Thursday, October 29, 2020

Halloweensie 2020: Scarlett Skeleton

Scarlett Skeleton

100 words

Scarlett Skeleton hid in the shadowy dark behind a shed, teeth click-clacking as she sobbed.  The shouts of trick-or-treaters echoed around her.

Footsteps crept close. A cat-masked face peeked around the corner.

“Hi!  I’m Casey.  Why are you sad?”

Scarlett sighed, showing her empty bucket.  “Parents shriek and throw hard candy at me, which rattles right through me.  I want treats; they think I’m the trick.”

Casey said, “That is sad.  Would you like some of my taffy? It's delicious and will stick to your ribs."

Scarlett nodded thankfully, happy to have found a sweet treat and a sweet friend

©️ 2020 Rebekah Hoeft

It's Halloweensie time over at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog! Here's what how she explains it:

"The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words skeleton, creep, and mask.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people πŸ™‚"

For more details on how to submit your own story or to read other entries, head to her Susanna's Halloweensie blog post.

Thanks. Susanna, for another fun prompt!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hop To It: Poems to Get You Moving (alternate title: I Am In A Book!)

From Pomelo Books:

"Hop to It: Poems to Get You Moving is an anthology of 100 poems by 90 poets—with fun factoids sprinkled throughout, thematic mini-lessons, and extensive back matter featuring useful tips to help maximize student learning. You can share a new poem or two each week of the school year—and come back to share your students' favorite poems over and over! Poems involve the whole body and incorporate a wide variety of movements—including deskercise!

You'll find poems on "2020 topics," too, such as life during a pandemic, virtual learning, staying connected with friends, and standing up for what you believe in. Take a "30-second indoor recess" (or "brain break") whenever you need it!

Contributing poets include: Alma Flor Ada, David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, F. Isabel Campoy, Yangsook Choi, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Zetta Elliott, Margarita Engle, Alan Katz, Linda Sue Park, Jack Prelutsky, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Padma Venkatraman, and Carole Boston Weatherford."

I'm proud and grateful to say that my name, though not at all illustrious, can be added to that list of poets.

As inspiration: my son and his cousin (who lives 4 hours away), played a basketball game called "Bank" while they were both in virtual learning mode during the spring of 2020. It was definitely one of the good memories of the season!

You can buy the book at QEP Books.

While you're there, check out Pomelo's other poetry books or head to their website. Sylvia and Janet make teaching poetry easy-peasy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


from Unsplash by Jakub Kriz

Dark and Deep

For things that scurry, things that creep,
the woods are lovely, dark and deep.
While sunshine shimmers high I’m fine
to play among the dappled pine.
But when the sun sinks low and hides
its warmth and cheer, the dusk divides
the day from night; I feel a chill
as fog falls fast. A screech owl’s shrill
and eerie shriek is all I need
to turn my feet with fear-filled speed
towards home and leave the dark and deep
to things that scurry, things that creep.

© September 2020 Rebekah Hoeft

It's writing contest time!  Between October 1-October 3, 2020, post a fall-themed poem or story on your blog or in the comment section at Lydia Lukidis's #FallWritingFrenzy. You  can find more information on her blog. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Crunchy Puddles Are Crunchalicious!

Picture by blabla5 from Pixabay

On winter walks
on crisp cold mornings
my favorite part
of frozen gravel paths
is finding
rumpled edges
and shallow ditches
where skims of
clouded ice
hang waiting for
my ice-searching
foot to
smash crash crinkle crackle crunch through
to the hollow space beneath.
© Rebekah Hoeft February 2020

Michelle, over at Today's Little Ditty, interviewed Buffy Silverman.  Buffy is a Michigan author who writes nonfiction books and poetry for children--sometimes combining the two.  You can find out more about her work on her website.

Buffy has a new book called On a Snow-Melting Day:  Seeking Signs of Spring.  It's full of photographs and beautiful words that make you feel like spring is right around the corner!

Buffy challenged Michelle's readers to write a poem that uses combined or invented words.  Head to Michelle's February padlet for examples or to post one of your own.

I gave it a try with the above free verse poem about crunchy puddles, which are in my top 10 things that make me happy during the cold months.

Thanks, Michelle, for posting it on your site.  Seeing it there was as thrilling as stepping through a crinkle crackling puddle! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Valentiny 2020

It's that time of year--Valentiny time over at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog! 

Write a teeny-tiny children's story following these basic rules:
πŸ’œMake it tiny--214 words or less!
πŸ’œMake sure it is Valentine's story.
πŸ’œMake sure it includes someone who feels curiosity.

You can find more information at her blog.

Heart Hunt
214 words

Samuel shook his sister.  “Josie. Wake up.”

“Samuel,” Josephine grumbled, “it’s not dignified to be shaken.  Kindly desist.
“Princess Josephine, your royal presence is requested on a scavenger hunt.  Might you get up NOW?!”

Josephine popped up.  “To find what?”

Samuel shrugged, holding up a heart-shaped card with glimmering, golden words: ‘Head to the HEARTh.’  “Mother and Father left this before they set out for the Valentine’s ball.”

They ran to the great room.  There they found a warm fire and another card.

Josephine read:  'Go where cLOVErleaf grows.'

“The meadow!”  

Once ready, they crossed the moat to the snowy meadow.  Josephine sighed. “I wish Herbert was here. He loved adventures.”  

Samuel’s eyes grew hot with tears.  “I know. But he had to go. He didn’t like scaring people.”

The next crimson clue hung from a snowy branch on the edge of the meadow.

'Find your HEART’s desire where foxgLOVE’s found first.'

Josephine wondered.  “The only thing my heart desires is -- Oh!  Maybe through the woods…”

“ the cave!  Do you think…?”

“I do.  Let’s go!” 

They ran until they reached the cave. 

Curled in the clearing was their dragon.  


A golden heart around his neck read: 'Herbert’s here to stay. Happy Valentine’s Day!'

Herbert purred as they gave him a welcome-home hug.

Update: Not a finalist :) but there are some stories you can read at Susanna's blog that did make it to the finals! Read for fun or you can read for fun AND to vote by February 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Susanna Leonard Hill's 9th Annual Holiday Contest

Susanna Leonard Hill, author, blogger, and chocolate lover, has given her annual holiday challenge:  write a teensy tiny holiday story.  Here are the basic rules if you want to play along:

-Story must have a clear holiday theme
-Story must be about a treat 
-Story must be no longer than 250 words
-Story must be for kids 12 years old and younger

Post your story on your blog and go to Susanna's site between December 9-11 and give her your story-specific link (or copy and paste your story in her comment section).

Happy Christmas and happy writing!

Merry and Bright
by Rebekah Hoeft
250 words

You'd think Christmas Eve on the tippy-top of the world would be merry and bright.  But Christmastime in Christmastown is covered in cold darkness.  The only light comes from what stars and moon peek through the clouds.  This Christmas, not even the moon showed its face.

Grumpy Christmastown elves, wishing for their cozy homes and well-deserved naps, were not cheered by Abner’s letter. 

Tomkin waved his lantern around, casting strange shadows on the other elves.  “Abner said there’d be something splendid out here.  All I see is dark...and a little more dark after that...wait...I see something.  Oop.  More dark.”

Pierette said, “Tomkin, Abner never lies.  If he said we’ll have a treat tonight, we will.” 

The elves agreed and huddled together, passing the time with elf song and stories.

After hours of waiting, elves started taking stealthy steps back home until Tomkin gasped and pointed at a glimmer growing in the sky.  Soon, it looked as if the sun had decided to wake from its sleep.  Brightly colored packages dropped, gliding to the ground on shimmering parachutes.  The elves scampered to open them:

“Candy canes!” 

“Cotton candy!” 

“Chocolate covered carrots!”  

—all the makings for a fine elf feast. 

The last parachute floated down, carrying a giant lantern and another letter:

Dear Ones,
You worked hard this year!
Enjoy your feast!
Head Elf,
Delivery Division

And so they did and all were merry and bright, even in the darkest, most tippy-top part of the world.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Funny and Smart

Michelle, over at Today's Little Ditty, interviewed Kate O'Neil, an Australian poet. Kate challenged Michelle's readers "to write a poem based on the sheer delight of words at play: malapropisms, ambiguities, unintended meanings, puns, clichΓ©s, etc." You can find the interview and a padlet to post your own poems here.

I'm an appreciator of word play, but not a pun professional like my siblings and husband. This was a bit of struggle but fun once I found a joke to use. Feel no shame if you have to search the web for puns and jokes to try this challenge!

I Guess I'm the Funny and Smart One

Mom thinks my sister Lily is intelligent,
but then I asked why mountains feel so tired.
She shrugged; I smiled, “Because they do not Everest.”
I’d hoped she’d screech and say I was inspired.
Lil had no clue that I was being comical.
She didn’t catch my grin and great big winks.
Instead, she strangely said, “That’s so hill areas.”
Poor girl is not as smart as my mom thinks.

©Rebekah Hoeft November 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Instruction Poems by...not me.

It's May.  

The 30th.

I think maybe I need to stop committing to a poem a day during April's Poetry Month festivities.  Or ever.  Because life makes me a liar.  :)

But today, I do have poems for you.  But not by me.  My third graders are a spectacular bunch of kids who happen to love poetry--hearing it...reading it...writing it.

Michelle, over at Today's Little Ditty, had a great interview with Elizabeth Steinglass, who gave a challenge:  write a poem of instruction to an inanimate object

My kids tried it and, as usual, did a great job.   We try to write quick poems--I give them between 10-20 minutes to write a poem and we decided to not worry about rhythm or rhyme (though some couldn't stop themselves--I totally understand!) but instead to focus on making good word choices.

Happy reading!

Instructions for Crayons

Be pink for a drink.
Be green for a bean.
Be yellow for Jello.
Be red for bread.
Be blue for clues.
Black...oh, black for a black Cadillac.  

Jessica, 3rd Grader 
in Mrs. Hoeft's Class

Instructions for a Playground

Stuff outside, be fun.
Be a fun place to play.
People like recess.

Antoine, 3rd Grader
in Mrs. Hoeft's class

Star Instructions

Star in the sky, 
shine so bright.
Only come
out in the night.

Be sparkly 
and shiny
when you glow. 

Ani, 3rd Grader 
in Mrs. Hoeft's Class

Instructions for Video Game Controller

Move smoothly.
Don't break.
I'm awake.
Ready to play
my video game.
If somebody takes you,
if they break you...
...they're in for it.

Aaron, 3rd  Grader 
in Mrs. Hoeft's class

Instructions to a Car

Do not run out of gas
Always stay powered up
Go, drive away
Down and up.

Go, go, go, as fast as you can!
Be very big just like a minivan.

Flash your lights.
Beep your horn!
As long as you're driving in the morn.

Naomi, 3rd Grader 
in Mrs. Hoeft's class

Sun Instructions

Shine real bright.
Don't come at night.
Don't come close to Earth.
When Winter comes, knock him back to
Aunt Artica.
Be the star of the show.
Let everybody know:
you shine bright.

Isabella, 3rd Grader
in Mrs. Hoeft's class

Bike Instructions

Don't let me fall!
Hold me tight!
Don't blow your wheel!
Don't let me slide like a seal.
Don't let my feet slide.
I don't want to use training wheels.

Listen to what I say.
If you don't, 
I'll love you anyway.

Isabella, 3rd Grader 
in Mrs. Hoeft's class

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Catching Up With A Poem A Day Challenge

I'm catching up today.

It's silly to feel behind during this completely self-imposed challenge but I do, so since I'm in charge of this here blog, I'm posting twice in a day.  

Today's catch up poem (more like what I call a piece of prosetry: writing that is more like prose but looks like a poem) is inspired by the phrase 'catch up.'

I've got this kid in my class who works her tushie off to completely understand any concept I teach and is not satisfied with guessing or hurrying through. Consequently, she doesn't finish anything first.   Which is just fine in my book because she's got diligence and a heart for wisdom and true learning.  

Which means she's got my heart.

Catch Up
I know,
they want me
to catch up.
And sometimes,
you know,
I want
to catch up
I have to take things slow--
it's the way I grow.
Rebekah Hoeft 2019

Day 4, Poem 3 of a Poem a Day for National Poetry Month

For this poem, I looked to's Word of the Day for inspiration.  Today's word is multiverse, which means "a hypothetical collection of identical or diverse universes, including our own."

Being a sci-fi kind of girl, I decided to go with a parallel universe poem, in limerick form.

'Cause nothing says science fiction like a limerick.   ☺

Filters...The final frontier. 
Excellent everywhere in the galaxy.
To be honest, this read EXACTLY like a limerick precoffee.  But now, mere hours later, it's a clunker unless you read it just so.  Which means this post has become  an anecdote for the lesson all poeming people learn the hard way:  let things simmer.  It's best not to throw your words to the world without a little time to notice the complete horror of what  bad meter brings to your poem.  

I suppose I could delete this.  But nah.   

*Grits teeth.*

That is not what this month is for.  

It's for embarrassment and hideous poetry.   

Just kidding.  :)  

For me,  it's for the joy of writing. And practicing throwing my words to the world.  


Cringing and moving on.

Halloweensie 2020: Scarlett Skeleton

Scarlett Skeleton 100 words Scarlett Skeleton hid in the shadowy dark behind a shed, teeth click-clacking as she sobbed.  The shouts of tric...