Back in March, Irene Latham and Charles Waters visited our school virtually to share their passion for poetry and to create “wordzines” with our students. Before their visit, teachers shared Dictionary for a Better World, Irene and Charles’s amazing collection of “poems, quotes, and anecdotes from A to Z.” We were all inspired by the wisdom and love that fills this book. Our fourth graders were so excited about their wordzines and the poems in Dictionary for a Better World that they decided to create their own book of “poems, quotes, and anecdotes.” And so What the World Needs Now was born. My friend and colleague Bernadette Linero, teacher extraordinaire, found a way to publish the book and all students have a copy to keep and treasure always. Here’s a peek into the creative work of our fourth graders:
Thank you to Irene and Charles for helping our students to think deeply about empathy, kindness, compassion and more. Thank you for inspiring them to create their own art and poetry that will, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “create a better world for all who live in it.”
“Without awe life becomes routine…try to be surprised by something every day” ~ Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi ~
Today is the last day of school. It’s been a long week at the end of a long year. Earlier this week, as I sat on my deck for a breath of cool evening air, I was surprised to see a firefly. We usually don’t see them until later in June. This unexpected harbinger of summer made me very happy and helped get me to today’s finish line.
fireflies’ neon flashes and flickers bring the stars
It’s time for our monthly Sunday Swagger Challenge. Each month one member of my critique group provides a challenge for the rest of us to share on the first Friday of the month. This month, Molly Hogan challenged us to use Cheryl Dumesnil‘s poem, “Today’s Sermon,” as a mentor text.
Sometimes such a wide open prompt is more challenging than “write a (insert form) about (insert subject).” I played around with different ways into this challenge, but ultimately found it easier to write about one central object. Changing “sermon” to “hymn” also felt important to me. This draft still needs work (an ending, for example) but I think it’s getting there.
is the sudden shimmer of a lone angel wing shell
found in wet sand at low tide.
Today’s hymn is the belly button scar where the other half of this bivalve
was once connected, cleaved by some unknowable force
and now lost.
Today’s hymn is a memory preserved in this alabaster surface,
scored with ridges and ripples, like a recording of the ebb and flow