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Poetry Titles From The Poet's Suitcase Collection

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This is a message for teachers. Teachers who teach poetry, Teachers who wish to teach poetry more effectively. Take a wander through your school's library and take a closer look at the poetry collection. Have a really good look at the assembled books. Take some books from the shelves and open them and examine the poetry within the covers. If what you are seeing is a  collection of dated, unattractive titles and there doesn't appear to have been any additional texts added to the collection in over a decade -or possibly longer, then it's time to morph into a Poetry Warrior! Don't get me wrong, there may well be some great poetry hidden away within those tired looking covers. It would be sad not to bring some of that treasure to the attention of your probationary poets. However, it's time to begin agitating for more books to be added to the collection -and fast. Something contemporary. Something more relatable to the many worlds young readers inhabit. It becomes diffic

Poetry Podcast - Embracing Poetry As Reader and Writer

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  Literacy experts Sharon and Phil Callen from Cue Learning joined me recently to talk about ways to bring poetry to life in the classroom. Here for your listening enjoyment is the link to that learning conversation: Poetry Podcast  - Embracing Poetry As Reader And Writer. EPISODE NOTES In the ongoing discussion about the importance of poetry for literacy, this episode draws on the important insights and practical tips from highly experienced education expert Alan Wright. Alan is an education consultant and author who has worked extensively in the United States and Australia, promoting best practice in primary and secondary schools and at a systems level. While based in New York (2001-2006) Alan worked across primary, middle and high schools supporting teachers, school districts, regions and school leadership teams, effecting improved learning outcomes for students in literacy. This consultancy work took him into more than 100 schools, predominantly in the urban schools of the New Yo

Starting Writing Conversations

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  Some Writing Conversation Starters To Consider: Here are a collection of possible prompts to initiate a writing conversation. The questions we ask young writers should aim to evoke a response that sheds light on the writer's process and thinking. Hope they help you in your important work as teachers of writing and teachers of writers...   Tell me about a part of your writing that you really like   Can you tell where your writing could be improved?   What do you need help with? What do you need to work on to make it better?   What kind of revisions have you made?   Why did you write about this topic in this way (genre/style)?   Why is it important to you to write about this topic/subject?   What writing strategy did you use to lift the quality of your writing?   Tell me one you have learned about good writing that you will continue to use in your writing   How have you improved as a wr

A Visible Reading and Writing Life Delivers Teachers Power and Influence

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  In this collection of stories, writers talk about the authors they revered as children; the stories and poems that  shaped their own work. A teacher I was working with as a literacy consultant, once boldly announced, ‘ I don’t want my students to know anything about my life. I am just here to teach.’  The comment disturbed me on a number of levels. It represented no sense of the need to bond with students. I had the impression the teacher was simply a forlorn imitation of a living, breathing teacher. When we make the effort to bond with students, we consciously humanize ourselves. We connect with our students more effectively when we provide insights as to how we operate as lifelong learners. In order to do this, we need to give something of ourselves and that requires an emotional commitment, not just the rolling out of curriculum. It continues to surprise me how many of my colleagues conduct secret reading and writing lives. Literate lives hidden from their students and disconnecte

Wordplay Fun in My Writer's Notebook

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I regularly indulge in a bit of wordplay in my  Writer's Notebook... I believe it is vitally important our interactions with words retain a genuine sense of playfulness. We must encourage this same playfulness among the young writers we trying to grow . There is no better way than through our own wordplay efforts. Show your impressionable students that you know how to be both joyful and creative around language. Fellow writer and educator, the renowned, Ralph Fletcher in his book, Pyrotechnics On The Page had this to say regarding wordplay- 'Skilled writers often deliberately play with language along the way. such play is not subordinate to meaning. In fact this language play is often what the writing is about.' Here are a few examples from various notebooks. Joining words and endings to create sentences Comedian and logophile Rich Hall alerted me to Sniglets Lists of possible inclusions for a poem about strange dining delights Collage poetry challenges you to create mean