Poetry Friday: The Swimming Pool

Heidi gave the Inklings a tough challenge this month. She suggested that we use the “The Lost Lagoon” by Mohawk poet, Emily Pauline Johnson (d. 1913) “to build your own poem FOR CHILDREN about a treasured place that you return to again and again (geographical or metaphorical).”

The first thing I did was copy the poem into my notebook and “unpack” the poem the way we used to do weekly in my classroom. As you can see, there’s a LOT going on in this poem!

What wasn’t hard was picking my topic — the swimming pool. What WAS hard was writing a poem “FOR CHILDREN.”

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted Heidi’s challenge:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche

Carol has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink, and the roundup will be HERE next week!

Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Writing About Important Places in Our Lives

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

Place is such an important idea in our reading and writing. For our elementary writers, learning various ways to capture all that you love about a place can support writing across units of study. This week’s Text Set will explore books that capture a specific place. These books can be studied as writers to discover new things to try as writers.

I always love starting any mini-cycle of study with wordless or nearly wordless picture books. Sidewalk Flowers and Wait! are similar in that they each follow a young child noticing the little things in a city/neighborhood. The idea of noticing those things that are worth noticing in a place, as writers is a good way to start this cycle.

The language in If Dominican Were a Color is amazing and the rhyming text works well. The thing I love best about this book is the way the author uses colors to describe so many things in the place she loves. The illustrations are amazing and there is so much to learn as a writer and as an artist in this one.

One way to share the joy of a place is to tell stories of the place. I love the book Marshfield Dreams as part of this study because Ralph Fletcher includes so many stories that give readers a sense of the place he grew up. I also love the map at the beginning of the book–this serves as a great mentor for writers –creating a map of a place is often a great way to think about ways to write about it.

Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge and My Two Border Towns are two new books about US/Mexico border towns that capture these cities in very different ways. Comparing two ways that two authors captured the joy and stories in different ways will invite great conversations about writing.

Saying goodbye to a place you love is always difficult. Both of these books capture the love of place and the feeling of loss in beautiful ways. Everything Naomi Loved make for an easier mini lesson because of its length, but Turtle of Oman is an incredible quiet read aloud for upper elementary students and almost any page can be studied as a writer. Pairing the two would be powerful.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Poetry Friday: Garden-Fever

Gratitudes to John Masefield for my mentor text for this poem, Sea-Fever.

Irene has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Live Your Poem. Please note a change in the roundups next month — I will be taking the November 5 roundup to help out Tabatha. Also, a team of PF Peeps are going to be organizing the Winter Poem Swap, so stay tuned for more information about that!

Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Writing Mentors: How Do Different Writers Approach Similar Topics?

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

This week’s Text Set focuses on writing mentors. Often for writers, it is helpful to see the various ways different writers approach similar topics. Studying the possibilities is important in all genres and formats of writing. This week, we’ll focus mostly on narrative texts that would work well in a narrative unit of study.

(You’ll notice a few sets of these books were shared last spring with a reading focus. I am a big believer in using anchor mentor texts across the year for a variety of reasons. So even though some sets are the same or similar, the focus of this set is study as a writer, especially as part of a narrative unit of study.)

Family Get-Togethers

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is a classic text used in many writing workshops in the study of narrative. To deepen the study, comparing different ways writers write about a family reunion–the word choice, the focus, the imagery, etc. can be done using this classic along with Family Reunion and Going Down Home with Daddy. Each of these has a very different writing style and young writers can learn a great deal from comparing these.

A Trip

Writing about a trip is something young writers like to do, especially within a narrative unit of study. Fatima’s Great Outdoors and The Camping Trip each focus on a camping trip and the experiences of that one trip. Writers can study the format and also the focus that each story has within the topic of a camping trip.

Learning Something New

Learning a new skill takes patience and practice and each of these characters’ stories shows that. The Electric Slide and Kai, The Most Magnificent Thing, Jabari Tries and Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao show the messiness of the learning process! Learning something new is a great topic for narratives and there are so many ways to approach the topic. This set shows writers the variety of things learned as well as a variety of ways to approach the topic as a writer.

Someone We Love

Writing about someone we love to spend time with or someone we miss is a common topic in narrative writing. When Lola Visits, Saturdays are for Stella, and I Dream of Popo explore the relationships as well as coping with missing a loved one in different ways.

The Current Pandemic

The current pandemic something on many children’s minds and these three books (Outside, Inside, And the People Stayed Home, and Keeping the City Going take that current issue and open conversations for children. These books can also be used as mentors because even though each is about the pandemic, the focus and the writer’s purpose of each is very different.

This week’s books were linked at Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous children’s bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!