Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems

April 12, 2018

Observing nature quiets a soul and calms our fast-paced lives. Children need time to process their learning, time to explore and think.

Old Elm Speaks, by Kristine O’Connell George, invites you to interact with the world around you. Trees have personalities and beckon us to tell a story. Can you hear the stories the stories they can write? Climbing. Tree houses. Mushroom hunting. On her website, Kristine O’Connell George shares some writing and science activities that go along with this book. Other poetry ideas are on her website as well.  Celebrate Poetry Month by including these poems that will connect with children’s hearts. Take a nature walk around the school and notice nature. What tree speaks to you?

Trees.

Ordinary yet unique.

Inaudible yet whispering.

Life.

by MHGensch

Savorings for Old Elm Speaks Tree Poems:

  • Personification
  • Everyday life – gathering stories/ poetry from around us
  • Figurative Language – “a tiny velveteen satchel
  • Description – using comparisons, figurative language, rich language
  • Science Link
  • Class book idea – create a photo book of trees with the students’ poems, memories

 

 

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Big Bug/ Super Bugs/ Some Bugs

March 10, 2018

27431983Children often have a favorite topic to write about. They return to the topic and use the same genre in sharing their information. For example, if a child loves his dog, he often will write a story, a narrative. This writing practice is a great start.

One way to broaden children’s understanding of genres is to present books on the same topic with different formats. You can compare and contrast different books on the same topic. Dinosaurs. Trucks. Bears. Show them how this information can be shared out through a narrative, informational text, poetic nonfiction, poetry, all about, etc.

Three books I found recently lend themselves to this kind of study.

Savorings for Big Bug:

  • Opposites – big versus little
  • Perspetive
  • Comparison of size
  • Circular/ Bookends – begins with a bug that looks small on a big leaf  but is a small leaf to a big tree, and continues (begins with the topic of bugs but is only one part of the book versus the other books are all about bugs)

Savorings for Super Bugs:

  • Rhyming
  • Setting – each two page spread illustrates a scene (you could write about each scene)
  • Teamwork
  • Repeating Lines
  • Heroes
  • Author’s Note – writes about what fascinates her

Savorings for Some Bugs:

  • Illustrations are a fascinating collage
  • Repeating structure
  • Vivid Verbs
  • Personifies the bugs – communicating, playing
  • Last 2 pages is a culmination of all the illustrated pages
  • Invites the reader to action – explore their ordinary backyard

Savorings for National Geographic Everything Insects:

  • Nonfiction text features
  • Photographs in natural setting
  • Scientific explanations
  • Link to further research

Heat Wave

June 30, 2014

It’s hot.

In Indiana, the heat index is fairly normal in the 80’s. The humidity has been above 50%, tolerable but definitely moist when pulling weeds this morning. But these temperatures are nothing in comparison to a day in Lumberville.

In Heat Wave by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, the towns people are doing everything possible to keep cool. I connected Patricia Polacco’s books with this book when the people sleep outside. No air conditioning available during this time period. (I am so thankful for ours right now.) Children will understand this book. It’s an everyday happening – activities you do in the summer when it is hot.

Sun sizzled. Hair frizzled. It was a sweltering day in Lumberville….”

Set in a day of the week text structure, Eileen focuses on each individual activity – cooking in the basement, hair cut, splashing in the wash tub. Finally, the people sleep outside near the river, on the fire escape, or on the roof. Each had the same dream – rain.

This book reminds me of Come on Rain by Karen Hesse.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Heat Wave:

  • Transitions
  • Snapshot – one moment in time
  • Proper names with title clauses – Mike Morello, the mailman,
  • Varied sentences

Eileen and her husband, Jerry, share about their writing lives in this 5:30 minute YouTube video.

 

 

 

 


Crickets

August 20, 2013

Crickets sang from the country greens around the golf course. Eighty degree sunshine filled the air, brightening the emerald grass, as I watched my Elizabeth play golf.
Birds signaled a call to a friend, who replied a congenial song. Today’s sweetness awakened my dendrites.
In the stillness only the country bacon bring, the cricket’s song caught my attention. Most August days I might have considered the continuous song ordinary.
Today I noticed.
The music had new meaning.
I have been listening to the audio book, A Cricket in Times Square. A story of friendship, loyalty, and hope has been inspiring. Crickets do annoy me and mice do not please me. Nevertheless, the craft of personification has brought me closer to the insect, summoning admiration for its song.

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SOLSC: Flip Flops

March 13, 2012

My flip-flops were calling my name this morning. I could hear them, “MH, we are the shoe for you today. Our color matches your top perfectly and our cushion is fabulous. You really should wear us today.”

It’s March 13 and it’s 68 degrees here in Indiana, which feels absolutely delicious!

I noticed my coworkers have been wearing flip-flops, and my daughter has been begging to wear hers. I guess flip-flops kind of symbolize spring and warm weather. They add a new step to the day.

So I caved in and wore them. It was delightful!

(And it had nothing to do with the fact that my knee-high tights were still in the laundry from last night. You know the ones that I wear with my shoes all the time. Naaa, convenience of wearing the flip-flops wouldn’t have ever entered my mind. :p)


SOLSC: Sunrise

March 12, 2012

Driving down the road,

I couldn’t help notice

the beauty spread before me.

The sky was brushed with pinks,

bubble gum, magenta swirled together.

White clouds pillowed above with

a silhouette of trees awakening in the light.

The beauty of the morning refreshed my soul,

lifted my spirits, and reminded me to notice.


Secret Place

June 20, 2011

Secret Place

Among the concrete buildings, a young boy finds a small island of wildlife. As the river runs through the concrete embankments, a small marsh hides around a telephone pole. Ted Rand paints the beauty within the noisy city.  The boy and a few nature lovers observe with admiration. How did such wildlife of ducks and birds come to be? A flashback of the wilderness history is painted in their thoughts in the book, Secret Place

Eve Bunting uses her storytelling  gift to warm every nature-lover’s heart. The “secret place” allows for a spotlight of hope, life and peach within the bustle of the busy city. The book will open the reader’s eyes to the nature that surrounds him/her.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Secret Place:

  • Setting Lead
  • Repeating Line – “in the heart of the city where I live
  • Compare/Contrast – noise of the city versus the noise of the secret place
  • Figurative Language – similes, personification
  • Sensory Description