Friday, April 18, 2014

Poetry Friday: A Is For Awesome

Today Poetry Friday is hosted by children's author and poet, Robyn Hood Black. Thank Robyn for sharing all the great Poetry Friday posts! Be sure to check on over at Robyn's blog for other terrific poetry posts!

Title: A Is For Awesome 
Author: Dallas Clayton 
Illustrator: Dallas Clayton 
Publisher: Candlewick 
Publication Date: March, 11th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Inspirational artist Dallas Clayton infuses his trademark whimsical art and positive message into an absolutely awesome alphabet book.

Alliterative and rhyming words of wisdom surrounded by all new art fill this energetic alphabet book by Dallas Clayton. Bursting with color and life, each spread offers a rhythmic phrase and an abundance of artwork illustrating the featured letter. The message of dreaming big and living life to its fullest permeates every page, inviting readers to "learn some new letters that you can use to make magical words and share big ideas." 
What I Think: I'm a complete optimist and I'm not afraid to admit it because I think it's a great way to look at the world. Sometimes I get caught off guard when something suddenly seems big and overwhelming or I'm struck by an idea someone has that completely challenges or shocks me...and I've noticed lately that I've had those encounters and I've felt rattled. My change in position this year puts me in so many schools and encountering so many teachers with different perspectives and different experiences in education. I wholeheartedly believe that all kids can learn and that it's a teachers job to give kids experiences that scaffold learning for them so that they can access the learning we want them to. Surprisingly enough, I see people making decisions that don't reflect this and it hurts.
    I don't want to get off track but my point is that I so needed to read this book. I've read Dallas Clayton's An Awesome Book! and I was expecting something uplifting and I really enjoyed this so much. As I read, I thought of so many people I would love to gift this book to. Likewise, I was thinking this is a book I need to read every morning to remind me that A is for Awesome and everything is All good.
     When I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2003, I came up with a mantra that I repeated to myself every time I went out for a run, "I am beautiful, I am strong, I can run a marathon." Lately, when I run, I find myself spelling out the letters, "I-M-A-R-U-N-N-E-R." This kind of self talk completely helps me when I run but encouraging students to have their own catchphrase that they use to cheer themselves on is great. This year, I've modeled free writing for students and we say, "Bring it on blank page!" and then after we write, we say, "We proved it on the page!" Both of these phrases seem to help kids feel that they can write and then to celebrate when they have written.
     A is for Awesome is an opportunity to share some positive self talk with students. Students could choose one of the rhymes from the book and decide if they want to memorize it or if they want to write their own variation. I love the idea that they might have this phrase to encourage themselves and believe in themselves whether it's in writing or something else.
Read Together: Grades K - 3 
Read Alone: Grades K - 4 
Read With: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud 
Snatch of Text:  
"D is for dreaming things never expected"
"L is for living life up to its fullest"
"M is for making the most of your day"
"V is for values and keeping them true" 
Writing Prompts: Write your own personal positive self-talk phrase using the ideas in A is for Awesome.  
Topics Covered: Optimism, Determination 
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