Rebecca Dotlich

VOTED YET? SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION FOR OUR NOVEMBER POETS WHILE THERE’S STILL TIME. VOTING ENDS TONIGHT! SCROLL DOWN TO THE POLLS AND VOTE NOW. TO SEE ALL THE POEMS, SCROLL DOWN TO MY NOVEMBER 23 POSTING.

Announcing another of my upcoming guests — Rebecca Doltich, poet, lecturer, and consultant. A good many of you know Rebecca and/or are familiar with her work. Hints to get you going: Rebecca is a poet and picture book author of such titles as What is Science? A 2006 Subaru SB&F prize finalist, and Lemonade Sun, an American Booksellers “Pick of the Lists”. She lives in Indiana and attended Indiana University.

Watch for Rebecca’s guest blog soon. This week you can look forward to Sylvia Vardell’s guest appearance on Friday the 4th and Sandy Asher is scheduled for next week on Friday the 11th.

Don’t forget to check back TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 1. That’s when I’ll announce our official Hall of Fame Poets for November and give you the new word for December. Mustn’t miss that one!

David

Guest Gay Fawcett

VOTED YET? DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE NOVEMBER POETS AND VOTE!! POLLS CLOSE MONDAY NIGHT

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce Gay Fawcett as my blog guest. Thank you, Gay, for agreeing to share your thoughts with us.

Poetry, Your Students, and You
by Gay Fawcett
Always
I love poetry,
always have.
I read poetry,
always have.
I teach poetry,
always have.
I write poetry,
haven’t always…always will.

There. That little poem sums up the extent of my qualifications to blog my thoughts on poetry. I’ve only published one poem. (If this one counts, that would make two.) My poems are conversations with me, and that’s the way I like it. But in my 36 years of working with teachers and children I have come to the conclusion that if we would just tend to three simple principles, teachers and students would love and write poetry—always.

Principle 1: Bring poetry into your life.
What poetry anthologies do you have on your bookshelf? No, not your classroom bookshelf— your personal bookshelf. Does Maya Angelou and Theordore Roethke reside next to your Dan Brown novels and Oprah magazines? How about some e.e. cummings? Nikki Giovanni? A little book of Shakespeare’s sonnets? You don’t need to analyze the complex language of Pablo Neruda or the metaphors of Robert Frost. It’s OK if you don’t always understand what the poet meant; you’re not in high school English anymore. Just read it and enjoy the cadence and sounds of language. Your adult poet’s soul cannot be nurtured by Shel Silverstein, with all due respect to the talented poet. The first step to bringing poetry into your students’ lives is to bring adult poetry into your own life.

Principle 2: Take a balanced look at poetry.
Do your students love the raucous poetry of Jack Prelutsky? That’s great! But do they know that in addition to making them laugh, poetry can help them cry, calm their fears, and make them think? Do they know the contemplative poetry of Jeff Moss and Charlotte Zolotow, and the quiet poetry of Elizabeth Coatsworth and Christina Rossetti? Do they love the rhymes of Mother Goose as well as the free verse of Byrd Baylor? Children need to hear the many sounds of poetry, consider the many experiences poems can reflect, and see the many shapes poems can take. Make sure they get a balanced view.

Principle 3: Keep a 5 to 1 ratio.
Do you use poetry to teach rhyming words, sight words, phonics, fluency? That’s fine. Are your students starting to think poetry is a way to learn reading skills? Not fine. For every one poem you use for teaching a reading skill, use 5 poems just for the love of poetry. Read them, sing them, act them out, recite them. Don’t skill-drill them. Students need to know that poetry is not something you “do at school.” Poetry is something you enjoy for life.
Bring poetry into your own life, take a balanced view of poetry, and keep a 5 to 1 ratio. Then sit back and see what happens. Most likely, you and your students will get hooked on poetry—for always.

Gay, many thanks for sharing your remarks. I know you will inspire many readers with your insights and three principles for making poetry an important part of our lives.

David

Gay Fawcett

VOTED YET? DON’T FORGET TO SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION FOR OUR NOVEMBER POETS! THE VOTING BOXES ARE POSTED NOVEMBER 24. TO SEE ALL THE POEMS, CHECK NOVEMBER 23. Adult leaders through yesterday are STEVEN, MARJIE, and JENNIFER. MIMI currently has the most votes but can’t win a second time in twelve months. Young poet leaders are CLAIRE, TASHA, and SOHPIE.

I promised to post today more of Gay Fawcett’s biographical information, so here it is.

Gay is a former teacher, principal, curriculum director, and director of Kent State University’s Research Center for Educational Technology. She now teaches online and face-to-face university courses, consults with schools, and writes (of course!). She has authored or co-authored over 100 educational articles, book chapters, and books. She collaborated with David Harrison and Tim Rasinski on the recently published Partner Poems for Building Fluency: Grades 4-6.

Working with Gay has been a delight. She’s the mind behind nearly all of the classroom activities presented in our book. We’ve never met in person so I look forward to the day when we will. I’m so pleased to present Gay’s remarks tomorrow as my second blog guest!

David