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Elementary School

Coming Soon

The WordPlay blog is on winter holiday. Please check back in January 2011 for more great interviews and articles about bringing creative writing into your classroom, home, and community. In the meantime, here's what's upcoming for youth at the UA Poetry Center in the Spring. Mark your calendars.

Poetry Joeys: January 29, February 26, March 19.

Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals: March 3 at 8 p.m.

Bilingual Corrido Contest Concert featuring 2011 winners: April 16

Young at Art Fest: April 30

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chew On This: Nonsense Stories from Poetry Joeys

Poetry Joeys at the Poetry Center

A few collaborative stories written by Poetry Joeys participants ages 4-6 on December 4th. Children were encouraged to make up their own words and create movements for them. Our next Poetry Joeys will be January 29th at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!

Once upon a time there was a snoofjay.  He had curly horns and a zebra face, feathers on his head, a lizard chameleon body, and yellow beak.  The snoofjay nacks and snoofs.  At night he dumbers to his snookie.  In the morning he goes to bed.  He has to watch out for the Rhino and the maneless lion.  When the Snoofjay sees people, he says "Zucker.  Zacky."  Then he blows bees and grooks out of his nose.

A long time ago in Neek, eufs and geeks were having a battle.  The eufs wanted freedom, and the geeks wanted juice.  All day long the eufs snooked and all night the geeks fracked.  One day Fweak, the prince of mashed potatoes came riding on his Queaky.  When Fweak arrived he shlushed and he slooped.  The eufs gacked and gracked while the geeks boofed and ookied.  Fweak jumped off his Queaky, raised up his snond, and said, "Quackakeeky!"  The eufs choofed to the city.  The geeks went to San Diego.  And the Prince of Mashed Potatoes wackanacked home. 

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Big Sky Lessons

by Elizabeth Maria FalcónCotton

Kimi Eisele's blog, "Big Sky Lessons: Reflections from a traveling teaching artist in rural Arizona" is a fantastic site for teaching inspiration. A recent blog post, "Lessons in Softness" reflects on a teaching experience she had near Safford on the San Carlos Apache reservation. Students had been asked to write an animal fable in one week, and Kimi was there to guide them through the writing process. She discusses the struggle she experienced between getting students to write and allowing students to discover what they have to say through creative movement and play.

Here is an excerpt from her blog post from one of the class periods where they explored animals through creative movement:

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Heroines

Two heroine stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Heroine
by Emberly

I Dr. Savdenarow have a story to tell you, a story that is beyond a story, to be worth telling. Some people that watch cow documentaries know about me but not many. I save cows and buffalo. Some of my favorite cows and buffalo are Gopi and Ayapahsah. Well one day I decided to take a trip to Ghana. I'd heard of a new ibex hunter named Jospeh Demelo. When I arrived I started off to a national park where many ibex were and lured about three packs with my wheat. I traveled back the next day with my ibex for soon I'd be going back.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Kitchen Stories

Three stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Bag of Flour
by Liam M.

Once upon a time there was a bag of flour named Bob. His friends are Joe the Blender and Peter the Spoon. All of them live with a cranky grandma and a weird grandpa. They come alive at midnight. The cranky grandma and the weird grandpa don't know their utensils come alive! Bob really wants to go to China.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Ballistics and Other Resources for Bringing Billy Collins to Students

by Julie SwarstadBallistics by Billy Collins

Born in 1941, Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003.  He has published eight collections of poetry, including Sailing Alone Around the Room (Random House 2001), The Trouble with Poetry (Random House 2005), and most recently Ballistics (Random House 2008).  Collins is the recipient of numerous awards including Poetry's 1994 Poet of the Year Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.  He is currently a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College at the City University of New York.

Collins will be reading for the UA Poetry Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus on Sunday, November 7th at 3 p.m.  Tickets are available through UA Presents.

Billy Collins has been called "America's Most Popular Poet" by Time Magazine, reflecting the enormous appeal his work has for a variety of audiences.  Ballistics, his latest collection, is a great choice for introducing students to this former Poet Laureate's work. 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Knife and Spoon Best Friends

A story from this fall's first Poetry Joeys.

Photo Credit: Cybele KnowlesThere once was two magical best friends who were a knife and a spoon.  The knife was green and the spoon was pink.  They were the bestest friends in the kitchen.  The spoon was a girl and the knife was a boy. 

They loved each other so much that one day the spoon decided to go to Antarctica.  They took the flying pan to go there.  When they got there, they got off and wandered around.  Then suddenly, the knife said, "This looks like a pile of white icing!  Let's eat!"  The knife dumped himself in the snow and gobbled up a hole all the way to China.  The spoon followed him.  When they reached there, they saw that the flying pan was waiting.  "Let's go!" said the spoon.  The knife and the spoon got on the flying pan and they flew back to the kitchen.  "We had one awesome adventure!" they said together, "I hope we have another!"

Carmina is a 3rd Grader at Khalsa Montessori School.  She is a three-time Poetry Joeys veteran.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Poetry Birds

by Joni WallacePoetry Birds 4

Joni Wallace's poetry collection Blinking Ephemeral Valentine was selected by Mary Jo Bang for the 2009 Levis Prize and is forthcoming from Four Way Books (March, 2011). Her poems have been published in Boston Review, Barrow Street, Blue Mesa Review, Conduit, Cutbank, Forklift, Ohio, Laurel Review and have been featured in Connotations Press, An Online Artifact. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana. Joni is also a musician and co-founder, with poet Ann Dernier, of Poets' Studio.

"These are the poetry birds, Mom," says my beaming five-year-old, presenting me with her drawing. "And...they are famous."  For the last two years these birds have graced the wall in the room where I write. If they had a song, it would be  "attention, pay attention."  And they remind of something Dean Young wrote of poets: we are trying to make birds, not birdhouses.  This same "birdness" is what Richard Shelton calls "claritas:" those moments of clairvoyant transcendence that come through poems when poems work.  

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Street Rhyme Rhythm

by Sarah Kortemeier

Sarah KortemeierSarah Kortemeier is a teaching artist and is completing her MFA at the University of Arizona. She also teaches undergraduate poetry and composition courses at the U of A.

The Poetry Center's first fall Poetry Joeys is happening this Saturday, Sept. 25th at 10:00 a.m.

When I taught Poetry Joeys for the 7-9 age group this spring at the Poetry Center, I had the pleasure of working with a class of very energetic and intellectually curious children.  During our first lesson, one boy asked me if I knew what a chimera was: clearly, this was a group of kids who loved words.  I saw immediately that many of the students were deeply attracted to learning the sense of new words; by the acquisition and use of complex vocabulary, they were attempting to achieve a more diverse, complicated, and sophisticated view of the world.  

Needless to say, this class was a blast to teach.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Discovering "Worlds of Words" at UA's College of Education

When I set out to find the Worlds of Words collection, I knew little beyond that it was located in the basement of the Education Building.  After a few unsuccessful attempts in various stairwells, I opened a door and knew I had found the right place.  The walls of the stairwell were covered in posters promoting literacy with bright, colorful illustrations all pulling me forward into an incredible collection of children's books.

The most immediately striking thing about WOW is the sheer number of books they house.  There are books everywhere, filling shelves in four rooms, covering tables, sometimes even stacked on top of each other on the shelves in sections where there wasn't quite enough space.  This impressive collection is housed in a series of interconnected classrooms which have been converted into a library space with tables and chairs scattered throughout.  The lighting is slightly dim and the atmosphere cool and quiet, a perfect respite from the world above.

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Friday, August 27, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents