Thursday, May 8, 2014

Celebrated National Poetry Month in April at Harding Elementary

Better late than never...

Harding Elementary students celebrated National Poetry Month during the month of April!  Last week we wrapped up our celebration, and I have some amazing memories and experiences to share!  I embarrassingly admit that I have never celebrated National Poetry Month until this school year.  I will also embarrassingly admit that I have never enjoyed poetry, up until this school year, particularly as students and I created, shared, and read aloud poems.  I can't believe I had missed out on so much fun and learning with poetry, until now!  I can't wait until next year!  I already have "rough plans" I want to add next year!  Creating Spine Poems with book spines and writing even more different forms of poetry are just two examples of what I want to add next year!

To get ready to celebrate National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day, Shannon McClintock Miller wrote the following blog posts as helpful and inspiring resources.  You can click hereclick here, and click here to read her inspiring poetry-related blog posts.

My favorite resource from Shannon McClintock Miller is her Poetry Symbaloo.

Check out how we celebrated National Poetry Month in April at Harding Elementary in the IC!

Students used a template I had created to either write an Acrostic Poem on paper or on a Google Doc that I had provided a link to access.

Mrs. Hobart's and Mrs. Kyle's 1st Grade Students

Ms. Zweibohmer's 2nd Grade Students

Mrs. Halverson's and Mrs. DiMarco's 3rd Grade Students

Students used Poetry Symbaloo created by Shannon McClintock Miller to create their own Acrostic Poems.

2nd Grade Students in Ms. Zweibohmer's Class Shared Poems Written By the Students!

 One student even memorized her poem and recited it out loud to her classmates!

Sometime in March, when Shannon McClintock Miller tweeted out a collaborative Google Doc to sign-up to celebrate National Poetry Month for one week, during the week of April 21-25, of course, I was eager to sign up Harding Elementary students to participate!

Harding Elementary students and I enjoyed connecting and making new friends during World Read Aloud Day Week so much that we couldn't wait to connect with other school libraries across the United States to celebrate National Poetry Month!  You can read about our World Read Aloud Week experiences by clicking here and clicking here!

In addition to the activities mentioned and shown earlier in this post, check out how Harding Elementary students connected with friends across the United States during the week of April 21-25!  Teacher-librarians Misti Sikes (Forsyth, Georgia), Miranda Kral (Wellman, Iowa), and Alyssa Calhoun (Central City, Iowa) each connected two different times with me throughout the week, but with different classes!  I enjoyed the simplicity of repeat Skype connections with these three for the week!

On Monday, April 21, 2nd grade students from Mrs. Kvigne's and Mrs. Fox's class connected with the incredibly sweet and fun Teacher-Librarian Misti Sikes and her 2nd grade students from Forsyth, Georiga!  I connected with Misti and her students for World Read Aloud Day, so of course, I was beyond ecstatic that we connected again for this poetry celebration!  Misti's students shared poems they had created.  Then, Misti and a colleague of hers read "Stroke" from Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman!  I enjoyed reading aloud Guess Again by Mac Barnett to all of our students at both sites.


On Tuesday, April 22, Misti Sikes and her 3rd grade students connected with Harding 3rd grade students from Mrs. Halverson's and Mrs. DiMarco's class who enjoyed listening to poems created and read aloud by Mrs. Sikes's students.  Then Mrs. Sikes and I read aloud a couple of poems from Joyful Noise: Poem for Two Voices.

Also, on Tuesday, April 22, Harding Elementary teacher Ms. Zweibohmer's 2nd grade class connected with Teacher-Librarian Alyssa Calhoun and her 3rd grade students, from Central City, Iowa.  Alyssa's students shared color poems created by her students, which my students LOVED and enjoyed listening!  This inspires me to want to write color poems next year!

Thursday, April 24 was a full day of Skype and Google Hangouts to celebrate National Poetry Month!  While I treasure and enjoy each Skype/Google Hangout session this school year, I have to admit that this day was beyond EPIC!  There were some wonderful activities and " an all-star" connection made!

First thing, Thursday morning, 4th grade students from Mr. Feight's class connected with Teacher-Librarian Christy Brennan and her students, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!  Christy and I had never met, until that morning, and we had not even communicated earlier on our plans!  Despite not planning ahead, even though we knew it would involve poetry, this particular Google Hangout session was my absolute FAVORITE and AMAZING!  I have to commend Christy for leading the session by creating a pretty awesome "on-the-spot" activity for our students!

Christy and I started out with a shared read aloud a poem called "Weird in Stuff Lost and Found" from the book Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco!  Christy wasn't sure if I had this book, but I had actually ordered it last spring and had my own copy!  Van Meter CSD teacher-librarian and Christy also did this same lesson during their connection for Poetry Week.

After reading aloud the poem "Weird Stuff in Lost and Found," Christy and I pulled up a shared Google Doc on our own screens so our students could write a shared version poem about a lost and found box.

Our students came up with some creative, fun, gross, etc. items that can be found in a lost and found box.  Check out what our students composed for a poem about a lost and found box in the school!

I LOVED this poetry activity so much that I decided to have students, who weren't able to connect with other classrooms, due to scheduling, do this very same activity!  They listened to me read aloud a few poems from Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices by Betsy Franco.  Then I read aloud "Weird Stuff in Lost and Found," and had students write their own poem of "Weird Stuff in Lost and Found."  Students in grades 3-4, used Google Drive and Google Docs to write their poems, while students in grades K-2 teamed up as a class to provide input while I entered it on a Google Doc on the LCD projector.

Mr. Haselhuhn's 1st Grade Class teamed up to create this Lost and Found Box poem!

On Thursday, April 21, 4th Grade Students from Ms. Ibis and Ms. Beatty's Classroom Skyped with Teacher-Librarian Miranda Kral's students from Wellman, Iowa.  Our students LOVED the spine poems created by Ms. Kral's students!

2nd grade students from Mrs. Kvigne's and Mrs. Fox's class were treated to a second Skype connection for the week!  Earlier in the week, on Monday, these students connected with Mrs. Misti Sikes and her students from Forsyth, Georgia.  On the afternoon of Thursday, April 24, these 2nd grade students students connected with teacher-librarian Ms. Alyssa Calhoun and her students from Central City, Iowa.

Ms. Calhoun's 3rd grade students shared color poems they had written with Mrs. Kvigne's and Mrs. Fox's 2nd grade students!  Then I read aloud Guess Again by Mac Barnett!  Even though my students had already heard me read aloud Guess Again by Mac Barnett, the week before, they were still eager and thrilled when I read it aloud to both them and Ms. Calhoun's class!  I think my students enjoyed listening and watching the reactions of Ms. Calhoun's students to the book, which made it okay to re-read again!

I hope I am not misunderstood or the following is misinterpreted or misconstrued.   I enjoy and love each connection the students and I make with our new friends across the United States, but I have to admit that I was way beyond excited, and even "star-struck," when teacher-librarian Mr. John Schu emailed me to see if we could connect for National Poetry Month week, particularly National Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 24!  In the teacher-librarian and educator world, Mr. John Schu is known on Twitter as @MrSchuReads !  He shares the latest, greatest, hot reads in children's literature!  I give some credit to Mr. Schu for Harding school library's improved book collection!  Three years ago, at an Iowa Association School Library conference, Shannon McClintock Miller talked about John and his work as a teacher-librarian and children's literature advocate.  She highly recommended following him on his blog and on Twitter, so I did and I am continually amazed and entertained by the books he shares and recommends!  He teams up with another person I follow on Twitter, Colby Sharp, a 3rd grade teacher in Michigan.  Both are the "stars" of the Nerdy Book Club.  John has named Mover and Shaker 2011 from Library Journal for the last several years!

Harding Elementary kindergarten teacher Ms. Ciavarelli and her students were the lucky ones to Skype with Mr. Schu and his third grade students!  Mr. Schu's students read their favorite poems they had copied and put in their pockets for National Poem in Your Pocket Day.  A couple of Ms. Ciavarelli's students shared their acrostic poems they had created!

Because I am such a big fan of Mr. Schu and admire his work, and I would do the same thing if I was meeting any other "all-star teacher-librarian," I couldn't resist asking John to appear on Skype so I can take a picture!  I also had to let his students know how lucky they are to have him as a teacher-librarian!  It was quite heart-warming and down-to-earth when Mr. Schu replied (to his students), "That is so kind of her, but students, I am just Mr. Schu, right?!"

As you can see, Harding students celebrated National Poetry Month in a big way!  I can't wait until next year to make it an even better and bigger celebration!