Thursday, September 26, 2013

From the poem booth where it first appeared... to the world..."The Voices of My Teachers" by our own Lulu Rasor is in the current issue of KidSpirit. Check it out HERE!

More locally, the fifth/sixth grade writing club, a monthly group for anyone who likes to write, went to the school garden to harvest some words. Together, we crafted this tribute to the change in seasons:

Summer leaves us coated in fragile pine needles
the yellow sun beams on the green grass
the grass is growing yellow,
Birds fly toward the sun
The thermometer leaves the seventies
and won’t come back there for a while….

Autumn arrives in leaves prancing and dancing
around the gnarled roots of the maple tree
Dandelions wither and withdraw their flowers in sad farewell
Leaves fall off the vine

As one season becomes another
with the death of sunflowers and the birth of pumpkins
leaves twist and turn, falling from a rainbow of trees
Summer becomes autumn
in a burst of color all around us
The humidity goes south, the frost arrives

Are you ready?

We decided to translate into a visual (thanks Wordle!).

Monday, September 23, 2013


It's late September and we are at the very exposition of our journey, no, actually, the action is rising. Welcome to the wild ride of the writer's life....for an imaginative illustration depicting the territory ahead, click HERE). This illustration is just the sort of thing I might choose to share with a group, during our NQQ - Notes, Quotes, and Questions. What students bring to the table sets the tone for our groups, and opens the door to some engaging tangential pursuits. We are oh so fortunate, in 104, that our inquiry can lead us where it will!

That said, each group is on an official investigation. Fifth graders are investigating metaphor in all its venues: poetry to politics. The ultimate challenge will be to post a metaphor haiku to this venerable haiku site. Along the way, we may discuss the meaning of zero, whether there is such a thing as crypto-botany, and much more. Sixth Graders are delving into the meaning of language. What happens to lost words? Why are new ones invented? Is Hamlet in translation (to "modern day English") still Hamlet? How can the human brain tell parts of speech, even using nonsense language, such as Jabberwocky? Along the way, we will play with concepts such as these little known punctuation marks. Use a snarkmark today! Who doesn't love an interrobang...

Seventh Graders are investigating the elements of fiction. Our first story is Amy Tan's Rules of the Game, so full of aphorisms. What's up with all that wind imagery? Is this a story about a mother and daughter, or about chess? We'll ask all this and more. Some of us may even decide to learn the rules of the game....Eighth graders are beginning a year-long investigation of justice and the power of belief. Our first common book is Godless, the National Book Award Winner by Pete Hautman. What happens when a teen prank goes awry?
As always, students are encouraged to share their personal writing -  whether it is fiction, poetry, or prose. We have so many resources in this writer-rich state, including Portland's amazing Telling Room. Please visit my teacher page for more ideas about how/where to publish writing.
Finally, Mrs. Kellogg and I will be at the regional Gifted & Talented Conference, hosted by MEGAT. It will feature many workshops and speakers that will appeal to parents/guardians, as well as teachers of the gifted. Maybe you will join us? Mrs. Kellogg presents it well on her "Off and Running" post of the Think Tank Chronicles. Take a look!

Those are all my annotations for now. Please stay tuned for information regarding our annual Open House, and much more. Better yet, subscribe to this blog!