National Poetry Month won’t arrive for a few more weeks, but I’m pretty sure our class has found every reason for the Academy of American Poets to consider making a swap for March.
There is so much ‘seasonal drama’ unfolding this time of year that it seems the poems are almost writing themselves, unfurling on the wind in front of our eyes, as we desperately try to pin them down. In the past two weeks, we’ve witnessed profound weather changes, from warm and balmy (digging in drawers to find buried t-shirts) to blustery and snowing (hello again, long underwear!).
Last Friday found us on an epic ski trek through Alna in full snow gear, and on Monday we were maple sugaring and starting seeds at the farm. The rhythmic ‘drip drip drip’ of sap in the buckets, coffee-colored mud puddles, and the feel of floating down hills on fast skis has us putting pencil to paper to capture these moments. Authoring a picture book and a poetry book this year doesn’t seem too far fetched for our students, as they are churning out about a poem a day right now!
We’re sampling a variety of novels written in poetic verse for Literature Circle, including classics like Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, and award winners like Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.
Students are devouring these quick reads and beginning to draw parallels and notice differences between the author’s styles, and how the poems are woven together to create a seamless and detailed story. Similar to way we use mathematical terms or science terms, we are now learning poetry terminology, so we can discuss and analyze specific aspects of poems.
As part of both our science and social studies learning, we have been focused on the history and biology of apples. John Bunker of Palermo, Maine, is known throughout the country and world as ‘The Apple Whisperer’, as he’s spent the better part of the past forty years playing apple detective and bringing forgotten varieties back to life.
We were lucky enough to have John’s apprentice, Laura Sieger, visit us recently to tell us more about some of the unique apples they grow for their apple CSA and FEDCO Trees. Since her visit, we’ve been digging to find out more about these interesting varieties and about the apple trees recently planted at the Saltmarsh Farm.
We’ve also discovered why we can only find about ten kinds of apples at the grocery store today, when there used to be thousands of available apple varieties in the 1800’s. Names like Starkey, Fletcher Sweet, Collins, and Kavanagh are probably not ones you’re familiar with, but our class is on a mission to embrace the diversity of the apple world and learn about these fruits that have existed for hundreds of years.
Again and again we have come to the realization that our state of Maine is rich with cultural and ecological resources, which make place-based learning (and living) here an absolute adventure.
Have a wonderful weekend!
the sun makes
as it slants
as I glide ahead
by Maeve Tholen