Styles of Poetry

Poetry in Pink Flowers

There are a lot of different styles of poetry in the world. In celebration of Poetry month here are some short descriptions of just a handful of poetry styles. Maybe you’ll try your hand at writing one.

Centro Poem – The word means patchwork in Latin and refers to a poem placed together from lines taken from other poems, in other words, a collage poem. From the beginning, poets have quoted other poets, stolen phrases and lines and reworked them into their own poems.

Some poets make small changes in the lines they appropriate for a cento, while others adopt the lines without amendment. Usually a cento will use no more than one line from each source poem. The sources may be poems of a single poet or many poets, or even many different languages.

Ghazal Poem – a ghazal is a short lyric poem composed of a series of about 5 to 15 couplets, each of which stands independently on its own as a poetic thought, but linked through a rhyme scheme established in both lines of the first couplet and continued in the second line of each following pair of lines. The meter is not strictly determined, but the lines of the couplets must be of equal length. Themes usually are connected to romantic love and longing, and the closing signature couplet often includes the poet’s name or an allusion to it.

Haiku – a haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adopted from the Japanese. The poem is made up of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete and pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words.

Since the form has been brought into English from a language written in characters, in which haiku appears on a single line, many poets writing haiku in English are flexible about the syllable and line counts, focusing more on the brevity, condensed form and Zen attitude of haiku.

Limerick – The limerick, which gets its name from a town in Ireland, is a five-line joke of a poem.

The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth having eight or nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth having five or six and rhyming separately. 

The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.

Shadorma – The Shadorma originated in Spain and is made up of a stanza of six lines with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.

Triolet – The triolet is a very brief, tightly rhymed poem that takes part of its structure from the repetition of entire lines. The triolet is composed in eight lines.

1st – line A

2nd – line B

3rd – line a (rhymes with A)

4th – line A (entire first line repeated)

5th – line a (rhymes with A)

6th – line b (rhymes with B)

7th – line A (entire 1st line repeated)

8th – line B (entire 2nd line repeated)

Triolets were originally written in French of the Middle Ages.

I hope you enjoyed this fun and informative run down of a few poetry styles.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurkmarshall

Until next time.

Cross Linking STEM Activity Slime

This is another one of my students favorite Chemistry classes, making slime.


Cross Linking, The Science Behind  Slime 

What’s the science behind the slime? The borate ions in the starch (borax powder or boric acid) mixes with the PVA (polyvinyl-acetate) glue and forms this cool stretchy substance. 

This is called cross linking.

The glue is a polymer and is made up of long, repeating, and identical strands or molecules. These molecules will flow past one another keeping the glue in a liquid state.

The addition of water is important to this process. Think about when you leave a gob of glue out, and you find it hard and rubbery the next day.

When you add the borate ions to the mixture, it starts to connect these long strands together. They begin to tangle and mix until the substance is less like the liquid you started with and is thicker and rubberier like slime.

This is my favorite slime recipe. The saline solution makes a nice smooth slime and if kids accidentally get some in their eye it wont hurt them.

How to make Saline Solution Slime

½ Cup White Glue

1 Tablespoon Saline Solution {contact solution}

½ Cup Water

½ teaspoons Baking Soda

Food Coloring


Bowl, Measuring Cups, Spoon

Sandwich ziplock bags or 5oz portion cups with lids


 Measure 1/2 cup of glue and pour into your bowl. 

To that, add 1/2 cup of water and mix the two ingredients together.

Once the two are well mixed, it’s time to add color and glitter. Make sure to stir well.

The next two steps are important to the forming of the slime itself.

Add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture and mix it in. This helps the slime firm up a bit more and create a solid.

Then you will add one tablespoon of saline solution to the whole mixture. Make sure that your saline solution contains both boric acid and sodium borate for the best slime activation.

Mix well.  You need to stir fast like you are trying to really whip up something. If it still feels loose, you can squirt a bit of solution into the bowl.

The slime will begin to form immediately thanks to the mixture of boric acid and sodium borate that is present in the saline solution. These two ingredients are cross linking agents that create your slime.

The final step is to knead your slime. Once the slime looks like it is pulling away from the sides and bottom of the bowl, it’s time to remove it from the bowl.

This is where you get to play with the slime. Have fun

Slime Fun

I hope you find this activity fun, my students definitely did.

As always, follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for the latest .

Until next time.

Insta Pot Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken over rice

This is a flavor packed recipe. You can adjust the amount of marmalade to your families personal tastes. The first time I made this I put in 18 oz of marmalade and it made my families eyes cross from the orange flavor.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Orange Chicken Insta Pot

3 Chicken Breasts cubed

6-8 oz Orange Marmalade

¼ cup Soy Sauce

1 cup BBQ Sauce

Rice made according to the package.

What you’ll need.
Cubed chicken breast
  1. Select Saute and cook chicken for about 5 minutes or until chicken is white on all sides. Chicken does not need to be cooked all the way though. Cancel Saute. Note: chicken produces a lot of liquid. Remove excess liquid before adding additional ingredients. If you leave the liquid in your sauce it will be diluted.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Cook on manual for 10 minutes.
  4. Quick Release.
  5. Serve over rice.

This is an easy and quick recipe I’m sure your family will enjoy.

Please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Orange Chicken

April is Poetry Month

That’s right, April is Poetry month. Time to get your poetry on.

Usually for Poetry month I would suggest all the poetry reading events, slam poetry, open mic poetry nights your city has to offer. But with the current state of the world with social distancing all the places that traditionally hold these events are closed. Most libraries hold events also, so I was at a bit of a loss at what to suggest.

There are a lot of online opportunities to experience poetry and I invite you to search the webs to find these experiences.

Poetry means different things to different people and so there is not one poetry style I can suggest over another. But I do know how important reading and writing poetry is. There is a style of poetry for everyone. I encourage you during this time to explore reading and writing of poetry.

To help you start your poetry journey I invite you to check out two of my poetry books. Munchy Crunchy Poems is a book of poetry. You can probably guess by the title the poems are not serious but good hearted fun. The second book is Jump Start Your Poetry. This book is to help you start writing your own poetry. Both of these books are currently free on Smashwords until April 20th. So please click HERE to get your free copies or click on the book covers.

Enjoy your poetry journey.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for daily fun.

Until next time.

Smashwords Author’s Give Back Sale

With everything that is going on in the world Smashwords author’s wanted to give back to their readers. As one of those author’s I wanted you all to know about.

From now until April 20th thousands of titles are deeply discounted or free on the site.

Please come on by and see all the titles that are available.

You can click HERE to be taken to my author page to see my titles included in the sale and then navigate around to find other books and authors you’ll enjoy. Or click on the Smashwords logo below to get there.


Enjoy your book adventure.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Some of my titles available on Smashwords

Making Something from Nothing Activity

During this time of no school and social distancing, I dove into my STEM enrichment materials to give you an activity that will get your kids creativity flowing and build something from nothing.

Below is my lesson plan I wrote for my enrichment. It is part of a bigger class Inventors Workshop so please excuse the treachery wording.

I hope your child enjoys this activity. My students did. There are a few pictures at the bottom of the post of students creating.

Objective: Thinking outside the box and creating from random items.

Materials Needed:

Bottle Glue

Stick Glue


Supplies for creating:



Have items out on a table for the students to select from. Here are some ideas for items you can collect for this activity. This is a great opportunity to clean out all the extra “stuff” you have tucked away.

More supplies

Bottles, bottle tops, pipe cleaners, straws, chopsticks, paper plates, plastic spoons, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, construction paper, small cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, yarn, string etc. 


Set out all creating items on a table.

Last class we created cars, ships, and other creations out of a random shape. You stretched your brain to be creative. Now we’re going to stretch your imagination and creativity to create something from this table of random everyday items.

Give a quick tour of all the items on the table.

There are only a few rules to using the supplies on the table.

Think about what you want to create before you select your supplies.

Once you select items from the table, please respect them.

If you decide you don’t need an item please return it to the table. 

Now that you’ve seen the items and taken a moment to think about what you can create. I’ll dismiss a few of you at a time to select your items.

When class time is close to completing, give students the opportunity to share their creations.

Please share your childrens creations. I love how creative kids can be.

As always, to keep up on my daily happenings, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Student creation
More Creativity
Students being creative

Taco Soup Recipe

Taco Soup

Taco Soup
This is a great recipe. Like other soups you can double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. I love having a batch or two of this in the freezer. I also freeze single servings of this soup to have available for lunch.
1 pound Ground Meat
2 cans Kidney Beans
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can Diced Tomatoes with Peppers
1 can Corn
Taco Seasoning

Optional for serving
Sour cream
Shredded Cheese
Crushed Tortilla Chips

  1. Brown the ground meat.
  2. While meat browns, mix all canned ingredients into a pot and set stove on medium heat.
  3. Add taco seasoning to taste to canned ingredients.
  4. Once meat has browned add it to the other ingredients and stir.
  5. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add more taco seasoning, if desired, to taste.
  7. Serve with Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese and Crushed Tortilla Chips.

To use frozen soup

  1. Remove frozen soup from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Place partially defrosted soup in a medium sized pan and add two cups of warm water.
  3. Add taco seasoning to taste.
  4. Warm over medium heat until heated through.
  5. Serve with Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese and Crushed Tortilla Chips.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Until next time.
Remember to follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Taco Soup

I didn’t mean to take a six year hiatus from writing


I didn’t mean to take a six year hiatus from writing, I really didn’t. But as you know, life gets in the way of living sometimes. In reality I haven’t written fiction in six years. I have been writing lesson plans for my enrichment classes, which have been really fun. But it isn’t quite the same.

I’m not going to bore you with how it happened or the why. What’s important is what I’m doing about it. I have a new editor and all of my published books are getting an update, both fiction and non-fiction. I will also be publishing new lesson plans later this year.

All of this takes time. I have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s a marathon not a sprint. But I want to get all of them updated, right now! But that isn’t a reasonable thing to expect from myself.

What I do know is I am working on revisions. I have a schedule for getting the revisions done and to my editor.

What I don’t know is the release schedules yet for the updates. But when I know, you’ll know.

To keep up with my day to day please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.




Life Continues During Social Distancing

Today should have been the beginning of Spring Break, which technically it still is.We had plans to go to the Zoo, OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), the library and get things done around the house.

Our plans are a little different now but I don’t feel it’s a down grade. Yes, were not going out to some fun places but those places will be there when our social distancing is over. If you’ve been following me on Instagram then you’re up to date on what we’ve been doing during this first week of social distancing. We’ve cleaned the lofts in our garage, cleaned the gutters, done yard clean up in the front yard and doing some work in the back yard.

The weather this week isn’t looking as good as it was last week. It was sunny all week but this weeks forecast is rain. And it has been raining most of the day here. We were hoping to get mulch this week for the grass in the back yard but with all the rain we may not be able to do that. Also picking up mulch isn’t an essential item so venturing out to pick that up isn’t wise.

To insure we are all staying on somewhat of schedule during this time we sat down as a family and created one. Our kids have access to learning materials online from our school district to help keep their minds active. I wasn’t as concerned over materials for them as I was over getting a schedule for them. Both the boys are smart and they have always been a head of the game with their academics. So we have plenty of materials. But they are going to be out of school at least until April 28th. As an instructor for the school district I have to be ready to return to work on March 30th. What I’ll need to do isn’t 100% clear but I’ll be ready to do what needs to be done.

If you’re trying to establish a schedule for your children during this break I offer ours as an example. My boys are 13 and 15 for reference.

When they get up to 10am – Reading and Chores

10-12pm – School related work and Activities

12-1pm – Walk the dog and lunch

1-3pm – Family activities/ analog games/ reading

3- dinner – Electronics (computer/TV/video games)

7:30 – 9pm – Clean up dinner, showers, Computer or TV

9pm – Walk dog and get ready for bed

This schedule is for Monday – Friday. On Saturday and Sunday we have a much more relaxed schedule with yard work, cleaning and other family activities around the house. It’s the weekend we all like some time to chill out.

I hope this schedule helps you create your own.

Stay safe and healthy out there. This will pass and we will be stronger.

If your not already, follow me on instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Aiden working on science.
Parker working on a puzzle
Puzzle finished

Cheeseburger Pasta Recipe

Cheeseburger Pasta

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 pound ground beef
1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can (10 ¾ oz) Tomato Soup
½ cup water
2 cups medium shell pasta (Can also use elbow macaroni )

  1. Cook medium shell pasta per package directions but don’t fully cook. You’ll add them to the other ingredients.
  2. Brown ground beef. Drain off fat.
  3. Add soups, and water to meat.
  4. Cook over medium heat.
  5. Remove pasta from heat when almost cooked through and drain water. Do not rinse.
  6. Add pasta to mixture and mix.
  7. Continue cooking until pasta is completely cooked.

Note: I used to cook the pasta in with the soups but not all the pasta would cook through. Cooking it partially in its own pot ensures that the pasta is completely cooked through.

I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.