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It's that time again. I get butterflies each year about this time. That very last free weekend. Please share your best new idea for this school year. We could all use some inspiration!

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I am an elementary media specialist. We received 8 kindles at the end of last school year and I am creating a 5' x 7' space in a corner of my media center that will become Camp Kindle "Adventures in Reading". I have purchased a pop up canopy, a brown rug, 4 green floral cushions for the kids to sit on and a couple of silk plants. The students will check out a kindle and go to the camp to read during their class time after we have finished the whole group activity/lesson or as a reward for good citizenship in the media center. The kindles must be returned at the end of the class period.

I started a program last semester during homeroom in my very low income low achieving school. I pair weak first grader readers with strong fifth graders and they become Reading Buddies. The first graders choose 2 or 3 books that I have pre-selected and they read with or to each other as they eat breakfast together. This year, I am planning to start first semester with weak second grade students and switch to first graders second semester. The students enjoy it and both benefit from the project.

Pat, this is excellent.  It is a great way to encourage children to want to read themselves because they see other children reading and enjoying it. 

In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed Sept to be Food Literacy Month and I've been busy working with publisher Philip Lee of . On Monday we spoke with the assembled nutritionists  of Seattle Public Schools (think 80 LunchLady superheros in one room) to encourage them to reach out to and through their librarians to promote food literacy.  I've assembled a resource glog that others are free to use or adapt:  Food literacy is such a great cross-discipline topic: from start to finish, farm to table food is something we all have in common, and yet it is the variations that make life so delicious. 

I served coffee, cookies, and lemonade in the library to introduce resources for a new campus wide initiative:  World Council.

Hello Joyce

Well, I'm a retired teacher, but I well remember the feeling of butterflies when I had to face a new class in September. 

May I make a suggestion for you all:  In my retirement from teaching, and encouraged greatly by children in my local school, I've written 1,300 new poems for children of all ages.  May I suggest that you might like to visit the websites which I've made which house these poems.  Simply Google JOSIE'S POEMS.  I've written traditional poetry, with rhyme, rhythm/metre, lots of stories and imagery and it is very much performance poetry.  Teachers come to my websites in their thousands and last year they came from 188 countries of the world.  I'm often invited by Skype into classrooms to meet the children who're doing my poems, see their performances, answer their questions and ask mine - and to help them a little with their own writing, but learning poetry and performing it well is so important.  I want children to realize that poetry is a performing art which links to song and to music, as well as to drama to make wonderful performances.  I want children to be taught to throw their voices well so that everyone can hear them, and not to mumble into a piece of paper.  They need to put expression into their voices and perhaps also body language.  Does anyone have any other useful tips for the teaching of poetry in the classroom?  I'd like to see art, photography, film and animation used in connection with the poems, and perhaps filmed performances that can inspire others.  Oh, I'd love to get some good feedback - and do come and see the ten years of hard work I've done for you freely, in my retirement.  Josie Whitehead

I suggest interviewing teachers and students characterize, before planning how to show the poems. Topics they like and excites them.

I used to visit the children in my local schools weekly over 4 years.  I know exactly the topics which they like and that which excites them.  I also know what teachers need for the children in their classrooms and since I regularly get between 1,000 and 2,000 visits to  my website each day by teachers and children from 188 countries of the world, I guess that they find what they like and that which excites them amongst the 1,500 poems.  Many of these poems have been published by 3 educational publishers and were chosen by  teachers and children in schools.  

Each new school year is a challenge. We should not miss the poetry, imagination and creativity.


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