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  1. 1. Portfolio Christine HebertPennsylvania State University LL ED 597G Fall 2011
  2. 2. Copyright © 2011 by Christine HebertAll rights reserved. No part of this document may be used or reproduced in anymanner whatsoever without written permission of the author. 1
  3. 3. For Dennis, my professional and personal supporter and my grandchildren, my joy 2
  4. 4. Table of ContentsPart I Original Work 1. Credo 4 2. A Poem 5 3. Getting a BIG, BIG Dog Off the Couch 6 4. I Remember a Day 7 5. A Girl’s Room 8 6. Faith 9 7. Character Sketch 12Part II Critiques and Philosophy My Critiques 13 Writing Workshop Members’ Critiques 14 My Philosophy of Children’s Literature 15Part III Appendix Author’s Note 17 About the Author 18 Comments 19 3
  5. 5. CredoI believe in truth, children crave it,I believe in humor, innate in children,I believe in empathy, to engage the soul,I believe in connections in life, from child to adult,I believe in simplicity.ReflectionI believe that succinct and simple writing is the most powerful. This belief extendsto my attitude towards life, as well as my teaching. Children respond to simplicity,tuning out long, prolonged lessons and explanations. This is reflected in favoritebooks, simple and connected to real life. 4
  6. 6. A PoemA poem is….A short rope.Entwined with meaning,Filled with fibers,A beginning and an end,Attached to being.ReflectionAlthough I believe in simplicity, I also think there is subtle and underlying meaningto chosen words as they are pieced together to form poetry. Each word is powerful.Punctuation is key to framing and emphasizing images. 5
  7. 7. Getting a BIG, BIG Dog Off the CouchHere doggie, doggie, No way.COME HERE doggie, doggie, No way.GET OFF THE COUCH! Ears twitch.How about a treat? Eyes open.I push the rear, I push the front, Eyes close.I TRY AGAIN,PUSH the rear, PUSH the front, Tail wags.I TRY AGAIN,PUSH the rear, PUSH the front,Finally, DOG on floor.Dog back on couch.I’ll sit in the chair. Reflection My Great Pyrenees who is currently 110 pounds and only a year old inspired this poem. No human can fit next to him when he is lying on the couch. Don’t attempt to move him. He will not budge. 6
  8. 8. I Remember a DayI remember the sunspot glittering on the ground, Making me wonder why it danced.I remember a hummingbird dipping into morning glories, Sipping the nectar from their depths.I remember the drooping thorn tree branches, Enclosing a play area around its trunk.I remember my foot bleeding, Throbbing from a thorn in my sole,I remember someone chopping down the tree, Destroying the delight of imagination.ReflectionOne morning, when I was five years old, I woke up with the sun shining on mybedroom floor. I looked out my window and saw a hummingbird flitting frommorning glory to morning glory. This was the first time I remember seeinghummingbirds and morning glories. There was also a large thorn tree in mybackyard. I was told not to play under it, but the secrecy of the dark under itsbranches enticed me. Regretfully, I got a very large thorn stuck in my foot. 7
  9. 9. A Girl’s Room Brother’s DS under my pillow, Sounds of banging on my wall. Molly and Emily on the floor Dolls dressed up for a good night’s sleep. Ballet tutus, torn and dirty, Hung on a closet peg.Empty dollhouse in the corner,Tiny furniture scattered round the room.Bowed barrettes and headbands,Strewn on top the white bureau.Purple Teddy by my head,Waiting for its hug.Mommy’s footsteps in the hall,Time to go to sleep.ReflectionWhen I think of a young girl’s room, I picture my five-year-old granddaughter’sbedroom. Her room is an image of her life, busy, cluttered, and full. The objectsportray her interests. Like any young child, she is reluctant to part from her day. Sheneeds a parent’s presence, however distant, to remind her of sleep. 8
  10. 10. FaithFaith waited clamped to the seat. Camp would be dreadful, all her fears aboutplaying outside and insect bites threaded through her body. She knew she couldn’tget off the bus.She’d been petrified since her teacher told the class about the school fieldtrip to acamp. The permission slip lay on her desk. Maybe she could lose it and not give it toher mother. But it was attached to her weekly report and if she tore it off her motherwould know. Faith knew her mother wouldn’t let her miss a day of school unless shewas puking or running a high fever.A hand smacked her on the head. “Come on. Get off the bus. Grab your lunch,” saidher friend Cayley.It was okay for her friend to be so excited. She liked to play outside in the woodsbehind her house. She even had a treehouse out there.Everyone else was off the bus. Her friend, sitting next to the window, pushed herharder.“I can’t, I just can’t”, Faith moaned. “Do you think Ms. Mello will call my mom tocome get me?”“You’re such a baby. We’re going to have fun. Anything’s fun when you don’t have tobe at school.”Faith moved her legs sideways into the bus aisle. “Go by yourself. I’m staying here,”she said.So, there went her friend, tromping off the bus.Faith lay down on the seat. Maybe they wouldn’t notice that she was still on the bus.She crunched up her legs onto the bus seat. Now, no one would see her.Uh, oh! Footsteps sounded purposefully in the aisle. Who was it now? 9
  11. 11. Faith’s teacher touched her knee. “Faith, we’re going to have fun this week. You canstay right by me until you feel safe. Nothing’s going to hurt you.”“Hurt me,” thought Faith. There were bugs to sting her; animals to bite her, and evenpoison ivy to make her itch.She knew she couldn’t get out of not getting off the bus. She knew her motherwouldn’t come get her. Most horribly, she knew her friends would laugh at her if sheshowed her fear.Faith walked down the aisle, hunched over as if her stomach hurt. Holding onto theside rails, she tentatively placed her feet on each bus step. There, she was on theground, at camp.She turned her head to look at the kids in her class. A huge bumblebee buzzed andflapped in front of her face. She ran. Her classmates’ laughter followed her. Therewere trees everywhere. What if she got lost? Reluctantly, she stopped, turnedaround, and trudged back to her classmates. Ms. Mello, her teacher, put her armaround Faith, directing her to listen to the camp director.Great! The director was dividing the class into three groups for the morning: one togo swimming, another to go hiking with a camp counselor, and the third group to gointo a classroom with her teacher. Of course, Faith was picked to go with the campcounselor.As Faith waited in her group, she noticed that there were big puddles along thehiking paths. If they went for a walk, how would they get around the water?The camp counselor explained that they would be hiking, but because of the recentrain there was a lot of water on the trails. They would have to walk on the sides ofthe large puddles near the bushes so they could get around the water.Faith tried. She really tried, but her cowboy boots seemed destined to slip in thewater. Oh, well. Since her boots were already wet, she might as well just walkthrough the puddles. In fact, she should just run through them! And run, she did.A loud voice stopped her in the middle of the biggest puddle on the trail. Her feetslid to a stop, her boots sinking into mud. She looked down at her feet. They werecovered in water. Her socks felt wet. Her boots were leaking.She pulled her feet out of the mud, the tops of her feet tight against the foot of eachboot. Her friend Cayley hissed at her. “Why did you have to go through the puddle?The counselor’s not going to be happy.” 10
  12. 12. Faith looked up at the camp counselor. She looked exasperated. Faith looked fromside to side to see if anyone else had run through the puddle. Khiheem was standingin back of her, right in the middle of the puddle. She wasn’t the only one.The camp counselor led the group to some benches. Faith was told take off her bootsand her socks, if she was wearing any. The class would sit on the benches for awhile.Maybe her boots would dry a little bit.Faith looked at her bare feet and wiggled her toes. Going through the puddle wasfun. She felt happy when she ran through it. She might be in trouble, but she wasthinking, maybe camp could be fun. Maybe they would do something else that thatshe liked.The group switched at noon to go for swimming lessons. After that was lunch, thenFaith’s group worked on crafts with her teacher. Faith had a good time in theseactivities. Finally, at the end of the day, the whole class roasted marshmallows on afire and made s’mores.As Faith rode back to school in the bus, she thought about her day. The puddle wasfun, so was swimming, and making a bird feeder. She really liked the s’mores. Maybea hike through the woods wouldn’t have been that scary. Faith wished her classcould go to camp again tomorrow. Then she fell asleep.RefllectionThis story was based on a real class trip to an outdoors day camp. Faith really didrun through a huge puddle in her cowboy boots. I wanted to show the experience ofa girl from the city on her first trip to a camp. Actually, the story should be longer, orit could be written as a picture book with less text, but detailed illustrations. 11
  13. 13. Character SketchHer hands were cupped together on the library table. She clenched her eyes toprotect her emotions. Should she look at him?Her breasts were still small, like tiny puddles on her chest. Her checks exposed ashadow of embarrassment. Her hair was long, flat, and stringy. How could he likeher? It wasn’t possible. He must think she was someone else.She looked away from him and pretended he wasn’t there. Then she wouldn’t bedisappointed when the look of disgust showed on his face.Thankfully, someone called his name. “Come on, we’ve got to go.” From the bottomof her eyes she saw his feet turn.A quiet sigh escaped. She was safe, an isolated spot of water on a scraggly seedling.ReflectionThis is a real event in my life. I was in seventh grade and uncomfortable with myslowly developing body. I was sitting in the public library oblivious as I worked on areport due the next day. I noticed a boy slowly moving towards me. He seemeddetermined, but scared just walk up to me. I was afraid he would talk to me. He wascalled away by an older brother. I was relieved. 12
  14. 14. CRITIQUESMy CritiquesThis passage is about a girl who has been told that she will compete in a boxingcompetition. She had turned herself around due to a car accident in which her frienddied. The voice in the characters head is very vivid. The reader is excited with her.The only weakness may be that the inner dialogue is lengthy. Overall, it is a well-written scene with good inner dialogue. We feel for your character.You are effectively using dialogue in your life eras of Jack and Jill. Your wordsconvey the thinking and relationship between Jack and Jill in each scenario. Yourtake on this exercise was different that Id imagined it - making each line longer thanthe clipped original version. Could some of your lines be too long?Your words make the water flow. I can feel the constant movement, even at the endwith the word drifts. Instead of flowing in the first line, the word falling would helpconnect with the title. 13
  15. 15. Writing Workshop Members’ CritiquesDefinitely a very familiar situation for many girls. I would love to see some detailabout what else the boy did next to her that might have made her think he sat downnext to her for the sake of something besides just sitting. I started to get the image ofhow she was feeling. Perhaps including a little bit more descriptives words andphrases about how her body i physically acting because of the situation. Is shesweating? Is her heart beating quicker? Is there anything else she knows about thisguy or is this the first time they have ever met? Kristie SheridanMy ResponseI didn’t take this advice, because I wanted the scene to be simple, not overlade withwords. The girl had never met the boy and I wanted this to remain a mystery. Thisactually happened to me and the poem is in fact a longer description than the briefmoments of the actual event.Wow, I really like this Christine! It is beautiful and bittersweet all at the same time.You have a very consistent voice throughout and the pacing is great! I did questionwhy you chose to break the flow of -ing verbs in lines 2,4,6, and 8 by making line 6 anoun (thorns). It made this particular line stick out to me even more and I wasntsure if this was supposed to be the peak of the poem? That makes sense though if itwas purposeful, like the ending of this childhood bliss. I also think maybe you couldreplace "floor" in the first line with something more reminiscent of outdoorsbecause I thought at first the speaker was inside, but then the rest was outside. Butof course, floor like "forest floor" works so it works just as it is too. Great poem! Ireally enjoyed it! Eversoll DugganMy ResponseI did go back and work on making the verbs more parallel. I also replaced “floor”with “ground” making the setting of the entire poem outside. I did want the lineabout the thorns to be the peak, so I went back to reword it keeping the word“sole” as a double meaning, although the spelling of “soul” is different. 14
  16. 16. PHILOSOPHY of CHILDREN’S LITERATUREChildren love to wonder. They want to live through events that they cannotphysically experience. Very young children want to read about things that connectwith their own lives and wonder about new observations. Children in the middle ofelementary school need that connection also, but they also need an experience ofwhat life is like for others. They need to expand their experiences by looking at theworld, not just their everyday life. Childrens books should provide thatenlargement of self through stories about other peoples lives and places other thantheir own surroundings. It is these reading experiences that help intellectualdevelopment and keep alive wonder. Additionally, new background knowledgehelps develop reading skills and vocabulary in students. Good literature developsthe aesthetic and efferent sides of children.During the semester, my philosophy of children’s literature did not change, althoughmy ideas about its construction expanded. I now know how to look at scenes andcharacters with an author’s eye, examining the techniques of development for each.My sense of plot is still in a formation stage and will need expertise with morepractice. Metaphors are a definite weak point. The wording in my writing remainssparse and definite.A good children’s book should have: characters described through actions as well aswords, chapters that end with a question so the reader wants to continue reading,and a simple plot with varying connected scenes. An adult’s choice of a well-writtenbook, may not be the child’s choice of an interesting book. 15
  17. 17. APPENDIX 16
  18. 18. AUTHOR’S NOTEAs is true of many educators, I have an intense interest in children’s literature.I have numerous bookcases full of fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapterbooks, and young adult novels. I use children’s literature extensively in myelementary classroom and my graduate level teacher preparation courses. Myknowledge of these books and stories from my childhood has influenced my writing,embedding a sense of story development and character. Almost all of my poems andstories are from real life experiences, past and present. My goal is to include fantasyin some of my stories, connecting the real to the fantastic. 17
  19. 19. ABOUT THE AUTHORChristine Hebert has taught in public schools for 26 years. She holds a B.A. in EarlyChildhood Education from Wheelock College, a M.S. in Special Education from theCollege of William and Mary, and a Ph.D. in Literacy Leadership from Old DominionUniversity. In addition to currently teaching fourth grade, she is an adjunctprofessor in the Teaching and Learning department at Old Dominion University. Shealso teaches Developmental Reading at Tidewater Community College.She currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She has been married to the samespouse for 35 years. Her daughter is the mother of three children. Dr. Hebert isdevoted to her four dogs: 2 mutts, a boxer, and a Great Pyrenees. They currently fillher home.This is her first attempt to write and develop creative writing skills in children’sliterature. Her interests are middle grade students, ages 8-11. She hopes to furtherdevelop her writing and publish picture and chapter books for elementary agechildren. 18
  20. 20. COMMENTS“Vivid use of words to describe a girl’s messy room. Very active words in poemabout the big dog. Direct prose. Effectively uses a child’s voice.” Kirsten Gaffney Carol Stream, IL“Image, description, and flow were good. [Dog poem] made me laugh. Other work,serious and reminiscent.” Kathy Majka Sidney, ME“The child’s thoughts mix well with the words provided by an adult. The languageprovided clear pictures of the events and characters.” Lester Hussey Virginia Beach, VA“ Descriptive language gives sense of childhood. Interesting assortment of pieces. Ican see that dog.” Cynthia Chase Topsham, ME 19