Monday, March 31, 2014

It's April--Poetry Month and Reading Goals


  It's Tuesday, & time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog. Today I'm starting some poetry sharing, but this year I hope to share different things, poems, books of poetry, lessons I believe are good with students. My One Little Word this year is "wander", so I'll be "wandering" in the poetry world, & continuing to link with others, too.
       Today, I'm also linking with Carrie Gelson in a group formed because we thought we had too many books at home that were from last year and still haven't been read. You can find the group at Carrie's blog, There's A Book for That. It's titled #MustReadIn2014, & this is our round-up for the first three months. You can access my goal list up at the top of this page.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

31/31 It's Monday, It's the final SOLC, It's Chalkabration - We move on!

(special note: some font sizes seem stuck-cannot reduce it unless it's too small-sorry for the crazy size!)   The Last Day, #31 of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers! Tweet at #SOL14  for It's Monday, What Are You Reading: Jen at TeachMentorTexts, Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. Tweet at #IMWAYR
Here are reviews for Non-fiction Picture Book Wed. at Alyson Beecher's Kid Lit Frenzy.


Betsy Hubbard of Teaching Young Writers and Two Writing Teachers has been hosting a Chalk-a-bration where we share poems chalked on the last day of the month. Here's mine, for all the slicers who wrote through the month. Congratulations! 

And, congratulations to my three colleagues who also sliced every day: Suparna at Me and My Soliloquy, Max at Teaching From Behind, and Susan at UnderConstructionMax's class posted all month, too!

30/31 Time And Choices - Weaving More Than Yarn

Thank you to
       Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Anna, Dana and Beth for 

keeping us going, keeping writing about teaching along with your lives, slicers' lives, and all the myriad behind-the-scene details that enter into this month. Almost done, nearly there, what a journey!

Thank you to so many slicers who read my posts, who commented, and to those who wrote such words of inspiration that I had to re-read them, or copy and print them, or bookmark them for my teaching archives for future use. Your words will live on. Isn't that a wonderful thought?
I'm linking up to Two Writing Teachers for the 30th slice of 31!

Wow, next to the last day, and for one of the first times, I haven't yet linked my post. There aren't enough hours... I wove more than yarn yesterday into my life. My first day of spring break filled me up like a deep breath!

Friday, March 28, 2014

29/31 Celebration and Slicing - completing the week

It's the end of the week, the 29th post for the Slice of Life challenge, and time to Celebrate with Ruth Ayres & the celebrating community she has formed at Ruth Ayres Writes: Discover, Play, Build. It's the 24th week, the first thing to celebrate!
                 Tweet at #Sol14 and #CelebrateLu

        I'm re-reading Ruth's and Christi Overman's book, Celebrating Writers, hoping to gain more insight in helping those with whom I work. A sentence on page five says: Celebrations ought to wrap around many moments in writing workshop--not just the final product. Celebration is essential to the livelihood of young writers.

         When I read this, I wondered if we can connect this to ourselves, adult writers, too, celebrating things like:

  •         Beginning a new notebook
  •         Working at a new structure in poetry
  •          Attempting new kinds of posts on the blog
  •         Noticing words and habits that might be better banned, at least for me
       And I also wonder if we can connect the same idea to life's process, those many moments that we love, are proud of, and think of as rather small things, but they add up to the "publication" of life.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

28/31 Wandering Through The Alphabet

       It's Poetry Friday at A Year of Reading, with witty poet Mary Lee Hahn. Thanks for hosting, Mary Lee! And it's the 28th of 31 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.  Thanks to Tara, Stacey, Anna, Beth, Betsy and Dana for carrying the community through this amazing month! 
                   And it's the Friday of my spring break-high time!
      In the past, I've written a few Abecendarian poems, poems that use each alphabet letter as a guide for each line or stanza. There is more about these here. Numerous ABC books do more than just follow the alphabet. There is wordplay within the letters themselves, and that fascinates me.  I'm been playing around with the letters, too, and have a poem to share.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

27/31 Something Fun - A Movie & A Tech Contest

        This is a different sharing than I usually do for the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers. It's also number 27 of 31!

       My job as literacy coach takes different paths, and in technology, I'm often exploring new apps that students might use for creating and communicating non-fiction, fiction, poetry, art, and so on. My slice of life Tuesday took another different path!
        All the students in my school choose individual unit topics and the curriculum is built around that topic, with both student and teacher input. Two students interested in animation and several teachers had an entertaining session with our technology teacher, learning a little about the stop-motion animation technique, and watching several movie trailers about a movie coming in the fall, an animation movie!  According to Wikipedia, “stop-motion animation is a technique to use a physically manipulated object appear to 
move on its own.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

26/31 Books With Connections?

        Five more days! What will you share in those five?  
         Great to be writing for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.   And today I'm also posting at Alyson Beecher's blog, Kid-Lit Frenzy for Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday. 

          Tweet at #SOL14
          I’ve loved reading about Teddy Roosevelt all my life. He is a fascinating man in our history, and it a pleasure to read about his life. Today, I share two different books that include his acts, both with positive endings, but the first one shares a side of his breaking the law to get what he wanted. I’ve read of his egotism, his pushing the limits sometimes even placing his well-being in jeopardy in order to “conquer” something. So I am not surprised. These two books are worth reading as starters for information in unique ways.

The Panama Canal A Wonders of the World Book – written by Elizabeth Mann, illustrations by Fernando Rangel
       According to Goodreads, This series is well-known for Elizabeth Mann's ability to synthesize technical and factual information about a topic in easily understood and accessible language for younger readers. The illustrations include detailed drawings of the canal locks, beautiful paintings accompanying the varied stories of the canal’s building, and photographs where important. I took this from our library because I wanted to read some background of the canal and the story of its building before I began reading Margarita Engle’s verse novel, Silver People, out today!
       The book gives a broad overview of the history and challenges of the canal.  Each part 

Monday, March 24, 2014

25/31 Weaving for Memories

   It's Day Twenty-Five of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!
           Tweet at #SOL14  

         I haven't mentioned all the reasons why I am so interested in the weaving I've started. Part of it is that I had my mother's loom sitting without love in a closet. But the other part is something I did with a class one year. More than one post has talked of the importance of community, and I believe it makes the year with a class smooth as smooth can be. At my school, there is a slightly different challenge in our core classes, that we keep some students and other join us each year. (I taught Advance School classes, 6th, 7th and 8th graders.) That begins the year with "experts" and "novices".  Weaving (that word again) this disparate group into a learning, fun-loving, cohesive whole takes activities, shared experiences, learning about each other, learning to love each other. It isn't now the beginning of our school year, so those activities are for another post, but this post is about weaving us together into a memory that will last. Each year, one of the things we did was travel on an extended trip together. That taught us about each other more than most things could. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

24/31 It's Monday - Reading and SOLC

“I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss—you can’t do it alone.” 

          Happy Reading everyone! Day Twenty-Four of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!
           Tweet at #SOL14  

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

                    Here are my reviews of two books for Non-fiction Picture Book Wed. at Alyson Beecher’s Kid Lit Frenzy, including another book about a librarian!

         The following book meets the 2014Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge – the link to find out about it is HERE or the right sidebar. Even if you don't join the challenge, there are terrific posts and connections to books you may not know about.

Tomás and The Library Lady – written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raul Colón
           It’s not easy to keep connections when you have to move two times a year to 
follow crops, as the family in this story does. They’re in Texas in the winter, Iowa in the summer. The story is based on the true experiences of Tomás Rivera, who became a university professor, a writer and an education leader in his life. The Univ. of CA at Riverside library is now named after him. Tomás loved stories, and loved listening to his grandpa tell them. One day his grandpa told him to go to the library to read more stories so that he could come home and tell different stories to the family. Tomás did, and found a kind librarian who fed him books and books and more books. It’s another wonderful story about a librarian who makes a difference in someone’s life, showing Tomas often getting lost in the stories. These particular pages are made even more wonderful with Colón’s beautiful woodcut illustrations of this reader’s imagination as he reads. It’s a very sweet story.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

23/31 Progress and Learning - Weaving Update

        It's been a pleasure to write for this challenge. I'm reading as many posts as I can, and enjoy the creativity and uniqueness of each. Thank you everyone for sticking to it, for your dedication! You can find all the slicers at Day Twenty-Three for the Two Writing Teachers, Slice of Life Challenge.

     Things I've learned this week about weaving, and that I already know about life:

  •         Yarn gets tangled; so does life, even during one day. (Oh, what a tangled web we weave...)
  •          Yarn that is all wrapped up in the skein becomes a different color and texture when it is unwrapped. (Don't judge a book by its cover.)
  •          Plans imagined aren't always the ones that end up being completed.  (Go with the flow...)
  •          Looking ahead doesn't work as well as focusing on the moment. (Life is available only in the present moment.-Thich Nhat Hanh) 
  •           It's a good idea to have everything needed before one starts. (Look before you leap.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

22/31 It Is Always Those Little Things That Bring Smiles

Discover. Play. Build.

       Celebrating the week thanks to Ruth at Discover, Play, Build, and !! It's a pleasure to look forward to Saturday Celebrating!
         Thanks to Tara, Stacey, Anna, Beth, Dana and Betsy for slicing on Day Twenty-Two at Two Writing Teachers, and for all you're doing during the challenge.

     Celebrating pieces of my life, and words that complete them.

after swimming
dinner plans invite smiles
happy evening

Thursday, March 20, 2014

21/31 A Poem Connection & March Madness-not the basketball kind

          21/31 Slice - Poetry Friday, too!  There are still many people writing for the March Challenge at Two Writing Teachers - go visit!

          PLUS! It's Poetry Friday and Julie Larios of The Drift Record is hosting today. Thanks Julie!

        I grew up visiting relatives on farms--one set of grandparents, an aunt and uncle. Good memories live from that time. During this Slice of Life Challenge, I  have started to find and read regularly Holly Mueller's posts at Reading, Teaching, Learning. She has been recording some memories of growing up on a farm, and I've enjoyed them. Yesterday she wrote about rising in the dark with her dad in the cold, cold winters and helping to milk the cows, breaking the ice in the buckets. 
         All of us have been yearning for spring and warmer temperatures, yet Holly talks about loving the cold and the snow, yes, even after this past particularly hard winter. Because of her writing yesterday, I remember rising with my own grandfather, in the dark, so we could go milk the cows. I didn't do it every morning, but this was my two-week summer visit, and I had begged to go. He woke me, gave me a biscuit with jam, and a warm, milk-drenched cup of tea. Out we went, and that might make another story.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

20/31 Dusting Is A Good Time To Think

  Still writing and finding ideas for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.   
While dusting…

In a grouping of pictures in my front hallway hangs a drawing of what looks like an older man; it is inscribed with the quote:  “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”  Recent months have brought the saying:  50 is the new 40.  According to USA Today, March 3, 2010, “Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, make up about 26.1% of the U.S. population, or an estimated 78 million people.”  I am one of this group, actually a little older, surprised that I might now be called ‘old’, but celebrating the one thing about aging that holds positives:  anonymity. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

19/31 Non-fiction Picture Books Are Better and Better

   Great to be writing for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.   And today I'm also posting at Alyson Beecher's blog, Kid-Lit Frenzy for Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday.

        Here's a shout out for my colleagues who are slicing for the first time this year:
    Teaching From Behind - Max (bringing along his students)
     Under Construction - Susan
     Me & My Soliloquy - Suparna
                  I'm glad they're here with me, and proud for sticking to the challenge! It's not easy for anyone with so much going on at school!

           It's amazing what wonderful non-fiction picture books are available for us as teachers and for students today. I used to love reading the encyclopedia (yes, I did!) and loved even more when the topics had good pictures. I'm not old enough to have had this textbook on the left, but someone did! Here are two good books that tell different and interesting stories that kids will love. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

18/31 What I did in February

       Wow! It's Day Eighteen of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers! I hope everyone is so proud of themselves! Thanks again, Dana, Anna, Tara, Betsy, Beth and Stacey!
                In addition to all the writing of posts, and writing assignments for my work, in February I was intrigued and a little batty because when I started responding to Laura Shovan's birthday month celebration, I just couldn't stop. Laura, among her many other responsibilities, writes a terrific blog titled Author Amok, and each February she creates a challenge during her birthday month. Last year she connected to postcards, and this past month it was all about Pantone colors. You can find all about it here! There were a few days skipped, either because Laura was out of town or because I couldn't seem to connect with the color of the day, but I wrote 21 poems for Laura's celebration last month. There were others who participated too, like Diane Mayr at Random Noodling who won the prize for most written with 26 poems and Margaret Simon, whom I think many of you know at ReflectionsOnTheTeche. Others joined in occasionally, all with wonderfully written poems connected to a color or the color's name. I am proud of a few poems and not so proud of others, but it was great fun to write this time to a prompt, and to write fast!  I'd like to share one of the poems written because so many of you are teachers and you will connect to it, especially if you teach older students. The color's name was Stormy Weather. The idea is to write to connect to the prompt and one must include the name somehow in the poem, or at least something close to the name. We took a few liberties on occasion.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

17/31 It's Monday - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

          Happy Reading everyone! Day Seventeen of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

           Tweet at #SOL14  

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

       I hope you noticed that there is a little more green in my post today, because I want to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's quite wonderful about my reading today because I'm reviewing Irish novelist John Boyne's recent children's book that is coming out on March 25th! 
     Here's the website of Children's Books Ireland (CBI).  And here is a list of 10 great Irish children's authors.  Finally, here is the shortlist and the winner of their big award, the CBI award - best children's book of the year.  There are a few I've read and recognize in the list; you will, too!
         Find my review of Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas, coming April 1st, here!

chapter book

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave – John Boyne
          I am thrilled to have had an advanced copy of this from NetGalley. This latest war story by John Boyne, whose book The Boy In The Striped Pajamas has touched so many, begins on the day that World War I begins, that ironic “war to end all wars” that still feels like tragic loss in different ways from today’s war in the middle east, but it also connects with those who are now suffering from PTSD. They didn’t call it that in the first world war, starting in July of 1914, almost a century ago now! In fact, they had few names for it, but hid those afflicted in hospitals, sometimes still believing that the soldiers were faking it to get out of fighting. But in this book, that is what occurs.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

16/31 -Weft, Warp, and the Shed - Weaving Update

Visit Two Writing Teachers to read other posts this Sunday, number 16 of 31 days!
            Here's a photo of accomplishment this past week, not as much as I would like, but a lot of trial and error, passing the "shuttle" stick back and forth through the "shed" (the space between the "weft" strings). Up and down, up and down the lines go as the weaving builds and I imagine what it will become. In my mind's eye, it will not be a usual weaving of bars of color, or a pattern, but this time I am thinking of spring, and will attempt a spring picture. I can cut out the black at the bottom, but thought the picture should have a bottom starting line for the picture to sit upon. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

15/31 - Celebrating More Than One Thing

Discover. Play. Build.
       Celebrating the week thanks to Ruth at Discover, Play, Build, and slicing on Day Fifteen thanks to Tara, Stacey, Anna, Beth, Dana and Betsy at Two Writing Teachers.

Tweet at CelebrateLu             and                      SOL14
       I relish the sweet moments this week, despite the loss of my daughter's family's dear cat, Le Roc on Tuesday, or perhaps more because of it. I wrote about it that day, and it certainly has colored my week although I haven't even been to their home since. The tragedy has shown again the importance of celebrating each day. There is a plaque outside my school which quotes A.A. Milne: A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.  It was so lovely to receive everyone's kind words after that evening. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

14/31 SOLC and Poetry Friday-Lucky Me-Sunshine Makes Shadows

It's Poetry Friday. Hosting is the Rogue Anthropologist, Kara Newhouse. Stop by Kara's blog for today's poetry links.

And stop by Two Writing Teachers also to read other posts this Friday, number 14 of 31 days!

          We do have many sunny days in Colorado, but last Saturday was a day that offered a true taste of spring. It was in the seventies, and everyone was out, walking, jogging, bicycling in shorts and tees. It was that wonderful kind of day! So I went walking too, with my phone (my only camera), and in the late afternoon to see if I could catch some shadows.  I started being interested in shadows because one blogger that I read joins a meme called ShadowShot Sunday. I don't participate, but I love to see Beverley's photos every Sunday! You can find one example here!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

13/31 - Hurrah,It's A Palindrome!

           All the wonderful writing this month can be found at the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.  
          As a literacy coach, I wear a lot of hats: book groups, lessons with classes, lessons for small groups, book talks, meetings with teachers, special things like the Newbery club with the librarian. I am always happy to work with students and enjoy that bit of ‘being back in the classroom’.  What cannot be helped, even with a talk with the teacher, is that I can’t know all that has gone before. I can’t know how much students are used to revising, or if they’re in and out with a couple of drafts, and then moving on.  I do ask both the teachers and the students, yet still nagging in the back of my brain. What's different is that they're not my students and I have not spent hours with them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

12/31 New Book Coming - A Must for Nature Lovers

           Great to be writing for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers.   And today I'm also posting at Alyson Beecher's blog, Kid-Lit Frenzy for Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday. I've had the pleasure of viewing an advanced copy of a book I know everyone will love, and want to share it with you.

           On April 1st, Laura Purdie Salas’ new poetry picture book, Water Can Be, will arrive on your doorstep if you pre-order now! You can find all about Laura here at her website. You can find her blog, Writing The World for Kids, information for writers, for teachers, for students, and for visits to your classroom.  Most recently, Laura became a new "teaching author" at the blog, TeachingAuthors. She is a busy writer, and writes wonderful books for children.   

Monday, March 10, 2014

11/31 Slice of Life - Living the hard moments as well as the good ones

           Thanks to everyone who enhances this community by writing for the Slice of Life Challenge at the blog, Two Writing Teachers
Tweet #SOL14

                  There was another slice, and then this evening my daughter called. One of their cats, their favorite actually, had been hit by a car. Her husband was going to stay with the girls, and would I wait to see what the emergency vet said? Well, you know how this will turn out. Dear LeRoc, sweetest cat even for toddlers, stayed near the girls when babies, seemed to take good care of them always, was too badly injured, and we said goodbye to her a little after ten. Dear pets are not easy to let go, and this "grand-cat" was dear. I have a poem that I love that is about a cat, but really about all of the pets we've had to say goodbye to. 

              I'd like to share in Le Roc's memory: 

My Old Cat by Hal Summers, begins:

      My old cat is dead,
      Who would butt me with his head.
       He had the sleekest fur.
       He had the blackest purr.
       Always gentle with us
       Was this black puss,

                      You can find the rest here.
        And here is LeRoc, lounging on the vcr for its warmth, a year or so ago.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's Monday!

10 of 31 Slicing And Time to Share What I've Been Reading (aside from blogs)!

Happy Reading everyone! Day Ten of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers
           Tweet at #SOL14  

 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

Finished FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell that met two challenges on the sidebar this week.  Week by week this year, I hope I can find time to read all that are on the list in a page posted above.  Go to Carrie Gelson's post here to discover what it's all about and who's participating (tweet at #MustReadin2014), or go to Gathering Books with Myra, Fats & Iphigene to see their CORL challenge!    

Fangirl – written by Rainbow Rowell    
          I fought my way through this book, consistently wondering, about where and who and why. It took me a few weeks to finish, just busy with other things, but I looked forward to reading pages at the end of every single day. After liking Eleanor & Park so much, I wasn’t sure that Rainbow Rowell could write another with characters so fascinating and loveable. She did. It really is a book for older adolescents because even as old as I am, the college girl still in me was so touched by the connections I made with the characters’ thoughts, relationships, and their earnest struggle to make things right.  While the reader might think that these are characters who are a little bit quirky, I think that they were just honest with their needs and wants, and didn’t hide behind what’s deemed as “cool”, like those who resist anyone seeing who they really are.