“My Passion”, Student Published Poem #2

Poetry is one of my favorite genres to explore with my students because the rules of grammar are tweaked for the purpose of the message, and imagery shines through the language. For example, the use of lower case “i” puts our focus on her passion rather than her. Alex’s use of the simile, “i’m like a tree”… provides a concrete image to abstract ideas. Beautiful!

My Passion

i SING like no one’s watching
i FEEL the music through my voice
it’s SOMETHING MORE than just notes being hit
it’s a NEW WORLD being created:

when i SING
i let out ANGER and STRESS
i bring in HAPPINESS and JOY.

i’m like a TREE
having LIFE in my hands
and ROOTS beneath my feet.

a SONG for every emotion
like CLEARING my mind
a DISTRACTION even…

but i’m doing something i LOVE
and OWNING it.

Alexandria Renee Crawford

Headshots 1 & 2

Alex is an eighth grader at Sunnyvale Middle School. She is a gifted young actress and musician. I appreciate the creativity she brings to our Honors ELA class. – Ms. Angela Henderson

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“My Mask”, Student Published Poem #1

National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve selected student poems for publication to share with you. One of my favorite strengths of my 8th Grade Honors ELA class is their ability to dig deep, make personal connections from literature, and be introspective.

McKinley Ream’s poem, “My Mask”, is an exemplary piece of introspective poetry:

                           My Mask
                 By McKinley Ream

I wear a mask over my face on a day to day basis,
It covers all of the sorrow and distress I’m feeling on the inside of me.
My mask is happy and joyful, making me look as happy as can be;
But with doing this people only know me by the mask I wear,
Not by what I´m feeling on the inside of me.
And while this is the goal,
I´m afraid that by wearing this mask;
It´s going to get stuck to me,
And I will have lost my true identity.
But if I take off my mask then everyone will know the truth,
And all of those days I spent wearing the mask will have had no meaning,
Because everyone will know how I truly feel on the inside;
And all of the flaws I hold on the inside of me.

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“The Mask”, Artwork by McKinley Ream

 

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McKinley Ream is an eighth grader at Sunnyvale Middle School. She is gifted in acting and has a distinct voice in her writing. She’s a delight to have in my Honors ELA class. -Ms. Angela Henderson

 

 

 

 

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National Poetry Month

A Kick-Off for Kidsbook Friends: Publishing Students’ Poems

After a loooong writing break from my blog, I’m so excited to invest time again into connecting with you through Kidsbook Friends. This year has been an adventure with re-entering the wonderful world of teaching English Language Arts after the privilege of being home with my three kiddos for the past ten years.

Now, not only do I get to share children’s books that our family enjoys, but I also get to post Young Adult literature and publish my students’ writings. April is National Poetry Month, so I’m thrilled to kick off this endeavor by publishing my students’ poems. This week they will write for a national contest as well as blog spot right here. Please stay tuned to encourage these young authors!

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Note from http://www.poets.org
This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
Please join in the celebration by listing your events and attending other events in your community, displaying this year’s poster, participating in Poem in Your Pocket Dayrecommending the Dear Poet project to a young personsigning up to read a Poem-a-Day, and checking out 30 more ways to celebrate.
We hope National Poetry Month’s events and activities will inspire you to keep celebrating poetry all year long!

 

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My Father’s Dragon Trilogy, “The Skies the Limit”

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Photo: stackingbooks.com

I can not think of  better stories for our journey-themed-summer than Ruth Stiles Gannet’s trilogy, The Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon. Rescuing and flying on a dragon, talking to jungle animals, seeing crocodiles eat lollipops . . . My kids were hooked every night as we recently read Elmer’s adventures aloud together. We would look forward to story time all day long. (Yes, “we”. I enjoyed the books as much as my kids!) Join the journey:

Introducing Our Featured Friend: The Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon
By Ruth Stiles Gannett

MyFathersDragon_zps92913204[1]The first book of the trilogy, My Father’s Dragon,  begins

One cold rainy day when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street . . .
My Father [Elmer] said, “When I grow up I’m going to have an airplane. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to fly just anywhere you might think of.”
“Would you like to fly very, very much?” asked the cat.
“I certainly would. I’d do anything if I could fly.”

The cat unfolded the story of his former adventures on Wild Island. The lazy animals on Wild Island enslaved a baby dragon that fell injured from the sky. Once the dragon recovered, the wild animals tied a rope around the dragon only allowing him to fly them over the river and back again. If Elmer could rescue the dragon, he could fly him to freedom and accomplish good for both the dragon and himself.

The adventures to get on the island, outsmart the animals, and reach the dragon made it hard for us to only read a couple of chapters each night . . . I found the ending to be most humorous and satisfying.

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The second book of the trilogy, Elmer and the Dragon begins,

“Elmer, you were wonderful to come all the way to Wild Island just to rescue me. I’ll never be able to thank you enough!”
“Oh, that’s all right,” said Elmer. “Flying on your back makes all my trouble worthwhile.”
“Then I’ll take you on a trip! Where would you like to go?”

Although Elmer wanted to fly everywhere, he knew that he needed to go home, seeing he was a nine-year-old boy that ran away on this adventure ten days ago! On their journey over the sea to home on Nevergreen City, a storm hit and Elmer and the dragon barely made it to land. Their unplanned stop to Feather Island lasted longer than they anticipated. An island inhabited only by canaries, talking canaries of course, led Elmer and the dragon into another full adventure of curing King Can XI, a rather ordinary canary, of his illness. He was “dying of curiosity”, which was a disease passed on for generations. Dig into the book to find out the cure for curiosity for him. One hint, a treasure hunt is involved!

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The third book of the trilogy, The Dragons of Blueland, begins,

Over the harbor, past the lighthouse, away from Nevergreen City flew the happy baby dragon. “I’m on my way home to the great high mountains of Blueland!” he shouted to the evening skies. “At last I’m off to find my six sisters and seven brothers, and my dear gigantic mother and father.”

Boris, the dragon, (as his name is finally revealed) made it home to Blueland just in time to discover his family all trapped by men in a cave. Risking being seen again because of his size, Boris fly back to Elmer for help. In this final journey, Boris and Elmer team up to rescue his family of fifteen dragons. Much suspense and humor enter the story with them trying not to be seen by anyone. Let’s just say their rescue plan worked better than their hide out attempts . . . and the people that read the Nevergreen City News paper were left to decide if they believe dragons still exist or not.

Inviting You To Become FRIENDS with Elmer and Boris:
Correlating Questions & Activities for Classrooms, Story Times, and Family Reads

Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share

F- When do you think Elmer feels scared during this journey? When would you feel scared? When did you feel surprised by the creative things Elmer did to outsmart the animals in order to reach the baby dragon?

R- Share a time when you can relate to Boris when he went to Elmer for help. When did you need to ask someone for help for a job too big to do by yourself?

I- Imagine that you could fly on a dragon for a day. Where would you go? Would you want to take anyone with you or keep the adventure to yourself?

E- Explore the different myths about dragons by learning about their origins.

N- Navigate your way through the islands by using the maps on the cover page while reading the stories.

D- Develop your own illustration from your favorite part of Elmer and Boris’s journey and include a quote from the book on your picture.

S- Share some lollipops and tangerines together while you read the books!

When a story’s character becomes your friend, suddenly you find him entering your life in unexpected ways:

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“Elmer, we’re safe! . . . But don’t get off, because the water is up to my knees.” p.99

*Check out cool, printable activities from the publisher: https://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/pdf/myfathersdragon.pdf

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All Alone, “Sense the Summer is Here”

Kevin Henkes’s first book, All Alone, is a perfect example of the power of few well-chosen words. Each page turn contains less than two sentences and an illustration, yet his picture book resonates with readers of all ages.  For me, growing up as an only child, I relate well with the creativity, imagination and reflection alone time promotes. As an extravert and now mother of three, I relate because I look and plan for alone time to continue these important aspects of life, and then I love to be with my family and friends.

Our children relate too, but may need a little help seeing it. Our nine-year-old asked me when we would stop having room time (as we do most afternoons for a bit in the summer). My answer is we will always need some “room time”. Since the summer is here and we are together so much, we need time all alone to use our senses to explore. That’s when my kids transform their rooms into forts, make crafts out of scrap material and duct tape, and play, read, journal, clean out their turtle bowl, and more. We all need time alone:

Introducing Our Featured Friend: All Alone
By Kevin Henkes

“When I am alone,
I hear and see more.
I hear the trees breathe in the wind. . .

When it’s just me,
I ask myself questions I can’t answer.
I think of favorite things I’ve done. . .

Sometimes I like to live alone,
all by myself,
for just a little while.” 

By giving many examples of what children can explore, imagine, and think about when they are alone, Henkes in essence helps kids embrace alone time rather than fear it. He ends well with the book’s character thinking about his friends and showing that “alone time” is good just for a little while. This books helps the introvert by building confidence that solitude is good for a bit but then it’s time to be with friends, and encourages the extravert to pull away for a while and enjoy some peace.

Inviting You To Become FRIENDS with All Alone:
Independent Activities for Kids for Those “All Alone” Times:

Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share

Feel- Journal: How do you feel when you are alone for a short time?

RelateCreate: Let’s relate to the book’s character by thinking about the favorite things you’ve done so far this summer. You can draw pictures, make Lego structures, list, write a story, or build with play-doh five of your favorite things.

Imagine- QuestionImagine all the possible questions you can think of that you cannot answer! Now dream up some fascinating answers. Before you know it, you’ll have story ideas!

Explore- Design: Give your children random materials (toilet paper rolls, worn out or stained clothes for material, scissors, tape, pipe cleaners, paper clips, lids, boxes, and random pieces of stuff) and let them explore what they can make out of these items!

NavigateNature Walk: Navigate your way around a trail and use your senses to enjoy the walk fully: see, hear, smell, taste, touch.

Develop- Date: Develop a list of “date ideas” to do when you get to be all alone with a grandparent, parent or mentor. For date ideas and another great picture book, check out https://kidsbookfriends.com/2014/04/29/april-showers/

Share- Socialize: Share special times with friends enjoying simple summer pleasures together: swimming, star-gazing, bike riding, eating ice cream, laughing  . . .

Matthew 14: 13 & 22-23

*Please share in the comment section what you kids like to do during their “All Alone” time!

Here are some of our favorite “Alone Time” creations:
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Victoria’s creations from scrap material and old clothes.

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Christian’s crafts- pop up soccer cards

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Andrew’s ambitious spirit (and a reminder I need to keep a close eye on him or else his eyes will be IN the ice cream)!

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Father’s Day Trio, Read Aloud to Dad!

Allowed to Read Aloud:

Whether you have a toddler, a special K kid (Kindergartener), an eight-year-old or any age in between, here are three fantastic read-alouds for Father’s Day. This Sunday, make dad a cup of coffee and help your kids read aloud one of these books to him. They may even think of creative gifts to go along with the book. Better yet, they can do some of the activities shared in the story . . . together with Dad!

Toddler Time:

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Gift Ideas: Dad’s favorite ice cream, DIY kite, Duck food to feed ducks together

Spot Loves His Daddy By Eric Hill “Spot is happy. He and his daddy are spending the whole day together.” Isn’t that the essence of Father’s Day? Playing soccer, flying a kite, feeding ducks, eating ice cream, reading a bedtime story  all become magical for one reason . . . They are all done with Dad.

 

Special K Time:

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Gift Ideas: Yard tools, Song for Dad on instrument

My Father is Taller than a Tree By Josepth Bruchac, Illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin “Pop doesn’t need to buy me stuff. Just being with him is enough.” Halperin illustrates Dads and sons from all different cultures doing very simple, fun activities—just father and son. Written in couplets, this rhyming picture book encourages dads to keep investing into the next generation. “When I grow up and have a kid, we’ll do all the things that Dad and I did.”

 

 

 Daddy Date at Eight:

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Gift Ideas: Car wash, Car ride, Card, (water fight?!)

The Night Before Father’s Day By Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Amy Wummer While Dad is out biking, the family gets busy to prepare for Father’s Day. They organize the garage, wash his car, fill up the oil tank, make a card, and fall fast asleep from all their work. The next morning when dad tastes the yummy breakfast they made just for him and sees all their hard work and gifts just for him, he is amazed. The “World’s Greatest Dad” and family ride off in their newly washed car for a Sunday afternoon drive . . .on “the best Father’s Day”.

 

Former Father’s Day Posts:

A Perfect Father’s Day
Written by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Susan Meddaugh
https://kidsbookfriends.com/2014/06/13/a-perfect-fathers-day-dads-day-out/

My Daddy
Written by Julia Hubery, Illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
https://kidsbookfriends.com/2014/06/11/my-daddy-a-fathers-day-delight/

*Article Originally written for The Senior Voice, http://www.theseniorvoice.com

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Free lesson plans including correlating questions, crafts, & activities to great kids’ books:
Blog: http://www.kidsbookfriends.com
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3 Summer Stories, “A Mouse’s Eye View of Summer”

T’was the first week of summer and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except a mouse! He was ready for summer; He was ready to play. Off on adventures, follow him this way:

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Now It Is Summer by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma

A young mouse wants to know, “Will it be autumn soon?” His mother replies, “Yes, it will be autumn soon enough, but now it is summer.” Each time mouse asks about something special in autumn, Mama Mouse points out all the wonders of the summer to enjoy while they have them: grass cuttings, peaches, ice pops, flip-flops, picnics with cousins, an ocean swim, beach balls, cold lemonade, fireflies . . . She helps mouse capture the current joys of the moments, now.

 

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Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson, Illustrated by Buket Erdogan

Mouse and Minka explore a sunny summer day together and discover many colorful sites: red watermelon, black ants, green grass, blue sky, orange sky, yellow lemonade, white bread, brown peanut butter and purple jelly. After they eat their PB & J sandwich together, they enjoy the fireflies and fireworks . . . all in a super summer day together.

 

 

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There’s a mouse about the house! by Richard Fowler

A hungry mouse (in the front cover plastic pocket) comes out at night looking for food. Each page contains a slit that he fits through, leading him to another room on the next page. He begins in the kitchen but almost bumps into the cat. After frightening the parrot, and Mr. and Mrs. B, he returns to the kitchen for the cheese he eyed earlier. But he gets a scare of his own when he opens the cheese container!
Kids love pulling the little mouse through each page of the story. http://www.usborne.com

 

Inviting You To Become FRIENDS with These Three Mice  This Summer:
A Little Lesson Plan for School, Home, or Story Time

Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share

F- How do you feel when summer comes? What is  your favorite season and why?

R- Can you relate to the mice exploring all the wonders of summer? What do you like the most about summer? What do you like the least about summer?

I- Imagine that you get to plan a summer day of your dreams. What would you do from sun up until sun down? Where would you go? What would you eat? Who would you want to go on this adventure with you?

E- Explore mouse crafts:
http://www.toddlerthings.com/2013/05/mice-toddler-crafts-activities-and.html

N- Navigate through a mouse maze:
http://www.exploringnature.org/db/detail.php?dbID=16&detID=644

D- Develop your own summer story with crayons by writing or drawing with each color what you like about summer. For example, with the color blue, write or draw ocean…

S- Share a picnic with friends and enjoy some watermelon, lemonade, and other yummy treats mentioned in these books. Just make sure you cover your food or a mouse may sneak a bite!

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There’s a mouse about the house http://www.usborne.com

Have a wonderful summer!

*If you need an Usborne consultant, check out Catherine Perdomo: www.enjoyreadingbooks.com

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Free lesson plans including correlating questions, crafts, & activities to great kids’ books:
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