Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Homespun Charm

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Shovan's
Day 11 Found Object Poem Project

It's Day 11 of Laura Shovan's Found Object Poem Project. Each day in February, Laura's birthday month, she invites colleagues to write alongside her. You can read about the poetry project here. Today's image, submitted by my Twitter friend, Linda Baie, speaks of simplistic charm. As a lover of antiques and history, I was drawn to this prairie doll that brought back memories of Little House on the Prairie books and the television show.
I was born,
just an ordinary doll 
of plain homespun fabric
stitched by Ma's loving hands.
As odd as this seems,
I was given a walnut 
for my head. 
Just an ordinary doll,
I am.

They tell me that my family 
weathered many a storm
as their wagon wheels 
slowly moved west
to Walnut Grove.
Here on the prairie, 
I was loved
as the ordinary doll
that I am.

Living in a soddie
under a sun that
beat and blistered
was a way of life 
in summer,
while winter snow
drove us indoors
to wait out the 
blizzards and 
cold winds.

My days with 
my little owner 
were full of  
simple prairie life 
and prickled by
inconstant weather.
The ordinariness
of pioneer days
were filled with
special moments,
family ties,
and homespun charm.

Time has turned over.
Centuries have passed on.
My descendants
grace museums and 
I sit on a shelf
reminding all of 
ordinary times
and ordinary dolls
loved by ordinary families.
©CVarsalona, 2016 

Broadening Elementary Students' Awareness of Prairie Life:
  1. Read aloud the above poem while the photo is projected on the SmartBoard.
  2. Collect other photos of the time period (see sample below).
  3. Engage students in teams for a gallery walk of period photos to broaden their awareness of the time period.
  4. Offer a guiding question for discussion: How does pioneer life compare to the lives of people today?
  5. Let students build their own background knowledge by collecting additional photos or finding quick facts about prairie life. 
  6. Lead students to wonder more about the topic by introducing Wonder of the Day #1157, Is Your House on the Prairie?, from Wonderopolis. 
  7. Have students capture their thoughts about one of the picture prompts in free verse, a diary entry, Animoto video, or other digital means.
  8. Showcase the work via blogging, tweeting, and/or a classroom poetry gallery. 

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