Monday, April 28, 2008

Visiting Poet and other ramblings

Today I got to be the "visiting poet" in the fifth grade class at my school. It was fun! I shared a little bit about myself as a poet, talked a bit about what makes good poetry, showed off a couple of published poems and read some of my recent work. The kids seemed interested and even chuckled at the right parts in my poems. I chose to share some from my collection-in-progress, Worm Spaghetti and Other Poems to Make You Squirm, which is a collection of gross and/or spooky(ish) poems.

It was fun to have kids read my poems aloud and listen to their comments and questions. Several of them even shared some of their own poems that they have been working on in class. I must say, I was impressed!

My daughter Samantha is in fifth grade at that school. She wasn't bold enough to comment or read in front of her friends, but after school she told me, "You were acting so professional. It was weird." Ha! I guess I'll take that as a compliment.

There is so much more that I could talk about!

Last week was crazy busy. We had piano lessons, two track meets, a talent show, a spelling bee, a school concert, and dinner at the in-laws' all before Saturday! So I didn't get much time for anything besides runnin' around. My oldest daughter came in first in several of her races though. And my other daughter came in first in the spelling bee. And the talent show was a hoot! So altogether it was a crazy but fun week. Did I get any writing done?

But the weekend before I did! Corey and I finally got through our revision of Mack Attack. And I managed to send off one of my devotional stories to a Sunday School publication. One of my writing goals for this year is to write more devotional material, so that's a start.

There are 23 1/2 days of school left. I am so ready for summer!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Poetry updates

I have had a lot of fun at work this week. The third grade teachers asked me to come in and teach a poetry lesson. I was all set with a little "lecture" about poetry on Monday morning, with my little clue cards and sample poems. It was time to test that poetry workshop idea that I've had in my head for so long, but have never had the chance to try.

So I did my little talk, read some sample poems, picked the kids' brains a bit, and then we started our own poem as a group (an aside: it was so cool talking and writing on the white board--LOL). We picked a topic (baseball), brainstormed for a couple minutes, and wrote the first stanza (in which there is a high fly ball). Then I gave them an assignment: continue the poem by writing at least one more stanza showing what happens next. I talked a little too long, so we didn't have as much time as I had hoped for the actual poem writing. But it went pretty well. And I wasn't nervous at all!

Tuesday morning I went to a different third grade class, so I had the chance to tweak my "workshop" a bit. The topic this class chose was "summer vacation" and we started writing a list poem about things we love about summer. That topic went over really well, and the list poem format is something that I think most kids can handle well.

We did more poetry today. I went in and helped the kids get started writing a shape poem. Their teacher gave them a general topic--rain, because it was a rainy day today--and they could focus on a cloud, lightning, rain, or wind. This time they had to write all on their own. And of course, they will eventually have to arrange the words so they form the shape of a cloud, raindrop, etc. I can't wait to read them!

I will go to the other third grade class again tomorrow. This time I'll have free reign, so I can do just about whatever I want. I still haven't decided for sure what we will do. Maybe try a free verse poem from the perspective of an animal or inanimate object? That could be interesting.

I've always thought that it would be so much fun to be able to do author visits and/or poetry workshops as a published author. This experience has proved to me how much fun it really can be!

And now one of the fifth grade teachers wants me to come in to read and talk about some of my poems. How cool is that? I'm so excited (and I just can't hide it).

Oh, in case you're wondering which poems I picked for the bulletin board...I brought several in to have the media specialist (aka librarian) choose for me. She picked "Dinosaur at the Door" and "At the Lake." One silly, one about nature.