Archive for January, 2012

There is still time to register for my Richmond Institute March 15-16, in the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA! This is always a great institute and a great way to get together with your fellow teachers to learn and grow together.

Check out our “adventures” in Richmond from 2010 and then sign up for this year’s event. See you in Richmond!

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Even if you live in Texas like I do, it’s fun to think about snow in winter. That’s probably because I no longer have to shovel it! As a child, some of my fondest memories were of taking walks in the new-fallen snow with my dad. I loved sitting on the radiator in our living room at night, peering out the window, and watching the snowflakes illuminated by the streetlamp outside. I hope you and your students will enjoy this winter poem:


Falling Snow
by anonymous

See the pretty snowflakes
Falling from the sky;
On the wall and housetops
Soft and thick they lie.

On the window ledges,
On the branches bare;
Now how fast they gather,
Filling all the air.

Look into the garden,
Where the grass was green;
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.

Now the bare black bushes
All look soft and white,
Every twig is laden,
What a pretty sight!

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As I work with primary teachers across the country, they often say they have trouble finding poems for first grade, so I’m going to feature some over the next few weeks. Remember that poems are great for applying phonics and word study skills as well as for practicing reading fluency. Here’s one for winter:


Someone in the sky last night
Had an awful pillow fight
And when I woke today I found
All the feathers on the ground.

-Margaret Hillert

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Well, we’ve all heard this excuse before! Enjoy!


My Doggy Ate My Homework

By Dave Crawley

“My doggy ate my homework.
He chewed it up,” I said.
But when I offered my excuse
My teacher shook her head.
I saw this wasn’t going well.
I didn’t want to fail.
Before she had a chance to talk,
I added to the tale:
“Before he ate, he took my work
And tossed it in a pot.
He simmered it with succotash
Till it was piping hot.
“He scrambled up my science notes
With eggs and bacon strips,
Along with sautéed spelling words
And baked potato chips.
“He then took my arithmetic
And had it gently fried.
He broiled both my book reports
With pickles on the side.
“He wore a doggy apron
As he cooked a notebook stew.
He barked when I objected.
There was nothing I could do.”
“Did he wear a doggy chef hat?”
She asked me with a scowl.
“He did,” I said. “And taking it
Would only make him growl.”
My teacher frowned, but then I said
As quickly as I could,
“He covered it with ketchup,
And he said it tasted good.”
“A talking dog who likes to cook?”
My teacher had a fit.
She sent me to the office,
And that is where I sit.
I guess I made a big mistake
In telling her all that.
’Cause I don’t have a doggy.
It was eaten by my cat.

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I have written before about the holiday book sharing party I try to organize every year. It is such a great way to get together with friends and find out about new books at the same time! This year — or I should say “last” year — was no exception. Here are some photos of what ended up on our book sharing table — you leave one, you take one! What are you reading this year?

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I picked this poem on the first Poetry Friday of 2012 because I think it beautifully expresses the stillness and hope of a new year. I hope your new year started in stillness.

To the New Year

By W. S. Merwin
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

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