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Nurturing Independent Reading Lives in Middle School

Independent-choice reading is the lifeline of our literacy classroom. We are firm believers, like the educators we admire and learn from, that when given the right books, time to read,...

Poetry Resources for Remote Learning

I have always loved poetry. I’m not sure if the love began when my grandparents gave me my first poetry book, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, or if it was...

Poetry and Pastiche

Infusing poetry throughout the school year rather than restricting it to just one unit is one of our goals. There are many benefits to having more poetry in classrooms. One...

The Curious Incident of Poem in the Stream of Time

—this daydream of meddling with writing.    Michel De Montaigne In the nighttime a poem crawls out of a bog, hides trembling behind a tangle of myths, circles the sunrise painting...

Things That Can Fly Away—A Tribute to Mary Oliver

Things that can fly away in memory of Mary Oliver Take the word butterfly— drinks from every urn in a continuing thirst for grace. Take the word blackbird— flies in...

Poetry Connections

Every day at the start of class my coteacher would remind him to take down his hood. He ducked his head inside the hood-cave even farther before reluctantly pulling it...

Past Midnight

                                    —remembering Eva         she rides a river of words  like a floater in a rip tide.  Rogue waves strain for space  outside the breaking zone.  ...

The Power of Similes

Write a good simile for me. Go ahead; I’ll wait. Not so easy, right? You can come up with a bad simile in a minute or two or rattle off...

The Third (or More) Time Is the Charm

Remember the Where’s Waldo? books you used to look at as a kid? Do you think you’d be able to find Waldo—let alone take in all the other details—if you...

Pick a Poem

“Hey, look at the next page! It’s about a tiger!” Robert, whom many referred to as all boy or by some initialism that gets tossed around to explain student listlessness,...

A Poem About Lost Friendship: Conferring with Estelle

Estelle shares a poem she has written about lost friendship with her teacher, Katherine Sokolowski. She captures the fickle nature of fifth-grade relationships among girls. Katherine connects the cadence of...

Message from the Moon

Message from the Moon   In my solitary work I am dark, a wounded myth of stories, ghosts and dreams.   You brush the hard places luminous like a campfire—...

Spoken Word Poetry

For once, the security light that never goes off in the corner of my classroom was useful. Beneath this makeshift spotlight stood a stool from my kitchen counter and my...

Object Poetry Lesson in Second Grade

Linda Karamatic explores poetry with her second graders. She displays poems students have written and teaches them about fresh language using a poem about a pencil sharpener.      ...

Dabbling: Reviving a Focus on Play

It was April, and we were beginning our final unit of study in writing workshop—narrative nonfiction. Coincidentally, my own National Poetry Month poem-a-day project was narrative nonfiction—poems inspired by the...

News from the Interior

Every instant is at once a giver and a plunderer.                                                                  Gaston Bachelard  Now that the mockingbird  claps winter from its wings,   plunges, light-blind  into the baptismal font of the...

“Old Age Sticks”: Choral Reading and Reflection

Christy Rush-Levine leads her eighth graders in a choral reading and analysis of the E. E. Cummings poem "Old Age Sticks." This is the second video in a two-part series....

Easing into Writing Poetry

The poet's job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in...

Beyond the Acrostic Poem

My announcing that we're going to study poetry to a class of fourth-grade students is usually met with groans and looks of fear. In the beginning of the year, I...

Poetry Read-Alouds During Transitions

There they sat. Spines showing and alphabetized by author: never moved, read, or enjoyed. I would gather some for Poetry Friday, only to realphabetize and let them sit until the...

Life in a Single Breath

the sky shivers in the pond, clouds pass through watery leaves— autumn darkens great silent owl sweeps over the field, moonlight splinters late september woodsmoke and leafpiles— the last of...