Friday, September 7, 2018

GREAT MORNING: Great Poems & Great GiveAway!

Howdy, Campers! Happy Poetry Friday!
(See below to enter our give-away, read my poem and get the PF link) 

Put on your thinking caps today, Campers, because at the end of this post I'm going to ask you to send us one topic you would have wanted to hear over the announcement system when you were in school.

Why? Because today we're talking about Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's, GREAT MORNING! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Press)

One of the best reviews I read about this book is on Good Reads:

"There's so much to celebrate in this new anthology, I wish I could put a copy on the desk of every administrator with whom I have a connection...Poems that follow the arc of the life of a school year... If you know Vardell and Wong's books; you know you want this book. If you want to boost literacy and poetry appreciation...while introducing your young readers to the poets they may read in school, this is your book." ~ Paul Hankins

I'm proud to say one of my poems is in this marvelous resource. When Janet and Sylvia asked me to write a poem for this anthology, I was thinkin' canned food drive, school book know--something wonderful. Something hopeful. Something that would make me look vaguely like a saint, maybe.

On Sat, Apr 7, 2018, 3:42 PM Janet Wong wrote:
We like your “School Book Drive” poem but we have a lot of poems highlighting book-related things already . . . and we wonder if you’d be willing to tackle one of these topics that we need someone to cover:


Why...yes. Of course I'll write a poem about...lice, I replied. I'd to! 

Soon, I was bitten by the research bug, and discovered there's a national conversation going on about lice. A lice controversy. Did you know that?  

In fact, here's my email about it:
On Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 7:38 PM, April Halprin Wayland wrote:

​Dear Sylvia and Janet,
In this week's lice research, I came across an interesting controversy​...

 Here are some quotes from that link:
"Lice are not particularly contagious, they hurt basically no one, and they’re not a public health risk. Lice don’t actually matter. It’s high time that squeamish parents and school administrators stop acting like they do."
“It’s not that easy to get lice!” Carolyn Duff, the president of the National Association of School Nurses exclaimed. “They don’t fly. They don’t jump. They can barely crawl through your scalp. They can only spread through head to head contact, and children in schools don’t usually have head-to-head contact.”
“Head lice are a fact of life. It happens. It’s not a health issue, really,” said Marian Harmon, the school health bureau chief for Arlington County’s public health division. light of the fact that more schools are actively not checking for head lice and don't banish kids who have them, I realized that I needed to write a poem that would work both for schools that are introducing their lice-checking program and schools that would simply like to reassure kids that if they get lice it's not their fault and there's nothing to be afraid of, essentially. 

Here's one of of those attempts:


I itch, I scratch—did I do something bad?
My head feels like a launching pad!       
We're head lice, we love heads and hair    
come dine with us, it's nice up here          
(oh, don't forget to bring the salt)                
and heavens, no—it's not your fault!

And that's the story behind just one poem in this marvelous, not-to-be-missed resource!

So, Campers, to enter our drawing for a chance to win your very own copy of GREAT MORNING! ~ Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books), by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, use the Rafflecopter widget below. You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options.

If you choose option 2, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY's blog post below or on our TeachingAuthors Facebook page. If you haven't already "liked" our Facebook page, please do so today!  In your comment, tell us: what is one topic you would have wanted to hear tucked into a poem on the announcement system when you were in school?

(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.)

Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

Note: if you submit your comments via email or Facebook, YOU MUST STILL ENTER THE DRAWING VIA THE WIDGET BELOW. The giveaway ends August 3 and is open to U.S. residents only.

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address.

Book Give Away: 9/7 until 9/20/18:a Rafflecopter giveaway

This week's poetry roundup is hosted Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link. Thank you, Carol! one topic you would have wanted to hear on the announcement system when you were in school. (And if you write a poem about it, send it and you'll get bonus points!)

Thank you for reading all the way to the end.

posted with pride by Eli with a little help from April Halprin Wayland.
Eli Wayland


Irene Latham said...

The announcement I always wanted to hear: Today: popsicles at recess! Or something equally as fun and drippy. :)

Love the backstory to your lice poem... Janet & Sylvia are genius at bringing poems into the world on unlikely subjects! xo

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

April, it's fun learning how the PF anthologies come to be. I'd love to read your poem on the school book drive, too. As for lice, my kids' elementary just switched to not paying any attention to lice at all. My daughter wears her long hair in a ponytail every single school day to avoid it. I don't think I could be blasé about having it in my house, no matter what the schools are doing. We've had it in the past, and we've gotten rid of it.

I love that Janet and Sylvia tackle every issue. They are a great resource for teachers.

Sylvia Vardell said...

So fun to have your work in our book, April! And this back story is so hilarious AND fascinating to share with readers. Thanks for helping us reduce lice prejudice! ;-)

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

That's the best lice poem I've read... well... EVER! Seriously though, April, well done! I love that you went for reassurance and humor rather than EW! Despite the current research, I think I would still find the ick factor difficult to ignore.

Carol Varsalona said...

April, thanks for adding Paul Hankins review of Great Morning! I missed it and wanted to read it. I have been advertising the book also because it is an ingenious and easy way to help principals spread poetry love. Your lice poem made me laugh, especially the part that says "we love heads and hair come dine with us." I taught in an elementary school years ago that had a lice epidemic. I was given the comb through the hair test and then followed it up with that awful smelling shampoo. The lice certainly enjoyed dining at the all our heads. Good for you to do your research and come up with a poem that is delightful.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Irene ~ drippy popsicles at THAT's a title! And yes, they are geniuses at pulling poems out of us we didn't know the world needed!

Brenda ~ I've never had to deal with the evil side of must be a nightmare! It's interesting how different school districts made completely different decisions...what state do you live in?

Sylvia ~ "Reduce Lice Prejudice!" may very well be on the next sign I hold high...

Michelle ~ I'm sure the ick factor is scary. It must feel as if you've totally lost control...and that you don't really know if they're gone 'til someone checks you out. Possibly someone with a badge.

Thanks, Carol ~ I wonder if the lice have packed their bags for hairier places these days?

Rosi said...

Oooooh. I wanted other the heater is out. Everyone has to go home for the day. Fun post. Thanks for this.

Margaret Simon said...

I love your poem and wish I had it last year when one of my students was not allowed back in school for 3 days because of lice and then she was overcome with anxiety and stayed home for 2 more days. In faculty meetings this year, it was announced that they would no longer do lice checks. Such a turn around.

Is there a poem in the book about drills? Fire, lock-down, tornado...they are all so scary for kids.

Danielle H. said...

This is a fun and new-to-me poem structure. I must try it for myself. I think I'd like to have heard an announcement about more fun assemblies like exotic animals, pet cat, authors and illustrators, exciting adventurers, athletes, and more.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Rosi ~ I think you meant that you wanted the heaters to stop working, and for school to be canceled for the rest of the day--you must live where there are actual seasons! Thanks for your comment...from me, in California

Margaret...All great ideas! There's a wonderful fire drill poem by Suzy Levinson in the book, and more safety poems (covering safety team,safety drills, safety skills, etc.) In fact, here's one by Janet herself:

WE'LL KEEP SAFE by Janet Wong @2018

We're getting ready.
We're practicing drills.
We're learning
our safety skills.

We're thinking fast.
We're acting smart.
We're learning
how to do our part.

We're keeping safe.
We're staying alert.
If trouble comes,
we won't be hurt.
Danielle ~ there are a variety of poems that touch on this topic...but fun assemblies are a great idea if they create volume 2 of this book!

April Halprin Wayland said...

This comment is from Colleen Kelley who was unable to post it:
my idea for a school announcement that I would have liked to hear is below. I would love to win this book, as none of the libraries here have it yet, and it's a bit pricey for my budget.

School Announcement: Ice Cream Eaters Needed
poem (C)2018 by Colleen Kelley

School Announcement: Ice Cream Eaters Needed

by Colleen Kelley


Attention! Attention!

A truck’s had a spill.

There are mountains of ice cream,

so please, have your fill.

We need you to eat it,

or it will be lost!

Grab spoons and dig in.

Of course, there’s no cost.

Free mountains of ice cream

Come quickly, please run

before the sun sees it

and melts all the fun.
[This is April writing, now] Oh, Colleen! I would have LOVED to hear that announcement over Franklin Elementary School's microphone, too! Thanks for sharing!

April Halprin Wayland said...

re: Janet Wong's poem: I meant to put (c)2018 (not @2018!)

So, let me reprint her poem ~ properly this time:

WE'LL KEEP SAFE by Janet Wong (c) 2018

We're getting ready.
We're practicing drills.
We're learning
our safety skills.

We're thinking fast.
We're acting smart.
We're learning
how to do our part.

We're keeping safe.
We're staying alert.
If trouble comes,
we won't be hurt.

Tricia said...

I love your poem about lice. It's such a stigma for kids. I'm glad to hear some schools are taking a more laid back approach.

Kay said...

I love the head lice poem and the story behind it. It brings back memories of my mother's battle with head lice when was in elementary school. She would nt appreciate the new approach, but I'm glad that schools are not punishing kids with head lice. Now, what would I like to see addressed? Of course, the library and books (but that seems to be covered already). My other choice would be introducing the band instruments.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Tricia ~ Isn't it interesting how things we felt were fixed points of knowledge ("lice need to be removed IMMEDIATELY and FOREVER!") evolve? It gives me hope for our world.

Kay ~ What a great idea--band instruments!
This collection has a fabulous 2-stanza poem called MY KINDERGARTEN CHOIR by Avis Harley, and a poem that'll make you want to grab an instrument and dance by B.J. Lee called MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE.

Carmela Martino said...

Fun poem, April! I had no idea of the controversy/change in strategy regarding lice. Congrats on having a poem in this anthology--sounds terrific!

Unknown said...

As a 3rd grade teacher I dread the nurse visiting our classroom as it seems she always comes bearing a stack of “Lice Warning” notes to go home. It’s not often I get a chance to wear my hair down, but oh so easy to get ready for school each morning! I write my poems in Spanish so my bilingual students can sing and dance to the words about Integrity, Respect, Responsibliity, Self-Control, Perseverance, and Organizaton. “Integrity” basically chants that we know the rules and we follow them no matter what.
Con ganas Yo ando
Nunca quejando
Pronto la meta cumplida
Esfuerzos mejores Yo uso,
Trabajando con la alegria
La In-Te-Gri-Dad
Esa si tenemos
Sabemos las reglas y esas seguimos
Tenemos In-Te-Gri-Dad!
Colleen Blevins

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hi, Carmela! It's amazing what I learned with a little bit of research about different school district's approaches to lice...

Colleen: thank you for sharing your poem! I put it through a translation website and it comes out translated as this:

With desire I walk
Never complaining
Soon the goal fulfilled
Better efforts I use,
Working with joy
The integrity
That if we have
We know the rules and we follow
We have In-Te-Gri-Dad!
~ Colleen Blevins