I just arrived home from my first day at the National Writing Project's Summer Institute at UW-Milwaukee and what a great day it was!
First of all, I have to give myself credit for even finding the building I needed to be in! (I am a little directionally challenged!) After taking an unintentional campus tour (in the rain), I finally found my building and made my way to my classroom. I am excited that I now know where I'm going and hopefully this won't happen any more. :)
Our university director, Karen, did a very fun writing activity with us this morning based on the poem "Where I'm From" by the poet George Ella Lyon. You can find the poem here, along with a recording of the poet reading the poem to play it for your students.
Karen began by having us fold a box into eight sections and labeling each section with a different purpose: sounds/sayings, smells/tastes, places, people, events (good & bad), firsts, traditions/heritage and favorites. Then she gave us about three minutes to fill in each box with a memory from our life. Here is my brainstorm box:
website with the poem and we listened as the poet read the poem. Then Karen had us write our own Where I'm From poem. Now, I am not a poet. I never really enjoyed writing poetry. But this was an amazing writing experience and before I knew it, I had written a poem. Here's a snippet:
I am from the garden
Be it vegetables planted in the cool earth in the late spring
Sprouting lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes to share
Or bright and delicate blooming flowers
That are visited by the honeybees and hummingbirds.
I am from quilting
Creating history for my kids, preserving a bit of today for tomorrow
Keeping my hands busy and my mind settled
Taking part in a tradition that goes back in time
But is new to this generation of family.
I will spare you the other six stanzas, but please look past my writing and think about the implications for how you can use this in your classroom.
Maybe this could be done with your students at the beginning of the year as a get-to-know-you project.
Maybe you could use it in a content area, perhaps writing as an explorer or scientist.
Maybe you could have your students use this poetry format to write a summary of a book they read.
I think the possibilities are endless! I can't wait for tomorrow!!
We are doing a TON of writing during the day (which I LOVE!), but I have a big inquiry project to present on Friday and need to get going on my reading. (Remember, I'm having a motivational issue at the moment...)
But before I go, I'm going to do a quick link up with Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for the weekly recipe party.
This year, both trees blossomed and produced fruit....lots of it. I picked three times for a total of about 15 cups. While this may not seem like a lot, I was very excited, considering it was my first real cherry harvest. My son, Ryan, was ever-so-helpful and offered to pit the cherries for me....my hero!
Sour Cherry Pudding Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1 cup milk
2 T vegetable oil
3 cups pitted sour cherries
1 cup sugar
Mix the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, milk & oil in a bowl. You can mix by hand but the batter will be thick. (There are no eggs.) Spread the batter in a 9 x 13 dish (greased).
Mix the 3 cups of cherries with the other 1 cup of sugar. Mix well. Spread the cherries on top of the batter.
Bake about 30-33 minutes at 375 degrees or until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top before serving. Would be awesome with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Yum!!