Thursday, August 15, 2019

Classroom Connections with Gayle Krause (Giveaway!)



"I believe in once-upon-a-time, I believe in happily ever after."
– Lee Bennett Hopkins, from "Storyteller (For Augusta Baker)"


In his poem "Storyteller (For Augusta Baker)" from Jumping Off Library Shelves (WordSong, 2015), Lee Bennett Hopkins writes about the powerful impact stories can have on a child's life. Whether read at home, in the classroom, or at library storytime, a good fairy tale can engage girls and boys like nothing else! Needless to say, I think Lee would approve of the poetry collection being featured in today's Classroom Connections post—Once Upon a Twisted Tale, by Gayle C. Krause.

I first "met" Gayle in 2013 when I was a newbie blogger making the Poetry Friday rounds. I remember my delight at winning a gift card for a poem I submitted to her blog The Storyteller's Scroll during National Poetry Month. Since then, her work has made a few appearances on Today's Little Ditty and in The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-2015, as well!

Read on to find out more about Gayle and how her madcap collection of fractured fairy tales can be used to liven up any elementary school classroom.


TODAY'S READ

Once Upon a Twisted Tale

Gayle C. Krause, Author
Caroline O'Neal, Illustrator

Clear Fork/Spork (June 18, 2019)
ISBN: 978-1950169047

For grades 1-4

Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at Barnes & Noble
Purchase via Indiebound.org





SYNOPSIS

By the middle grades, children know the storylines of familiar fairy tales, which makes them all the funnier when they veer off in different directions. Good "fractured fairy tales" twist the child reader’s perspective on the story, showing other possibilities. From a frog, who thinks he’s Sleeping Beauty, to a cool-rappin’ fairy godmother who sends Cinderella to a Hip-Hop Ball, to a boy who waits beneath a stone bridge to fool trolls, Once Upon a Twisted Tale is a rollicking, rhyme-filled poetry collection that can be read for sheer amusement or used in a classroom to compare original tales to the twisted tales as per Language Arts requirements.


A PEEK INSIDE

ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE

You've all heard of fairy tales,
that take place in enchanted dales,

or castles on a mountain, high,
or beanstalks climbing to the sky.

But in this book they are unique.
Just turn the page and take a peek.

These characters, right or wrong—
in stories where they don't belong.

A Frog Prince and a cinder maid.
An ogress with a lice-filled braid.

A Hip-Hop Princess at a ball,
Beast's magic mirror on a wall.

A wicked queen in snow-white mist.
Stories of the wrong one kissed.

A cookie charging through the wood,
eaten by Red Riding Hood.

Sleeping princess. Clever elf.
This book won't stay upon your shelf. 

You'll want to read one hundred times
these mixed up stories, told in rhymes.

Giant, witch, and nightingale
in "Once Upon a Twisted Tale."

 Text © 2019 Gayle C. Krause, ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, all rights reserved. 



Illustrations © 2019 Caroline O'Neal, ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, all rights reserved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Gayle C. Krause writes rhyming picture books, and historical fiction and fantasy novels for middle grade and young adults. Raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest girl on the block, she led the younger kids in creative dramatics, wilderness expeditions through fields, and fossil hunting in the shale piles left from the heyday of mining. Those early interactions led her to a career teaching preschoolers, young adults, and, as a Master Educator, prospective elementary teachers and early childhood educators at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Gayle is most comfortable in front of students, be they four years old or forty, and loves to teach children’s literature and enhance literacy skills in young readers.


CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS

Why is bringing poetry into the classroom important?

1. TO BUILD READING, SPEAKING AND LISTENING SKILLS

Children hear the rhythms and rhyme present in poems and reading fluency develops as poems are practiced and repeatedly read. Reading comprehension also results through discussions about meaning, connecting, and visualizing.
The princess acted cranky.
She hadn’t slept a wink.
She felt like she’d been sleeping
in the castle’s kitchen sink.

2. EXPLORE LANGUAGE AND VOCABULARY

Poetry often contains words that rhyme for effect. Children can learn about phonics and letter sounds by listening for and locating rhyming words. Poetry builds vocabulary.
Be ye troll or be ye trow;
tell me what you do not know.
I have a question known to none.
The answer? There is only one.
Do not look shocked at my request.
I’m quite sincere. I do not jest.

3. INSPIRE WRITING

When teachers break down poems, children learn how to follow a pattern and put words in a certain order. The simple patterns found in some poems are fun to follow and great places for children to start learning to write. Writing poetry is a transferable writing skill.
She'd fallen asleep in her cradle of ice
when a blundering prince woke her up in a trice.

Her eyes flashed open. She narrowed her sight.
She gave the prince a terrible fright.

"Excuse me, my Queen. It seems I now know,
in my confusion I've found the wrong Snow. 

4. ENCOURAGE CREATIVE THINKING

Poetry can have a positive impact on the social and emotional learning of children.
Don’t cry.                          Sister,
I’m here.                           I’ll protect you.
We’ll find the path          as we go home
together,                           hand in hand—

5. BUILD A LOVE FOR READING

Children have a natural curiosity to foster and encourage with poetry. It creates enchantment and wonder in a child’s mind. (especially if it deals with fantasy/fairytales as the subject matter.)
In this book it’s been told
of princes so bold
and maidens who hope and wait.
Of creatures who spy,
and spells gone awry,
now, you question their fairytale fate

How might your book be incorporated into an educational curriculum?

As a child, I loved fairytales. My favorite was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I even owned a version in a Children’s Classics comic book. As a Master Educator, I taught Children’s Literature to prospective teachers at the secondary and post-secondary levels and encouraged my students to tell little-known fairytales through creative dramatics. As a children’s author, I love rhyme and the challenge of finding unique words that can be used alliteratively, while keeping a strong meter, and telling a story with no forced word, no reverse phrases, and a clever ending.

So, it wasn’t a far stretch to take the challenge of rhyming and my love of fairytales and weave them together in various poetry forms to write Once Upon a Twisted Tale. As a former teacher, I believe that this book is a treasure trove for the elementary classroom. It features a variety of poetry techniques such as: loop poetry, cleave poetry, Ghazal, haiku, couplet, and pantoum. I’ve developed a curriculum guide to accompany it, for those teachers who are interested. Contact me at info@GayleCKrause.com.

Can you suggest a specific classroom exercise related to your book?

1. Pre-reading exercises:
  • What can the child decipher from the cover? 
  • What do the colors and images suggest?
  • Where will this story take place? 
  • How many characters do you see?

2. While marketed for middle-grade children, preschool children are enamored with Caroline O’Neal’s whimsical watercolor illustrations. One three-year-old I met at a book signing loves to reread the book and make up fantastic stories for her mother through the illustrations.

© 2019 Caroline O'Neal, ONCE UPON A TWISTED TALE, all rights reserved.


What is a simple, practical tip for teachers when it comes to incorporating poetry in the classroom?

I’d suggest playing RHYME DETECTIVES.
  1. Read a rhyming picture book or a poem to the class.
  2. Have students clap when they hear a rhyming word.
  3. Stop reading and print the rhyming pair on index cards.
  4. Make a rhyme word pile.
  5. When the story or poem is finished, have student volunteers rediscover the rhyming word pairs.
  6. Have students create another rhyming pair from their words, making four.
  7. Print the full list of rhyming words for the class.
  8. Students can use these words to create an original poem.

Can you recount a specific instance of when poetry impacted a student or group of students in a positive way?

Just recently, as a guest speaker in an Early Childhood Education college class, I introduced the prospective teachers to Once Upon a Twisted Tale and offered them a simple exercise where they chose bits of colored paper from 3 different bags. One listed a fairytale character. The second offered an action. And the third offered a different fairytale character. 

I gave them time to create an “original fractured fairytale” and one of the students wrote a full rhyming text. I’m sure she will use that exercise in her own classroom.


CONNECT WITH GAYLE C. KRAUSE

Website: http://www.gayleckrause.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorGayleCKrause/
Twitter: @GeeCeeK
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/gayle_c_krause/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krausehousebook/


Look for Gayle's other rhyming picture book out this year, Daddy, Can You See the Moon? (Clear Fork/Spork, April 2019).












Please join me in thanking Gayle for participating in our Classroom Connections series and for offering a signed copy of Once Upon a Twisted Tale, plus the accompanying curriculum guide, to one lucky Today's Little Ditty reader! (US addresses only.)

To enter, leave a comment below or send an email with the subject "Twisted Tale" to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com by Tuesday, August 20th. In your comment, Gayle would love to hear your thoughts about the sampling of poems featured in this blog:
Tell me who the main fairytale character is and who you would like to see him/her paired with for a funny, rhyming redux. Maybe we can even come up with enough for a Twisted Tales, Volume II.
The winner will be selected randomly and announced next Friday, August 23rd.



Our padlet collection of song-lyric based poems has grown this week with new additions from Dianne Moritz, Madeleine Kuderick, Sydney O'Neill, Margaret Simon, and Mindy Gars Dolandis. I may even be getting better at guessing the songs... unless you guys are deliberately going easy on me! I haven't "officially" guessed more than a couple on the padlet, because I would love for others to play along too.



Today's Poetry Friday roundup at Wondering and Wandering includes a wonderful assortment of poems inspired by trees. While I had something else scheduled for today, if you're looking for more trees, I invite you to peruse our June 2015 wrap-up celebration of TREEHOUSE poems. Many thanks to Christie Wyman for hosting this week's roundup!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

DMC: "Let memories light our darkest hours" by Madeleine Kuderick




Let memories light our darkest hours –

with angel’s wings
and purple flowers,
pages singing
Mary’s Song,
children’s voices
poet strong,
words of wisdom,
Dear Ones,
sonnet, free verse,
rhyming runs,
music, stage,
serenades,
records, honors,
accolades,
celebration,
laughter, cheers,
enduring love
fifty years.


Then in these times of trouble,
all the broken-hearted,
we will see,
the answer
is the memory
of Dear Lee.


© 2019 Madeleine Kuderick. All rights reserved.


TLD reader Jesse Anna Bornemann has challenged us to write a poem inspired by song lyrics this month. Click HERE for full instructions, and to post your poem for the challenge. Can you guess which songs inspired the other poems on the padlet?

While some contributions may be featured as daily ditties, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, August 30th.



Thursday, August 8, 2019

All You Need Is...


Christiaan Triebert

This has been a difficult week—two mass shootings to begin with, followed by the loss of Toni Morrison, and today, the heart crushing news that Lee Bennett Hopkins passed away. I had already written this post before hearing about Toni Morrison or Lee, both of whom deserve more than a passing mention. While I'm not going to revise my words now, I did want to say what a devastating loss Lee's passing, especially, will be to the children's poetry community. 

The sky will be filled many times over with our tears, Dear One, 
but you will live on in our hearts and our poems.

With Lee at his induction to The Florida Artists Hall of Fame, 2017

As I pondered Jesse Anna Bornemann's new DMC challenge this week:
Pick a Beatles song (or, if you're not a Beatles fan, a song by your favorite band), write down as many words from the song as you can, then compose a poem that uses at least three words from your list. Don't tell us the song that inspired your poem—see if we can guess!   (Read her entire spotlight interview HERE.)
I realized that guessing the songs that inspired these poems is not going to be easy!

Granted, I'm not very good at guessing games anyway, but as I examined the three poems on the padlet right now, I was reminded of just how many Beatles songs there are to choose from. (Duh!) Angelique Pacheco appears to have pulled from a few different songs, Linda Baie's poem... beautiful, but I have no idea what song it sprung from. I did figure out Linda Mitchell's, but only because I cheated and typed her selected words into a Google search bar! (I'm not going to tell you which one so you can have a chance to figure it out on your own.)

To help you choose a song for your poem, here are two libraries of Beatles song lyrics organized alphabetically or by album.

So what did I do this week? I didn't write a poem for this month's challenge. I did, however, play with lyrics and photographs as a form of poetry therapy. So much chaos in the world! So little compassion! Too much violence! Every so often I need to take time to regroup and allow my muse to process it all. The Beatles are a wonderful go-to for offering perspective and rekindling hope.

Here's the poem I found pairing photos and lines from "Eleanor Rigby," "Fixing a Hole," "Blackbird," "Hey Jude," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Imagine," and "The End."


All the lonely people

Krocky Meshkin

fixing a hole


singing in the dead of night—

Keith Trice

"take a sad song and make it better"

Michelle B.

"take these broken wings and learn to fly."

Kevin Conor Keller

Gonna try with a little help from my friends.

CasparGirl

With every mistake we must surely be learning!

Sarah Horrigan

You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one—

Stefano Cieri

in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
 
Matthias Ripp



 And to send you on your way, some straight-up Beatles therapy:




Molly Hogan shares two beautiful poems about being "Lost in the Milky Way" and a short poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins that also fits the mood of the day well. Join her at Nix the comfort zone for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Reader Spotlight: Jesse Anna Bornemann + DMC Challenge


JESSE ANNA BORNEMANN

Jesse Anna Bornemann is a freelance grant writer who battles character limits on funding applications. She's proud to work for clients who strive to make the world a better place, including an animal welfare nonprofit in Florida, a collaborative workspace for musicians in Boston, and an interfaith outreach organization in Tennessee, among others. She is also the mom of a 4-year-old, so parenting occupies most of her non-freelance hours. Jesse is passionate about raising a kind, open-minded boy, and happily shares that responsibility with her pediatric nurse practitioner husband. Together they take big pleasure in small victories, like watching their son figure out that in tee ball it’s best to run to first base first!

In her spare time, Jesse enjoys recalling memories from childhood and turning them into poems. She also enjoys using wordplay. Having grown up on a steady diet of her parents' and grandparents' show tune albums, Cole Porter—a master at toying with language—always makes her want to sit down and write. You can get a taste of Jesse's writing by reading her featured poetry at Today’s Little Ditty (HERE). Jesse’s also fairly obsessed with podcasts. She's never missed an episode of This American Life—she's even attended a few live presentations. Other favorite podcasts include The Moth, Crimetown, Radiolab, and The Longest Shortest Time. And something “embarrassing” (her word, not mine): she enjoys an enduring infatuation with the reality TV show Survivor. She’s seen every single season with the exception of the first one—over 20 years of viewing! Jesse even considered applying for the show when she was in her early 20s, but decided she was too introverted and not nearly athletic enough.

So apparently surviving reality television is not her superpower. Too bad! A superpower she wishes she had, however, is listening to music with lyrics while writing at the same time. She loves her classic hit playlists, but can't write while The Beatles are telling her all about Eleanor Rigby, or Justin Timberlake is asking her to cry him a river. She can, however, recommend that everyone should read the young adult novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

I hope U will give plenty of love to Jesse Anna Bornemann—our reader spotlight for August.


Jesse's five favorites:

Favorite food:
My mom's vegetarian meatloaf (the world's tastiest oxymoron!)

Favorite music:
I've really rekindled my appreciation of Raffi recently. The song "Like Me and You" always makes me choke up a little.

Favorite vacation spot:
Destin, Florida, jokingly referred to by my fellow Southerners as the Redneck Riviera.

Courtesy Jesse Anna Bornemann

Favorite poet:
Can I pick three? Jack Prelutsky, Marilyn Singer, Kenn Nesbitt.

Favorite quote:
"If called by a panther, don't anther." –Ogden Nash


What is poetry?
Poetry is linguistic matchmaking.

Why do you write?
Most of my poetry is humorous, and I write because I like feeling amused! I also crave the challenge of coming up with a witty rhyme. It's like playing matchmaker for words. I love the feeling of: "Wow, those rhyming words were made for each other!"

How did you come to poetry?
I'm pretty sure my early love of musicals led me to play around with rhymes. I started writing rhyming poems when I was in elementary school. In fifth grade, I actually entered a rap contest at my school. I figured, rap is basically rhythmic, rhyming poetry. Ah, the blind confidence of youth! All of the raps were supposed to center around Black History Month. I remember rhyming "Shirley Chisholm" with "more famous people than I can list 'em." To no one's surprise, I didn't win...but my PE teacher liked my poem so much that she awarded me a Michael Jackson cassette as an honorable mention.

Who or what influences your writing most?

Budding poet Jesse and her stepfather ("Dad")
on her first day of 5th grade.
My biological dad died of cancer before I was born, but I've learned that he was a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan. My parents' wedding invitation included a line from The Pirates of Penzance about "indulging in the felicity of unbounded domesticity." I genuinely believe that some of my affinity for rhyming is genetic.

My stepfather (whom I called "Dad") was a writer, though not a poet—he was the editor of a newspaper for years, and he wrote short stories when he retired. (He passed away in 2016.) Throughout my childhood, he taped writing tips to my bedroom door. He also delighted in puns and wordplay. Long after I became an adult, when Dad came across a particularly clever pun, he'd type it out and mail it to me. I guess both "nature" and "nurture" have influenced my writing.


When you’re feeling stuck, what gets your creativity flowing?
I keep a giant stack of children's poetry collections on my desk, and when I'm feeling stuck, I'll cherry-pick poems to read. General wisdom says that in order to be a great writer, you have to be a great reader. I think my creativity depends on reading as much kids' poetry as I can.

I belong to a very small writing group—it's just me and a friend, who also writes children's poetry. Getting together with my friend, and trying out a few writing prompts, always gets my creative juices flowing. (To be honest, we also spend a lot of time chatting about our kids.)

Do you have any recent or forthcoming books or projects you’d like to mention?
I have poems slated for publication in Highlights for Children and Spider magazine. I've never attempted to write a book, but my writing-group friend and I recently came up with an idea for a poetry collection. So, stay tuned?

Finally, what have you chosen as this month's ditty challenge?

Write a poem inspired by song lyrics.

My poem that's forthcoming in Spider magazine was inspired by a quirky sort of prompt: I opened a Beatles playlist on my phone, shuffled it, and challenged myself to write a poem using at least three words from the first song that popped up. It might be fun for others to do this too! Pick a Beatles song (or, if you're not a Beatles fan, a song by your favorite band), write down as many words from the song as you can, then compose a poem that uses at least three words from your list. Don't tell us the song that inspired your poem—see if we can guess!


Oh my. I can't wait to read this month's playlist of poems! Per Jesse's request, I have turned on the comments function of the padlet so you can guess the song that each poem was inspired by. What fun!

You'll find the padlet embedded below. Add your poem(s) at any point during the month, or scroll through to check out what others are contributing.


HOW TO PARTICIPATE

By posting on the padlet, you are also granting me permission to feature your poem on Today's Little Ditty.  I'm not sure how often I'll be featuring poems from reader challenges, but I want to keep my options open. :)

If you have not participated in a challenge before, please send me an email at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can contact you, if necessary.

HOW TO POST YOUR POEM
In the lower right corner of the padlet you'll see a pink dot with a plus sign. Click on it to open a text box. I find it works best to type your title on the title line and paste the rest of your poem where it says "Write something...". Single click outside the text box when finished. This board is moderated to prevent spam. Once your poem is approved, it will appear publicly.

PROTECT YOUR COPYRIGHT
Remember to include your name as author of any work that you post!

TEACHERS, it's great when students get involved! Ditty of the Month Club challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn about working poets and authors while having fun with poetry prompts. Thank you for spreading the word! For children under 13, please read my COPPA compliance statement in the sidebar to the right.

BLOGGERS, thank you for publishing your poems on your own blogs–I love that! Please let me know about it so I can share your post. Also remember to include your poem (or a direct link to your post) on the padlet.

If you prefer to open this padlet in a new tab, click HERE.

Made with Padlet


I am so grateful that Jesse is part of the Today's Little Ditty community. She is kind, caring, clever, funny as all get out, and emits such a positive light into the world of children's poetry and beyond. Please join me in thanking her for being with us today!

If you would like to be featured in a future reader spotlight, I invite you to complete this form.



There were a couple of late additions to Linda Mitchell's "found haiku" challenge last month. You'll find the entire collection HERE. Feel free to continue adding to it if you'd like.

At my juicy little universe, Heidi Mordhorst introduces another new poetry form (new to me anyway) called the "definito." Find out more about it, read some wonderful examples, and check out the other links in this week's Poetry Friday roundup.