The Blog of Henry David Thoreau

If Henry Thoreau had blogged, it might have looked like this:

The Blog of Henry David Thoreau  http://blogthoreau.blogspot.com/

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Henry David Thoreau’s journals were about as close to blogging as anything could have been in his time. Blogger Greg Perry has been selecting portions of Thoreau’s journals, and posting them on the day of the year they were written, but from various years. He expects to do this until an entire year has been posted.

Greg’s blog is also a great site for browsing all things “Thoreau.”

Teachers—a rather cool idea–engage your students into imagining what other characters in history–not necessarily writers, naturalists, or journalists–might have “blogged” in their day and time. Brings a whole new perspective into engagement with historical characters, and blogging as a medium of expression.

Fascinating!

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Take a….Journey North into all of the signs of the coming of Spring!

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration and Seasonal Change

Journey North engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students (AND, the general public— backyard, etc. observers–may also participate!) share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events.

Visit the site and find migration maps, images, standards-based lesson plans, activities and information to help students (and YOU) make local observations and fit them into a global context. Widely considered a best-practices model for education, Journey North is the nation’s premiere citizen science project for children.

As always—Simply the BEST from Annenberg Learner!!

Observing the day…thank you (again) Georgia

Teachers, All…
I posted this as a writer’s notebook suggestion awhile back (under wnb page), but can’t resist the urge to post here, as well. So many years ago when I attended my summer institute of the National Writing Project at Sunbelt Writing Project, Auburn University, I was introduced to the essays of Georgia Heard. One essay…Ten Observations a Day–has literally changed my daily and writing life. Such a simple concept–notice the world you are walking around in. Since that summer of ’99, I have become more wide awake as I go along through my days. Often my noticings end up in my sketchbooks (as in my bird on a limb haiku post yesterday morning)–other times they end up in writer’s notebook pages–sometimes they end up here on this blog; other times they do nothing more than tune me in to me and my reactions to what I see, hear, think, and feel about my day. I love photography, so my HaikuNorth blog is devoted to observations that result in snapshots and tiny words.

If you teach—I encourage you to suggest this to your students, especially if they keep writer’s notebooks and/or sketchbooks. Notice ten things today–intentionally, and see what comes of it–a poem, a narrative, a visual sketch, a musical sketch? A camera shot?

My visual and written notebook observations, and my HaikuNorth blog, are breadcrumbs into past paths and days, whether remarkable or mundane–they shaped and continue to shape me. Learning to look, notice, wonder simply makes life richer.

(“Ten Observations a Day”–an essay by Georgia Heard, from Writing toward home: Tales and lessons to find your way)

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The language of cranes….

I was delighted to find this poem in my email delivery today about the sandhill crane. Many years ago I was lucky enough to come across several sandhills as I drove a rural road in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a foggy summer morning.  Later that day I sketched and wrote of the experience in one of my notebooks. Here’s the poem presented today in American Life in Poetry, and my sketchbook entry…

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reprinted from….American Life in Poetry: Column 421
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

This column originates in Nebraska, and our office is about two hours’ drive from that stretch of the Platte River where thousands of sandhill cranes stop for a few weeks each year. Linda Hogan, one of our most respected Native writers and Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation, perfectly captures their magic and mystery in this fine poem.

The Sandhills

The language of cranes
we once were told
is the wind. The wind
is their method,
their current, the translated story
of life they write across the sky.
Millions of years
they have blown here
on ancestral longing,
their wings of wide arrival,
necks long, legs stretched out
above strands of earth
where they arrive
with the shine of water,
stories, interminable
language of exchanges
descended from the sky
and then they stand,
earth made only of crane
from bank to bank of the river
as far as you can see
the ancient story made new

To This Day…a vimeo project on the lasting impact of bullying

To This Day is a project based on a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan (shanekoyczan.com) called “To This Day”, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.

Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice.
This collaborative volunteer effort demonstrates what a community of caring individuals are capable of when they come together.

Shared through Creative Commons License

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I’ve had so many random conversations lately with students, colleagues and even neighbors about bullying. Finding this vimeo project adds to the conversation. Please watch, and share. The project has ended, but the message, not.

For further information on bullying, please visit ………….. bullying.org.

Kudos to Poetry Out Loud!

I know I have posted on this fabulous website in the past, but need to give a LOUD shout out to The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud website, which has won the distinction of honoree for this year’s Webby Awards.  Yay!!!!!

Teachers–if you haven’t visited Poetry Out Loud, I really encourage you to do so. It’s a national site for recitation of poetry. While there, if you click on the Teacher Resources link you will find detailed instructions for engaging your students in the preparation for recitation of poems. There is so much there! Poems to browse, lesson plans…and the website is a tribute to all that is just refreshing and good about our hard-working students today. The opportunities for you to inspire and motivate your students into perhaps a lifelong love of poetry are endless. Not to mention the inspiration you will receive as you browse the entire site.

Hope you go and see for yourself!

Cheers!

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Playing to the waters…

Found this poem from American Life in Poetry in my email update and it provided me a wonderful memory recall.

When I lived in Alabama, the Shakespeare Theater was just down the road with beautiful grounds for walking. I often took long morning walks and when lucky came upon a local piper practicing his bagpipes. He piped near one of the beautiful ponds, facing the water from a sloping grassy hill. His music was a gift, the notes mingling with the sultry scents of spring and summer blooms. This poem reminds me of him—playing to the waters.

Poetry connects us to our lives and the unexpected connections are gifts.

From American Life in Poetry…foreword by Ted Kooser, former poet laureate of the United States

There’s something wonderful about happening upon a musician playing for his or her own pleasure, completely absorbed in the music. Jeff Daniel Marion is a fine poet from east Tennessee. And here’s a woman playing the bagpipes.

Playing to the River

She stands by the riverbank,
notes from her bagpipes lapping
across to us as we wait

for the traffic light to change.
She does not know we hear—
she is playing to the river,

a song for the water, the flow
of an unknown melody to the rocky
bluffs beyond, for the mist

that was this morning, shroud
of past lives: fishermen
and riverboat gamblers, tugboat captains

and log raftsmen, pioneer and native
slipping through the eddies of time.
She plays for them all, both dirge

and surging hymn, for what has passed
and is passing as we slip
into the currents of traffic,
the changed light bearing us away.