Poetry Friday: Joyce Sidman

The day before the winter break is filled with tension.  Teachers are tired, and every possible way of exciting kids is present. There are no routines. Weather is wet and windy. It is the perfect recipe for a bit crazy.

Some kids can’t wait for the vacation, the sleeping in, the time to laze around.

But for some kids, three weeks away from the predictability of school puts them into a panic. They act out. Today that tension of being home full time walked into my room and let loose. Fear flew and ricocheted off kids who got in the way.  Before you knew it, what seemed like a day to book shop, exchange candy, and finish a read aloud, turned into something entirely different. Anger exploded out of nowhere today, kids looked stunned. They had been working on getting along. But they weren’t. That angry belligerence was a symptom of deep pain.

For many kids, school is a safe zone. Leaving is hard and scary.  They are the ones that break my heart but at the same time bring me back with more. They are the reason I’m not tired anymore. Those kids are my kids.

At the end of the day, I sat, with the cricket that chirps in the corner and opened Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows, Chants, Charms, and Blessings. I was looking for a salve for this day and found a blessing.

Blessing on the Downtrodden
Should you think we are strangers,
I will prove we are not.

Should you think you know me,
I will surprise you.

Should misfortune bind your wings,
I will fly before you to find us shelter.

Should your armor crack,
I will hold the pieces steady.

Should the crowd turn against you,
I will turn against the crowd.

Should hate mask your true face,
I will look into your eyes and read your story there.


finding true faces
infuse energy and hope
purpose reignites


Happy Poetry Friday! Thank you, Tabatha, for hosting at The Opposite of Indifference.




Poetry Friday: This is Just to Say

This is my first Poetry Friday post. It was a last minute thing that I just had to do. I’m so glad I had a place to share! Thank you for hosting Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.san

poetry friday logo

My class has only 27 days left of school, but we have all the plates spinning. These fifth graders aren’t quite ready to leave their first school. It is like home, so I’m packing in as much as possible.

Poetry writing is in full swing and in the exuberance of reading poetry, we were rather noisy while our neighbor classroom was testing. So we wrote the following first draft apology. It was inspired by This is Just to Say poetry anthology by Joyce Sidman inspired by the William Carlos Williams poem.

To Mrs. Miller’s Class:

This is Just to Say

We have been too
while you were testing

and which 
you probably wanted 
for thinking

Forgive us
it was NOISY
so fun
and so naughty

I am here to report room 5 LOVES this. Yesterday they all went off to write their own poems of apology.

A to C, “I’m writing this to Mr. Wright, because I was too loud in the dorms at Cataline.”

M to N, “This is to my mom for eating the chocolate cake.”

N to M, “I’m writing about my messy room.”

And it went on.

This is just to say that this lesson was also inspired by TCRWP’s “What if Curriculum” in the 5th Grade Writing Units of Study. A wonderful little addition to the other main works on Argument, Narrative and Informational writing. So through and so wonderful.

And why is it that I just want to keep going with my kiddos. Looking back it seems I always feel that I finally “get” them, by about this time every year, thinking — now we could really make some great progress. But they go, to someone else.

To My Class:

This is Just to Say

I have enjoyed
every moment 
learning together

I know there is 
more to do
I see that spot 
that I still want to shine

Forgive me
it is nearly done
so much 
and so quick


I’m going to miss them.