What’s in your pocket today? Keys, coins, lip balm? Tomorrow, remember to slip in a poem.
This year’s Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 24, a day for everyone to celebrate. It’s free and fun. You select a poem or favorite lines from one. Copy it, fold it up, put it in your pocket to share with others. Get your peers and friends to do it, too. Throughout the day enjoy all of the poems–funny, sublime, solemn, or clever.
Sometimes I feel shy about sharing poems. Perhaps it’s because many poems evoke personal connections that reside deep inside. It’s far less risky to share other forms of art, like books or music, because they seem more mainstream. However, my perspective expanded during a trip to California a few years ago.
On a warm, sunny day I’d planned a visit to a national historic forest. When Tom pulled his pickup van up to the hotel, I climbed aboard for a great adventure. We chatted during the half hour ride and he mentioned that he was a published poet.
Tom knew the forest well, and recommended certain vistas of natural beauty to experience on my hike. The conversation turned to his favorite bench in the forest, where he’d written a poem about the birth and strength of its trees. He recited it upon request and gave me his business card as I left.
The front of the card held his tour company information. On the back of the card was his poem.
I carried around his card in my pocket for months. And I learned a valuable lesson, too. Sharing poetry is a generous act that expands our connections to each other.
Click on the tab Kathy Shares for some of my favorite poems and lines
What makes a science field trip a Do Now for your students? When two ravens are hatching eggs in a few days at Wellesley College.
Go to the Ravencam and leave your computer screen on all day to follow the nesting habits of Pauline and Henry. You’ve just created a field trip in your classroom. The pleasure of doing this will remind everyone you teach that science is part of every day. The raven sounds alone fill me with awe.
Use the following ideas, for all ages, singly or in combination:
Observe these birds and notice how calm and focused you become. Then show students how to immerse themselves in watching and listening. This is active, not passive, learning and embodies all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Give your students the gift of time so they can experience what learning feels like when their bodies and minds relax.
After a period of observation, ask students to write down observations in their science journals. Ask students to turn their statements into questions and choose one or more questions to guide data collecting and research. It’s a perfect short-term inquiry project to travel back and forth from home to school.
Create focused discussion opportunities for student brainstorming. What kind of math skills will help them understand these ravens, and why? What kind of data collection–either qualitative or quantitative–leads to the answers they need?
Many of us remember Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” (1845). Follow this link to the Poetry Foundation to get a copy. After reading the poem aloud and learning more about Poe, have students perform readings of “The Raven” that reveal their own understanding of the poem. Encourage alternative versions. For example, does a joyful version of “The Raven” change its meaning?
While writing this, it hasn’t been just the ravens’ croaks and calls that fill me with awe. Pauline does, too, as she shifts position on her huge twiggy nest to reposition her eggs.
This is what a celebration of learning feels like, doesn’t it?