Thursday, February 29, 2024

What the Letter Said

Hello March Poets,

Our Inkling challenge comes from Margaret this month:

Persona Poem: A persona poem has a specific audience, conveys a message, is written in the voice of another person, place, or thing, and uses direct address.  Sample poem, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes.

I dug into my photos from my recent trip to Germany for inspiration. 

The portrait's description of the artist, date, and details from a quick Google search gave me some rich material to work with.

What the Letter Says

You hold me light

these words penned by Ernestine

      My dear Angelika

Greatest gift of your parents,
this sister.

      You are now 15 years old.
      I have

Long now living a different life, another world.

      copied this for you from
As if time or distance
would grow between you.

      Beautiful is, Mother
      Nature’s splendor of your invention

As if her lifeforce doesn’t
flutter in lines of ink

      scattered in the corridors; more
      beautiful happy face

Her embrace falling,
fell from my pages         that thinks the great thought

      of your creation again!
into your gaze,
and tender embrace.
  Your sister, Ernestine
  Hamburg 1822

Linda Mitchell 3/1/24

Inkling responses to the prompt:

Margaret Catherine



Mary Lee

Week 9 World Poem is on the padlet

Thank you Linda Baie at Teacher Dance for hosting our weekly round-up. Your heart-felt post about turmoil in the world and choice is a lovely leap day post.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Epistolary Poem

Hello Poets,

I'm sorry that I'm not sorry to see February leave...maybe it's a good topic for a poem? What do you think?

There's a new WORLD poem up on the padlet. Thanks so much to Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting our round-up this weekend.

Friedman, Leo, and Pearley B Shelton. The Broken Heart. [Chicago: North American Music Company, 1919] Notated Music. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Mardi Gras Dragon

Hello Poets,

I just loved this photo from Margaret Simon's post, 'The Photo Wants to be a Poem' on Wednesday.

photo. Margaret Simon 

I wrote a draft...but then, I didn't like it. Whenever that happens, I treat the first draft like it's an exercise. 

I try to re-write the poem in a few different forms to see if anything fresh surfaces for me.


My go-to exercises always include haiku and triolet. I've recently added Kwansaba and Elfchen. These short forms give me constraints but a short commitment to the page. They help me revise.

What revision strategies do you recommend?

This dragon made an appearance on World's padlet too.

Guess who's hosting our weekly round-up? It's Margaret at Reflections on the Teche. Thanks, friend.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Animals at Play

Hello Poets!

I'm having fun with Laura Shovan's 12th Annual February Poetry Project. This poem came out of this week's prompt from Heather Meloche. 

Do you know animals that play?

There's a new poem on World's padlet. The poem also came from this week's February Project writing.

Many thanks to our friend Carol who is hosting this week's poetry round-up at Beyond Literacy. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Love is...

I really didn't think I'd post this month for SJT. Life has kept me busy with a lot of details and less time than necessary to complete any of them.

One of those details was actually a myriad of smaller details. My school obtained a $5,000 grant for STEAM maker stations. My library partner and I seized the chance to create stations that featured high-quality nonfiction reading.

First, we asked teachers of science and math what concepts needed review and/or enrichment. Then, we planned out six stations that involved student creativity and thinking about those topics.

It's been busy, busy, busy rolling stations out to students this week as the kids love them! My partner and I have learned at least as much as our students in what to do and not to do and what supervision is needed where at what crucial moments. 

I find that this station work teaches so much more than STEAM. We are explicitly teaching behavior norms, language norms, and thinking norms. I've been coming home pretty pooped each day. But, on balance, I think more good learning has occurred than not. 

Yesterday, I sat with students at the 'Moonsand Mitosis' station. After we scooped moon sand on our trays and I showed them how to form a model of a stage of mitosis we just played and talked.

I found that students were longing to talk to an adult about life. My Tite 1 school is populated mainly by global majority of immigrants and children of immigrants. Time speaking about various topics has value.

I enjoyed listening to a group of students compare schools in another country to what they were experiencing here. Even though I heard some stories of tremendous challenges, I remembered what a friend and social worker taught me to ask, 'What do you miss?'

Kids from even the toughest, roughest places could remember the good things that they miss from home. This is love...remembering, speaking it, sharing it with someone new.

Love can be big. And, love can be small. Either way, it reaches all around the world.

Sending you love too! Linda M.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Secret Friend

Hello Poets, 

Our Inkling friend Catherine tossed out this prompt to the Inklings for our first February Friday share.

"Write a poem about secrets--family, community/societal, government, personal, etc. This could be a narrative (how the secrets(s) started, where it or they led, the along-the-way, and final(if any) consequences. For inspiration or starting blocks for your poem here's this poem, "Family Secret" by Nancy Kuhl:"

Pawprints in recent snow gave me a giggle one day...where was the owner of the paws? I think it's a cat that has managed to live feral in our neighborhood for months. I've tried to feed this cat and make friends...but it's a stray that does not want to be anyone's pet. That's OK. We can be secret friends...until it snows.


This poem is in a form that's new to me. I learned it from the Ethical ELA January free-write. The form is called Kwansaba. It has:

  • 49 words
  • 7 words per line
  • 7 or less letters per word  
  • Created by Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club, in 1995

For more Inkling poems about secrets see:

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Mary Lee at A(noth)er Year of Reading -- who is hosting our round-up today

There's a new World mash-up on the padlet--check it out here