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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly Update: Poetry Month


I often struggle to enjoy the month of April, despite its cheery reputation. Sure, it’s springtime; the flowers are blooming, things are getting green again, I can start wearing fewer clothes (which equals less laundry). Being a teacher in April is different, though. It is the loooooong month between the glory of Spring Break and the we’ve-almost-made-it-to-the-end rush of May. And, it is the testing month. Enough said.

However, something great happens in April, and it is something that continues to keep it in the running as one of my favorite months. April is poetry month!

Now, poetry did not always thrill me; I used to hate it. That was when I was lead to believe that you needed some sort of special skill to really understand it, not to mention write it. This is not true, though, which leaves me to my first of several editions of What I Love About Poetry.

Poetry is for EVERYONE

No matter your age or experience, you can find a poem for you. Sometimes it might take a little hunting, but you will know the poem when you find it. You may not even understand it, but it will speak to you. Then, you can spend time reading it, over and over again. Most poems aren’t long, which gives you the benefit of experiencing what each reading brings to the words. Poems are written for our youngest, tiniest people. Feeling silly? Find a baby and play this-little-piggie on her fat little toes. Poetry. Feeling gloomy? Natasha Trethaway brings the beauty to even the saddest of moments. I typically read poetry when I’m feeling a little tired and thoughtful. Here is the first stanza from one of my favorites.

fromFidelity by Tom Clark

Fidelity, after long practice, to
The things that have crossed one’s path in life,
Moves one to find “history” in a morning,
A moonlit night, a transitory patch
Of sun upon grass, the turning of a cat’s
Sleek head over its shoulder to look back
Into one’s eyes, a lifelong lover’s touch,
The memory of the shy sweet sidelong
Smile of a friend one may not see again
In “this life”—these things define home
To one now that one lives largely in one’s mind—
As though there had ever been any other
Place—once born, once having existed—
In which to somehow locate a world

Upcoming professional development opportunities and district meetings…

Energize Your Earth Science Curriculum
Grades 4-5
GT Approved
May 11, June 14, July 12, or August 2
Click HERE for more information

Creating All STAAR Readers and Writers with Barry Lane & Alana Morris
June 17 & 18

TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) provides free webinars. Check out their calendar:

Some stuff I’ve been reading/studying…

Battling the Test-Prep Blues

Making Thinking Visible, by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, & Karin Morrison
I’m not far, but this is a great read so far. It is separated into three parts: Part 1-Some thinking about thinking; Part 2-Using thinking routines to make thinking visible; Part 3-Bringing the power of visible thinking to life. Very interesting!

TED-Education: Creative Problem Solving course in iTunes U
This is on iTunes U, which means it is FREE!!!! The course includes seven videos, the longest of which is 27 minutes. Most of them are under 20 minutes in length.

Some sites/apps worth exploring…

April is National Poetry Month!
Helpful sites for resources:

Common Sense Media's ON for Learning Award is given to the very best in kids' digital media.  You can explore this year’s highest rated for learning potential apps, games, and  websites at this site. There is also a link for a downloadable list.

This site provides helpful resources for helping kids think about their digital footprints, or how what they do online contributes to their identities.

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