Let the voting begin!

It’s that time again.  Click on the links below to read this month’s submissions.  Join the fun and cast your vote.REMINDER: Everyone can vote once for an adult and once for a young poet. Our poets have worked all month to create a new collection of original poetry inspired by the same word. This is when we want as many readers as possible to come by, read your work, and pick two to vote for. The poet in each category who receives the most votes will be proclaimed April Hall of Fame Poet.

Previous poets of the month are not eligible to win again during this initial twelve months, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote for them if you like their poems!Click to Read Adult Poems

Click to Read Young Adult Poems

Thanks, David

Laura Robb tomorrow

BULLETIN: In the voting for January’s Hall of Fame Poet, Steve Withrow remains in the lead among eligible contenders. Mimi Cross and Liz Korba, previous winners, continue to make strong showings. For Hall of Fame Young Poet, our leaders are Rachel Heinrichs, John Sullivan, and Sam Shekut.
REMINDER: Please remember to cast your ballots, one for an adult and one for a student. Just scroll down to the ballot boxes, click on the poets of your choice, and hit the vote button. Last chance to vote is midnight CST this Saturday, the 30th.

As promised, my guest for tomorrow will be Laura Robb. Laura is a tireless promoter of reading, a master teacher, a careful researcher, a popular author of books about reading development, and much sought after consultant and lecturer. Here is more information about tomorrow’s guest.

Author, teacher, consultant, Laura Robb has taught grades 4 through 8 for 43 years. Robb continues to teach for eight weeks each year. She has written 19 books on reading and writing for teachers and published materials for Great Source for students. Robb speaks at conferences all over the country and trains teachers in school districts in Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. She has received an Honorary Doctorate from Shenandoah University for her work in literacy and in 2009 received the “Friend of Literacy Award” from Nassau Reading Council in New York. Robb has two new books coming out this spring: Teaching Middle School Writers: What Every English Teacher Needs to Know published by Heinemann and a second edition of Teaching Reading in Middle School, published by Scholastic. You can reach Laura Robb and find many teaching materials on her Web site: www.LRobb.com

Be sure to visit tomorrow to read what Laura has to share with us. You’ll be glad you did!

Announcing Kathy Temean and Rules for December “bone” poems

I think it’s high time to feature my webboss, Kathy Temean. I expect that many of you know her and have admired her work but I’m going to kick off the new year with Kathy as my featured guest. I look forward to it and can’t think of a better way to start 2010. Some hints about Kathy’s extensive background include music, art, teaching, sales, and computers. There’s more, a lot more! Watch for Kathy’s complete bio before long and her guest blog on January 2.


To everyone who plans to share a bone poem this month, don’t forget how hectic things get as we move into December. I hope to see a lot of poems come in as early as possible before our writing time becomes too interrupted. Keep these dates in mind.

December 21 — Cutoff for posting bone poems at midnight CST.
December 23 — Voting begins for December Hall of Fame Poets.
December 30 — Voting ends at midnight CST.
December 31 — December winners declared and January word announced.

People are excited about this month’s word: BONE. Let’s get out there and shake, rattle, and roll.


Guest Gay Fawcett


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
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.


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!