Monthly Archives: April 2013

Goodbye Poetry Month

It is time to say goodbye to poetry month for this year. But that doesn’t mean that you might not see a poem or two pop up.  But for now, I leave you with this one.

Poetry Poem

You don’t just get to write a poem once

You gotta write it over and over and over

until it feels real good to you

And sometimes it does

and sometimes it doesn’t

That’s what’s really great

and really stupid

about poetry.

–by Jacqueline Woodson from Locomotion


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Poetry Month is Almost Done

I am sorry I was rather absent last week. I was on my school’s spring break and I was taking a break from all forms of electronic communication for a few days. But I am here now and I realized I didn’t put up a poem for last week. So I am making up for it now.


Why, who makes much of a miracle?

As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets fo Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roods of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;

These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,

The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of surface of the earth is spread with the same,

Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,

The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships with men in them,

What stranger miracles are there?

–by Walt Whitman from Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman

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Connecting books to….everything

Ever read a book and you thought, hey such and such a character reminds of this person from that other book?  Or if you read a history book and you thought, wow I would love to read more about this man.  Or how about, wow I know exactly the place they are talking about I always wanted to go there.  Well imagine being able to create links to all of the small, large or medium details of the books you love together.  How about being able to connect a group of character types to each other? Why not create links to areas you read about in books that you always wanted to go to. Well now you can.  With Small Demons a website which allows you to connect your interests to the small details in books that you might obsess over.  This site allows you create a personal list of reading materials that can connect based on subject, person, genre, even character.

How does this work for the classroom though?  Language arts teachers can use this for genre studies, can use this for character studies connect similar types together.  Science teachers can use this too, if you are working on a lesson for the environment you can connect books where the environment is destroyed by natural disasters, connect nonfiction books to the subjects as well. This site is not mention for only fiction of course.  Connect movies, TV, and personalities as well.  This is a great way to use books to tell the story of your lesson.


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Filed under Digital Story Telling, Technology

just a small one today

may my heart always be open to little

birds who are the secrets of living

whatever they sing is better than to know

and if men should not hear them men are old


may my mind stroll about hungry

and fearless and thirsty and supple

and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong

for whenever men are right they are not young


and may myself do nothing usefully

and love yourself so more than truly

there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail

pulling all the sky over him with one smile

— e.e. cummings

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Reading can be Fun! No seriously it can. How to motivate readers

As a librarian I am always trying to find ways to motivate my students to read more. Be holding a physical book or going online I am trying to get those impressionable minds reading.  I have created bulletin boards, web-based video book talks, I have stormed the classrooms to promote the latest and greatest novels.  I have tried my hardest with some success.  So if you have a reluctant reader, here are few ideas that I have used and fellow educators have used to help promote that reading can be fun.

1) Travel the World :  Use a map (personal one or even a large one in the classroom), a log sheet, or fake passport to represent the locations found in the books the students read.  The student can color in the different countries, or states; if using a large map for the classroom use push pins; write down the details in a travel log; or use blank stickers to decorate in order to represent a passport stamp, that relates to a location associated with the book.  This is can be where the author from, the setting for the book, where the story began, or if it is nonfiction (hello common core) the location that is being discussed.  This is really fun to do with the 39 Clues Series since they travel all over the world. 

2) Scavenger Hunt : Using one book, divide the class into groups with each member having a copy. Select particular objects  that can be easily found and have them search through the book to find them.  Prize can be awarded to the winning team.

3) Cover Artist : Without showing the cover or title of the book to the students read the book aloud. Explain to them that many people judge a book by the cover, and that they might miss out on an exciting read.  After reading the book, have the students create their own cover and title. Display finished covers next to the original one.

4) Read-a-Thon : We have created a read for 100 minutes program in my school for the 100 days of school, where no matter what class the students are in, they must read for 100 minutes.  It’s a fun way to break up a day and to have the entire school quite even if only for a short while.

5) Pen Pals : Have the students read two different books (you can have them choose different genres to make it more interesting if you like). Have them write letters back and forth between the two main characters explaining their story.  You can even do this with pairs of students, with each on representing a different main character. You can have them create letters, emails or text messages. 


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An Oldie but a Goodie

Because I love this one so much. Happy Poetry Month!

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,

      In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

     By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

     Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

      In this kingdom by the sea:

But we loved with a love that was more than love—

      I and my Annabel Lee;

With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

     Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

     In this kingdom by the sea.

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

     My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her high-born kinsmen came

     And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in  a sepulchre

      In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

      Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

       In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

      Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was a stronger by far than the love

       Of those who were older than we—

        Of many far wiser than we—-

And neither the angels in heaven above,

        Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee,

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

      Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling —- my darling — my life and my bride,

       In the sepulchre there by the sea,

       In her tomb by the sounding sea.

–by Edgar Allen Poe

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Extra Extra! Read All About It!

We as educators are looking for ways to integrate more nonfiction reading into core subjects. Our trickiest part though, is making sure that the selections also entertain.  That is where the site is the perfect introduction to nonfiction reading.  It is a news site that is written with kids in mind, since some of the articles are by kids.  The DOGO sites were developed to empower kids to engage with digital media in a safe manner that is also fun.  It is also provides up-to-date topics of study with reports and newspaper style writing.   DOGO itself means young or small in Swahili, but this is site is anything but small.  With the focus on current events, some articles are written not by adults but by the kids themselves who will be reading and using the articles for school.

Created in 2009, as a safe place for grade school level students to find current event articles.  As the word spread the thousands of teachers and students are using the DOGO media sites both in and outside of the classroom.             

There are three major DOGO media sites, DOGOnews, DOGObooks, DOGOmovies. Each of these sites is focuses on creating engaging content for students to actively participate in.  This a great site to educators of all areas who are looking to promote nonfiction reading.


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Filed under News Sites, Nonfiction reading