The Adventures of the Tenley Library Explorers Club

I never saw a poem as lovely as a tree (but I’ll keep looking)

Greetings Explorers!

So sorry for my silence! To catch you up on our adventures last week, we learned all about Jazz Music. We learned about improvisation, listening, and cooperation.

This week was all about poetry. I happen to think that poetry is amazing! Sometimes, it can seem really fancy or intimidating, and full of words that no one uses anymore, like “thee” and “thine” and “anon.” But actually, we learned that poetry can be almost anything you want it to be. It can be long or short; it can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to. Poetry is just a collection of words that is used to express a feeling or an idea.


A haiku by the poet Shiki.

On our walls, I wrote a bunch of different poems from a wide variety of poetic forms– there were sonnets and haikus, poems that rhymed and ones that didn’t, poems with a specific rhythm and ones that were more free verse.

We read Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” as an example of a poem that rhymed:

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends. 

But we found that the rhymes didn’t all come one after another. They were placed in a very specific manner.

We also learned about syllables. A syllable is a sound unit of a word, and we found the syllables in our names and other words by clapping at each sound unit. My name, Ms. Christina, has four syllables: Ms-Chris-ti-na. And then we read haikus! A haiku is a kind of poem that has three lines: the first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and then third has five syllables again.

A lot of people think that you have to figure out what a poem “means.” But I think the most important thing to think about when reading a poem is “what is the poem telling me?” How does it make you feel and what does it make you think about?

Then we read “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye:

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Lastly, we wrote our own poems. The kind of poem that we wrote is called a Cinquain. A cinquain is five lines long. The first line is a one word title for your poem. The second line is two adjectives– two describing words. The third line is three informative words. We found that a short sentence worked really well! The fourth line of a cinquain is made of four feeling words. And the fifth line is one word, a synonym (or a word that means the same) for the title of the poem.

Next up: Bees!


Ms. Christina

It Rained Inside!

Greetings Explorers!

Last week at the Explorers Club, we adventured high up into the atmosphere and deep down into the ocean to learn about the Water Cycle.

The Water Cycle!

The Water Cycle!

We discovered that there are four stages to the water cycle: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, and Collection. And then the whole thing starts over again!


We also learned something AMAZING about water: Did you know that there is the same amount of water on the Earth right now as there was when the Earth was formed billions of years ago? That means that the glass of water we used for our experiment was 4.54 BILLION years old. Normally, if something is that old, it has to live in a museum and we aren’t allowed to touch it. But water is so amazing: we can touch it and play with it and drink it and brush our teeth with it. In fact, WE are mostly water– about 55-75%, to be more precise.

At our meeting, we made a list of places in the world where we find water:


And then, we did the amazing– we made it rain INSIDE of the library.

To do this, we only needed two things: some hot water (ours was boiling, and the Explorers were very good about staying very still and seated when the hot water was around) and a jar with a lid.

We poured the hot water into the jar, and then very quickly shut the lid. We knew that since the water was so hot, there would be evaporation. We knew that the air in the room and the glass of the jar were much cooler than the hot water, just like the air high in the atmosphere is colder than water heated by the sun. The hot water evaporated inside of the jar, and then condensed against the sides of the cool glass. As more and more water evaporated and condensed, the water drops on the sides of the jar got bigger and bigger, until, just like in a cloud, they got too big and they started to fall– just like precipitation. And when they rolled back down the sides of the jar like rain, they collected in the bottom, ready to be heated up and to start the cycle over again!


Look at all of that condensation! I bet it’s going to rain soon.

Then we talked about why it was important to save water and to not waste it. Remember how we talked about how there was as much water on the Earth now as there was when it started? Well, there are a LOT more people and animals and plants than when the Earth started, and everyone needs water.

We used our glass of 4.5 billion year old water to demonstrate all of the water in the world. When there was just me, I had plenty of water to drink and brush my teeth with. But as more and more Explorers joined me in the front of the room, we had to share the water between two of us, and then three of us, and then all of us! Since there were so many, and we only had a very limited amount of water, we learned that it was very important to share wisely, and to not waste any of the water so that everyone would be able to have enough to drink, to wash, and to grow food.

Lastly, our Explorers contributed to a Community Art Project that had been running throughout the week.


The most colorful rainstorm to ever hit Washington, DC!

We had an excellent time learning about the Water Cycle! I think our first meeting was fantastic, and I’m so excited to see what new things we can discover in the coming weeks!

Next week, the Tenley Library Explorers Club will be exploring the rich history of Jazz Music! I hope to see you on our adventures!


Ms. Christina

Welcome to the Tenley Library Explorers Club!

Have you ever wanted to journey into outer space? To look inside of a poem? To venture down inside of the Earth? Are you between the ages of 5 and 10? At the Tenley Library Explorers Club, you can do all of these things from the comfort of your local library.

Each week, the story time room at the library will take Explorers on a new and exciting adventure. With informative displays, interactive activities and crafts, and featured books, we’ll take journeys into all sorts of subjects, like the five senses, bee hives, volcanoes and earthquakes, Impressionism, and jazz music. Along the way, we’ll use this log and community art projects to keep track of all of our discoveries, in order to pass our knowledge on to future generations. Because one of the best parts of being an Explorer is sharing what you’ve found!

Beginning Monday of every week, the room will be open for discovery, and each Wednesday at 4pm, we’ll have a demonstration or activity or craft based on our subject. I hope you can come and join me, or come explore on your own!

Do you have any new things you’d like to explore? Let me know, and we’ll do our best to plan a week around your idea!

I’m so excited about all of the adventures coming our way, and I hope you are, too.


Ms. Christina


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