Poetry is Part of Literacy and Lifelong Reading
Here’s is my current favorite poem
What Is Usual Is Not What Is Always
What is usual is not what is always.
As sometimes, in old age, hearing comes back.
Footsteps resume their clipped edges,
birds quiet for decades migrate back to the ear.
Where were they? By what route did they return?
A woman mute for years
forms one perfect sentence before she dies.
The bitter young man tires;
the aged one sitting now in his body is tender,
his face carries no regret for his choices.
What is usual is not what is always, the day says again.
It is all it can offer.
Not ungraspable hope, not the consolation of stories.
Only the reminder that there is exception.
~ Jane Hirschfield
What are your favorite poems?
“… How beautiful it is to be alive
so that even in our most lumbered days
we might meet each other, hands open,
and steady the other, walking home.”
~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, from the poem Reconciliation
Poem chosen by Claudia Cummins at the First Sip blog
Photo by Till Achinger
More Weekend Ed. Quotes
We returned from #CCEFinland to full-out fall leaves courtesy of a sudden freeze while we were away. Keeping to our presentation theme of #HarnessingImagination, we brainstormed some lesson ideas while we raked the leaves and gathered components for our Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Teachable Moments, like turkey giblets, are never wasted. For a STEM connection, I can use the photos along with information from ESF State University of New York to form the basis of a ThingLink scavenger hunt on the science behind why leaves turn different colors in fall. ThinkLink Inc. is a Finnish-American in-image app created in 2010 by Ulla Engeström and Janne Jalkanen. Depending on time limitations (and how compelling the Black Friday sales are), I can ask students to either complete the Scavenger Hunt that I create or they can add their own components.
Question 1: What design elements would you add to this lesson?
Question 2: What standards does this lesson address?
Please leave a comment with your ideas.
The leaves transformed the lawn to a carpet of color. For a STEAM connection, I can use the photos of the multi-color lawn as a palette for student composed poetry/haiku. After reading and discussing the technique of haiku from the Australian Writers’ Centre, student teams can take turns writing alternating lines of the poem or haiku. Alternately, students can choose to work solo on their poem/haiku.
Question 3: What design elements would you add to this lesson?
Question 4: What standards does this lesson address?
Please leave a comment with your ideas.
Tomorrow’s post will feature the STEM lesson Thinglink deliverable. Click here to view.
All of the outside color found a place on our Thanksgiving table with our Fall Centerpiece of Safflower blossoms, garden parsley, rosemary, and chives. A little glitter spray paint glammed up some of the outside English laurel leaves.
Australian Writers’ Centre, (2018, April 19). 19 Haiku poems about Autumn. Retrieved from
College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York (2018). Why Leaves
Change Color. Retrieved from: https://www.esf.edu/pubprog/brochure/leaves/leaves.htm
All photos by Teague
A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
More Weekend Ed. Quotes
Image Source- Photo by Helen Teague
Juan Felipe Herrera has been named as the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States in an announced appointment by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. Herrera’s term will take place from 2015 to 2016. (GalleyCat)
A poet of Chicano descent, the 66-year-old has spent just about his whole life on the West Coast. Born to a family of migrant farmworkers, Herrera bounced from tent to trailer for much of his youth in Southern California, eventually studying at UCLA and Stanford.
Herrera will succeed current Poet Laureate Charles Wright. Herrera is the poet who wrote “Border-Crosser With A Lamborghini Dream” and “187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border,” among many other poems. (NYT)
Herrera’s biography and a few poems are available at this link from the Poetry Foundation. Herrera’s book page is available at this Amazon link.
The laureate position involves crafting poetry projects and broadening the audience for poetry. The 2013-2014 poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, launched a series of reports from locations nationwide for a PBS NewsHour poetry series to explore societal issues. (HuffPost / AP)
Dating back to the 1300’s in Italy where the first poet laureates were named, over a dozen countries continue the poet laureate tradition today. The first U.S. poet laureate was Joseph Auslander. Ten U.S. states also name their own poets laureate.
Our friends at ReadWorks sent a reminder that April is National Poetry Month. Inspire a love of poetry and improve your students’ reading comprehension with our collection of poems at different levels for K – 12th grade.
K – 12 Poems & Question Sets for National Poetry Month
Each poem, or pair of poems, comes with an evidence-based question set that can help move your students to comprehension. Like all ReadWorks curriculum, they are based on the highest-quality research on reading comprehension.
Please consider moving within all grade area specifications—don’t feel confined to stay just within your grade area. ReadWorks has chosen so many great poems that transcend grades and ages.
Have fun with poetry!
Additional National Poetry Month posts
This weekend’s quote is a poem by Longfellow, especially pertinent during the last days of this turbulent semester:
The heights by great (folks) reached and kept
Were not obtained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
Standing on what too long we bore,…
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,
We may discern-unseen before-
A path to higher destinies!
Additional Weekend Quotes
A Poem for the First Monday of the Year, perhaps for students to listen to at some point today:
by Mary Oliver
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
Listen to this poem read by Garrison Keillor (cue to 3:00)
Echoes of National Poetry Month…
You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life…~Krishnamurti, Jiddu
Previous Posts relating to National Poetry Month
Other Weekend Quotes