Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Poetry Friday!

When I first heard about Poetry Friday several years ago, I literally bounced with excitement.  The idea of devoting one day a week to a little bit of poetry was such an intriguing possibility that I found myself immediately wanting to find a way to incorporate it into my classroom.  Three years ago, my initial attempt—a poetry-related mini-lesson every Friday—took me through a wonderful year, a wonderful year that actually inspired me to go further.

Nowadays, the idea of devoting just one day per week to poetry actually seems so little, as we now do it 
practically every day.  Inspired greatly by Nancie Atwell, two years ago, I started beginning every language arts class with a poem.  Gathering in a circle near the front of the room, we sit together as a class, and begin our workshop time by reading and then talking about a piece of poetry.  I love that time, and as months go on, I love the kinds of poets my students become.  For two years running, poetry has actually become the most common genre they select to write when they work on free-choice pieces!

With the move of this blog, I'm hoping I can more regularly participate in what inspired my venture into poetry in the first place — Poetry Friday here online.  The roundup this week is hosted over at Check It Out and this week I'm jumping back in with one of my favorites to share at the beginning of each year, when we start up readers workshop.

It's The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens:

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Moving Forwards...

I've tried this whole blog thing before.  About three years ago, I began the blogging adventure over at ProTeacher.  My first attempt was: "Thoughts of a sixth year teacher in sixth grade," (Maybe a great title for one year, but not really appropriate for multiple years of blogging!)  So, after one year passed, the name had to quickly morph into something else:  "Writer's Workshop Woes and Woes" was born.  Much was written about writer's workshop, but as reader's workshop is an important part of our language arts day too, that blog title never seemed completely appropriate either.  Time passed, interest decreased, and soon I realized the blog was covered in a thick layer of neglectful dust.

Now I'm not guaranteeing this blog won't suffer the same fate, but I'm giving the whole blog thing one more try. (After all, don't they say, the third time is the charm?)  As the title suggests, I'm not limiting the content this time around either.  This blog will be a place to reflect, cry, celebrate, shout, rant, jump for joy, brainstorm, share ideas and maybe (if I'm lucky) get some feedback, and generally, simply write about the things that occur as my sixth graders and I explore the wonders (and occasionally the woes) of readers and writers workshop each and every day.