hosting today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.  Make sure you click on over to her blog to read all of the wonderful poetry links that she has to offer.  

Here is conversation that I had with a first grade student today . . . 

"Mrs. Merrill . . . I think that when you grow up, you will want to be someone who writes poems for kids."  

Me: "You think so?"  

"Yes!  You love to share poems with all the kids and we are so lucky!  We love them!"

Enough said.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poem Treasures

  by Amy Merrill1
 Mrs. Merrill's "Poem Treasures."
I have a fairly large (and by the looks of it, it needs to be even larger), plastic bin in which I keep my poem treasures. Some may consider these items to be junk but I consider them to be my treasures. As the saying goes, "one person's trash is another person's treasure."

These do-dads have or may someday, be a prop to accompany a poem. Whenever I come across an alluring item that appeals to me or artifact that captivates my attention and sparks my "poetry self" to think of how it might go perfectly with a certain poem, I toss it into my poetry treasures chest.  

You never know when you might read (or write) just the right poem to go with one of the gems from the poetry treasure trove!

Any guesses and/or suggestions for poems to match any of my artifacts?  The plunger (brand new, by the way!) is one of my favorites!'

I love this poem by  Leleand B. Jacobs!  It seems to capture my feelings about my Poem Treasures. 

by Leland B. Jacobs

I keep bottle caps,
            I keep strings,
I keep keys and corks
And all such things.
When people say,
“What good are they?”
The answer’s hard to get
For just how I will use them all
I don’t know yet.

Monday, April 8, 2013

You've Got a Poem!

Mrs. Merrill's  "Golden Poetry Mailbox!"

Instead of hearing, "You've got mail!"  My students hear, "You've got a poem!"

A fun and unique way to introduce and present a new poem to your students is with a "golden mailbox!" A few years ago I purchased an inexpensive, ordinary, plastic mailbox at a home improvement store.  I then spray painted it with glittery gold paint.  The mailbox proudly sits in a prominent place in my classroom where everyone can see it.  When the flag is up, it means that we have a new poem to read!  It's so much fun to enter the classroom to see if "we've got a poem!" 

Do you have a unique or interesting way in which you share new poems with kids?  Please share your ideas! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mother Goose Monday ~ Poetry Beginnings!

It's Mother Goose Monday!

Sharing the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose is the perfect way to begin to introduce the joys of poetry to young children.  They are the perfect way to get little ones to begin to enjoy the the sounds of oral language.  Nursery rhymes have a way of sticking with you and young children will love to recall and recite them during their daily routines.  I'm sure that we can all recall learning the classic, "April Showers" rhyme that we will be reciting soon on a raining day or "Rain, Rain Go Away," as we put up our umbrellas and head out into the rainy days of spring.  

Help your children learn these and many other rhymes, so that they, too, can have little rhythms and rhymes come to mind as they go about their daily routines and have fond memories come to mind ~ memories that connect oral language to everything around them. 

"Rub-a-Dub-Dub" ~ great for bath time or hand-washing routines (I used to replace my children's names into the rhyme, instead of the three men).

"One, Two Buckle My Shoe" ~ perfect for getting dressed, shoe-tying, putting on coats, etc.

"I Eat My Peas with Honey" ~ one of my personal favorites for getting my girls to eat their peas!

"Peas Porridge Hot" ~ another fun one to recite while eating hot cereal or soup.

"Hot Cross Buns" ~ again, another food rhyme!

"Star Light, Star Bright" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" ~ bedtime routines.

"Mary, Mary Quite Contrary" ~ planting, gardens, flowers.

"Humpty Dumpty" ~ play with your food!  Recite the rhyme as you prepare to eat a hard boiled egg.

There are endless examples of ways in which we can connect rhymes and routines.  Please share some of your favorites by leaving a comment below or sending me a message or email!

Night Poetry

Night Poetry by Amy Merrill1
Night Poetry, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

Here are two more Book Spine poems that express my thoughts about the joys of poetry! 

Seasons of Poetry

Seasons of Poetry by Amy Merrill1
Seasons of Poetry, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Spine Poetry: "Wisdom of the Word"

Wisdom of the Word by Amy Merrill1
Wisdom of the Word, a photo by Amy Merrill1 on Flickr.
Here is one of my attempts at creating Book Spine Poetry. I chose to use titles from some of my poetry collections and anthologies.

Enjoy, "Wisdom of the Word!"

To create your own poem, simply choose book titles that you find interesting.  Arrange them into a stack to create a poem that sounds meaningful to you!  Have fun! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

Robyn Hood Black is hosting today's Poetry Friday Round Up at Life on the Deckle Edge.  

April is National Poetry Month!  
Although everyday is a reason to celebrate poetry and share poems out loud, April is an especially great month to promote a love for language by sharing poems.  Throughout the month of April, I will share photos, poems, and poetry-love tidbits from my school life as well as my personal poetry life!  Poetry Month has begun while my students are on spring break but we will return to a month full of special poetry celebrations!  

Be sure to check back often to take a peek into my life with poetry!  

One of my favorite Mary Ann Hoberman quotes that I have posted in my classroom ~
Everyday take time to start to learn a poem by heart!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mother Goose Monday: A Nerdy Book Club Retro Review

A Nerdy Book Club Retro Review!

I am excited to announce that I am a new member of The Nerdy Book Club!  I have a retro review of The Neighborhood Mother Goose illustrated by Nina Crews.  Be sure to check it out at The Nerdy Book Club (on March 14)!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Poetry Friday!

Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Sheri at Sheri Doyle.
Sheri reminds us to find happiness in the simple things.  Poetry is surely one of my favorite ways to find joy in each day!  Be sure to visit Sheri to indulge in many poetry pleasures!  

March 21  holds many exciting things for me!  My first born will become a teenager this year (eeks!), it is the first official, full day of spring, and this year I will have the pleasure of spending the day with poet and author, Kenn Nesbitt!  

My first born, Sienna, will soon be 13!  She is a beautiful dancer!
Kenn will be visiting my school on that day!  He will be making two presentations (primary and intermediate) for the students and staff.  In preparation for his visit, I have been sharing his poems during my "Poetry Breaks!," with my small reading groups, and on the morning announcements.  Additionally, I (along with our librarian and other classroom teachers) have been sharing Kenn's delightful website, Poetry 4 Kids with students.  

My absolute favorite Kenn Nesbitt poem  . . . 

A Pug is a Dog

by Kenn Nesbitt

A pug is a dog
with a curlicue tail.
He eats like a hog
and he snores like a whale.
He's flat in the snout
and his belly is big.
The pug came about
just by misspelling pig.

Miley, my pug!

Miley and I can't wait to have him autograph this poem poster (see an earlier post about these posters)!  She wants him to autograph her picture, too!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Audiobook Jukebox Review: Rise of the Guardians

  Audiobook Jukebox 

Rise of the Guardians: An Audiobook Review

Title: Rise of the Guardians: Movie Novelization
Author: Stacia Deutsch
Narrator: Keith Nobbs
Unabridged Length: 2 h, 33 m
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Middle Reader, Fantasy

From the Publisher:

Join forces with the Guardians to defeat Pitch in this retelling of the animated feature Rise of the Guardians.

When Pitch, the boogeyman, decides that children should believe in him and not the Guardians, he adds a little fear to their dreams, turning them into nightmares. If children around the world are afraid, there will be no more room for hope. The Guardians must band together to stop him. But in order to do so they need a little help from an unlikely source: Jack Frost. Jack loves to have fun, but he’s not usually one for heroics. Will Jack find the hero within him before Pitch can carry out his master plan?
Join Jack Frost and the entire gang of Guardians—North, Bunnymund, Tooth, and Sandman—as they band together to vanquish the boogeyman and his nightmarish threats and to preserve the very spirit of childhood. This junior novelization includes eight pages of color images from the movie.

My Review:

I will begin my review of this audiobook by saying that I had not yet seen the movie prior to listening to its audiobook adaptation.  I was pleasantly and immediately immersed into the fantasy world of the Guardians.  Listening to narrator, Keith Nobbs read this tale, made me feel as though it was being read by a full cast of narrators.  Knobbs does such a fabulous job of bringing each character to life, that the listener truly feels as though there is a different person for each character's dialogue, as well as for the narrator of the story.  Knobbs transforms his voice into North by using a perfect Russian accent, speaks for Bunny in a believable and humorous Australian accent, and transform his voice, yet again into an eerie, English accent to portray Pitch, the Boogeyman.  Additionally, Knobbs uses other voices to bring the various children characters to life.  Honestly, the listener of this movie adaptation will have no need to actually watch the movie, because the narration of the audiobook allows the listener to create his/her own unique movie in his/her own mind - the ultimate goal of reading and listening to a tale be told.  

Although the genre lists this audiobook as a young adult and middle grade fantasy, I believe that parents of younger children may want to choose this as a family audiobook to listen to on a trip in the car or even as bedtime family entertainment.  Teachers may also find this audiobook to be a great resource to play, not only as a classroom read aloud selection for entertainment and enjoyment but also to assist in helping teach children to truly visualize the story and bring it to life.  Knobbs narration is also excellent modeling for how reading fluently should sound - he truly brings all characters and situations to life by using his voice and narration style.  

An additional note that I'd like to mention:  I did watch the movie after listening to the audiobook and found them to be extremely similar.  Kids who have already watched the movie will be in for a treat when choosing Rise of the Guardians as an audiobook selection.  Audiobooks like this could turn reluctant readers into avid readers/listeners. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Popping Up A Popcorn Poetry Break!

  by Amy Merrill1
"Popcorn" poem by Helen H. Moore
For many years I have enjoyed sharing Helen H. Moore's "Popcorn" poem with my students. It's a fun and catchy poem that is easy to remember and naturally lends itself to dramatization! We become the popcorn popping in the pot!

Bringing in the air popper, popping up some real popcorn, and reciting Moore's poem couldn't be any more fun!

Students are able to fully enjoy and internalize this poem using ALL five senses! We see, smell, hear, touch, and taste the popcorn AND the poem!

 Pop, pop, popcorn,
popping in the pot!
Pop, pop, popcorn,
eat it while it’s hot!

Pop, pop, popcorn,
Butter on the top!
When I eat popcorn,
I can't stop!
                                 -- Helen H. Moore

Happy Poetry Friday!  Today's round-up is being hosted by Linda at Teacher Dance. 
She will surely be sharing many poetry treats!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poetry Friday: Celebrate Groundhog's Day with a Poem!

  by Amy Merrill1
Groundhog Poem Poster (along with a fun snow poem)

Happy Groundhog's Day!

Many years ago, I began to use this fun poem about groundhog's day with my students. I am not sure where I found it and I never was able to identify an author. It is a simple poem that helps explain the mystery that seems to surround groundhog's day each year.

I first recite and dramatize the poem for the kids. Then we recite it again in an echo format. And, of course we follow with a choral recitation, as we all act like groundhogs.

As a final bit of groundhog fun, students attach the poem to the back of a groundhog stick puppet. Groundhog's Day would not be complete without this little poem celebration!

Stayed tuned for some pictures of our groundhog poem puppets!

 Happy "Poetry Friday!"  I am happy to be sharing and participating, once again,  in this wonderful community of poets and poetry lovers!  Today's "Poetry Friday Round-Up" is being hosted by April at Teaching Authors.  Stop over to her blog for a cup of tea and some poetry!