Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Little Bit of Spring, A Little Bit of Winter



                 Day Five of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.  Be sure to visit some of the posts. There are many wonderful pieces of writing to enjoy.

               I'm also slicing with my classroom at  Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog.

              My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. 
                        Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog



         I wrote a poem nearly every day last month for Laura Shovan's birthday celebration prompts, 28 sounds.  You can find the challenge here. There were a few of us who wrote each day, and it was an enthusiastic group, smaller than this amazing Slice of Life group, dedicated and supportive. This week with more snow, I again hear the 'crunch crunch' of the sound that Laura posted on Feb. 22nd, George Washington's birthdayAgain, my thoughts go immediately to Washington’s army. The facts say about 12,000 were there and about a third of them died of cold and starvation.  In my warm house with my Smartwool socks and fleece pants on, I too can only imagine!


A Thought for Valley Forge

Soldier, soldier, marching onward,
the cold and snow - unjust reward.
Bundled rags your only dress,
yet Patriot, on you must press,
in hunger, frozen at the core,
ever feeling at death’s door.
Do not forsake the cause you’ve taken.
We’re thankful that you have forsaken
your comfort for our freedom saved.
Those February days were grave;
we grieve your fight of long ago,
those crunching footsteps in the snow.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved               the sound here!

                     In this challenging winter, many write of the snow, the cold, the hard times, but also the beauty. I thought I'd add a little bit of summer thoughts for you, from a book I'm reading with a group at school.

             Among the three books being read, I am the facilitator for Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. It's been an active group, surprised at the language, the story, and the flawed main character who doesn't seem able to think before acting. There are parallels made between this society and our own, or others that have been studied. And there are beautiful words to savor. One of the goals I always have when I read with students is to aim for the personal connection, to show that there are no "perfect" heroines or heroes, but complex and flawed characters with whom we can sympathize. We are nearing the end, and today we enjoyed this passage, connected to our own 'arid Colorado' joy of rain in the summer, and a little hail, running outside to grab a few hailstones to eat, and to celebrate the much needed moisture. Here is Achebe's passage: "When the rain finally came, it was in large, solid drops of frozen water which the people called the nuts of the water of heaven. They were hard and painful on the body as they fell, yet young people ran about happily picking up the cold nuts and throwing them into their mouths to melt." The earth quickly came to life and the birds in the forrest fluttered around and chirped merrily."
The spring equinox is only 15 days away! 
Plants are coming up despite the now. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SOLC # 4 Plus Celebrating Non-Fiction












Day Four of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.  Also, Come Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kidlit Frenzy.  



          I've been linking to Alyson Beecher's website for a while now, and from all others who link up plus Alyson's sharing, my knowledge of wonderful nonfiction picture books has grown and grown. The books can be for all ages, some just for the younger ones and some only for older students. Great books to discover and savor! 



Nathan of Yesteryear and Michael of Today – written by Brian J. Heinz and illustrated by Joanne Friar
           Every other page or double-page spread, the author tells the story of different topics in Nathan’s and Michael’s lives, one living in the 1880’s and one living today. It isn’t a particularly exciting story, but will serve to bring up the contrasts between the two times, and perhaps the imagining of what it would be like to live ‘back in the old days’.  For young children, they might ask questions about things like bringing mail by horseback or reading by candlelight. But older kids might look at this as a commentary about devices causing the loss of community.
          Actually, I enjoyed the warmth of several family times, eating together at the dinner table, and extended family together, eventually having Grandpa telling stories to the children. In the contrasting “today” pages, the illustration shows the father watching TV, Michael on his IPad, his sister on her desktop computer, while the mother is across the room on a laptop. Hm-m, I’m not sure I like the picture, especially the sad dog looking at all the family, leash in his mouth.   

Monday, March 2, 2015

SOLC # 3/31- Word Play





SLICE OF LIFE 3/31

      Day Three of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. I'm also slicing with my classroom at  Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog.

            My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. 
                        Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog

           I love to play around with words, am much in love with poetry, but when I'm driving home, I play with license plates.  License plates give me just a few letters with which to imagine what that plate could mean. I'm not writing about the vanity plates, although those can sometimes be challenging as to what the owner settled with. 
          What I enjoy are plates at random, like this one:
Owner, charming man - ninja! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SOLC # 2 - Monday Reading & A Special Birthday

SLICE OF LIFE 2/31

      Day Two of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. I'm also slicing with my classroom at  Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog

            My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. 
Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog
Congratulations everyone for reaching Slice # 2!



      On Mondays I also participate in a group to share books written for all ages of children.

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS, and shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS  
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews.  Great books shared!
           Tweet! at #IMWAYR

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Born in 1904 on this day, Theodor Seuss Geisel still gives us joy!  
Yesterday, a blogger friend posted a wonderful slice about the early career of Theodor Geisel, not a children's writer at all, but one who fought in his own unique way in World War II. You can find this great post at Windows To My Life: Writing To Remember to read all about it!

Seuss-isms! - A Guide to Life for Those Just Starting Out . . . and Those Already on Their Way - written by Dr. Seuss
         Filled with the wonder words of Dr. Seuss from his many books, this book will bring back memories of your favorites! Each quote from a book is labeled with advice. From How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Learn to Improvise: “All I need is a reindeer. . . . The Grinch looked around.”  And from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Take A Walk On The Wild Side: “Did you ever walk/with ten cats/on your head?” I’m not sure that all are included, but many, many of the favorite books are here, a lovely walk through our Seussical reading lives!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

SOLC # One - Looking Out The Window

SLICE OF LIFE CHALLENGE 2015 - #1

      It's an exciting day, March 1st, day one of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. It's my fifth year, wonderful itself, but this time I'm slicing with my class. Welcome them please at the classroom posts at Linda & Jonathan's Class Blog. My assistant Jonathan is also participating at JK's Slice of Life, my colleague, Max at TeachingFromBehind, and his assistant, Kam at A Moment With Kam. Their class blog is Max and Kam's Class Blog.

  I'm one of the concierges for the Classroom Slice of Life, with Margaret Simon of Reflections on The Teche, an old Slicer friend. In fact, I just read her first post, so filled with advice for those doing this with their classrooms. Go right over to see what she shares! 
        And as she said on her blog, some day we'll actually meet.  Please ask questions of either of us if you need help!