Experiencing Poems

Hello Bloggerclass,

The time has arrived to experience, read and write poems, and I hope that you will be as pleased as I am! And yes, April is Poetry Month. Let’s begin with “Introduction to Poetry” by the contemporary American poet, Billy Collins. This piece can help us to begin thinking about what poetry is.

Please comment on the following:
a) What words/phrases jump out at you? What impressions do these words create?
b) What do you think the author is saying about poetry?

Here it is. I’m eager to share thoughts!

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

—Billy Collins

Welcome to Division 1! (and a little bit about me)

Welcome! (This image is labelled for reuse from Google images.)

I am so looking forward to getting to know you all and to begin our learning journey together! This is my 9th year at Emily Carr School. I just figured out that this means that the first class of grade 7’s I taught at this school are now beginning their 4th year of university (if that is their chosen path). Amazing, how it all goes so quickly!

I’m equally amazed at how learning at school can make us more deeply aware of the world around us, change our world views, and gain new and more complex skills. I look forward to your asking many questions, and our making new discoveries together!

Thinking about learning
The process of learning, or how we learn, is something that deeply interests me, and I invite you to reflect on your own learning process. For example, do you like to learn in a group, or do you like to work quietly by yourself? What topics are you interested in? Do you prefer learning from a book, having a discussion, going on a field trip or watching a video? Do you pick up new ideas quickly, or do you need time for new ideas to sink in? These are just some of the things we’ll be thinking about this year.

What I like to do
On a more personal note, I love spending time in the natural world. I’ve just spent a wonderful summer on Galiano Island, watching the ravens and listening to the wide range of unlikely and surprising sounds they make. Swimming in the cold ocean, experimenting with new recipes and sharing food with friends on our shady deck are some of the other activities I enjoy there. I love to hang out outside in the evening, and only go indoors when it’s much too dark to see who you are talking to. What do you like to do in the summer?

What I read last summer
Reading is something else that I deeply value. This summer, I read a couple of literary classics, about the lives of women set in the early 20th century. Historical fiction transports me to a world that no longer exists, kind of like time travel! Another engrossing book I recently read is “Elephant Company,” by Vicki Croke. It is an actual historical account (not fiction) about Billy Williams, a British man who lived and worked with elephants in Burma (now Myanmar) after World War 1. The personalities, habits and intelligences of elephants are fascinating to me. They are such incredible and lovable creatures!

The YA novels I read this summer include “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, and “We Are All Made of Molecules” by Susin Nielson. Both of these novels have a male protagonist, around 13 years old, and are told with a strong sense of humour. If you’re interested in checking them out, they are both in the Carr library in the ‘mature reads’ section.

Leave a comment!
And speaking of reading, we’ll be doing lots of it this school year, and also spending lots of time talking about our reading. So now I turn it over to you. Add a comment to this blog, and let us know what favourite books you read this summer.

Again, welcome to Division 1. I’m looking forward to a great year!

Ms. Angel