Write Out: Thank You Notes to Park Ranger

Thank You Notes for Ranger Scott

Ranger Scott Gausen of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site visited our classroom for Write Out last week, and along with his engaging personality and vast knowledge of the National Parks System, he has a pretty cool beard. For the Thank You notes, my students drew him with his beard. We’re mailing a package of these to him this week.

Peace (and fun),

Write Out: Poetry In The Park With Teachers


Yesterday, a small group of teachers gathered at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site to do some poetry writing, as part of Write Out and the National Day on Writing.

We used the museum site for inspiration, writing Diamante poems in the Innovation and Engineering wing, freestyle protest poems near the Organ of Muskets where a poem about the Armory by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is displayed, and then found poems near an exhibit of photographs (along with passages from a novel set at the Armory).

Here are my three poems.

Then, we made buttons!

WMWP SPAR buttons 2023

Peace (and poems),

Write Out Poetry: Wind Whispers Song (multiple version)

Wind Poem

This morning’s Daily Create prompt for Write Out was all about the sound of wind, and the music it makes. I did a few versions of my morning poem, including the regular text, a visual with Word Art, a video with the word art and just music, and then a final version in which the words are blown by the wind, with narration of the poem itself.

Peace (listening to the song of the wind),

Write Out: Gathering Sensory Details for Haiku

Student Haiku

We’re in the second week of Write Out and using time in class to be inspired for writing. Yesterday, after watching a Park Ranger Video about writing Haiku poetry, we headed outside and gather some sensory details, and then my students wrote some Haiku poems.

They are doing final versions on note-cards, which we intend to mail off to Ranger Chris at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Peace (Short but Sweet),

Write Out: Leaf Maps

Leaf Maps

A fun Write Out activity that my students worked on the other day was to gather a leaf while writing outside, and then they created a Leaf Map — using the veins of the leaf and their imagination, they created a map of a place, with the leaf as inspiration for the artwork. Later, we will revisit the maps, and write stories based on the places of the Leaf Maps.

The Leaf Map idea came from a Park Ranger Prompt from the Capitol Reef National Park.

Peace (In All Places),

Write Out Found Poem: A Walk In The Woods

One of our special guests for this year’s Write Out is the writer Nikki Grimes, whose new picture book with Jerry and Brian Pinkney is A Walk in The Woods. The book is a beautiful, thoughtful look at loss and remembrance, through the eyes of a young boy who has lost his father, and yet, reconnects through a walk in the woods. A discovery by the boy of poems brings the story to a new level. (And knowing that illustrator Jerry Pinkney passed away during the creation of this book, and his son, Brian, helped finish some of the artwork is an entirely other level of this story)

This picture book is a perfect fit for Write Out, which has a theme of poetry and place, and tomorrow night (Tuesday, October 17th at 7 pm EST), Nikki Grimes will join Write Out in a Zoom session to talk about her new book. See the Write Out page for events to get more information and to sign up for the Zoom session.

For my Found Poem, I borrowed a line from each sequential page in the picture book and then brought them together for a poem. The only pages I did not borrow lines from are the ones with the poems the young boy found in the woods, as I wanted to leave those as a kind of sacred text for the story.

I then composed some music, used Keynote to stitch the book image and the Found Poem together, and then in iMovie, I added my voice narration. I felt as if my voice would be important here, letting the reader listen to the lines I borrowed from Nikki Grimes’ text.

Meanwhile, after reading the book, we did our own “walks in the woods” this weekend here in New England, where Autumn is well underway.

Walk In The Woods

Sunday Hike

Peace (Finding It),

Writing Out(side) for Write Out

Write Out Collage 2023

My students packed up their notebooks and pencils, and found a leaf, and then sat and wrote a story and made a leaf map, all for Write Out. It was a beautiful New England day.

Peace (On The Grass),