Month: November 2012

Harvesting by Bonnie Buckingham

Luci Shaw’s most recent poetry book is entitled Harvesting Fog. In the Foreword (which Luci writes as a fore word) we learn about collecting fog!   There is little rain in Lima, Peru  but this coastline city has persistent clammy fog due to the high humidity. The locals hang special nets and wring them out for water as a means of survival. They water their fruit trees with this “fog.” This is called “harvesting fog.”  Moisture from mist.  Water in an arid place.  Luci  ends of her fore word with these words,  “As for you reader, give these poems time to gather, let them soak in.” Luci is right. Give poems time. The imagination feeds on ideas and produces mental images.  Maybe soaking in and harvesting will take years.  Recently, a student I taught when he was in 3rd grade remembered a  recitation from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. He said the words describe a personal situation he was entangled in.  “They are just like spotted snakes with double tongue, Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.” He then recited …

Miss Mason and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Lisa Cadora

Before I had Charlotte as my education mentor, my role model for fruitful interaction with children was Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a fictional character created by Betty Edwards who premiered in 1947 in a book of that title and was further developed in subsequent books in the series. Upon reading the first chapter of the first book, I was filled with admiration for this clever author’s wit and wisdom, and found myself laughing out loud at the ironic extremes in the situations she created. I delighted in recognizing my own child-self  and the efforts of adults around me in the stories penned from chapter to chapter. The character “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” was a sort of Dr. Spock (Benjamin Spock — child psychologist, not the Vulcan) to a neighborhood full of mothers who wrung their hands and fretted themselves endlessly over their very ordinary children’s peccadilloes, struggling all the while to convince each other of their children’s superiority.  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the sugar-cookie scented wife of a deceased pirate, lived in an upside-down house at the end of the street. …

The Due Use of Books by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

The importance of reading is widely acknowledged.  It increases vocabulary and oral language skills.  It builds background knowledge that can help give context to new information.  It can even help acculturate new members into existing cultures. One benefit that is often overlooked, however, is reading’s effect on writing. Like many who choose to implement this philosophy, I wrestled for many years with Mason’s assertion that, ‘Composition’ comes by Nature.––In fact, lessons on ‘composition’ should follow the model of that famous essay on “Snakes in Ireland”––”There are none.” For children under nine, the question of composition resolves itself into that of narration, varied by some such simple exercise as to write a part and narrate a part, or write the whole account of a walk they have taken, a lesson they have studied, or of some simple matter that they know. Before they are ten, children who have been in the habit of using books will write good, vigorous English with ease and freedom; that is, if they have not been hampered by instructions. It is …