Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grab Beauty When You Can

         Amy at The Poem Farm hosts us today, this first Poetry Friday of Autumn, the final Poetry Friday of September.  Thank you Amy for your constant poetry inspiration!  
         When Autumn arrives, I look for perfectly colored leaves and display them on a certain table in my house.  I love many kinds, revel in the golden aspen display we have in Colorado, but nothing takes the place of those vivid, crimson maple trees, of which we have few. They do not like our climate very much, and need TLC in order to grow.  If someone has nurtured a maple's growth, it becomes a destination.  We can say things like, have you seen that tree over on 28th Avenue?  And if so, the other will exclaim, Yes, I have, think it's better this year than last!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Poem, A Photo, A List - My Life

             Visit Stacey for the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  
Tweet at SLICE2013! 

My slice of life is contemplative today, a poem, a photo, a list – my life!

Roads Go Ever On  – J.R.R. Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
                           the rest is here!

Looking back:

     Grateful for so much good that happened in these past weeks, the family, friends, medical help that gave me gifts of love, hugs and expert advice. 
      And I am grateful for my colleagues at this beginning of the school year who have been patient with my meanderings in and out of work.  It was such a relief not having to worry about work.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Monday Reading - Less But More

 Monday Reading  

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. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR
       It was a busy week; I just finished one book.  I’m still reading Kate Messner’s Wake Up Missing, which is getting better and better.  I’m almost finished with Hatchet, re-reading again with a young book group.  Both writers are good, just need more time.  I have been accepted as a Round Two poetry judge for the Cybils awards, so have found a few recent poetry books at my library to begin reading some of the recent ones. Exciting stuff!  If you have a favorite from this year please let me know!

One lovely picture book I found in my school library:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poetry Friday - Celebrating a new role!

           Poetry Friday is hosted this week by wonderful Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference, who finds most interesting things to share in every single post.  Thanks, Tabatha!

       I'm very excited to return to the Round Two Judging of this year's Cybil awards for poetry.  I'm researching books that have been published this year, and already have checked out a few from the library.  Below, see those I'm working alongside.  It will be a pleasure!

       I will not have time to read today, but certainly wanted to share my excitement about this honor of being chosen.  Some of you might have seen already all the different panels of judges, many of whose blogs we read and enjoy.  If not, the link to the Cybils blog is here!  It's also a great place to find extraordinary titles if you look at the list of previous winners in ALL the categories.  It's a terrific time to be a blogger and/or a writer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Speaking Up Like Someone Told Me

             Visit the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  Tweet at SLICE2013! 

Carrie Gelson, one of my favorite ‘go to’ people for book ideas on her blog There’s A Book for That just wrote a post celebrating 20 years of teaching by sharing 20 things she’s learned throughout those years.  I loved reading each one, and two would be placed at the top of my list, but this one, number 19, connected to my whole being: Be a storyteller. Our classrooms are a window into how we as a society look after our children. Speak up. 
            When I read Carrie’s words, I knew what I would write today.  I’ve thought about this all day, and wonder if it’s a way to bring educators together in a common goal of kindness, and of course we must include the children.  Part of the definition of society in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary is an organized group working together or periodically meeting because of common interests, beliefs, or profession or an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another.  Above all we must have a common belief to be kind to one another.  I am speaking up!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Monday!!

Monday Reading - After 2 weeks! 

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. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

      It's been two weeks since I posted, so have more than usual to share.  Thanks to Jen, Ricki and Kellee for hosting!

picture books

       All the picture books I’ve reviewed today came from my list made during the PB 10for10 in August.  What a wonderful group of books people recommended!  I’ve been ordering them from my library bit by bit (actually book by book)!

Tell Me The Day Backwards – written by Albert Lamb and illustrated by David McPhail
             This is another of those sweet books with bears, this time a going-to-bed book where the mother bear do go backwards through the day until the little bear is asleep.  Very nice to hear the story and to see McPhail’s drawings, lovely watercolor with a bit of ink outlining.  It will be fun to see who can remember ‘backwards’.

Not Last night, But The Night Before - written by Colin McNaughton and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
              Written in rhyme, this book shows a little boy in pajamas, getting ready for bed when all sorts of story characters come knocking at his door, sometimes knocking him down, sometimes spinning him around, and so on.  There’s a good surprise on every page, like the man in the moon and Goldilocks (and her three bears), and so on.  But the biggest surprise comes at the very end.  Fun book filled with laughter in the story and seeing the action portrayed so well in the illustrations by Emma Clark. 

Beware of The Frog - written and illustrated by William Bee
             Poor sweet old lady Mrs. Collywobbles protects herself from the scary things that come out of the big and dark wood she lives near with a pet frog.  This story is just outlandish, but the events that occur cause a large open mouth of surprise every time something DOES come out of the forest to “get” Mrs. Collywobbles.  And like another recent review, there is a bigger surprise at the end.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Going Forwards and Backwards!

Poetry Friday fan?  
       Head to Jen Vincent's web site, Teach.Mentor.Texts.  Thanks for hosting Jen!
The title seems to have a double meaning, considering all that is happening (or not happening) to educators lately.

       I wrote this poem a while ago as a holiday wish for my colleagues, and have pulled it out again because of all the recent controversy about teaching and testing. I've changed some of the wording to fit today rather than the holidays.  I think teachers are just great, and am happy to share the poem in their honor.  A Poem That Speaks Forwards and Backwards!

        This is a lesson from Kelly Gallagher’s book Write Like This, which includes the poem The Lost Generation, found here.  I loved taking this challenging exercise and applying it to my own life right now.  It would be great to do with older students.  It is also similar to Marilyn Singer's Reverso poetry books here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Hardest Goodbye

 Visit the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  Tweet at SLICE2013! 

     One of the biggest challenges of the Slice of Life is to write and share something very personal, yet for all of you who are part of my life in mostly online, but personal, ways, I think I must. I want to share all that is my life with you and the following story is part of my life.        
      I’ve written about my husband nearly all the time I’ve been blogging.  We have been married 48 years, have two children and their spouses and three grandchildren.  We’ve had a large extended family through all our marriage, a wonderful group of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and their families, etc.  And we count our blessings in the numerous friends both near and far. We have celebrated together and grieved together all the years. 
            And now I must grieve once more. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Traveling Over to Two Writing Teachers

       About this time last year I sent an e-mail to my colleagues to see if any were interested in joining me in a writers’ critique group.  I had one colleague that I had already discussed it with and she was “in” I knew.  I imagined that there would be three or four interested, and was surprised when more than that replied.  My story, and the rewards of this group, now starting our second year can be found at Two Writing Teachers today.  Please come visit to see how starting a group can reward you personally, but inform your teaching more than you ever imagined.  
         Thanks to Ruth and Stacey for inviting me to share this story, and to my colleagues who contributed their own ideas, too.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beginnings In Wordplay Leads To Writing

          Ruth and Stacey host this Tuesday Slice of Life on their blog, Two Writing Teachers.  Tweet at SLICE2013! 

     One of my favorite times, and quick writing assignments, was to involve my students in conversations about wordplay in their writing. I live within a block of a wonderful little park called Sunset Park.  It has a small hilly area with tall native grasses—good bunny habitat, a children’s playground and sand pit—often visited by me and my grandgirls, and an open amphitheater for small concerts. Our talks in class also focused on being aware of interesting things, ever observing the world around us!  So when I went walking around my new neighborhood one day, I discovered these signs on drainage holes beneath the amphitheater.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monday Reading - Come Visit

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. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

              And, Myra, Fats and Imogene host the blog, Gathering Books and challenge us with their reading Challenge, which you can find here.  This week, I'll share books that have been honored with awards.

Three Hens and a Peacock - written by Lester Laminack and illustrated by Henry Cole
             This is a terrific collaboration between these two artists!  It’s wonderful to read a story that holds a message young children need to figure out, and this is a good one:  Everyone has an important job to do.  No matter what it is, each one’s place in our world is needed!  I can imagine much conversation about this story when read aloud.  It’s a tale of a peacock arriving at a farm that sells produce, that begins to hang around the “Fresh Produce” sign on the road and attracts more customers.  The hens soon become jealous and wonder what the peacock is doing besides strutting around.  After all, they’re producing eggs!  When they trade, it’s a surprise what happens, and that they all finally realize how useful each one is in a special and unique way.  One says, when speaking of the other’s job, “I’m just not meant for it.” And the others answer, “Your job is harder than it looks.” The illustrations by Henry Cole, of many wonderful books illustrated like A Nest for Celeste, are bright, colorful, funny and just plain enjoyable.  I know that this would be a terrific addition to any primary classroom.

Children’s Choice Awards in 2012
2012 Storytelling Resource Award