Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Poetry Celebration Winners!

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Poet-Tree by CassidyInspired by National Poetry Month, Brave Writer student Cassidy (a winner in last month’s Poetry Contest!) created a “Poet-Tree” filled with her poems

Brave Writer so enjoyed sponsoring and co-hosting the Children’s Poetry Celebration and Contest! A big THANK YOU to all who participated!

Here are the winning poems in each age category:

4-6 Year Olds

A Love For Horses by Alyssa

Horse
Graceful, Herbivore
Galloping, Nuzzling, Cantering
I Love All Horses.
Foal

7-9 Year Olds

Flower Sonnet by Cassidy

My oh, my a daisy
standing in this black haze.
Someone must be crazy
To plant this plant unfazed.

My oh, my a lily
Standing in the wild.
Someone is knocked silly,
Someone is a child.

My oh, my a blue star
Standing in this tarred yard.
Someone is real bizarre
And thinks he is a bard

Now you’ve heard these curses
Bring in the plant nurses.

10-12 Year Olds

Words by Rachel

Every night, when there is not a single sound
Words from books come alive, move around
Quietly, so there is no catastrophe
They come out and show their personality

“Lively” bounces right off the page
Dancing, while having a big smile on its face
“Shy” simply finds a corner and hides
Afraid to be seen by human eyes

“Curious” inspects everything everywhere
Hoping for something exciting to share
“Arrogant” sniffs and demands praise
But the only one who notices is “Amazed”

“Bored” sighs again and again
Waiting for something that interests him
“Anxious” races around the room
Shouting that everyone is doomed

That’s only a few, but I wanted you to know
About what happens when your eyes are closed WINNER
So the next time you can’t seem to find any sleep
Go to your bookshelf…what do you see?

Thanks to Preschool Powol Packets for organizing the event! Hop over to their site to see more fabulous entries!

For Email Marketing you can trust

The Value of Poetry

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

RecitingPoetry_TammyWahl

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Value of Poetry

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

William Carlos Williams

As we celebrate National Poetry Month, I just finished teaching Brave Writer’s annual “Playing with Poetry Workshop.” And once again, I recognized the intrinsic value of reading, teaching, and learning to write poetry to and with our kids.

So why should we study poetry in our homeschools?

Poetry teaches us the beauty and potential of the English language. The innovative use of language—of diction (word choice), metaphor and simile, other figures of speech, punctuation and capitalization—encourages our fledgling writers to take a chance with language. Our kids (and we parents alongside them) learn to play with words and language: transforming a noun into a verb, altering the “correct” use punctuation to create a fresh result, comparing two extremely different objects that seem to have no connection whatsoever, using alliteration (repeating initial consonant sounds in a line/sentence) for emphasis, employing a certain rhythm and cadence to our writing, and experimenting with new ways to entice readers through language.

Take a look at this apparently simplistic poem by e.e. cummings, one of the most innovative poets of the 20th century:

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,

and milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:

and may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

This poem, which seems to be intended for children, has a lovely rhythm, containing rhyme in only the first and last couplets (a two-line stanza or “paragraph” in poetry), alliteration (the repeating “m-” sound at the beginning of words in the first line), simile (a “stone/as small as a world and as large as alone”), metaphor (“a stranded star/whose rays five languid fingers were”), personification (“a shell that sang/ so sweetly”), and a theme (message): “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/ it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

In the wonderful book Painless Poetry by Mary Elizabeth, she sets forth some excellent ideas for learning to enjoy poetry:

1. LOOK AT THE POEM
Notice the overall way the poem fills (or doesn’t fill) the page. It doesn’t look like the usual prose paragraphs we read in textbooks or novels, does it? Lines of poetry don’t cover the entire page. Also, look for breaks between groups of lines. Poems are often written in collections of lines that are called STANZAS—kind of like paragraphs of poetry. Stanzas consist of short, long, or different lengths of lines, most of which have at least several words. Each poem looks different, depending on the number and length of lines and stanzas; each poem is a unique creation, and being aware of each poem’s appearance is important in appreciating it.

2. EVERY WORD COUNTS
The precise meaning of a poem depends on the precise meaning of the words in the poem. The more familiar readers of poems are with words in a poem, the easier understanding and analyzing poetry can be. We need to keep our eyes and ears open and resist skipping words or phrases that we don’t understand in a poem; instead, we should always research unfamiliar words in dictionaries or online. If we don’t thoroughly understand each word and phrase in a poem, we may miss an important clue to the overall tone (mood/emotion) or meaning of a poem. Poetry is all about the details!

3. READ POEMS ALOUD – ALWAYS!
Poems are meant to be read aloud even if we are studying poetry by ourselves. Poetry is more than just the meaning of words: sound is central to understanding poetry. Listen for repeated sounds, words, and phrases (circle or underline them)—repetition is always a key to the poem’s meaning or tone. Also consider how the sound of the poem adds to the meaning or tone of the poem. Take note of rhyming words and other sound effects that may emphasize certain words and/or phrases. Again, sound effects often provide clues to the meaning and tone of poems.

4. THE WHOLE ENCHILADA!
The relationship between sound and meaning may not always be obvious, but possible relationships between sound and meaning may lead us to a deeper understanding of a poem. Consider images or memories that may be triggered by a poem and decide if they are important to understanding the poem. Always read a poem at least three times, if not more. We need to give ourselves the chance to pay attention to all of the elements of a poem each time we read it, and remember to read it ALOUD—always! Jot down any ideas about meaning or tone, any questions, anything at all in the margins of the poem. If you happen to be squeamish about writings in books, then make a copy of the page the poem is on and write on that copy.

Copywork is very important in understanding poetry, and it’s not only for our younger students. Even now as an adult, I still copy poems that grab my attention into my journal or commonplace book. Somehow, the poems become so much clearer to me as I linger over what flows from the nib of my pen: word by word, phrase by phrase, line by line, stanza by stanza. Writing poems out by hand slows us down, allowing us to think more deeply about an image or a metaphor; in addition, writing a poem in our own cursive penmanship helps us to make poem more ours—it gives us a feeling of kinship and/or ownership of the copied poem. It’s also lovely to have a journal full of the poems that speak specifically to each of us.

Composing different forms of poetry also reinforces our study of poets and their work. In the Playing with Poetry Workshop, we teach the basics of poetry analysis and structure and how to read and truly enjoy poetry. Then we experiment with composing free verse including autobiographical and “I Am From…” free verse poems; visual poetry including shape poems, concrete poems, and acrostics; cinquain and diamante poems; the Japanese poetry forms of haiku and tanka; conventional poetry, including couplets, tercets (and terza rima), quatrains, and limericks; and finally alternative poetry which encompassed fragmented poems, “After…” poems, kennings, and then various types of “found” poems including black-out poems, highlighted poems, and book spine poems, among others.

Some of the families from the Playing with Poetry Workshop reinforce the value of studying and writing poetry:

Jeena writes,
“We see poetry everywhere now and you have opened our eyes to many poetic forms. Poetry is now a topic I feel comfortable discussing, I used to shy away from it. Josh has widened his writing range. Most of all I want to thank you for a writing class that didn’t seem like a writing class. Josh, my usually reluctant writer, wrote fast and enthusiastically and never once complained. That really is a miracle for us! He felt encouraged, understood and positively challenged.”

Linda shares,
“When I began this class I thought about poetry as something classical that I should have read or known about already but didn’t, as something silly and childish that rhymed, as something esoteric and mysterious. But now that I’ve taken this class I have fortunately had my eyes opened to new and amazing poetic possibilities. First of all anyone can write poetry, about anything. It just takes a willingness to play with sounds and words and ideas. Learning about free verse has been the most marvelous concept I have come across in a long time. I am so glad we began the course this way. I understand now why children find it so hard to write a poem (i.e., one that rhymes). All the effort goes into finding some unconvincing rhyme while all the lovely naturally spoken phrases and words that come unbidden out of a child’s mouth disappear unused into the ether. I also appreciate the fact that sometimes there isn’t anything to “get” about the poem. I can enjoy it as a delight of words instead of thinking I’ve missed some deeper meaning.

“By working every day with poems and poetry my children definitely had a jump start in their understanding of elements and artistry. We talk the poetry lingo more intelligently now, flipping off phrases like, ‘Oh yes this stanza has an abab rhyming scheme’ and other perspicacious verbalisms. Seriously though, we are noticing things like alliteration, personification, similes, etc., etc., and thinking about persona more readily in poetry we read as well as recognizing it in our own poetry (where it still mostly happens by happy accident). We have had good discussions about appealing to senses other than the overused one of sight. We are beginning to be able to express why we might like this poem but not that one. There is still so much to learn, but at least we are unfolding in the right direction.”

So how can we celebrate National Poetry Month?

The Academy of American Poets hosts all sorts of poetry fun at their site. Here’s their page devoted to National Poetry Month. And they even have a National Poetry Month FAQ, so check it out!

It was through Poets.org that I first started reading the Poem-a-Day e-mails. A free service, recipients receive contemporary poems, usually unpublished and written within the last year on weekdays while weekends are reserved for classic poems in the public domain, a.k.a. “old friends.”

You may sign up for this amazing gift of starting your day with poetry here: Poem-A-Day. And it was recently revealed that the American Academy of Poets “…signed a deal with King Features to syndicate Poem-a-Day. This means that the new, previously unpublished poems we are publishing during the week will be available to editors at a wide range of newspapers, news websites, and magazines…. It’s been a generation since new poems have been available to daily news readers.”

In addition, Poets.org started the annual celebration of Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day in which we are encouraged to tuck a favorite poem (written by us or by a favorite poet) into our pocket and share it with at least one other person during the course of our day. Which day? Thursday, April 24 is the official Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, so prepare!! More information can be obtained on the page Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day.

Also in celebration of National Poetry Month, students may write poems in response to poems written by professional poets: 2014 Poet to Poet Project. Very cool!!

So whether you take a trip to the library and check out some poetry books to peruse together during Poetry Teatimes, or look up some poetry forms and try to write them together as a family (involve dads, too—they can write some awesome poems!), or share a Poem from Your Pocket on April 24, find a way to make poetry part of your week—even part of your day—in your homeschooling life.

“You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.” ~Joseph Joubert

~Susanne Barrett, Brave Writer Senior Instructor (MA Poetry and British Literature)

Photo Credit: Tammy Wahl Photography

First poem!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Hogwarts Poem_NataliePoetry Teatimes can lead to wonderful, unexpected results!

The following features the acrostic poem (when a word is spelled vertically then words or phrases that start with the same letters are added) of Brave Writer student, Natalie, who is a huge Harry Potter fan!

Hi Julie,

Our second tea time evolved into a poetry freewrite! We had watched a short BrainPop Jr. Video on poetry and this format obviously struck a chord with Natalie.

She proudly read it to me:

 

Howls echo from Lupin
Owls are coming
Grawp’s learning English
Waves coming from mermen
Amazing spells working
Ron’s daddy dies
Tests are done
Spells perfect.

Funny, just noticed she ended it with a single period. So glad she isn’t intimidated by writing a poem.

You’ve let me know more than anyone else that I’m doing the right thing. I’ve been reading through years of your blog entries and listening to your podcasts – your journey is filling me with the confidence I needed to keep us on our unknown path. I can’t wait to share more with you!

Cindy

Image (cc)

Would you like your family featured on Tuesday Teatime? Email us your teatime photos with a few lines about your experience (put “Teatime” in the subject line)! If we select your photo to post then you’ll receive a free Arrow or Boomerang of your choice (once per family). Note: all submissions fall under Creative Commons licensing.

For Email Marketing you can trust

2014 Children’s Poetry Celebration & Contest PLUS Cinquain Poems!!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Poetry_CelebrationApril is National Poetry Month! In celebration we’ll be sharing about CINQUAIN POEMS today, but first we want to tell you about the awesome drawing and poetry contest created by Preschool Powol Packets!

During April, co-hosting blogs (like ours!) will post about poetry. Comment on these posts to be entered in a DRAWING for a POETRY PRIZE. An additional entry is available for following host blogs on Facebook (for instance, if you follow Brave Writer, comment here so the entry can be counted).

Kids Poetry Contest!

There’s also a cool Poetry Contest for kids! Children can enter one or two original poems (30 lines or shorter) in one of the following age categories: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12. Entries will be accepted any time during the month of April via a form at Preschool Powol Packets. Poems will be judged on creativity, originality, style, and language. Judging may be subjective and all decisions are final. This year’s contest will be judged by the lovely Becky at This Reading Mama. More info at Preschool Powol Packets.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-paper-lined-pen-large-to-write-image30708817

The following comes from a Playing With Poetry online class
taught by our very own Susanne Barrett.

A Cinquain is a five-lined poem (hence the name!) and is a favorite poetic form for many kids because, as one of our students pointed out, “they are easy and fun to write and they don’t require a whole lot of words!” They also reinforce some basic grammatical parts of speech.

Format for Writing a Cinquain:

Line 1: One word (a noun, the subject of the poem)
Line 2: Two words (adjectives that describe the subject in line 1)
Line 3: Three words (-ing action verbs–participles–that relate to the subject in line 1)
Line 4: Four words (a phrase or sentence that relates feelings about the subject in line 1)
Line 5: One word (a synonym for the subject in line 1 or a word that sums it up)

Alternative Line 5 for older poets: Five words (a phrase or sentence that further relates feelings about the subject in line 1)

Sometimes each line is centered to create a diamond or tree-like shape.

Here’s a Cinquain off the top of my head:

Poetry
Clever, crafty
Writing, composing, describing
Best words, best order
Verse

For older and/or more practiced students, the precise syllables for the cinquain should be observed, following the directions above for relating to the subject of the poem in the first line:

Line 1: two syllables
Line 2: four syllables
Line 3: six syllables
Line 4: eight syllables
Line 5: two syllables (alternative line: ten syllables)

Students may capitalize all the words, none of the words, the first words of each line, or just certain words. And each poem may be capitalized differently, depending on its subject matter, diction (word choice), etc. Just see which way feels the best to you for each poem. Also, slight variations of syllables are okay.

Here’s another Cinquain poem by Dawn Slanker:

Dog
Loyal, Brave
Loving, Playing, Guarding
Best friend of man
Pet

If your kids write a Cinquain poem, they can submit it to the 2014 Children’s Poetry Celebration & Contest.

The Sponsors

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Prize details are at Preschool Powol Packets (Psst! Brave Writer has donated our Arrow Poetry Guide).
~
~
Image of paper and pen © | Dreamstime.com
~

For Email Marketing you can trust

Friday Freewrite: Springtime Poem!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Dogwood blossom in the skyImage by Jinx!

Yesterday was the first day of spring and today is World Poetry Day! Let’s combine the two and write an acrostic poem about the season.

Acrostic poems are fun to do. First, write the word “spring” vertically like this:

S
P
R
I
N
G

Next, brainstorm words/phrases that describe the season then place words/phrases on the lines that begin with the same letters. For inspiration, here are a couple of one word per line acrostic poems, and here are some that use phrases.

Enjoy!

For Email Marketing you can trust

Student Spotlight: Anna

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Purple FlowerImage by William Warby

This lovely poem was sent to us by Brave Writer, Anna:

The Flower’s Dance

by Anna Shields (age 12)

The petals of the flower are its ball gown
moving around as it dances slowly in the wind.
Its purple gown shimmers,
reflecting the suns light.

The clouds start to cry tears of happiness
as they watch the flower dance.
Their tears drop to the ground and the flower stretches up
and bows her head to thank them.

For Email Marketing you can trust

A Fantasy Football Cinquain!

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Football on Tee by Greatdesignplus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Julie,
I wanted to share this cinquain* with you by my 12 yo son who claims to not like writing. I know you like sports so I thought you would enjoy this.

Sara

Fantasy Football
yell, choose
takes up time
win happy, lose mad
managing

*A cinquain is a five-lined poem and can be written various ways (some cinquains use different numbers of syllables for each line). For young writers we recommend:

One word (a noun, the subject of the poem)
Two words (adjectives that describe the subject in line 1)
Three words (-ing action verbs (participles) that relate to the subject in line 1)
Four words (a phrase or sentence that relates feelings about the subject in line 1)
One word (a synonym for the subject in line 1 or a word that sums it up)

Image © Greatdesignplusdotcom | Dreamstime.com

For Email Marketing you can trust

Teacher spotlight: Susanne Barrett

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

The Artist's Wife Knitting

Yesterday we highlighted a student’s fragment poem based on a Daily Writing Tip and the building game, Minecraft. One of our lovely instructors, Susanne Barrett, also wrote a fragment poem. Hers was inspired by e. e. cummings’ unconventional sonnet, “the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls.”

fragments of Cambridge ladies

by Susanne Barrett
after e. e. cummings

not caring,
not them—
as they bandy coy scandal,
fluttering eyelashes and tongues
simultaneously.

their perfectly-furnished souls
so stale and unbeautiful,
padded to stifle spirit.
cornered in futile cornerlessness
the precise hue of the invariably
lavender sky.

while the moon rises
presently writing,
trembling its poignant phrases
with mind wailing,
distinctly un.comfortable.

rattling, dull needles
ever knitting,
pearling,
knitting,
twisting
ever twisting
into the unscented, the shapeless.
ever ripping reputations
into miniscule shreds
ever fragmenting.

while the sky-lavender sky
refuses to blame the candy
for its righteous anger.

The image above is of “The Artist’s Wife Knitting” by William James Glackens

For Email Marketing you can trust

Brave Writer spotlight: Tom

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

MINECRAFT! ZOMBIES!The following fragment poem was inspired by a Daily Writing Tip (see below).

 

Minecraft
by Tom (age 13)

As zombies gather.
Blocky and cubular*.
While I craft.
When I build.
Awaiting me.

 

*Cubular: to have a very cubeish nature; to be cubey.

Also, for the few who may not know what Minecraft is: “Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.” ~from the official website

Image by crdotx

(more…)

Brave Writer spotlight: Hannah

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Hens in the Sunshine by Heidi Malott“Hens in the Sunshine” by Heidi Malott

From Brave Writer mom, Joanna:

Julie,

I thought I would share this with you because “Since Hanna Moved Away” is one of your favorite poems. Using your poetry guide, my 10-year-old daughter Hannah wrote this about her beloved chickens that were lost to predators. We usually try to stay away from the verb “went,” but in this case it was perfect; her most honest choice for the title because it allowed her a little emotional separation in its vagueness.

Enjoy!
Joanna

Since the Chickens Went Away

by Hannah (age 10)

Mommy’s pie smells like bad breath
The piano keys won’t play
My favorite song moans like death
Since the chickens went away

Apples taste like rotten fish
Halloween’s called off today
Santa kept my Christmas wish
Since the chickens went away

The chicken coop’s an old mouse trap
On the dirt dead flowers lay
In my heart there is a gap
Since the chickens went away

For Email Marketing you can trust