Life got very busy during July, with judging the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, editing books (one is off to the printer – Yay! and the other is very close!) and dealing with countless other deadlines – but I am now in the middle of two weeks of home-holiday; permission to recharge and refresh. Which isn’t always relaxing, as Wednesday proved. Click on the arrow (right) to see more of my ‘backyard’ – and one of our Aussie charmers. Continue reading
Hi all. I’m popping back in to share another poetry treasure that arrived in my inbox, this from Tricia Stohr-Hunt, who wasn’t familiar with the work of Australian poets, and in reading around discovered my favourite, ‘My Country’, by Dorothea Mackellar. Tricia had planned to write a golden shovel – but instead crafted this wonderful poem, using lines from the first stanza of Dorothea’s poem. Continue reading
Hi all. Fridays fly around pretty quickly these days! I’ve missed a couple – again!! I hope you’re all keeping safe and sweet; giving and receiving kindness.
Talking about kindness… Today I’m sharing some treasures I received as a part of Tabatha’s Poetry Swap. It’s so generous of Tabatha Yeatts to organise these for us – and a joy to receive them! Continue reading
This past week I have been running a Poetry Pep Up across social media platforms, with thanks to the support of CQRASN and the lovely Trudie Leigo. You can play catch-up with the prompts by clicking on the relevant day below, to go direct. It’s not too late to put some sparkle in your day, fire up your creativity, and build writing muscle. Continue reading
I’m rather thrilled to be working with the Central Queensland Regional Arts Service Network (CQRASN) to run a free, online five-day Poetry Pep Up, from 1-5 June. The challenge is suitable for newbies or old-hands. Continue reading
A ssssshort and sssssharp post today to ssssshare a reading of my poem, ‘I Don’t Want a Pet SNAKE’, published by The School Magazine, Blast Off 4, 2020, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen and read by Geoffrey McSkimming.
Use it to teach persuasive texts… and caution in what you wish for. And read it just for fun!
To see what Jama’s cooking up for Poetry Friday (Oooh… There be chocolate!) – and to get all the good links – click across to Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Thanks for hosting this week!
My goodness! Life has been busy! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve linked in for Poetry Friday. I’m just thankful that I’ve connected to lots of you through Twitter or Instagram, so I’ve not been completely out of your loop. It’s been wonderful to catch snippets of what everyone is doing with poetry and life – and so reassuring to see/hear from you! Keep keeping well … and keep sharing your joy and hope. The world is a better place for it!
I’m sharing a video for today’s post, hoping it’s helpful for educators and carers in this difficult time. I read a poem called ‘I Don’t EAT My Friends‘, from my verse novel, ‘Too Many Friends’, and I briefly chat about lollies, friends, pet-friends, then quickly share a poetry project for young listeners/writers … to connect them to their friends. You’ll find a friend template (and more crafty activities) under the Too Many Friends Stuff tab, above. Continue reading
Over recent weeks I’ve been sharing links/ideas in a number of different places, to engage kids of assorted ages and abilities, during these surreal times. The links and ideas shared have been chosen because they appeal to my mother/author/educator persona.
These ideas aren’t targeted at any specific age or curriculum area. Nor have I aligned them to Australian Curriculum. (Feel free to share in the comments if you do.) In fact, I was particularly attracted to ideas that engaged kids across a spread of ages and abilities, like… siblings! I personally believe that curriculum is not the sum total of all learning. And at this point in time, if curriculum ramps up stress levels, (for kids, parents and teachers) then it isn’t worth it! Lifelong learning is about real-life learning – and there has never been a better time to put this into practise!
1) Australian birdlife survey: The survey is valuable activity in itself – but you can then take it further by graphing the birds found in your yard. Perhaps even extending your knowledge with a spot of research. Maybe even keep a diary of a bird’s daily activities… Creating a collage (or other art) of a backyard bird. (There is so much more you could do!) http://www.birdsinbackyards.net
2) Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Prompt Project: There is no right (or wrong) time to start – but when you do, begin at Day One and follow along.
3) Keyboarding skills: Keyboarding is the new handwriting. If you’ve got kids doing home-based learning then put keyboarding high on the list of things to do. https://www.typingclub.com (Thanks Rebecca Toltz for the updated program recommendation.)
4) Stop-Motion movie: I love the wide-openness of the stop-motion movie! If kids are at home, they’d have more time to invest in polishing a task like this. Or producing multiple attempts to refine their skills. The degree of difficulty can vary for siblings across different grades, whilst the theme can suit different class topics, or individual interests. For example, one child could be working on a fairytale stop-motion. Another child could be working on an advertisement for healthy eating… or a type of physical activity… or animating a scene from a book… (If you’re wanting inspiration, feel free to make a stop motion for my picture book, ‘This is the Mud!’🤠 – or a scene from one of my verse novels.🚌)
Some links to develop understanding:
a) Design/make a stand for the iPad/phone, so that is does not move for the duration of the shoot. (There are so many different ways this could be done – Lego, blue tack, cardboard box …)
b) Storyboard scenes. (Template: https://www.instructables.com)
c) Shoot the stop-motion – using paper, plasticine, Lego, anything! (Stop motion using bread: https://www.instagram.com)
Don’t forget to add credits for any music/images you use.
5) ‘I Want my Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen, presented as a puppet play is delightful and entertaining, but also wonderfully inspiring for creative play for kids of all ages, giving a glimpse behind the scenes of puppetry. https://www.youtube.com
6) Nat Amoore has a fun book’n’boogie youtube channel, which she’s adding to twice a week. In itself it is a fun way to exercise – and hear a new book recommendation. https://www.youtube.com
To extend this further for home-learning, have your child/ren:
1) Watch Nat’s video.
2) Groove along.
3) Choose their own book &create a simple boogie how-to.
4) Record it. (Include quick book-look.)
5) Share with friends, so they can learn the dance, too!
6) Tag Nat into the link and she will boogie with you! Twitter/Instagram: @nat_amoore
7) Poetry Competitions/Writing/Illustrating Opportunities:
- Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards (Online registration is preferred. As the primary school judge, I look forward to reading heaps of wonderful student work!)
- Red Room Poetry Competition
- Wombat Books Illustration Challenge
- Ipswich Poetry Feast
8) There are numerous poetry/writing prompts, under both the ‘Kids’ Stuff’, and the ‘Whisker of Poetry’ tabs on this (katswhiskers) site. Three specific links are:
There are also teacher notes for my three verse novels (under the ‘Books’ tab) – and a whole HEAP of stuff for Bully on the Bus, including a weekly study guide for Yr 4. Also bus/wolf shape poetry – and three different wolf masks. Click through the dropdown options for a full offering.
10) Mail a Hug to friends or family members, using your child’s upper body silhouette: https://www.instagram.com
11) For a huge range of curated video resources, to enhance work set by your child’s school – or to further their own interests; https://thekidshouldseethis.com
12) Downloaded your free copy of ‘Coronavirus – A Book for Children’, by the Nosy Crow team – with illustrations by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo): https://nosycrow.com/blog
13) Lego Projects: Lego kits are all well and good – but setting instructions aside and letting kids create their own designs is so valuable. (And that’s not limited to Lego. There are so many great construction resources out there.) This tweet from Rachael Lehr featured a Lego tissue box cover in the background – that completely stole the show! Pretty sure we all need tissue box covers. Perhaps even toilet paper covers?🧻 Mayhaps you’ve got enough Lego lying around to create a toy box!😉
14) Recycled Poetry Wall Plaque: Mother’s Day is fast approaching… and I’m a big believer in meaningful homemade gifts. This recycled poetry plaque is one I’ve done with kids in the classroom, and with adults during workshops. It’s perfect for Mother’s Day – especially when we are all hunkering down at home. But it’s also lots of fun as a ‘just because’ wall plaque.
15) NEW RESOURCES ADDED: I’ve created a ‘Too Many Friends Stuff‘ page in the Kids’ Stuff tab, which includes a video reading from by my book, ‘Too Many Friends’ (with help from some friends) and a poetry activity for kids. Also a resource for a Friend-shaped poem. And an activity for kids to do during these days of isolation…
NOTE: With kids home for extended periods, let go of your expectations for a ‘tidy’ house. Don’t put that pressure on yourself! (Or your kids.) If kids can make a little mess they will likely be more deeply invested in a creative project/investigation; more engaged and productive! And perhaps they will also free you up to invest in YOUR projects. #winWIN! (And right now, who is going to be popping in unexpectedly, to catch you with your lived-in, messy house?🙃 )
That’s all for now – but I will continue to update sporadically.
(Last updated 2 May 2020.)
Hoping you have all had a restful Easter – even if it wasn’t where, how or with whom you’d originally planned. As with much of the world, we stay-cayed. We could have camped by one of creeks on our property, but opted to stay at the house, and ride back and forth to the creek each afternoon/evening, for paddling/campfire/damper, etc…
It was our first real foray onto the creek after February rains filled the dry bed, and the mosquitos swarmed. Now the mud and mosquitos have settled, paddling up the creek, felt like I was catching up with an old friend after a long parting. (So many changes, after sustained dry weather, though. Lots of dead trees…😿)
This morning we slipped out early for a paddle upstream, where the creek narrows, and is surrounded by scrubby rainforest. We sloshed through shallow sandy patches, clambered over rocks, and tramped through tangled vines and along cattle tracks …
I came home, refreshed, to read that the Progressive Poem (complete with raccoon and loon) had wended its way along the wiregrass track, to my blog.
This year the progressive poem has morphed into a Choose Your Own Adventure piece – with each poet contributing two options for their own line. So, my first task was to make a choice from Linda Mitchell’s two lines… (you’ll find them here; A Word Edgewise) and then drop two of my own, for Margaret Simons (co-ordinator of this year’s progressive poem) to ponder. I love that Margaret is following me – because we’ve been tag-teaming each other in our kayaks, on opposite sides of the globe!🛶
So, with this morning’s scramble through scrub fresh in my mind, I knew what I wanted to bring to the poem. An interruption. A surprise. Anticipation.
I crack the door open, but will it be a moment of wonder, or drama, that steps through?
Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake.
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.
I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song.
and night melts into a rose gold dawn.
Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold
hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees.
Leaf-litter crackles … I pause. Twig snaps. (Option One)
Through a gap in the timber I catch a glimpse (Option Two)
And now, I pass the paddle to Margaret. Which line will she choose? What will she discover? You’ll find it at Reflections on the Teche, tomorrow.
Thank-you Irene Latham, for starting us on our Progressive Poem journey – and Margaret for keeping us rolling. It is always fun to take part!
Progressive Poem 2020
1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, deowriter
4 Liz Steinglass
5 Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at kaymcgriff
7 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel, hosted at Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at Kat’s Whiskers
14 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth at thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
28 Jessica Big at TBD
29 Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces
30 Michelle Kogan at moreart4all
Hi all. I’m popping in to share the some more #PoeTryHope and #WaterPoemProject with you. Not such a busy week of poetry this week – but lots of other busy productivity instead.
I started #PoeTryHope because I needed to remind myself to focus on joy – not fear. I can’t tell you how glad I was to have poetry to draw my mind away from the doom and gloom of recent events, and spark joyful creativity. Now that I have my mojo back, and so many other things needing my attention, I’ve set the daily challenge aside. Alas, I realised after I stopped that I was one poem short of a neat instagram row! Messing with my head! (Fortunately, I had the royal spoonbill from my #WaterPoemPrompt collection to fill the gap for this post! Though he’s not on my actual Insta page – just on Twitter.) To see larger versions of the poems, or to read the backstory, click on the picture and you’ll go direct to my Instagram page.
For teachers looking for worthwhile ways to engage classes (across a range of grade levels!) I recommend Laura’s #WaterPoemProject – with wonderful daily prompts – for kids and adults. You can start at any time. The links are all on Laura’s blog.
Also, feel free to check out the resources on my blog, including this Didactic Cinquain activity, which is currently proving popular around the world. Plan is to add more resources to assist teachers (and parents) in providing independent writing activities.
Finally – I’ve just this moment realised that the Progressive Poem has kicked off for another year. (Phew! So glad I wasn’t in the first three days or I’d have missed my turn and muffed it for everyone!!😅) You can find the schedule in the side bar of Reflections on the Tech. Pop back here for my contribution on 13th April.
Heidi is hosting PoetryFriday this week at myjuicylittleuniverse, and her post is themed, Shelter in Poetry. I did. Hoping you find comfort there, too.
Continue to take care during these challenging times. I am especially mindful of my American friends and am praying for you all! Stay home and stay safe! xx