Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poetry Performance Reflection

In your journal, please respond to the following:

How did you feel about your poetry recitation and what did you learn from it? Even for those people who didn’t do as well as they’d hoped, there is always something to learn from difficult experiences. Don’t just state the obvious (i.e. “It helped me to learn how to memorize something under pressure.”) but also consider the more subtle aspects of the experience like, “I thought I did well because I had my poem memorized perfectly but then I realized there was more to the assignment than just getting up and memorizing a poem because...”

Thoughts on Poetry Part 2

What did all of the poetry writing and discussion we had do for your opinion of poetry? (Headline, false apology,“Where Poetry hides). How did those assignments help to expand your definition of poetry? What did you learn from the experience? How did they help you write your own poem at the end of the month?

On looseleaf, please respond to these questions in a THOROUGH paragraph (i.e. not stopping at 3 sentences just because you made it to 3 sentences) and remember to INTRODUCE YOUR TOPIC!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Christoper Paul Curtis event recap and a book talk about The Mighty Miss Malone

Last night I went to Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor to hear Christoper Paul Curtis speak, the author who wrote Bud, Not Buddy along with some other great works of historical fiction for kids: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, Elijah of Buxton, and now, The Mighty Miss Malone.

I was so honored and thrilled to meet this Newbery-winning author and even more excited to hear him speak. The man has a voice for radio. I could listen to him speak all day. Not to mention the fact that his voice actually entertained and engaged both adults and kids alike.

I was lucky enough to attend this event with some friends so I was excited and thrilled when Curtis saw me taking pictures of friends getting their books signed and said to me,  "Do you want a picture with me?" Well who would turn down an offer like that from Christopher Paul Curtis? I hope no one!

Curtis's latest book is about Deza Malone, a minor character from Bud, Not Buddy. Deza may only be twelve-years-old but her intelligence and talent at all things academic has put her on the fast track for a bright future. But when the Great Depression comes raging through her hometown of Gary, Indiana and makes it impossible for her father to find work, the Malones must now face an uncertain, ill-fated future that once looked so bright and promising. 

Christopher Paul Curtis writes Deza with fierce spirit despite her dire circumstances. He does not sugar coat the plight of poverty the Malone family must endure and pulls no punches for his young audience. Yet despite the fact that our young heroine experiences dashed hopes and crushed dreams, you never once feel like she's down and out. Deza's fighting spirit is a testament to her family's motto: "We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful."

The audiobook has the added benefit of being read by Bahni Turpin, of The True Meaning of Smekday fame. Her performance in The Mighty Miss Malone is more subdued than Smekday but no less brilliant. In fact, it is downright soulful. She does an amazing job maintaining the spirit of Deza and keeping the listener's hopes alive despite the grim realities of what is happening in the story.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Questions for Carrie Harris

Since we ran out of time in class, if you have any further questions for Carrie Harris, post them here and she will answer them for us.

You can also share some of your ideas for the Monster Prom.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pre-Performance Poetry Reflection

Before you perform your poem, please complete the following in the comments section. Each part of the assignment is worth 10 points:

1. Either find a copy of your poem online or type it here on the blog. (Finding a copy is the easy way to do it, but typing it will help you to see how well you have it memorized!) Be sure to also put the title and author.
2. In a paragraph, explain what you think this poem means. Why do you think the author wrote it? What sort of mood or feeling does it give?
3. In another paragraph, explain why you chose this poem. What is it about the poem that speaks to you? (And just so you know, “It was the shortest poem I could find” is not an acceptable response!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What should Adam Rex pour over his head?

 So now that The True Meaning of Smekday won a convincing victory over The Hunger Games, we need to vote on what liquid we would like Adam Rex to pour over himself in celebration.


Monday, April 2, 2012

What is Poetry?

In class we discussed the ambiguity of poetry in terms of how it’s defined. As we explore this genre, we will continue to return to the question, “What is poetry?”

To show you how varied and diverse poetry is, I thought I’d share with you a mélange of different poetry definitions from poets themselves.

Your task is to choose one definition that you are drawn to and complete the following procedure:
1) Write the entire definition and the author – 5 points
2) Explain why you chose this definition (e.g. what do you like about it? What caught your eye? Did you choose this one because you disagree with it? Why?) – 5 points
3) Write a paragraph explaining what you think this definition means. – 10 points
4) To make sure this doesn’t just become an assignment that you all come on here to complete without actually reading others’ thoughts, you will also be required to refer to a previous classmate’s post. If you’re the first commenter then you will need to come back later and add to the discussion. – 5 points

Here is the list of definitions to choose from:
“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. “ – Kahlil Gibran

“Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.” – Percy Shelley

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost

“Poetry is a literature of brushstrokes.” – Nikki Grimes

“Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” – Paul Engle

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” – Edgar Allen Poe

“Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.” – Dennis Gabor

“Poetry is the art of saying everything and reducing it to nothing.” – Barbara Hyett

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Book Madness: The Championship

It's time for the final two tributes to duke it out in the arena. Will The Hunger Games fight The True Meaning of Smekday to the death? Or will J.Lo "shoot forth the lasers" from his eyeballs to be March Book Madness Champion?

The odds might ever be in favor of The Hunger Games, but Adam Rex has given us pause to think about possibly letting the underdog, The True Meaning of Smekday, win.

I never expected this event would cause so much passionate debate and arguments between us all. But, in the end, we're discussing and getting passionate about BOOKS and that's a GOOD THING! :)

So what's it going to be?