Archive for April, 2012

Aileen Fisher

This poet received the NCTE Award for Poetry in 1978. To read more about her, check out this link.

Her words are timeless and will be loved by children in your 21st century classroom!

My Cat and I

When I flop down
to take a rest
my cat jumps up
upon my chest.

She kneads my sweater
with her paws…
and sometimes even
uses claws.

She rubs my chin
and purrs away,
as if I am
a game to play!

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Several years ago, a friend shared the most interesting poetry book with me called Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry written and illustrated by Avis Harley (Boyds Mills Press, 2000). It includes samples of 26 different kinds of poetry! Here’s one called a doublet. In a doublet, a word is changed, one letter at a time, into another word and arranged vertically in the poem.

How Can You Change Sleep into Dream?

Instead of falling into sleep

by counting sheep I listen for rhythms

inside my head: the cheep of a chickadee,

rain on my cheek,

a murmuring creek,

the creak of new shoes,

or cats lapping cream. These are the rhythms

that flow through my dream.

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This past week was National Library Week. In honor of that, here is a poem by J. Patrick Lewis. Happy Poetry Friday! And be nice to your librarian!

Library Lady
J. Patrick Lewis

If you’re looking for good fiction,
Welcome to my jurisdiction!
I’m the Dewey Decimal Guard,
Who can find the perfect story,
Humor (witty), horror (gory),
Novels (great), adventure (glory)….
Let me see your library card.

No, there’s nothing’s more exciting
For a kid who’s reading writing
Than to fricassee a mind,
‘Cause a book is like an oven-
What it’s cookin’ is book lovin’.
Set the temperature then shove in
Every brain cell you can find.

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What a wonderful time I had working with over 100 teachers this past week in Nova Scotia! And what beautiful country! This was my first visit to this part of Canada. It was a bit chilly but lovely.

Teachers were so eager to learn and share what they’re trying with math work stations. We spent two days thinking and growing together. A few things I love about Nova Scotians:

  • their friendliness and warmth
  • their sense of humor (we laughed until we had tears rolling down our faces)
  • their willingness to share and ask questions
  • their appreciation of style and fashion
  • their healthy snacks!

If you attended this training and want to share what you’re doing, please email me at d.diller@live.com. I’d love to hear how things are going. And I hope to see you in the fall at training on literacy, too!

Healthy snacks at training in Nova Scotia... what a great idea!



Me with "Flat Jodi" at training (she couldn't attend, so her friends brought her along in 2-D form)

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Here’s a fun Easter poem to share with your students. Who can resist a chocolate bunny? Enjoy, and have a Happy Easter!

Chocolate Rabbit
I got a chocolate rabbit
For an Easter treat,
A great big chocolate rabbit,
Good enough to eat.
So I ate his ears on Sunday,
his nose I finished Monday,
Tuesday I nibbled on his feet.
I ate his tail on Wednesday,
Thursday I kept on,
By Friday he was going,
Saturday he was gone.
Oh, I loved that chocolate rabbit,
From the moment that he came,
And if I get another one,
I’ll love him just the same.

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What an honor it was to work at Green Hills School in Green Township, NJ again this week! This amazing K-8 school is filled with inquisitive students and teachers who are definitely 21st century learners!

This week, author Frank Serafini and I worked with teachers and students in different classrooms on the same day. Frank modeled mini lessons, and I worked with stations and small group instruction. Frank is helping teachers with deeper questioning and stepping out of the way to have students discuss and share their thinking. My assignment is to help develop structures for independent learning (through independent reading and stations) and differentiation in small groups. A third consulting group, Thinking at Every Desk, is sharing an innovative tool called ThinkBlocks and the DSRP Method for teaching thinking skills with this school, too.

I shared ideas for social studies stations in middle school using a project-based approach around the big ideas of the impact of religion and beliefs on a civilization, the impact of geography on a civilization, and we are who we are because of where we came from (legacy). As students prepare for writing a paper comparing two civilizations, they might use stations several days a week for about 20 minutes each time. Stations will be clustered around small bits like note-taking, visuals, primary sources, and Venn diagrams.

I also taught a small group lesson with middle-school students in a language arts classroom to help with test prep. We approached a test passage in a playful way, deconstructing the pieces and then putting them back together. Looking at the text structure of a test passage (and at the test as genre) was very helpful and gave students confidence.

Technology abounds in this building! This week I saw iPads in action at research stations in 2nd grade, teachers and kids using Smart Boards for lessons in math and literacy, and even the new 360 degree camera for the iPhone at a round table discussion. A special thanks to visionary leader, John Nittolo, Principal and Superintendent at this outstanding school! Can’t wait to see what’s happening next time I work here.

With Frank Serafini and John Nittol (left)

With Frank Serafini

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