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A teacher educator discusses children's literature and issues related to teaching children and their future teachers.
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1. 2015 National Poetry Month Project - The Lowdown

I'm revving up for the kickoff of National Poetry Month in just a few short days. Here's what I've done in the past.
  • 2014 - Science Poetry Pairings - project pairing poetry and nonfiction picture books
  • 2013 - Poetry A-Z - project covering a range of thematic posts with poetry titles selected by adjectives like xeric, penitent, impish, collaborative, and more. 
  • 2011 - Poetry in the Classroom - project highlighting a poem, a theme, a book, or a poet and suggesting ways to make poetry a regular part of life in the classroom.
  • 2010 and 2009 - Poetry Makers - project containing interviews with poets who write for children (and sometimes adults!).
  • 2008 - Poetry in the Classroom - project highlighting a poem, a theme, a book, or a poet and suggesting ways to make poetry a regular part of life in the classroom.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about my topic for this year and have spent time looking at a range of poetry for kids. After embarking on a year-long writing challenge with my poetry group, coupled with participating in and following the March Madness poetry event, I’ve decided that I want to focus on poetic forms. 

One of the things I love about Poetry 180 is that it provides such a range of topics and forms for classrooms. However, it is focused for high schools. I want to shine a spotlight on forms other than strictly rhyming (though rhyme is perfectly fine) for the elementary and middle school classroom. I love rhyme just as much as the next person, but I worry that much of the poetry parents select for kids and teachers select for classrooms is chosen simply because it rhymes. And I don’t want the merit or “goodness” of poetry judged simply on this trait. Kids need to be exposed to poets old (classic) and new, poems funny and serious, in the glorious range that exists. Poetry for kids can be smart and challenging and I want to highlight this aspect.

In addition to focusing forms, I'll also be sharing the thoughts of selected poets. I can't wait for April to begin! I hope you'll stop by to see what I've thrown together.

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2. Poetry Friday - Rock Me To Sleep

To say I'm exhausted is putting it mildly. Work is overwhelming at the moment, but I know all this will pass and the semester will end far too soon. Before I know it I will be bemoaning the dearth of students on campus.

While I work to catch up, I will dream of sleep. Those dreams and a strong desire to see my mother have brought me to this poem today.

Rock Me to Sleep
by Elizabeth Akers Allen

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—    
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,—    
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,—  
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,—  
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;—  
Rock me to sleep, mother – rock me to sleep!

Read the poem in its entirety.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jone of Check It Out. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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3. Monday Poetry Stretch - Clogyrnach (Welsh Poetic Form)

I'm not quite ready to share my National Poetry Month project quite yet, but I'll admit to examining verse forms and speaking with poets as I prepare. One of the fine poets I spoke with extolled the virtues of "foreign" verse forms. I've been thinking about this ever since, and have started looking at forms completely unfamiliar to me. That's where this week's challenge comes from.

Clogyrnach is a Welsh poetic meter that falls under the poetic form of awdl (odes). Clogyrnach are composed of any number of 6-line stanzas. Each stanza has 32 syllables. The first couplet is 8 syllables with an end rhyme of aa, the second couplet is 5 syllables with an end rhyme of bb, and the final couplet is is 3 syllables with an end rhyme of ba. In some variations the poem is written as a 5-line stanza with the 5th line composed of 6 syllables. 

Here's a visual of a clogyrnach. Each x represents a syllable, while other letters represent rhyme scheme.

8 syllables - x x x x x x x a
8 syllables - x x x x x x x a
5 syllables - x x x x b
5 syllables - x x x x b
3 syllables - x x b
3 syllables - x x a

You can read more about this form and other awdl forms at The Poets Garrett. You can read about other variations of the clogyrnach at The Poets Collective.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a clogyrnach. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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4. Poetry Friday - Two For the Madness

For those of you not following Ed DeCaria's March Madness Poetry, you've missed some terrific poems by a number of Poetry Friday regulars. Today I'm sharing some thoughts on my process and the two poems I wrote before bowing out (rather ungracefully). 

If you don't know the particulars, each participant is given a word that must be used in a poem. In the early rounds, poems must be 8 lines or less. A participant's "seed" number indicates the difficulty of their words. I was a number 12 seed.

Round 1 - incalculable 
Given the "big" words in this one, I like to call it my SAT prep poem. If I'd had my wits about me when I wrote it, I would have dipped into the Princess Bride well and used the word inconceivable instead of unfathomable. I also wanted "life without chocolate," but darn chocolaty goodness had too many syllables! 

Mysteries of the Universe

We ask question upon question, curiosity untamed
Find answers steeped in numbers, though some cannot be named
     Digits of Pi? - Innumerable
     Number of stars? - Incalculable
     Distance to you? - Immeasurable
     Life without love? - Unfathomable
Indeterminate mathematics, from matters most humane


Round 2 - machinations
When I got the word machinations, I immediately thought of fairy tales. I began writing about the evil queen in Snow White. Here are the lines I wrote and then tossed.

Her royal highness sat in jail
facing trumped up allegations
Poisoned apple, girl gone pale
what could be her motivation?

When I couldn't make this work I decided to try writing an ottava rima. Ottava rima is an Italian form that consists of an eight line stanza with the rhyme scheme abababcc. In English these lines are usually written in iambic pentameter. Once I chose a form, I changed my focus to the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel. I wanted to give her a name, but that presented a problem. In some forms of the tale she is called the Gingerbread witch, but in others she is unnamed. In the German opera she's named Rosina. Neither of these names worked with the rhyme and meter of the poem, so I randomly chose Helga.

Before Hansel and Gretel

With skill and care she built a house to eat
deftly made with saccharine temptations
Deep in the woods where people rarely meet
the townsfolk questioned Helga’s motivations
Why build a home far from the county seat?
Unless your heart hides evil machinations
But Helga built a house with kid appeal  
the perfect trap for catching every meal

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.


I'm pretty happy with my efforts given the time constraints and imposed words. Regardless of the outcome, it was fun and I enjoyed the challenge.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Catherine of Reading to the Core. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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5. Monday Poetry Stretch - Double Dactyl

I was going through an old poetry notebook last week and found some notes on double dactyls, along with attempts at the form. I've come across a few words lately that sound like they belong in a double dactyl, so this seems like a good time to have another go at this form.

What is a dactyl you ask? A dactyl is a foot in a line of poetry that contains three syllables, one stressed followed by two unstressed (/ _ _ ).

double dactyl poem consists of two quatrains that follow these guidelines:
1 - double dactyl nonsense phrase (like Higgeldy Piggeldy)
2 - double dactyl of a person's name
3 - double dactyl
4 - one dactyl plus a stressed syllable (/ _ _ / )

5 - double dactyl
6 - double dactyl
7 - double dactyl
8 - one dactyl plus a stressed syllable (/ _ _ / )
Here are some other helpful notes.
  • Somewhere in the second stanza is a double dactyl formed by a single word (usually).
  • The last lines of the quatrains (4 and 8) must rhyme.
  • Like the clerihew, these are generally written about famous people and are meant to be humorous.
Phew! I hope this makes sense to you. Writing it in this way helps me to see what the poem should sound like. Here is an example.
Higgledy-Piggledy
Hans Christian Andersen
Wrote of a mermaid who
Swam up on shore.

There she became somewhat
Less than amphibious;
Drowned in the sea-foam 'mid
Morals galore.
If my notes aren't helpful, you can find a description of double dactyls at Poetry Base and Everything2.com.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a double dactyl (or two) . Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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6. Poetry Friday - A Second Sestina

As part of our year-long poetry writing adventure, the Poetry Seven tackled the sestina during the month of February. It seems that the shortest month gave us the hardest form.

Not completely satisfied with my first sestina, I chose new words from the communal list and went back to work. The words I selected were:
sense/cents, turn, up, wind, break/brake, rays/raise/raze

When I embarked on my first stanza, I had no idea where to start and no topic in mind. This time I knew I wanted to write about the coming of spring and wrote a few phrases that included the end words. After writing the first stanza, I filled in my form and got to writing. I posted the poem and waited for feedback. While still noodling and tweaking, I was heartbroken to find my second stanza had only five lines. I'd missed an end word! Fixing that mistake changed the stanza that followed, and the one after that, and then another. It was like dominoes falling. One little change meant big changes elsewhere. I also had trouble wrapping this one up. Ultimately, I wrote two envois, one that followed the rules and the one that broke them, unsure of which was "right."

After many passes at this poem, I'm putting it to rest for a while. I will revisit one day to revise again. Until then, here goes, rule-breaking ending and all.

Waiting on Spring

We brave Arctic winds.
Our senses
stinging seek warmth, turning
east at sun-up,
but poorly angled rays
can’t break

cold’s hold. The canebrake
still hibernates, wound
tight, not raising
until it senses
temperatures climbing up.
We turn

our minds to the return
of spring, when daffodils break
through and push up,
blossoming skyward.  Wind
blows fragrant, tickling senses.
Land, razed

by snow, blossoms. Spirits raise
as eyes turn
skyward, sensing
a break
in the weather. Tailwinds
carry kites up,

above trees, up
towards golden rays.
Wind
clocks forward, turn
away from this long slumber, break
free from childhood and into adolescence.

Let green fill your senses.
Our world is waking up!
At daybreak
birds raise
a chorus, beautiful melodies turned
and carried on the wind.

It’s senseless to rail against the cold.  Spring will come, raise
life anew.  Up-beat we turn to March.
Break winter’s hold! Bring on the winds of change.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Laura Shovan of Author Amok. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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7. Monday Poetry Stretch - Ottava Rima

I keep going back to form when I need some structure for my writing. It actually helps me when I have constraints to work within. Ottava rima is an Italian form that consists of a stanza of eight lines with the rhyme scheme abababcc. In English, the lines are usually written in iambic pentameter. Ottava rima is generally associated with epic poems (like Don Juan), but can be used for shorter poems.

An example of ottava rima can be found in the poem Sailing to Byzantium. Here are the first two stanzas of the poem.

Sailing to Byzantium
by William Butler Yeats

I
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect. 

II
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I hope you'll join me this week in writing in the form of ottava rima. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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8. Poetry Seven Write Sestinas

Let me just put it out there and say that I think sestinas suck. I really do not like this form. It's too long and unwieldy. It's repetitive, and not in a good way. Beyond slotting the end words into each stanza, you can't do much planning. In each poem I wrote, the words and poem took on a life of their own and I was forced to follow along.

We began this process by suggesting words to work with. I started writing when we had only 6 words to choose from. Those words were: here/hear, sense/cents, cart, turn, up, wind.
I listed the words on the top of a form and wrote the first stanza. Then I listed the end words in the remaining stanzas and envoi, looked them over, and jumped in.

Inspired by Sara's villanelle, I got caught up in something a bit more playful as I wondered who is actually crazy enough to write these things. Apparently, when all is said and done, I am! Here's the very first sestina I've ever written.

Writing the Sestina

Who does these things? I hear
poets can make sense
of this form, turn
words inside out, put the cart
before the horse. I wind
myself up

gearing up
to write. I hear
rhyme and meter in the wind,
devour poetry with every sense.
I cherry pick words, ripened fruit from a peddler’s cart,
watch them tumble down the page, turn

the corner, swirl around, and turn, turn, turn.
Churning in my stomach, they wander up
to my heart, my head. A menu, this a la carte
collection of sounds, an “oh” here,
an “ah” there, makes sense
only when read aloud, my breath on the wind.

I’ll toss this poem to the wind
hoping it will return,
that it has the good sense
to straighten up
and fly right. Say hear!
Cooperate and I’ll give you carte

blanche to carry this thing away in a push-cart,
unbound by rules, wind-
-ing and moving from here
to there as wheels turn
round. Energized I’m looking up.
Do I sense

the end is near? What per-cent
is complete? Can I pack it in? Cart
it away? Not yet. Don’t give up.
Stand firm against the wind.
Don’t hesitate to turn
the page. Put words here and HERE.

This sestina is nonsense in the wind,
a cartful of playful word tumbles and turns.
Listen up! There’s poetry here.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.


Once the group settled on a larger set of words (12!), I decided to try again, not completely happy with my first poem. I'll share that sestina with you next week.

We're missing Sara today, but her book draft was much more important than this month's endeavor. Don't fret ... she will be back! You can read the poems written by the other Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below. 

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Robyn Campbell. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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9. Thematic Book List - Biographies of Early Scientists (through Newton)

In a letter to Robert Hooke in 1676, Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants." Newton, just like the scientists of today, relied on the work of scientists and mathematicians who came before him.

Below you will find a list of books on scientists before and including Newton. I've also thrown in a couple of important mathematicians. Titles are roughly arranged in chronological order.
The Life and Times of Aristotle (2006), written by Jim Whiting - This biography from the Biography from Ancient Civilizations series provides a compelling look at Aristotle and his influence across history in a wide range of subjects. Though Aristotle was a philosopher, he was for many centuries considered the world's greatest scientist. Whiting explores Aristotle's contributions to science, as well as history and politics. Back matter includes a chronology, selected works, timeline in history, chapter notes, glossary, and further reading ideas.

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, written by Kathryn Lansky and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes - This biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and accurately measured the globe's circumference, tells the story of his life from his birth over two thousand years ago in northern Africa (modern Libya) to his work as the chief librarian at the great library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt. 

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia, written by D. Anne Love and illustrated by Pamela Paparone - The daughter of Theon, a mathematician, philosopher, and the last director of the Library at Alexandria, Hypatia was educated in the ways of many young men of her time and was one of the first women to study math, science, and philosophy. This book provides a nice overview of the time and place in which Hypatia lived. The artwork evokes both Egyptian and Greek styles and nicely incorporates images that reflect the subjects Hypatia studied. This is a carefully crafted picture book biography on a woman that little is known of. Despite this, her story is one that will inspire. Included are an author's note and bibliography, as well as some additional notes about mathematics.

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci (2009), written by Joseph D'Agnese and illustrated by John O'Brien - Medieval Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci is introduced in this first person biography. In traveling with this father, Fibonacci learned geometry in Greece, fractions from the Egyptians, and Hindu-Arabic numerals in India. Largely responsible for converting Europe from Roman numerals to Hindu-Arabic numerals, he also realized that many things in nature followed a certain pattern, today known as the Fibonacci sequence.
Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer (2012), written and illustrated by Robert Byrd - In this gorgeously illustrated picture book biography, Byrd provides a wealth of information about da Vinci's life and work. In addition to the traditional narrative, da Vinci's own words, anecdotes, and journal excerpts are found in sidebars and small panel illustrations. Byrd clearly and concisely explains da Vinci's theories in a way all readers can understand.

Leonardo da Vinci: Giants of Science (2008), written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Boris Kulikov - An extensive biography for older students (middle grades and up), this engaging work in the Giants of Science series focuses on the life of da Vinci while exploring his study the natural world, including aerodynamics, anatomy, astronomy, botany, geology, paleontology, and zoology. Special attention is given to da Vinci's notebooks and their meaning.

Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas: 21 Activities (1998), written by Janis Herbert - This biography of da Vinci is interspersed with activities readers can try on their own, including observing nature, painting birds, growing an herb garden, making minestrone soup, building a kite, and more. Includes extensive reproductions of da Vinci's sketches and paintings. Includes a list of related Web sites.

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci (2009), written and illustrated by Gene Barretta - This biography for younger students focuses on the ideas and inventions found in the more than 20,000 pages of da Vinci's notes. Readers learn how many inventions that came centuries after da Vinci's time were actually imagined and described in his notes.
Galileo For Kids: His Life and Ideas: 21 Activities (2005), written by Richard Panchyk - This biography of Galileo is interspersed with activities readers can try on their own, including letter writing, observing the moon, playing with gravity and motion, making a pendulum, painting with light and shadow, and more. Back matter includes glossaries of key terms, people, and places in Italy, helpful web sites, and a list of planetariums and space museums.

Galileo's Telescope (2009), written by Gerry Bailey and Karen Foster and illustrated by Leighton Noyes - Every Saturday morning, Digby Platt and his sister Hannah visit Knicknack Market to check out the interesting and unique “antiques” for sale. In finding a telescope, the children learn about the life of mathematician, physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Back matter includes a glossary.

I, Galileo (2012), written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen - This first person biography opens with Galileo imprisoned and remembering his life from childhood onward, highlighting his education and scientific discoveries. In the Afterword, Christensen explains that it took nearly 400 years for the Catholic Church to admit they were wrong to condemn Galileo. Back matter includes a glossary, chronology, and descriptions of his experiments, inventions, improvements, and astronomic discoveries. 

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, written and illustrated by Peter Sis - In this Caldecott honor book, gorgeous illustrations take center stage in telling the story of Galileo. Sis creates for readers images of the things Galileo saw in his observations of space, including sunspots, planets revolving around Jupiter, valleys and chasms on the moon, and more. Though not a detailed treatment of his life, the text is enhanced by notes and quotes from Galileo's own writings, scrawled throughout the pages.

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian, written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Maria Merian was an artist and scientist who studied plants and animals in their natural habitat and then captured them in her art. This book is based on the true story of how Merian secretly observed the life cycle of summer birds (a medieval name for butterflies) and documented it in her paintings. Focusing on her young life, this book shows readers how curiosity at a young age can lead to a lifelong pursuit. 

Isaac Newton: Giants of Science (2008), written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Boris Kulikov - An extensive biography for older students (middle grades and up), this engaging work in the Giants of Science series focuses on the life of Newton, a boy who was incredibly curious. Though he lived a solitary life, he attended Cambridge, worked for an apothecary, served in Parliament, and so much more. Despite his successes in the fields of math and science, Newton was also "secretive, vindictive, withdrawn, obsessive, and, oh, yes, brilliant." 

Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (2009), written by Kerrie Logan Hollihan - This biography of Newton is interspersed with activities readers can try on their own, including making a waste book, building a water wheel, making ink, creating a 17th century plague mask, tracking the phases of the moon, testing Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, and more. Back matter includes a list of useful books and web sites.  
World History Biographies: Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything (2013), written by Philip Steele - This book in the National Geographic World History Biographies series profiles Newton as more than just a physicist, but also as an acclaimed mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, philosopher, and inventor as well. 


Online Resources

That's it for this list. Coming up next is a list of biographies for scientists from the 18th and 19th centuries.

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10. Monday Poetry Stretch - Scallop

I'm still working through the forms in Spinning Through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214 by Helen Frost. This week I thought we'd try the scallop. Here are the requirements of the form.
  • three 6-line stanzas, with each having a particular rhyme and a particular number of syllables
  • syllable per line: 2, 4, 6, 6, 4, 2
  • rhyme in each stanza: a b c c b a 
This is how each stanza is constructed:
line 1 - 2 syllables, rhyme a
line 2 - 4 syllables, rhyme b
line 3 - 6 syllables, rhyme c
line 4 - 6 syllables, rhyme c
line 5 - 4 syllables, rhyme b
line 6 - 2 syllables, rhyme a

I hope you'll join me this week in writing in the poetic form of scallop. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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11. Poetry Friday - A Miracle for Breakfast

Next week the Poetry Seven will share the sestinas we have been working on. This is a tough, tough form. While writing, I looked for good examples for inspiration. The poem A Miracle for Breakfast by Elizabeth Bishop is probably my favorite. In the video below you can hear it read and reflect along with Michael Joyce, Professor of English at Vassar, on the poem's meaning.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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12. Monday Poetry Stretch - Karanamala

In the book Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry, written and illustrated by Avis Harley, you'll find descriptions and examples of many different poetic forms. This week I want to try writing a poem that uses karanamala. Here's how Avis defines it.

Karanamala: word repetition from one phrase to another, linking the ideas together.

Here is an example.

Katydid

Katy-DID-katy-DID, how did it begin,
your summertime magical musical din?

egg to larva and dream the song
larva to adult and make it strong
adult to wings and shape the art
wings to rubbing and play their part
rubbing to song then fiddle and bow
katy-DID-katy-DID is all that I know ...

Poem ©Avis Harley. All rights reserved.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing karanamala. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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13. Monday Poetry Stretch - Monometer

In the book Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry, written and illustrated by Avis Harley, you'll find descriptions and examples of many different poetic forms. This week I want to try monometer. Here's how Avis defines it.

Monometer: a poem in which each line contains only one stress.

Here is an example.

Mosquito

Too near
my ear
I hear
that hum;
Ms. M.
has come
to dine.
How fine
her whine.

She sings
with wings
then stings!

Poem ©Avis Harley. All rights reserved.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing monometer. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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14. I Heart Cybils Winners

The long awaited day is finally here. Get thee to the Cybils and check out the winners in 13 different categories, including poetry, book app, speculative fiction, and more
Congratulations to all!

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15. Poetry Friday - Birthday Lights

On Monday my son will celebrate his 14th birthday. Please allow me to indulge for a moment and show you how much he's grown, while I have a good cry over how fast these years have flown by.

1st Birthday

4th Birthday

13th Birthday

Monday is also my brother's birthday, but I don't think he'd appreciate me broadcasting his age. Suffice it to say he's my BIG brother. Here's a photo of the two of us on one of his birthday celebrations many moons ago. He's all about the cake while I'm mugging for the camera.

Today I'm sharing early birthday wishes, love, and a silly poem in their honor.

Birthday Lights
by Calef Brown

Light bulbs on a birthday cake.
What a difference that would make!
     Plug it in and make a wish,
     then relax and flip a switch!
No more smoke
      or waxy mess
      to bother any birthday guests.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Cathy at Merely Day By Day. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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16. Thematic Book List - Extreme Weather

There are many types of storms, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards. Caused by extremes in weather, storms can cause severe damage. But extremes are not limited to storms. Weather conditions such as too little or too much precipitation can result in drought or flood. Extremely high temperatures can cause a heat wave. Whatever the condition, extreme weather is something meteorologists work hard to predict so that lives and property can be protected.

Here is a list of books that focuses on storms and other conditions caused by extreme weather conditions.

Nonfiction Picture Books
 
The Big Rivers: The Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Ohio (1997, OP), written and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock - In a text that combines history, geography and science, Hiscock describes the flooding of the upper Mississippi in 1993, while explaining what a river basin is, how it works as part of the water cycle, and how the system of dams and levees failed on this occasion.

The Big Storm (2008), written and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock - This book follows the course of one large weather system as it travels across the United States.  Hiscock carefully chronicles a large springtime storm in 1982 as it moves from rain in the Pacific Northwest, to a blizzard in the Sierras, to tornadoes and hail in the Texas plains, and finally to New York City where it becomes a blizzard. As the storm rolls on, readers learn about weather forecasting, how storms are formed, and how they travel.

Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America (2006), written by Jim Murphy - The great blizzard of 1888 changed the way we respond to storms. Using personal recollections as well as newspapers, photographs, and sketches made by news artists during the storm, Murphy takes readers into the unfolding blizzard and its aftermath. As a result of this storm, legislation was passed in New York to clean up the city, bury wires, build the subway, and more. Back matter includes a six page narrative discussion of notes on sources and related reading material. 

Flood: Wrestling With the Mississippi (1996, OP), written by Patricia Lauber - This National Geographic photo-essay describes the flooding of the Mississippi in 1993 with a focus on more on the underlying causes of the flooding. 

The Great American Dust Bowl (2013), written and illustrated by Don Brown - This graphic novel is a masterpiece of history and science, weaving together sourced facts in an accurate historical narrative. Brown uses words from primary source materials to explain how the heartland of America became a vast barren plain, citing drought, the Depression, the loss of bison, and more. Includes scientific explanations for the dust storms as well as first hand accounts. Back matter includes a selected bibliography and source notes.

National Geographic Readers: Storms (2009), written by Miriam Goin - This Level 1 reader introduces the basics of weather and then goes on to describe a variety of storms, including thunder and lightning, hailstorm, sandstorm, blizzard, monsoon, and others. Back matter includes a glossary.

Rising Waters: A Book About Floods (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea  - This book in the Amazing Science series describes the causes and effects of flooding. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.

Sizzle!: A Book About Heat Waves (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea - This book in the Amazing Science series describes what a heat wave is and how it affects living things in rural and urban areas. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.

Storms (1992), written by Seymour Simon - In stunning pictures and clear and engaging text, Simon provides clear explanations of various storm types, how they form, and how destructive they can be.

Whiteout!: A Book About Blizzards (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea - What happens when snow is falling and wind is blowing? Readers will learn the answer to this question and more as they read about the conditions often found during a blizzard, include including whiteouts, strong winds, snowdrifts, and wind chills.
Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll (1999), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by True Kelley - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series focuses on thunder and lightning. Back matter includes 2 simple experiments and additional resource suggestions for learning more.

Lightning! (2006), written by Seymour Simon - With stunning pictures and clear engaging text, Simon describes how and why lightning occurs, different types of lightning, how scientists study it, how to stay safe during an electrical storm, and more. 

Lightning, Hurricanes,  and Blizzards: The Science of Storms (2010), written by Paul Fleisher - At nearly 50 pages, this book is filled with information about storms. It opens by explaining that "Storms are the most dramatic weather events." Five chapters include: (1) air masses, weather fronts, and mid-altitude cyclones; (2) thunderstorms; (3) tornadoes; (4) hurricanes; and (5) other storms. Back matter includes a glossary, selected bibliography, further reading, and web sites.

Nature's Fireworks: A Book About Lightning (2003), written by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Omarr Wesley - This book in the Amazing Science series describes the different ways lightning is created  and what makes it flash across the sky. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.

Our Wonderful Weather: Thunderstorms (2014), written by Valerie Bodden - Using beautiful photos and clear, concise text, Bodden describes what thunderstorms are, the relationship of thunder and lightning, kinds of thunderstorms, and more. Back matter includes a glossary, titles for learning more, and helpful web sites.

Rumble, Boom!: A Book About Thunderstorms (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea - This book in the Amazing Science series describes how thunderstorms form. Also included is information on phenomena such as thunder, lightning, storm cells, downdrafts, super cells, and more. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.

Before moving on to books about tornadoes and hurricanes, let's take a quick break to watch this terrific little Peep and the Big Wide World video on stormy weather.
Do Tornadoes Really Twist? (2000), written by Melvin and Gilda Berger and illustrated by Higgins Bond - In an engaging question and answer format, this book provides a good introduction to tornadoes and hurricanes. Illustrations, diagrams and maps accompany clearly written and engaging text. 

Our Wonderful Weather: Tornadoes (2014), written by Valerie Bodden - Using beautiful photos and clear, concise text, Bodden describes what tornadoes are, their shapes and sizes, how they are measured, and more. Back matter includes a glossary, titles for learning more, and helpful web sites.

Tornado! The Story Behind these Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms (2011), written by Judy and Dennis Fradin - This National Geographic Kids book includes amazing photographs and a wealth of information on how tornadoes form and are categorized, their destructive power, information on storms of note, and more.

Tornado Alert (1990), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by Giulio Maestro - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes how, where, and when tornadoes happen and what to do during a tornado. 

Tornadoes (2001), written by Seymour Simon - In stunning pictures and clear and engaging text, Simon provides a comprehensive look at tornadoes, including how they form, where they occur, and how they are studied.

Tornadoes! (2012), written by Marcie Aboff and illustrated by Aleksandar Sotirovski - This graphic novel uses text and illustrations to explain how tornadoes form, how they are measured, and how to stay safe during one.

Tornadoes! (2010), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - In this book, Gibbons uses text and images to help readers understand how tornadoes form, how they are classified, where they typically appear, safety procedures during a storm, and much more. 

Twisters: A Book About Tornadoes (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea - This book in the Amazing Science series describes how tornadoes form and provides explanations updrafts, downdrafts, thunderstorms, rotation, and funnel clouds. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.
Eye of the Storm: A Book About Hurricanes (2005), written by Rick Thomas and illustrated by Denise Shea - This book in the Amazing Science series describes how hurricanes form, what tropical storms are, and how storm surges occur. Back matter includes a glossary and helpful print and web resources.

Hurricanes (2007), written by Seymour Simon - With incredible photographs clear and concise text, Simon provides readers with an in-depth look at one of nature's most terrifying storm types: the hurricane. Included is information on how hurricanes develop, how they are studied, and safety measures for those faced with such a storm. 

Hurricanes! (2012), written by Marcie Aboff and illustrated by Aleksandar Sotirovski - This graphic novel uses text and illustrations to explain how hurricanes form, how they are named and measured, and how to stay safe during one.

Hurricanes! (2010), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - In this book, Gibbons presents information about hurricanes in a kid-friendly manner using a combination of engaging water-color illustrations and simple text. Included are facts about the different types of hurricanes, where they occur, how meteorologists predict them, and more.

Our Wonderful Weather: Hurricanes (2014), written by Valerie Bodden - Using beautiful photos and clear, concise text, Bodden describes what tornadoes are, how they are measured, they eye of the storm, and more. Back matter includes a glossary, titles for learning more, and helpful web sites.

The Whirlwind World of Hurricanes with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (2010), written by Katherine Krohn and illustrated by Cynthia Martin and Al Milgrom - This graphic novel follows scientist Max Axiom as he explores the science and history behind hurricanes.

Picture Books
Flood (2013), written and illustrated by Alvaro Villa - This wordless picture book tells the story of the natural destruction that flooding can cause. Readers follow a family as they prepare for a storm, head to higher ground, and return to see the devastation brought by flood waters. Despite their despair at seeing their damaged home, the family rebuilds.

Hurricane! (2008), written and illustrated by Celia Godkin - In a beautifully illustrated book, readers learn how coastal Florida has adapted to seasonal storms. With an eye to the flora and fauna, Godkin shows and tells readers how the opossum, fiddler crab, manatee, and many others (including humans), weather the storm.

The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane (1996), written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen - Miss Frizzle leave on a field to visit a weather station, but of course, a great deal happens before they actually get there. The bus turns into a hot air balloon and rises into the sky. Once Ms. Frizzle hears a hurricane watch is in effect, they head south to the equator where the students watch the birth of a hurricane. Included is a great deal of information on how hurricanes form, their effects, and other tidbits on a range of weather-related topics.

Thunderstorm (2013), written and illustrated by Arthur Geisert - The illustrations for this wordless picture book were created in one 415 inch long panorama that beautifully details the effects of a passing storm and shows how a farm family and various animals weather the storm. The passing storm inflicts real damage, but Geisert wraps things ups by showing the community getting down to the work of repair once the skies clear.

Online Resources
For additional resources, consider these sites.
  • The National Center for Atmospheric Research has a kids site with a series of pages on dangerous weather.
  • National Geographic has a nice page devoted to extreme weather on our planet. You'll also find a terrific set of introductory videos on several extreme weather events here.
  • Surviving the Dust Bowl is a PBS film that tells the story of the farmers who came to the Southern Plains of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas dreaming of prosperity, and lived through ten years of drought, dust, disease and death. 
  • Ready.Gov: Kids provides information to help families prepare for emergencies caused by extreme weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. 
  • Sky Diary KidStorm provides information about tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes, and storm chasing.
  • The KidsAhead site has a page devoted to extreme weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes that includes activities, articles, and more.
  • Owlie Skwarn's Weather Book: Storms Ahead! is a free pdf download created by NOAA, FEMA, and the American Red Cross.
  • Try these book study pages for the Berger book on tornadoes.

That's it for now. This makes 4 separate lists all related to the water cycle and weather. Join me in two weeks for my next thematic list! 

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17. Monday Poetry Stretch - Raccontino

I'm still working through the forms in Spinning Through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214 by Helen Frost. This week I thought we'd try the raccontio. Here are the requirements of the form.
  • composed of couplets (any number)
  • even number lines share the same end rhyme
  • the title and last words of the odd numbered lines tell a story
Here's an example from Poetluck.
Raccontino 

When we create poetry
our hands translate our hearts.

Our passions spill, poem leaps
to the page in mini-parts 

Words start at top, dribbling down
like bullets penetrating ramparts

Muses guide descent to page
poetry one of the succinct arts.

Until a form becomes a poem into
which our insight imparts.

We follow prompting of the heart
until our trajectory departs.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a raccontino. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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18. Poetry Friday - Poetry Seven Write Villanelles

When the Poetry Seven decided to embark on a year of writing a poem a month together, I was hoping we'd start with an "easy" form. Alas, it was not to be. We jumped into writing a villanelle, a French verse form consisting of 19 lines with five three-line stanzas and a final quatrain. In this form the first and third lines of the first stanza repeat in the third line of alternating stanzas. In addition to form, we decided to write on the theme of things dormant or hidden.

It seems fitting that in writing a villanelle I have chosen to write about a French chateau, one that is revealing its hidden history in bits and pieces. You can read about the restoration project that inspired me at Chateau de Gudanes. You can also get updates and see new images on the Chateau's Facebook page.
Chateau de Gudanes

Stone giant asleep on a hilltop plateau
weathered, alone but with secrets to share
once vibrant, now silent, an old French chateau

Throw open the doors, shout “Bonjour or Hello!”
tread lightly through hallways and onto the stair
of this giant asleep on a hilltop plateau

From the balcony survey the grounds dressed with snow
close your eyes, take deep breaths as you plan and prepare
to awaken the silent, once vibrant chateau

Crack plaster, pull timbers, find frescos below
search piles of rubble for treasures to spare
in this giant asleep on a hilltop plateau

Voltaire, Diderot and the likes of Rousseau
were greeted by footman and all who were there
in the once vibrant, now silent, old French chateau

Celebrate her revival with wine and gateau
grand labor of love and of endless repair
stone giant once sleeping upon a plateau
recalled back to life, this resplendent chateau

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.


You can read the poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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19. Poetry Friday - The House on the Hill

I'm wrestling with writing a villanelle or two, so I've been reading some for inspiration. Sometimes I find this helpful, as it gets me thinking about the importance of those first and third lines. Other times I worry it will influence my writing too much.

When I set out to write a villanelle I always begin with the final two lines, largely because I want them to make sense together and the poem to "work." Because this is the way I write a poem in this form, it's also where I start when I read them. (Don't worry though, I'm not one of those "read the last page of the book first" kind of girls. I would never spoil the ending.)

Here are the first two tercets of a villanelle I'm quite fond of.

The House on the Hill
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
      The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
      The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.




I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Tara at A Teaching Life. Happy poetry Friday friends!

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20. Monday Poetry Stretch - Three Letter Word Poems

To villanelle and back, an article in James Fenton's poetry masterclass, looks at a variety of forms and the challenges they pose. I particularly love this excerpt.
John Fuller, in response to a competition challenge, set out to write a poem consisting only of three-letter words. And in order to add to the interest, he decided on a form in which there were three three-letter words per line, and the lines came in groups of three.
What an interesting idea! Here is how the resulting poem begins.
The Kiss
by John Fuller

Who are you
You who may
Die one day

Who saw the
Fat bee and
The owl fly

Read the poem in its entirety (scroll down the page to find it).
This amazing poem has me wondering what kind of poems can be crafted using only three-letter words. That is your challenge. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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21. Thematic Book List - Clouds, Rain, and Snow

My last thematic list focused on water and the water cycle. It did not include books on clouds or any form of precipitation. These things are integral components in the water cycle and are necessary for returning water to the earth's surface.

Here's an annotated list of books that examine clouds and precipitation and the role they play in the water cycle and weather. You'll also find books here that celebrate rain and snow with lush images and sensory descriptions.

Nonfiction Picture Books
The Cloud Book (1984), written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola - This text focuses on different types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and other combinations of these three main types. The cloud types are described and presented with illustrated examples. Also included are myths about clouds and popular sayings inspired by clouds and the weather.

Clouds (2008), written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Frane Lessac - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes clouds, what they are made of, what they are called, and much more. The simple, engaging text in this stage 1 book makes the content accessible to a range of age groups.  

Vapor, Rain, and Snow: The Science of Clouds and Precipitation (2011), written by Paul Fleisher  - At nearly 50 pages, this book is filled with information about clouds and precipitation. It opens by explaining that "Weather is what happens in the air around us. But a lot of weather is really about water." In four chapters Fleisher describes water in the air, clouds, precipitation, and atmospheric phenomena like rainbows, halos, and sun dogs.

  
Down Comes the Rain (1997), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by James Graham Hale - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series follows the rain as it falls, evaporates, condenses, and falls again.

It's Raining! (2014), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores rain with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what rain is, where it comes from, and why it is necessary. Includes maps that show annual rainfall amounts around the world and information on storms.

Raindrops Roll (2015), by April Pulley Sayre - Gorgeous photographs accompany a lyrical text about water in the form of rain. Though the text is economical, it conveys a sense of wonder and beauty. Back matter examines the science of rain and includes facts about clouds, raindrop shapes, and the "abilities" of raindrops (hydrating insects, magnifying objects, and more). with facts about cloud formation, the shapes of raindrops and what they’re capable of—magnifying their surroundings, reflecting light, hydrating insects and more. Also included is a reading list for learning more.

Splish! Splash! A Book About Rain (2003), written by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Jeff Yesh - This book uses fun pictures and simple vocabulary to explain where rain comes from and why rain is important to the earth and to humans. Sherman also delves into what happens when too much rain (flooding) or not enough rain (drought) occurs.

 
It's Snowing! (201), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - A perfect book for young readers, Gibbons explores snow with simple definitions, basic facts, and interesting bits of information. Readers will learn what snow is, how it forms, regions where snow falls, and how to prepare for a snowstorm. Also includes information on the ways in which snow falls to the ground, such as sleet, flurries, and a winter storm.

Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian - This Caldecott Medal winner tells the true story of Wilson Bentley, a farmer who spent the better part of his life studying and photographing snowflakes. Willie's story is told from his childhood through his death. Accompanying the biography are a series of sidebars that contain additional facts about Bentley. The last page of the book contains a photo of Bentley at his camera (the same one at the top of the Wilson Snowflake Bentley home page), a quote about his love for photography, and three of his renowned snowflake images. This is the story of a remarkable man who pushed the limits of science and technology to create groundbreaking images of snowflakes. If the book inspires an interest in further study, you can view a number of his amazing photographs at The Bentley Snow Crystal Collection.

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder (2009), written by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson  - Mark Cassino is a fine art and natural history photographer. Jon Nelson is a teacher and physicist who studies ice crystals and clouds. Together they have given us a stunning volume on the formation of snow. A perfect mixture of art and science, Cassino's photographs are accompanied by clearly written text that explains a very complex process in terms kids will understand. Readers will learn what snow is made from, how it forms, what shapes it takes, and more! Photos of snow crystals are included with a comparison of the enlarged images to a snow crystal of actual size. In the back matter you will find directions on how to catch snow crystals and examine them. For more ideas for extending the text, download a teacher's guide for this title at the Chronicle web site.

Snow is Falling (2000), written by Franklyn Branley and illustrated by Holly Keller - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series describes the benefits and importance of snow, as well as the danger of too much of it. Back matter includes experiments and activities for cold, snowy days.

The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes, written by Kenneth Libbrecht  - The author of this book is a physicist at Caltech known for his passion for snow crystals. In this book aimed at 9-12 year olds, but appropriate for a much broader (and older) audience,  Libbrecht teaches readers what snow crystals and snowflakes are, where they come from, and how these amazing structures are created out of thin air. His own photographs beautifully complement the text.

All snowflakes begin with water vapor in air, but as they begin their journey toward the ground, changes in temperature and humidity determine their exact and unique shape. Libbrecht answers questions that many children (and adults) are apt to ask, such as "Why is snow white when the crystals that comprise snow are clear?" Libbrecht's web site, SnowCyrstals.com, provides a wealth of images and even more information for those readers who finish the book and want to learn more. I recommend starting with the Snowflake Primer and the Snow Crystal FAQs.


Poetry Books
 
One Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Days (2014), compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke - This collection of 20 poems about rain through the seasons opens with a haiku about the season. Four additional poems follow. Gray includes eight haiku, two poems translated from other languages (Norwegian and Spanish), works by well-known poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Eve Merriam, as well as works by poets whose names may not be familiar to readers. The illustrations in muted browns, grays, blacks and greens beautifully capture the mood and subject of the poems. The book opens with an introduction that describes rain through the seasons. Following the introduction is a note about haiku translations. Adapted from a work by poet and translator William J. Higginson, the emphasis is not on counting syllables, but on finding the best rhythm for the haiku in the new language.

Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children (2005), written by Jane Yolen with photographs by Jason Stemple - This collection of 13 beautifully crafted poems, inspired by stunning photographs of snowy woods, skiers, a snowmobile, and much more, will lead readers to see snow the wonder of snow and maybe even view it in a new way. One of my favorite poems in the collection begins "Somebody painted/The trees last night,/ Crept in and colored them/White on white."

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (2001), written by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers - Frost's poem is beautifully imagined in this picture book adaptation.


Picture Books
There are many, many books about snow and rain, and far too many to mention here. Instead, I am sharing my very favorite on each subject.
Listen to the Rain (1988), written Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by James Endicott - This is a lyrically written and gorgeously illustrated book that celebrates the beauty, the mystery, the sounds, and the silences of the rain.

Snow (1998), written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz - Even though the adults believe that it will not snow, a boy and his dog don't give up hope. This is a Caldecott honor book that beautifully portrays the transformation of a city when it snows.


Online Resources
For additional resources, consider these sites.

That's it for this essential part of the water cycle. Since we've hit upon important components of weather, that will be the topic of the next list. See you soon!

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22. Poetry Friday - A January Dandelion

On this cold January day I am sharing a poem from African-American Poetry of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (University of Illinois Press, 1992).

A January Dandelion
by George Marion McClellan

All Nashville is a chill. And everywhere
Like desert sand, when the winds blow,
There is each moment sifted through the air,
A powdered blast of January snow.
O! thoughtless Dandelion, to be misled
By a few warm days to leave thy natural bed,
Was folly growth and blooming over soon.

Read the poem in its entirety.


I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Paul at These 4 Corners. Happy poetry Friday friends!

P.S. - Do visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty to read all the wonderful poems written in this month's challenge, posed by Joyce Sidman. (I have a poem there!)

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23. Monday Poetry Stretch - Quatern

Since I'm hooked on forms these days, I've been looking for something new to try. For this one I turned to Spinning Through the Universe: A Novel in Poems from Room 214 by Helen Frost. Here's how she describes the quatern in the back matter on forms.
You can read more about the quatern and see some examples at Writer's Digest and Shadow Poetry.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a quatern. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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24. Poetry Wins Awards!

This morning I am celebrating the range of diverse books (authors, illustrators, and subjects) and poetry present in the youth media award winners announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Brown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson
Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Book 
Sibert Honor Book


The Crossover, written by Kwame Alexander
John Newbery Medal Winner
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book 


How I Discovered Poetry, written by Marilyn Nelson
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book 


written by Patricia Powell  and illustrated by Christian Robinson 
Sibert Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book 


If you are a fan of poetry and haven't read these, be sure to add them to your TBR list. 

Finally, let me add a plug for the Cybils and mention that Brown Girl Dreaming is also a Cybils poetry finalist!

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25. Thematic Book List - Weather (An Introduction)

Weather describes the condition of the atmosphere at a particular place at a given point in time. Generally weather is described in terms temperature, pressure, wind conditions, moisture, etc. Because the weather is created by a mixture of factors, weather patterns change regularly. In contrast to this, climate refers to the "average" weather conditions for an area over a long period of time.

Here's an annotated list of books that provide an introduction to weather and weather forecasting.

Nonfiction Picture Books 
Can It Rain Cats and Dogs? (1999), written by Melvin and Gilda Berger and illustrated by Robert Sullivan - In an engaging question and answer format, this book provides a nice introduction to a range of weather topics. The book is divided into three subject categories:  (1) sun, air, and wind; (2) rain, snow, and hail; and (3) wild weather.

Feel the Wind (1990), written and illustrated by Arthur Dorres - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series provides fun book simplifies facts about wind so that they are easy to understand. Children will learn about what causes wind, its place in weather, and how we can use it. There are also instructions on how to make your own anemometer.

Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind (2003), written by Josepha Sherman  and illustrated by Omarr Wesley - This book in the Amazing Science series describes many different types of winds, including global winds, trade winds, local winds, and breezes. The text also touches upon extreme wind weather, including hurricanes and tornadoes.

I Face the Wind (2003), written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Julia Gorton - This is a wonderful introduction to what wind is and how it works. It even debunks the popular idea that air weighs nothing. Readers simply need a few materials (a plastic bag, a hanger, balloons, etc.) in order to conduct the series of basic experiments within the book. Between experiments, readers are offered explanations of how wind does what it does and how we experience it. The simplicity of the language combined with the great illustrations and easy-to-do science experiments make this book a wonderful resource for teachers and parents alike.

The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting (2008), written by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad and illustrated by Michael Kline - This book opens with directions on keeping a weather log and does a great job of encouraging kids to make observations and predictions about the weather. Readers will find a wealth of information about weather, as well as directions on how to create simple versions of the most common instruments found in a weather station, including a rain gauge, hygrometer, psychrometer, barometer, and anemometer.  

National Geographic Readers: Weather (2013), written by Kristin Baird Rattini - This level 1 reader describes weather in the simplest of terms. Written in short chapters with economical text, this is a perfect introduction to weather for the youngest students. Back matter includes a picture glossary.

Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? All About Weather (2004), written by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz - This book from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library is written in the style of Dr. Seuss. In it, Cat in the Hat and his friends travel by hot-air balloon and experience different types of weather and learn why we need to know what the weather is going to be. Back matter includes a glossary and list of additional resources. 

Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather (1998), written by Jennifer Arena and illustrated by Heidi Petach - This book in the Penguin Young Readers series looks at strange and unusual weather occurrences, such as pink snow, hail frogs, raining jellyfish, and more.

Ready to Read: Wind (2003), written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Wallace - This Level 1 text uses simple words and short sentence structures to introduce readers to wind and its role in creating weather.

W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet (2006), written by Pat Michaels  and illustrated by Melanie Rose - In two levels of text, one poetic and one informational, readers are lead through an alphabet of weather terms (a is for atmosphere, be is for barometer, c is for cloud, d is for dew, etc.). Written by a professional weatherman and storm tracker, Michaels explains weather phenomena, instruments, and more in clear, easy to understand language. You miss the helpful teaching guide that accompanies the text.

Weather (2006), written by Seymour Simon - In stunning pictures and clear and engaging text, Simon provides a comprehensive look at the weather. Beginning with the sun as the driver of our weather system, the text moves on to examine wind patterns, temperature, clouds, precipitation, smog, and the greenhouse effect.

Weather Forecasting (1993), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - In this book, Gibbons takes children through the four seasons and the weather that is associated with each one. She uses meteorologists at a weather station to explain how seasonal weather is predicted, observed and recorded. Some of the terms may be complicated for children, but Gibbons breaks them down so that they are easier to understand.

Weather: Whipping Up a Storm! (2012), written by Dan Green and designed and created by Basher - This book in the Basher Basics series presents a series of personified characters that describe their roles in creating weather. Chapters include World of Weather, Blue Sky Dreamers, Wet 'n' Wild, and Extreme Weather. Back matter includes a glossary. Learn more by thumbing through this sample.

Weather Words and What They Mean (1992), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. - In text and pictures, Gibbons reviews an extensive list of vocabulary words related to weather including different types of precipitation, weather instruments, temperature and much more. The final page presents a number of interesting facts about weather.

What Will the Weather Be? (2002), written by Lynda Dewitt and illustrated by Carolyn Croll - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explains the basic characteristics of weather and how meteorologists use a variety of tools to gather data for their forecasts. Readers will learn what scientists know about the weather and how they use this information to try and predict it.

Poetry
Make Things Fly: Poems About the Wind (1998, OP), edited by Dorothy M. Kennedy, illustrated by Sasha Meret - This collection of 27 poems devoted to the wind covers topics like the sound of wind, tornadoes, seasonal wind, windy nights, and much more. Includes poems by Russell Hoban, Eve Merriam, Myra Cohn Livingston, Karla Kuskin, and others.

Seed Sower, Hat Thrower: Poems about Weather (2008), written by Laura Purdie Salas - This collection of weather-themed poems was inspired by an amazing collection of photographs. The re are numerous poetic forms and the topics are wide ranging and cover all kinds of weather phenomena. 

Weather: Poems for All Seasons (1995), collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Melanie Hall - This collection of poems in the I Can Read series covers topics like the sun, wind, clouds, rain, fog, and more.

Weather Report (1993, OP), collected by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Annie Gusman - This collection of more than 50 poems is divided into sections covering rain, sun, wind, snow, and fog. Each section begins with a brief folk rhyme, followed by a range of poem types written by a nice mix of classic and contemporary poets. 

Online Resources
For additional resources, consider these sites.
You'll notice that books on storms like hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards are missing from this post. That is the subject for the my next thematic list, so stay tuned!

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