Monthly Archives: April, 2012

National Poetry Month (29) – Create to Understand

Creation is the goal-

Each line, each word, syllable, and phrase

Becoming one piece

To solving the puzzle.

Work is the key-

Each page, each reading, try, and attempt

Showing the pieces

Becoming a whole.

Understanding is the outcome-

Each thought, each question, idea, and musing

Completing a picture

Made up of pieces.

-Angela Quiram 2012


National Poetry Month (28) – Taylor Mali

The the Impotence of Proofreading
by Taylor Mali

Has this ever happened to you?
You work very horde on a paper for English clash
And then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D=)
and all because you are the word1s liverwurst spoiler.
Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence.

. . .

to finish reading this great poem…click the title!

Mali. Taylor. “The the Impotence of Proofreading.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)

Copyright © 2009 – 2012 – Taylor Mali – All Rights Reserved

Sunday Salon (5)

Weather today…Woke to the sound of raindrops on the roof. There is no better sensation than lying in bed, pondering the heavens, and hearing the rain fall down. It was a crisp, cool day after the rain. Ah, Spring!

In my classes this week: In my 1920s & 30s class we finished Of Mice and Men. Wow! The kids, when they heard the ending and the choice George had to make…they were floored. Great discussion ensued and I will share bits of it when I write my review.

In my War Lit class we are still reading Farewell to Manzanar. The kids are still intrigued and discussing!

In both classes the plans and project for National Poetry Month are close to ending! I received a great note from a student about how she was wary of the poetry project, in fact that she HATED poetry, until I introduced it to her and she found a new outlet for her thoughts and feelings. Yay!

I’m reading: Not as much as usual this week. LOL

  • Lawyers in Hell edited by Janet Morris. This one is slow going.
  • Nevermore by William Hjortsberg

I’m listening to:  I don’t listen to audio books, usually. When I do, it’s always a book I have read before. I have to see the words myself to make complete sense of a text the first time. So, instead of audiobooks, I will share my iPod playlist for the week 🙂 !

This week  spent a large amount of time watching videos of slam poets, like Sarah Kay, Taylor Mali, and more in preparation for the final parts of my poetry unit.

Book finished this week: I finished Mockingjay & Ruby Holler & Of Mice and Men this week. They are very good and I will be uploading my reviews very soon.

Abandoned book: I have not let any books go this week 🙂
Scripture lesson in church: Galatians 5:14 “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” This week’s study is the fight we have while we walk this Earth between the Flesh and the Spirit.

I’m praying for: Those around me who still struggle to find Christ in their life.

Around the house: Cleaned kitchen-top to bottom. Picked up some picture frames for my new “art work.” Will post soon!

From the kitchen: Spaghetti. MiniQ is addicted to it.

Fun event of the week: Sitting by the first discussing Bruce Springsteen with someone who deserves the respect and admiration those around him show him.

A favorite quote this week:

National Poetry Month (27) – Book Spine Poetry

I stumbled across Book Spine poetry in my continued search for National Poetry Month activities.

I live in the future & here’s how it works
waste and want
In Pursuit of the Unknown

by Maria Popova from the Brain pickings

Silver dreams
Turn loose the angels
Among the hidden

from a student in Kreb’s Class

Augustus and his smile
A crooked kind of perfect
A risk worth taking
For love

by Suzanne Neumann from YALSA Hub Blogs

and…one from me:

The forgotten heroes
Blood memory
The king of torts
Public enemies
The forgotten garden
Civil war ghosts
The call of the wild
Case histories
The art of thinking
Pride and prejudice

by Angela Quiram

National Poetry Month (26) – Poem In Your Pocket Day!

Today is National Poem In Your Pocket Day!

My students and I have been playing with poetry all month long and today is a day we have been prepping for all month long. Students have been putting together displays, putting their own and other’s poetry into pocket size poems. Here are some images of the prep work and I will be adding more after my students have taken some pictures!

TQ Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2010

Good Reads Synopsis 

  Why I Read It

Had to finish the series!

Short Synopsis (no spoilers)

This is the last book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series. *sniff, sniff* Katniss and Peeta have both been “saved” from the Quarter Quell, but both are on equally harrowing journeys in a rebellion against The Capitol. Katniss has embraced her role as the Mockingjay-the symbol of the rebellion. District 13 leads the rebellion and uses Katniss as a piece of propaganda to encourage the rebels in the other districts to stay strong in the cause. Katniss doubts her role, especially when faced with the mortality of those she loves. Peeta was captured by The Capitol and is being used to convince the districts The Capitol will remain supreme. President Snow is also using Peeta to get to Katniss. He knows if he can end her reign as the Mockingjay, the rebellion will most likely fail.

  What I Liked

As an end to a great trilogy, I was expecting a lot. Maybe too much. Because in my head I knew where I wanted the story to go. It did end well, as well as a book about a dystopic society in full rebellion can end, but I feel like the rebellion/cause/effect could have been highlighted a bit more. Now, I know a book can only go so far and cover so much. And, in the end I was glad with how the story turned out.

My guess at who would win the lover’s triangle (HATE!) was accurate and for all the right reasons. The greatest character achievement for me was knowing Peeta did not allow The Capitol to change him.

“I don’t know how to say it exactly. Only…I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?” he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? “I don’t want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.”  -Peeta in the Hunger Games

Katniss, of course as the protagonist, goes through a journey of self discovery and realizes by the end that her self identity is important, but so are the influences she chooses to surround herself with. It is her journey of self discovery–her questioning every action she takes, every word she says, and every event she is a part of–that is the draw for me to this series. It is a journey we all take, especially young adolescents/adults. This book gives an internal look through such a struggle and makes it okay to question what we do and know. Question it. Test it. Become defined by what makes us the person we want to be.

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.  -Katniss Mockingjay

I read this novel for enjoyment, but as a teacher, my mind is always looking for lessons/themes/ideas to use in my classroom or even with my own daughters. Here are some valuable lessons/ideas I look forward to using in my classroom:

  • Dystopian society’s and how rebellions can change, but often are not always the “greener” side of things
  • Use of Collins’ writing style–voice–I cannot stress how hard it is to teach voice and audience to students. This book is so well written in Kat’s voice and can be used to show students how to model similar writing.

  What I Didn’t Like

For me, this book started out a bit too slowly. Considering we were in the thick of a rebellion, one would think it would be a bit more fast moving. I do think Collins chose the slow beginning to show Katniss’ internal struggles a bit more clearly, but it was almost too slow at some points. I also disliked the far inferior role Haymitch’s character took in this novel. He was such an integral part of the first two books, it almost seems a shame he plays such a smaller role in this book.

Still disliked the Love Triangle. I don’t like losers. I always feel sorry for them. Always. Even in this instance, knowing why Katniss chose who she did and that it was the best choice for her.

I also felt the series could have played on the new government and President’s Coins ulterior motives a bit more. It is clear in the end where she stood and what she wanted, but it would have been a treat to see Katniss struggle with this side of the rebellion a bit more.

  My Rating

5 stars!

My Recommendations

  • Anyone who loved The Giver
  • Dystopian novel lovers
  • Love Triangle lovers (not me 😦 )
  • YA Readers–that includes teachers!

National Poetry Month (25) – Yours was the Face

Yours was the face I had etched onto my heart.
Not a skin deep visible tattoo
But, an indelible stain upon my soul.
One meant to stand the test of time.
An enduring legacy of what we built
Shared in lasting memories.

Yours was the face I had etched onto my heart.
An image of strength and protection
Filling my soul with peace.
The safety from which I could
Begin to experience the world outside
With no fear or regret.

Yours was the face I had etched onto my heart.
Little did I know the stain
Would become a painful memory.
Seared into my heart.
Lost in my soul.

Yous was the face.

-Angela Quiram 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (6)-Favorite Characters of All Time

One of my favorite days of the week is upon us again! Tuesdays remind me the week is already well under way, there is far more to come, and The Broke and Bookish are hosting the weekly Top Ten! This week’s top ten involves the characters we love the most. So, without further ado…here are my favorite characters, in no particular order.

1. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

I have strongly identified with Alice ever since I first read her stories as a young girl. A girl lost in her world, that seems to make sense, but with one turn no longer makes sense, and having to find her way back again. I think we can all identify a bit with Alice.

2. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy is another lost soul in a real/imaginary world scenario I strongly identify with and of course Judy Garland’s immortalization of her is the image I think of first. Her desire to fit in to a world, which doesn’t seem to want her, and her tenacity at finding a way home when she realizes the grass wasn’t greener on the other side has always been a model for me.

3. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

Jean Louise Finch epitomizes what I it means to be a girl in a man’s world. Raised by the best father EVER, Scout learns early on to be tenacious, unapologetic, and inquisitive during a time when children were best “seen, but not heard.” One of my summer reads this summer is The Mockingbird Parables by Matt Litton. This book looks at the themes and characters in TKAM through faith and encourages readers to think about questions like: Do we truly love our neighbors? It was through the reading and study of this book (going back to do a better job of it this summer…lol) that I really began to look at Scout and her influence to herself and those around her and why she should be a role model for any young girl today. Resilient, tenacious, and strength are why I want to be Scout Finch!

4. Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird

As per my last entry, about Scout, Atticus Finch is the BEST FATHER EVER! His quiet, yet forceful manner. His determination to do right in the face of a society who doesn’t accept it as being right. These characteristics paint the image of a man almost anyone would want to call Daddy. He always knew what to say or, more importantly, when not to say anything at all. His courageousness in the face of a prejudicial and arrogant society shows others why it is important, even in a losing battle, to stand up for one’s convictions.

5. Odysseus from The Odyssey

Come on ladies, isn’t this the man we all dream of? The one who will fight monsters, battle natural phenomenon, and spend 20 years struggling to get back to his Penelope. I mean, really! Not only is it his determination and courage, it is his desire–the burning desire he has to be reunited with the one he loved AND the life he began. And, yes, it does help that Armand Asanti played Odysseus in my favorite film version of the Odyssey. *SIGH*

6. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series

Ah, the bad boy. Ever since I read the first Harry Potter book, I have been in love with Severus. Even before Alan Rickman played him, even though I also LOVE Alan. And as the series continued, I couldn’t help but continue to feel for him and want so badly for him to get what he wanted–the love of the unattainable girl, the life of a happy family, the sense of belonging we all desire. As a teacher, I also appreciated his sometimes harsh treatment of students, because we have all been there!

7. Stargirl from Stargirl

Ukelele. Pet rat. Singing Happy Birthday to high schoolers on their birthday. Dancing for no reason other than to dance. These are just a few of the things Stargirl does because she just is. She is who she is, makes no apologies for it, and encourages other around her to do the same. I wish we could all be at least a little bit like Stargirl. Uninhibited by the cultural norms that surround us. In tune with who we truly are and sharing it with others. And, non-judgemental enough to let those around us be who they choose to be too.

8. Kay Scarpetta from Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta series

Note: Image is of the novelist, NOT the character. However, I have always pictured Scarpetta closely resembling Patricia Cornwell. There have been rumors of a Scarpetta movie project with Angelina Jolie cast as Scarpetta and I am not sure I like that…but that’s just personal preference. So, why do I like her as a character? Kay Scarpetta has always embodied the determined, individual woman who knew what she wanted, how to get it, and how to fix it when it all went wrong. As I have continued to read the series, my desire to emulate Scarpetta as a strong, determined female has only increased. She takes no bull from anyone. She takes pride in her work and encourages those around her to espouse the same beliefs. She lives for herself, but while also caring for and nurturing those around her. Nurturing them whether they want it or not.

9. Eloise from Eloise

Who doesn’t, at some point in life, want to be the precocious, gregarious, and sometimes obnoxious Eloise? I mean, really? 🙂

10. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

Strong-willed, determined, independent, yet yearning for love. Knowing what she wants, being true to herself first, then going after what she has determined she deserves. I. Want. To. Be. Her!

Thanks for reading about my favorite characters. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has written about theirs! Make sure to head over to The Broke and the Bookish to see their list.

National Poetry Month (24) – PIYP Preparations Continue

After calling for help from fellow bloggers yesterday to come up with ideas for poems to put into pockets on Thursday, April 26th-National Poem In Your Pocket Day, I had the following suggestions:

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Try, Try, Try by T.H. Palmer

I would I might Forget I am I by George Santayana

My students have found poems on the following themes:

  • Happiness
  • Spring
  • Kansas
  • Depression
  • Jealousy
  • Anger
  • Karma

Please continue sending your ideas my way! 🙂 We want to plaster our school and community with poems from all over.

National Poetry Month (23) – Heading Towards National PIYP

In preparation for this week’s National Poem in Your Pocket (PIYP), my students and I are busily preparing poems, bulletin boards, and selves to pass out poems to our school friends and those in the community.

I am calling on you all to help…if you have a poem you would like us to share (written by you OR one of you favorites from someone else) please leave a link or the poem in the comments. Thanks!