Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Wonderful World.16

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Snow is falling --
a mid-April joke
not meant to do real harm --
just a jest,
a parody of the pollen
that will soon sneeze up the air.

Bright green grass grins
through the dusting of snow.
Magnolia blooms chuckle
under caps of white.
Daffodils sigh,
sorry to be gone so soon.

Muffler and mittens snicker
at shivering shorts-wearing Springsters.
Forsythia half-heartedly bloomed
only just last week.
Everyone knows her punchline is
one more snow.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Yeah, I know. That poem has exactly nothing to do with the Panama Canal. But it's the poem I wanted to write, and it's the poem I wrote, and there aren't enough hours in the day to write another.

Yesterday I didn't get Carol's poem in two voices for the Itaipu Dam linked in, nor Kevin's flowchart poem for the Delta Works. Be sure you check them out. Both are amazing in their own unique ways.

Carol's poem for the Delta Works is here, and Kevin's Panama Canal poem is here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Wonderful World.15

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.

The Delta Works along the coast of the Netherlands are fascinating works of engineering. 

I have a couple of Fibs for today.

The Netherlands

diked and dammed.
From sea, polders rise:
a Mondrian of tulip fields.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Delta Works

blocked up,
barricaded shut:
the Netherlands holds back the sea.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Wonderful World.14

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Hungry for energy,
we sacrifice wild splendor,
harnessing the river's power,
taming it with concrete and steel,
satisfied with this compromise.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

When the Itaipu Dam was built, the sacrifice was the GuaĆ­ra Falls, the world's largest waterfall by volume. Was it worth it? Depends how you determine worth, I guess...

image from The Misanthrope's Journal

Carol wrote two poems for the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. They are at Carol's Corner.

Kevin has an unusual poem for today. But it's also perfect for the wonder. The Itaipu Dam converts the energy of water into electricity. To understand Kevin's poem, you'll have to translate it. Check it out here. For more poetry fun, check out the Grant Snider's Poetry Posters that Kevin is highlighting.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Wonderful World.13

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


I'm photogenic
posing with waves, fog, sunsets
expensive "steel harp"

©Mary Lee Hahn

Carol has a pair of poems for the Empire State Building at Carol's Corner.

Kevin also has a haiku today for the GGB.

I wanted to write short today so I would have time to share some of my students' writing.

For our Poetry Friday lesson, I shared my poems for the week with my students. (They didn't write with me this week. They were doing micro-research cause/effect paragraphs on slow and fast processes that change the earth.) I announced the theme of "Places" for their Poetry Friday reading or writing of poetry and sent them off to work. As always, they blew me away when we got back to share.

We heard poems from a wide range of poetry books:
Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian (the one about the T-Rex, perhaps at a museum or on site at a dig)
Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School by Laura Purdee Salas (the one about getting lost in a new school -- very appropriate since they visited their middle schools this week and are a delicious mixture of excitement and dread)
Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space by Amy Sklansky (the one about blasting off -- our space expert has read a poem from this book just about EVERY Poetry Friday all year long!)
A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis (I don't remember which poem, but perfect choice of books, eh?)

And we heard these originals (among others a bit too rough for publication just yet):


Here I go
off by myself
just a donkey
without a doubt.
Then I tripped
into a place.
It felt as if
I went 100 feet deep.
Then I realized
it was a tomb.
Three cheers for the donkey!
They thought I didn't have a clue.

by HF


I am at a place where you can get whatever you desire.
You can have something as cool as the wind, or as spicy as fire.
I bet you will admire
the ones we have hired.
So can you guess where I am?

(Subway..."eat fresh")

by CS

If You Use Your Mind

China holds a conga line,
Egypt makes chocolate kisses,
Home is what's yours and mine,
America has famous Miss-es.

Earth holds land, sea, and sky,
but it would be nothing without creation.
Earth holds those who walk, swim and fly,
creatures of all ages.

Jungles are a line of I's,
pines are cones of ice cream,
snow makes lands of sparkly white,
ice cream that stands on tall mountains.

Liberty is a welcomer of copper green,
the sea is a place you long to see.
Palms hold food and water, too,
all these things are on earth for you.

by MC

Here's another MC wrote, inspired by Stonehenge:

Rain was falling on me,
only one place left to go.

I sat against the smooth stone,
shaded slightly from the rain.

The place seemed erie,
I wondered if anyone was there.

I thought I could hear whispers,
it's just my imagination.

I thought I could see figures.
I thought I could feel hands.
I thought I could hear voices.

I thought.
I knew.

I knew there was someone --
it's not my imagination.

I knew I could see figures.
I knew I could feel hands.
I knew I could hear voices.

I knew.
I wondered.

I wondered if it was my imagination --
maybe not.

I wondered who the figures were.
I wondered if they were like me.
I wondered what they were trying to say.

I wondered.
I thought.

by MC

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Wonderful World.12

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


The Empire State Building

A peach kabob1
A home for gods2
At the very tip
Kong loses his grip3

Fourth in height4
Icon of might5
Symmetrically planned
Art deco-ly grand6

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

1 In the book James and the Giant Peach, the peach ends its journey with a great squelch atop the pinnacle of the Empire State Building.

2 In Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, Mount Olympus is the Empire State Building.

3 King Kong tried to escape his captors by climbing the Empire State Building, but it didn't work out the way he planned.

4 In North America...for the time being.

5 The nickname of the state of New York is "The Empire State," a reference to its wealth and resources.

The Empire State Building's art deco style is typical of pre-WWII architecture in New York City.

Carol's "Edgewalk" from yesterday's CN Tower is a must-read at Carol's Corner.

Kevin annotated his poem for today, "Empires Rise and Fall," on Poetry Genius. (He is one, by the way.)

2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem.12

I've peeked in on our poem as it germinated and sprouted, but I tried not to pay too much attention so I'd be ready with an open mind when my turn came. I think you'll be as surprised by my line as I was!

You can check the sidebar to learn which poet from around the Kidlitosphere wrote which line so far. Thank you, Irene (Live Your Poem) for organizing this fun collaboration!

The emotional roller coaster early in the poem seems to have leveled out. Our speaker seems more confident and ready for the journey. The journey of a lifetime, perhaps.

Without further ado, the poem with my line added:

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let's get practical! What's needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I'll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams — 
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene's?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Wonderful World.11

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


Stand Up Straight

Okay, Mom.
I get it now.
All those
were your way
of saying,
"Be proud!"
"Be confident!"
"Be yourself!"

I wish
I had listened.
I'd like to
go back
and tell my
teen self
those very same

And now,
as I watch
you bend
and shrink
with age,
my own
"Stand up straight!"s
take on
new urgency,
as does
my own reminder to
"Listen to your mother"
so I can soak up
every story.
every bit of wisdom
before it's too late.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

What a week. More than once, I've grumbled, "Who thought up this crazy Wonders of the World poem-a-day challenge?" 

Oh, yeah. I did. 

One of the things I've done to keep myself sane (and keep the poems coming) is to not write exactly about the wonder itself. 

For instance, when we visited the Great Wall of China, my poem was about dancing at a wedding reception. For the octagonal Porcelain Tower of Nanjing (aka: The Temple of Gratitude), I wrote The Eight Gratitudes. The Hagia Sophia inspired a haiku, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, A Note From the Architect, and the Channel Tunnel, a light at the end of any tunnel through which you might be toiling.

I am enjoying the company of Carol, at Carol's Corner, and Kevin, at Kevin's Meandering Mind. It would be awfully lonely without them, because between the day job and the daily poem, there isn't much time left over to go visiting all the other Poetry Month projects.

I'll make time tomorrow to make an exception. First I'll add a line to the Progressive Poem, then I'll read around the roundup and get a taste of all the poetic goodies.

Today Carol shares an arun about the Channel Tunnel from yesterday's wonder.
Kevin added humor to his poem for the CN Tower by making a webcomic.

Michelle has the roundup at Today's Little Ditty. Be sure to wish her a happy blog birthday -- her little ditty turned ONE this week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thrive by Meenoo Rami

We are thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Meenoo Rami's new professional book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching . We are early in the blog tour and there are many great stops coming up where you'll learn more and more about the book and Meenoo. So, our post will be the random things we love about Meenoo and the book--the reasons you'll want to pick it up soon!

I first "met" Meenoo on Twitter as #engchat was one of the first Twitter chats I participated in.  It was the one that hooked me on Twitter chats because it taught me just how powerful these conversations could be. And Meenoo INVENTED #engchat.  I remember her telling me when I finally met her in person at NCTE one year, that she created a talk for teachers on Twitter as a way to give back to the community that has given her so much. I realized then what a generous and genuine person Meennoo is. She mentioned that she was thinking of writing a book and I knew that whatever book she would write, I would buy it. I knew that whatever she had to say would be thoughtful and important.

I was lucky to interview Meenoo several weeks ago for a Choice Literacy Podcast. The podcast, "Finding Meaning and Joy in Teaching" can be found at Choice Literacy's website. So much of what she said in the interview continues to live with me.  As I think back on my 27 years of teaching, so much of what she teaches us are the things we don't learn in student teaching, but things that are most important to our lifelong work.  What she writes about are the keys both to being a true professional and to staying true to our students.

There couldn't be a better time for Meenoo to share her voice on the topic of (re)invigorating our teaching lives.  It is easy to be tired about our work these days -- tired from the mandates and the politics and the testing and the criticism.  And Meennoo describes, with honesty, how lonely this work can be if we don't reach out.  Then she reminds us how wonderfully energizing our work can be when we do reach out. I love that this book focuses on the people in our lives.

I love this book because after 27 years, it totally resonated with me.  I think no matter how long you've been teaching--20 days or 20 years, there are ruts in our teaching lives. There are times when staying energized gets hard and times that we feel alone, no matter how many wonderful colleagues we have.  Meenoo talks about those first few years of teaching and how lonely they often were, how isolated she sometimes felt. But she took charge of her teaching and her learning and reached out and found people to learn with.

And I love this book because it reminded me of mentors and I love the way that Meenoo thinks about them. She talks honestly about mentors who were assigned to her and she shares mentors who have been part of her teaching life.  I love that she doesn't talk about one mentor but the idea that we need lots of mentors and each mentors us in a different way.

Meeoo is someone you want to follow. Her book is powerful but so is her blog and her Twitter feed (@meenoorami). She shares thoughtfully and generously and invites us all into the network she has created-- a network of learners who thrive in even the toughest times.

THRIVE Blog Tour Stops!
Be sure to visit all these great blogs who are celebrating Thrive
Hear what they have to say about Thrive 
and read guest posts and interviews from Meenoo herself!
Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts!
Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
Kira Baker Doyle at Kira J Baker-Doyle, Ph.D.
Sarah Mulhern Gross at The Reading Zone
Kate Roberts and Maggie B. Roberts at Indent
Beth Shaum at Use Your Outside Voice
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Troy Hicks at Hickstro
Joy Kirr at Genius Hour
Tara Smith at The Teaching Life
Antero Garcia at The American Crawl
John Spencer at Education Rethink
Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers

Our Wonderful World.10

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


The Song of the Overworked

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
We thought it would never appear.
We toiled and we moiled ‘til we thought we would drop.
When we saw it we gave out a cheer!

Now we know we can make it the whole way.
Our steps have new vigor and zeal.
We’ll skip and we’ll prance and we’ll sprint to the end.
We can outlast this wretched ordeal.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

The Channel Tunnel is a fascinating feat of human engineering. I love that cross-section that shows how deep it goes. 

But my poem for today refused to be about this exact tunnel. First it wanted to be about earthworms and moles. Then I got the phrase "There's a light at the end of the tunnel" stuck inside my head. Maybe because it's been such a long week. Maybe because our state's "blessed event" is within sight at the end of this month. Maybe because I am starting to plan out my professional development and travel plans for the summer. 

No matter what you're working your way through, this poem is for you -- I hope you can see the light at the end of your tunnel.

Kevin has a visual poem today.

Carol's found poems for the Taj Mahal yesterday are at Carol's Corner.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Our Wonderful World.9

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


W is for Wonder

From the far end of the reflecting pool
the Taj Mahal is a W.

Unanswered questions carved in white marble:
What? Where? When? Why? and are you able

to fathom the love the emperor felt
when he had this tribute built?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Kevin's Taj Mahal poem is about the blues singer of the same name.

Carol and Catherine have Leaning Tower of Pisa poems from yesterday at Carol's Corner and Reading to the Core.