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Thursday, May 17, 2018

20 Degrees From Normal by Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris



Genre: Children's Picture Book, Poetry
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

20 Degrees From Normal by Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris
This fun book of poetry was created by a brother and sister team. It isn’t only fun to read but has very subtle messages.  The very first poem, “Underappreciated Wheel” had be looking at wheels in a different way.  They carry all the weight on bikes, trikes and cars, yet no one ever talks about how wonderful they are. 
I teach middle school and I am here to say that my students would love this fun rhyming, quirky poetry.  I loved “Perfect Friend”. So often we want a “perfect” friend and after finding what we think they are we find that what we had before was much, much more.  “Skip” teaches that you have to do some preliminary things to be a success.
This book has something for everyone, old and young. I will enjoy adding this to my classroom library next year and providing a copy to our elementary school which will be merging with our school.  I highly recommend this book to teachers and parents.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

More Student Poetry

Today I have a variety of poems from my seventh grade students.  We had been writing Golden Shovel Poems,  Pantoums, and Free Verse.  For some of them poetry is very difficult.  I am very proud of all of my students. They were definitely risk-takers by putting their writing out there for all to see. For some of my students you can feel their pain.  When they tell me their writing isn't good, I tell them that when they write from their soul it can't be anything but good. Here are a few examples.

All of us remember summer days like the one Emma describes here.

Swimming by Emma J.

Jumping in the pool is fun
Splashing with friends
after a long hot day
the water cools you off

You splash and play all day
You throw water balloons
some may slip and fall
But they get back up

You spray them down with water guns
They spray you back
you're laughing and smiling
Your parents are relaxing to

The sun starts setting
that doesn't stop you
through the night
you laugh and play

A simple Pantoum that has such a deep message in it.

Why Me? by Barbara  Vance

If you were to ask Why me?
When you're feeling really blue,
When the world has turned against you
And you don't know what to do
When it pours colossal raindrops
And you're feeling more confused
Then  you ever cold express

                   Raindrops by Aryianna A.
                Do you know that feeling when 
                                          you don't feel it
                   anymore and it starts to pours
                          Your headache is colossal
and your little thoughts are like raindrops

Knowing the story behind this I could feel the pain and wanted to cry with this child.

Mommy by Jasmine M.
Goodbye mommy
three years old
not ready to go
tears roll down.

Three years old
as I leave for good
tears roll down
I shall hug you goodbye

As I leave for good
no ready to go
I shall hug you goodbye
Goodbye mommy

This student described through her poem an accident she was involved in when she was younger.

The Accident by Jasmine M.
Boom, Crash, Sam
No glass, no blood
Sleep is all there wwa
Awoke I did in the hospital bed.

No glass, no blood
Scared I was
Awoke I did in the hospital bed
Crying and unable to move

Scared I was
Sleep is all there was
Crying and unable to move
Boom, Crash, Slam

Be Careful by Amari C.

My heart is like a package with a fragile label on it
be careful with me
I love you
can't you see

Be careful with me
love is patient
Can't you see
like the rhythm of the sea

Love is patient
I love you
Like the rhythm of the sea
My heart is like a package with a fragile label on it.

By using repetition  of the phrase "Where is she" we get the sense of panic this child felt.

My Aunt by Amari C

Where is she
She was suppose to be here at two
It's been way too long
She's never late

She was supposed to be here at two
Somebody get the phone
She's never late
We're going to the hospital, she had a stroke

Somebody get the phone
It's been way too long
We're going to the hospital, she had a stroke
Where is she

Here is another Golden Shovel Poem
The Little Girl's Land by Emmeline Francis

Not so long ago
In a land closer than it seems
There lived a silly little girl
With a pocketful of dreams

She was as hated as was loved
It didn't matter what she'd one
But the one thing that she knew

Too fat and too ugly
Too judgmental and a fool
She could never be just perfect
And society was cruel

It carried on for years
and nobody could decide
Whether this silly little gilr
Should get to live or die

So the leader told his people
That something must be done
And the poor thing should be dealt with
So it couldn't hurt anyone

At first there was denial
But the umber quickly bloated
Soon even the voice of mother
Left the situation quite outvoted

But when asked who would do it?
As the people shouted blame
Not a single one would volunteer
And hung their heads in shame

A tiny voice right from the back
Suppressed by a nation's shouts
Announced that she could do it
No longer harboring any doubts.

Every single citizen watched
As a blade was drawn with care
The girl aligned it to the heart
To breathe she didn't dare

Instantly her dull eyes closed
A single push was done
Hushed whispers silenced throughout the land
Watching her smiling tear drops run

When mother found her in the morn
Dried tears still on her face
She knew with greatest certainty
She was not in a better place.

How hopeless she was lying there
With blood on the bedroom floor
The only thing to take comfort in
They couldn't hurt her anymore

Mother watched the coffin
Now the girl was quite stone dead
Such a pity, society sighed
That the land was within her head.

Take heed of this done story
For the many who ruin themsleves
Though words might seem so innocent
Our worst critics are ourselves


The Girl That Wasn't Loved as Much by Shaina S.

There once was a girl. She 
didn't fit in. She was
always being picked on. She felt hated
a lot. As
this kept going on she was as well love.

As shew as hated people said too
revolting or too fat
Things like you're too petty and 
big to be sitting with us , or you're too
nasty, they said, you're too ugly.

This girl felt like she 
had non one there for, or that she could 
not count on anyone. Never
Be great. She could never be
good enough or just 
like the rest. She could never be perfect.

 
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