Posted in Family, health, Mental Health, parenting, reading, Uncategorized

We’ll Try Tomorrow- Poetry Publication

Hi gang, I just had a poem published on mybipolarmind.com. It’s great blog for those struggling with bipolar, anxiety, depression, or other mental disorders. I had an article published awhile back “Canceling Playdates” on there, and I just love the work they do for awareness and helping those who need it.

 

We’ll Try Tomorrow Read my new poem here.

BH- we will try tomorrow

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Posted in Education, Library, literature, Opinion, Poetry, reading, teaching, Uncategorized

Thunderstorm poetry, the best of

I’ve said it before, I’m not a huge poetry fan, but there are some that really stick to me and I just keep rereading over and over. I did a post about “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowing Evening” awhile back and I think nature poems can just move you in a way that a story can’t. I saw this post and wanted to share it.

 

The best poems about storms Weather is a perennial theme of poetry, and not just nice weather: more violent and extreme weather, such as storms, thunder, and lightning, has produced some classic poems, as this list of the best storm poems aims to highlight. Sir Thomas Wyatt, ‘Innocentia Veritas Viat Fides Circumdederunt me inimici mei’. […]

via 10 of the Best Poems about Thunderstorms — Interesting Literature

Posted in Library, literature, Mental Health, Poetry, Uncategorized

Miles to go before I sleep…

The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and the cold seems to bring out the worst in some people. Use this time to reflect on yourself and your family to see how everyone is really feeling. In the midst of January, and “January Blues” season, I wanted to share some insight on one of my favorite poems.
Image result for january blues
As you may have seen with the circulating Facebook post about people having “a warm bed and tea ready”, this is the time of year when those who are really suffering from depression tend to have the most struggles.
Why is the winter so hard?
There are a lot of reasons it’s believed that “January Blues” seems to happen. It’s not just January mind you, it’s winter in general. There’s a mix of cold weather, staying indoors more, less sun, calmness from the holiday commotion that some people do not do well with, and of course the need to cleanse yourself from the plethora of calories from the holidays.
I always think of a famous poem by Robert Frost this time of year.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Whose woods these are I think I know.Image result for snowy woods
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Some critique the poem as a suicide note. The claim is that the narrator is trying to persuade himself to keep on living even though it would much easier to stay in the depressed state that he is in. Others look at it as more uplifting. Even though the narrator is contemplating the darkness of the woods he is choosing to continue on. I prefer that latter.
Still others would say it’s a completely over-analyzed poem and it’s just about a guy riding his horse and enjoying nature. I could get on board with that too, I suppose.
Robert Frost wrote this poem prior to winning four Pulitzer Prizes. The man obviously knew what he was doing with words. The sounds and rhythm of his poetry are top notch, even if you aren’t a fan of the possible messages and imagery.
Why is this important right now? Why should I care about a poem written almost 100 years ago?
Well, I think all literature is important and I think it can be used as a great bonding and teaching resource. If you have an older teen or tween who you may suspect is suffering from depression, have them read this poem. Talk about it. I’m sure they are going to be forced to read it sometime in school, but have them do it on their own time. Tell them how you feel about it.
If nothing else maybe this poem could inspire you and your family to log off for awhile. It’s so easy, especially with the cold winds blowing, to stay inside, plugged in, and tuned out. The woods can be a great place for reflection and discovering what you are really feeling. Not to get all spiritual about it or anything, but the woods are one of the best places to just…be.
Image result for snowy woods
Posted in Education, Library, literature, parenting

Runny Babbit: a cilly sassroom

I have to say I think that sometimes, due to my own faults, I get so caught up with trying to come up new and exciting activities and programs that I totally dismiss the classics. I have always been a HUGE Shel Silverstein fan but until coming to work at a school library I didn’t think he was still popular. The students love his work and A Light in the Attic is still one of my most checked out books (and Falling Up as well). What’s funny is that on Center Days, when the students have to do an activity at their tables, whoever is at the “Poetry” table always sighs. I already kind of touched on this before so moving on…

Today was the end of our grading period and, with other projects going on, I wasn’t prepared fully for our centers this week. So I grabbed Mary McLean and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for my first graders. Great, they liked it okay. But for my third graders I gave them the option (with spring coming and the weather finally turning nice) to read that or Runny Babbit. Of course there was an overwhelming amount who wanted the latter.

Not only were they good in class (and quiet for the most part) they all wanted to try and read the tongue twisters. I had to cut them off eventually because they needed time to look for books. Again this should have seemed like such an obvious class day to me but it didn’t! I guess I just wanted to add this post for those newer teachers like myself who are trying to reinvent the wheel, maybe you don’t always have to. Maybe somethings are classic for good reason and you just need to think back on what YOU liked when in school.

Here are some other activities I found after actually looking that include Shel Silverstein’s work as part of the lesson:

<p>Teach Shel </p>

This website is strictly for Shel Silverstein’s work and lessons to go with it. There’s two I am now planning on using in the future.

The Giving Tree Lesson Plans and Creative Writing Worksheets and Ideas

The Giving Tree alone provides so many opportunities for activities with students. I did use this book for an assignment with the older students where they had to do literary analysis on children’s books. This link above is another option for that particular book.

photo

This is a really neat activity done with third graders about visualizing what they are being read.

Posted in Education, Library, literature, Poetry

‘Her Kind’, Their Kind

I am still struggling with coming up with meaningful lessons for my older students to do next year. This year really got away from me and I know with the centers I have planned I am pretty much already booked. I have started to revisit some of my old favorites in hopes that I would be inspired by them.

In these “centers” I mentioned, there is one for poetry which most students automatically sigh and want to vomit as soon as they see that’s where their name tag is. I, (even as a writer and lover of all things literature) was the same way. School kind of made me hate poetry. If I had to analyze “The Red Wheelbarrow” one more time I was going to put myself in one and roll off of a cliff. I don’t want to do that. I want the students to explore poetry that they will actually like. It wasn’t until I was out of school that I even started to read poetry for fun again and I did end up enjoying some of the poems I grew to hate from having to scrutinize them.

I just reread one of my favorites and I have decided that the students need to just be offered a large variety of poems to read and let me know what they take from it, not what I think, or what the scholars think they should. We obviously will look at imagery and the meanings behind some things they may not understand but all in all I want to know what the poem says to them.

‘Her kind’ by Anne Sexton.

The Three Witches from Shakespeares Macbeth by Daniel Gardner, 1775. © National Portrait Gallery, London Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne – the most famous political hostesses and society beauties of their day – are shown gathered around the witches’ cauldron alongside their friend, the sculptor Anne Seymour Damer. Date 1775  Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire a...

Posted in Education, Library, literature

Analyzing “The Raven”

At the beginning of the year we (8th grade and I) tried to analyze “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. Naturally, when you analyze anything with 8th graders, and most grades I would say, they want to know “did the author mean to do that?” When going into the mood, the theme, the motifs throughout the poem (and “The Raven” is riddled with them) I was asked this time and time again. For some poems I want to say, “no I don’t think the author was really thinking about that when they wrote it.” For “The Raven,” I don’t know. I am torn because I do believe Poe to be one of the most talented writers ever to be in print and yet there is a piece of me that is like “ehh maybe that was an accident?” I found this blog post that kind of reitterates the argument that I wanted to share.

Guest Blog: ‘The Raven’ – Nevermore.