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Showing posts from August, 2012

Slice of Life Story -The Old Piano Roll Blues

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The sound of a piano being demolished is somewhat disturbing. A jarring medley of discordant sounds assaulting the senses. Chopin meets chopping!
 Yesterday, an article in the Sunday Age captured my interest. It concerned a man who has a somewhat unusual job. Paul Mc Donald, destroys pianos which have outlived their usefulness.  Paul’s action were described thus:
‘Paul Mc Donald tickles the ivories with his axe before plunging his blade into the keys, scattering shards of wood across the concrete. Sweat shines through his bushy beard from the effort of destroying an upright piano…’
Why all this violence towards pianos you ask? Well, this is an increasingly common scene as old and unloved pianos are dumped because people neither have the space or the inclination to keep them in tuneful condition.
Recyclable parts are removed before the man with the axe has a smashing good time. Some unworkable pianos find a new life as television props or are converted into fish tanks. The less fortunate …

Slice of Life Story -Raw Beauty on a Cheerless Day

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Last week I began working with students at ArdeerSouthPrimary School who have begun investigating narrative poetry. Our inquiry  began by sharing poems by Michael Rosen ( Chocolate Cake) and Steven Herrick (First Day At School). We looked closely at the text structures and features of this writing form. 
We began looking closely and poetic elements such as line breaks and white space. In pairs the children tried reconstructing another of Michael Rosen’s poems (from the book, Quick Let's Get Out of Here) I had earlier deconstructed. I told them it was a bit like unscrambling a jigsaw. 
This simple exercise drew attention to the decisions the poet must make when presenting the poem across the page. Lots of talk, and collaboration ensued as these young poets magically restored the poem to a more familiar layout. These switched on writers immediately saw the difference in construction to a traditional narrative layout. They noted the different line lengths and could see how this varie…

Sharing Our Writers Notebooks

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I am grateful to Amy Ludwig Vanderwater for hosting my latest blog on her blog site, Sharing Our Notebooks. A writer and teacher, Amy's first poetry book, FOREST HAS A SONG, will be published by Clarion in 2013.

Amy's blog highlights pages from a variety of notebooks users and includes notebooks that are paper based, digital, napkin, and so on.  It provides the reader with multiple opportunities to learn how students, authors, artists, teachers, and people of all backgrounds who use notebooks to strengthen their thinking. Amy hopes that after reading these posts it might inspire the viewer to try something new in their own writing, drawing, thinking...

Each post is completely in the words of the notebook-keeper, and all notebook entries, sketches, and writing remain property of the authors and artists.
I commend this blog to you. I see it as a great resource; particularly for those just beginning the notebook experience,-teacher or student. I applaud Amy for her vision in setting…

How To Become Addicted To Poetry

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If you truly wish to become a more poetry friendly person, here are some ideas to bring about the changes to the way you value this aspect of literacy. The poet that dwells within will become apparent to your students (and your colleagues) over time. Students will hopefully come to view you as poetry's pal! If you are introducing the writing of poetry into your instructional  program consider the following ways to create the best conditions for poetry to prosper:
·Read poetry on a regular basis. A poem a day will assist you in developing your poetic character. It is said that before we can hope to write poetry, we need to read lots of this special writing form. ·Keep an anthology of poetry close by – at home and at work. ·Share poems that take your fancy with your students. ·Find a partner in poetry with whom to exchange poetry. ·Encourage your students to bring poetry into the classroom. ·Investigate metaphor, simile, alliteration, assonance until you feel comfortable with their presenc…