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?


Ordinary yet unique.

Inaudible yet whispering.


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



SOLC7: Laundry

March 7, 2016


Five jeans, three leggings, one pair of legs on the move.

Blue favorite shirt, two sweaters, wrap her up in comfort.

Fashion blouse, cute striped T-shirt, somethings new.

Socks – seven pairs, six singles, where are the missing ones?

One suitcase, three bags, hamper full of clean clothes, cosmetics and purse.

Two shopping trips, evening talks, tens days passed fast.

Snacks. Keys. Hugs.

Four flights of stairs, three roommates, Tweets, and 1000 laughs.

Laundry will come home again and so will her stories.

Elizabeth hanging out with her roommate and friend at the men's basketball game. Go Lancers!

Elizabeth hanging out with her roommate and friend at the men’s basketball game. Go Lancers!

SOLSC: Reflections

March 31, 2012

SOLSC has been a wonderful experience of learning with others. My notebook is filled with entry ideas gained from you and noted stories I want to remember. I have encouraged new slicers, formed connections, and strengthened ones I’ve known before.

My belief in myself as a writer has increased! I have taken risks in playing with words and have been pleasantly surprised with people’s comments. Thank you. My writing is developing and revising is becoming more of a delight rather than a challenge. It has been fun commenting, encouraging as I have been encouraged. Reading, commenting, and growing with you has been a joy!

As evidence of my growth, I played with words this morning, relaxing in the moment as I tried to do what was modeled for me. You see, your posts are modeled craft for me to savor, learn, and try. Today, I would like to honor Elsie at Elsie Tries Writing and the way her post yesterday inspired me to try something new.  Elsie “squeezed a poem from a single word“, so I tried it with the word ‘Reflections’ on this last day of the SOLSC. Blessings to you all as you learn, connect, and grow as writers. Slice on!


Core of SOLSC

Reflect on letters seen

Lists of notes,


Fills inner tier!



Slice on!

SOLSC: Spring is Anew

March 30, 2012

Spring is here and the trees,

bushes are flowering.

Colors burst brilliantly

Nature seems to be creating an orchestra

of uplifting music.

Morning greetings mix

bird flutterings.

Sunshine waves down

kissing the air with warmth.

Spring is anew!

***I subscribe to Your Daily Poem to increase my like of poetry. Poets amaze me with the craft of words, the rhythm and snapshots with deep meaning. This week, a beautiful poem by William Wadsworth was shared called Written in March. It captures Spring so delightfully.

SOLC: Niece’s Poem

December 20, 2011


I miss that place

Where I used to be:

My childhood land

With the lavender tree.

I miss that grass,

And those golden fields,

The times we used twigs

For our makeshift shields.

I miss that pond,

With the brand-new deck,

Where we’d use a canoe

To make our trek.

I miss that barn,

With the musty stalls,

Which I never minded,

Never minded at all.

I miss the house

On the big, tall hill

With the dark green shutters

Above the windowsills.

I miss our swings

And the climbing tree

That stained our hands

And feet and knees.

I miss the horses

And their comforting smell

With sparkling eyes that

Held my secrets well.

I miss the path running

Through the woods

Where I skipped and laughed

As lively as I could.

I miss my grandfather

and his good ol’ dogs

and doing chores

and catching frogs.

I miss my grandmother

And her sweet smile

As I sat in her kitchen

And did dishes awhile.

I miss those strays,

The cats we had,

Whose kittens we’d catch

And get scratched real bad.

I miss those days

As we lay in the sun

Soaking up all the rays

And just having our fun.

I miss those cats,

And their colorful fur,

Especially Buttercup,

My favorite, her.

I miss dear Grandma

And her warm hugs

And her talent and her laugh

And her homemade rugs.

I miss ol’ Gramps,

And his mischievous ways

and him talkin’ fast

and us balin’ the hay.

I miss that path

That meandered in the trees

Where the branches creaked

And whispered in the breeze.

I miss the horses,

And the bridle leather

And feeding them oats

In all kinds of weather.

I miss the swing,

All knotted and worn,

And the mulberry tree

Where our clothes were torn.

I miss that hill,

With our little house,

That held just us

And sometimes a mouse.

I miss that barn

With the stalls and hayloft

Where the sparrows gathered

And the hay was soft.

I miss the pond

Where my favorite horse died

And I sat next to the water

And I remember I cried.

I miss the grass

That grew thin and tall

And hid all the bugs

And stole our baseballs.

I miss that place

From my childhood,

But I’ll never forget it.

I don’t think I could.

SOL: Grandma’s Cookies

December 20, 2011

Last week, I met with our writing study group Ruth and I are facilitating. I featured the book, Sugar Cookies Sweet Lessons on Love by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, as a springboard for our writing.

Memories of  Grandma flooded my thoughts shaping into a short poem with immense meaning.

Grandmother’s Cookies

Aroma of belonging

Morsels of happiness

Sweetness of endearment


Author: Marilyn Singer

November 10, 2011

Author Tidbits: a Pleasing Bit of Information

Author Marilyn Singer is someone who I have just met. Well, I haven’t met her personally, but I have just stumbled upon one of her brilliantly authored books, What is Your Dog Doing? (I posted about this book yesterday.)

Teaching children the importance of authors adds to your writer’s workshop community. As I learn to read like a writer, I want to know how the writer crafts her books as well as where she gains her idea. By learning from the authors, I often find springboard ideas for my writing. Kids do to.

When you read a book to your class, many times a child or two will become excited and have a connection. Books, stories, illustrations spark memories and ideas for each of us to write about.

I guess that’s why I fell in love with the book, What is Your Dog Doing? Although the text took Marilyn a while to rhyme and craft perfectly, the idea behind the book is something young children can relate to.

Then, I noticed the grammar of the book – many pages have two-word sentences. This book will be great to use with upper grades when you teach the Smack Down sentence activity by Jeff Anderson. (Diane, I thought of you when I read this book.)

Marilyn is well-known for her poetry. She has a section on her website with Ten Tips to Writing Poetry. Looking through her website, I found a book I do know and didn’t realize Marilyn was the author, Prairie Dogs Kiss and Lobsters Wave.

Other tips on her website are as follows:

Take some time and learn from the author, Marilyn Singer. I’m impressed.


SOL: Comfy Pajamas

November 8, 2011

As I was going about my morning routine, tossing in a load of laundry before hitting the shower, my mind lingered on my soft, comfortable pajamas. I love them! My husband gave them to me last Christmas, a loving gift of relaxation. He knows how crazy our schedule is, juggling family, activities, and personal goals. The pajamas represent more than clothing. They are a symbol of clarity and comfort.

Comfy Pajamas

There’s something magical

about comfy pajamas

like a potion weaved through the cotton,

threads soothing tension away.


Sliding my legs and arms in

one by one

I’m instantly comforted,




Menial tasks are pleasurable wearing

my comfy pajamas

No wonder I change early in the evening,

cozily embraced.


Lounging in my PJs,

clears my thinking,

as I commence

to writing.

SOL: Drum Lessons

November 1, 2011







The drum sticks beat.

Left, right

left, left, right.


right, right


Rhythm bounces on the counter top, on the dashboard, on the floorboards.

Drum lessons.

Tim’s career has taken wings in the form of drumsticks. He carries them everywhere. Each spare moment, he slyly pulls the wooden tools out and taps. Taps. Taps.

He taps dreams and passions into each beat.

Tap. Tap. Tappity-tap.

Punctuation Celebration

October 24, 2011

Punctuation skills are a necessity. the marks create voice and emotion. Punctuation Celebration brings some fun into your teaching. Twelve marks are introduced with a poetic definition and a frolic poem. Examples of the punctuation usage are shared. Each one can be a mentor text for your kids. Jenny Whitehead integrates the punctuation mark throughout her illustrations.

A class book idea: Using Magazines, have your students find examples of the punctuation in advertisements and articles. Create charts or books with the cut-out strips. What a great way for children to learn how punctuation is used.

A brief one minute YouTube video highlights the author and her working area.

Savoring for reading and in writing for Punctuation Celebration:

  • Poetry
  • Personification
  • Creating visuals of the conventions
  • Punctuation usage