Poems with Prepositional Phrases


Inspired by this lesson from Read, Write, Think, we are writing poems to help us learn prepositional phrases. Here are two that my daughter Karen and I wrote together last night:

Between the lines of a diary’s pages,
Within the ring on a blackened hand,
From the locket beyond a lake of monsters,
  In a cup among glittering jewels,
In a diadem among abandoned treasures,
Inside a snake under a cloak of scales,
Behind the lightning scar of the boy who lived,
The Dark Lord survives


Harry Potter
Out of the cupboard
On to Hogwarts
At age eleven
Beside loyal friends

Across the years
After so much pain

Into the forest
Among those he loved
With new understanding
Beyond fear of death
Toward Voldemort

Write a poem of your own using prepositional phrases.  Students, perhaps you could revisit your Writer’s Notebook entry about your favorite shoes and where they have taken you and turn it into a poem.  Other ideas include writing a poem about a favorite hobby, sport, book, movie, vacation, game–anything goes!




Students, I’ve been so pleased to see the enthusiasm for reading that you have shown in these first weeks of school!  Already you are bringing your public library books, paperbacks, Kindles,  and Nooks to class.  You’re browsing the classroom library and checking out titles from best-selling young adult authors. Extra minutes in class have been spent productively, with you choosing to read once your binders are organized and your letters are written.  This is exciting!  We are building a community of writers and readers in our seventh grade classroom.

We can all foster this enthusiasm for reading and support the growth of our class library by ordering books from Scholastic.  You can browse each month’s book flyer and order online here or from the link on my website (it’s under the “resources” tab).  Our class ordering code is GNM2B.  

I’ve been thinking about what I want to read for my reading log this nine weeks. I’ve almost finished my audiobook How the Light Gets In, the recent Louise Penny mystery I mentioned in my letter to you, so I think I’ll get started on my required biography/autobiography.  I’ve checked out a book about the Bronte children:  Charlotte, Emily, Anne.  I know a few of you are familiar with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, and both are on my list of favorite books.  I’ve listened to my Jane Eyre audiobook three or four times over the years, and I know I will listen to it again.  I am really looking forward to learning more about the lives of Charlotte, Emily, and their lesser-known sister.  All were writers, and all are interesting to me.

What person have you chosen to learn more about in your reading this nine weeks?  What makes you interested in the life of that person?

Visitors, have you read an interesting biography or autobiography recently?  Leave us a comment here.



To Group or Not to Group?


Now that we are done with our five days in the computer lab, it’s back to the classroom.  Some students noticed that the desks, which had been arranged in groups the first week of school, had been placed in rows for Back-to-School Night to accommodate all the parents who rotating in and out of the small space for their eight-minute class periods. 

We quickly moved the desks back into groups for our purposes, but I have to say, there’s a real place in my heart for rows.  I wrote a poem about school seating when I was monitoring Saturday School a few years ago.  You can read it here, and then I’d love to hear what you have to say about the subject of desks and seating charts at school.  What works for you, students?  Adult visitors, what are your memories of your preferred seating options at school?  Any particularly good or bad experiences associated with where you had to sit in a class?  Comments welcome!

Poem for My Eighth Grade Self

I like a sturdy desk,
One that doesn’t rock.
I want to be able to move in it, use it, solid and sure.

And I want it to be in a row.

Not at the front, where I might be seen.
Not at the back, where I might also be seen.

Put me in the middle, just left or right of center,


Desks in rows anchor me–
Keep me in a defined place–
Approachable, yet not.

My desk is my space,
Perfect for doing my perfect schoolwork,
Then perfect for reading after my
Perfect math quiz or my perfect history test,

An island for my personal thoughts and daydreams.

Is that why I hated science?

Maybe it wasn’t the safety goggles and the frog guts–
Maybe it was the tables,
The sharing of space with other kids.

Yes, science had tables that facilitated

All things I did not want.

Spanish had desks in rows, but it also had
role plays and fake names…


Give me my math desk instead,
With two pages of silent, independent work–

A math desk to offer

A math desk where I could sit
With homework complete, ten minutes left til the bell, and then

a leaning back
a slouching down
a private escape
into Anne of Green Gables

A Busy Week


What a difference a week in the computer lab makes.

All two hundred and fifty WRMS seventh graders now have blogs, and wow, are they looking good!  We borrowed inspiration from Mr. Miller’s Blogging Boot Camp (thank you for posting this, Mr. Miller) and brought everyone into the computer lab for five consecutive days to get our blogs up and ready here at the start of the school year.  Lessons on proper use of images and video will come later; for now, we’re ready to write!

The timing of our abbreviated boot camp was just right to coincide with iPad roll out and this week’s library/lab orientation.  Soon students will download the Edublogs app and connect their new blogs to their tablets (and to their smartphones if they have them).  We are grateful to be a 1:1 iPad campus and plan to make good use of our technology in English class this year.

Eventually, students in my class will be authorized to post here to the class blog, using it as a sort of literary magazine.  In the meantime, check out some first posts on the individual blogs of period 4 and 2 students:  Dillon discusses character arcs in a post about book endings, Ellie extols the deliciousness of cheesecake,  James describes the fun of fishing, Olivia explores the “Writer’s I”  and the joys of PB&J, and Steven writes about a mysterious adventure in his neighborhood.  Keegan has a love for animals, Nick loves to read, Nina enjoys Friday night football games, Ryan is excited about his second year playing French horn in the band, and Sam compares and contrasts soccer with other sports.

Do you like our avatars?  Students found that their favorite avatar-building sites were Face Your Manga, Build Your Wild Self, and The Hero Factory.

Tomorrow is our last day in the lab.  Students who still have their first posts in draft status will publish, and everyone will create an “About Me” page by the mid-week.  Our class is participating in the Edublogs Class Blog Challenge, so we’ll come up with a class “About Me” page for this year, too!