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!