Friday, May 30, 2014

Quite a "glass-full" week! Chalk-A-Bration too!

Join Ruth Ayres for Celebration Saturday! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!  Thanks Ruth!

             Celebrating today and every day with words and pictures. A beautiful quote for you this week: "Memory is the scribe of the soul." Aristotle

This is the day of Chalk-A-Bration.
Thanks to Betsy Hubbard for beginning the tradition.
Check other poems out at her blog. Teaching Young Writers.
         It's been a terrific final work week with the class I've had the pleasure of working with. I will finish the year with them on the last day, next Thursday, but my time with them is over, and I'll spend the first days of next week cleaning/straightening/organizing my office, making plans with our librarians for next year. I'll miss the students, but it's also exciting to think of the next year and what might be! Almost time for summer! I posted writing from the group I've been writing with here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

End of Year - Grateful for my student workshop

            Diane Mayr, at Random Noodling, is our host today for Poetry Friday. Visit there to find all kinds of poetry inspiration! Thanks Diane!    

           In remembrance of Maya Angelou, I wonder if you've seen the hashtag #MayaTaughtMe, and read some of them. It's filled with tiny memories that can only be because of twitter's structure. Here, less becomes more as one reads. She taught me that being older is okay, that thriving at any age is the purpose. Have you thought about what Maya Angelou taught you?

         It’s been a pleasure working almost all my time in the past weeks with one classroom. I’ve continued to meet sometimes with other teachers, but this time it’s like being back in the classroom again. My colleague has planned numerous kinds of projects, including writing in a workshop-type atmosphere where students have the chance to make their own choices in writing.  In this kind of group, I usually have students bring some examples of texts they think is good, and we respond to those. Then, when they have writing to share, I copy all the pieces into a packet so each can “see” the words as well as “hear” them. It gives everyone a chance to think first, then give some ideas for revision to their group members. I think of myself as the facilitator, bring up different ‘craft’ skills that I notice in the words shared, and take a few minutes to give a mini-lesson, hopefully that will help each writer improve.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wednesday Non-Fiction

        I’ve found some great non-fiction books at my library and at the public library. Here are three of
them. If you haven’t seen them yet, they are beautiful, inspiring, and fun to hear about. Thanks to Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy who hosts this community.
         Happy Reading everyone!
Have You Heard The Nesting Bird – written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak
             Using couplets, Rita Gray takes us on a journey of the sounds of many birds, so beautifully shown by Kenard Pak. Yet, in between those pages, the title’s question is asked: Have you heard the nesting bird? And we discover that this bird is quiet, and the reasons why, too. It’s a predictable mystery, but so enticing to see where the story will go next, with an ending of wonder. There is a creative two pages of backmatter as well, with an interview of the nesting bird herself! I enjoyed the book and believe it will entice younger students to pay attention to bird calls and what to do when they do notice a real nesting bird. The double-page spread of one night is so gorgeous, a quietly beautiful piece of art.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where I Work at Home

Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers
                     Come join us!  Tweet at #SOL14
        Hope all is going well in your days left at school. And if you're out, happy for you, but I have two more very busy weeks, and I know some of you have more than that. Soon, summer for all of us!

Last Friday, Stacey shared her newly organized work space and asked others to blog about theirs. So here is where I work at home. I forgot to take a couple of pictures of my office at school. Let's just say that it is also filled. I ought to have an auction when I retire just for the teaching materials, and some of the books! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's Monday

 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting our Monday Reading community where we discover wonderful books for kids, the youngest up!

          Tweet at #IMWAYR

          I loved this long weekend, finding time to spend Saturday with one of my granddaughters, to plant flowers at last, and to read! I reviewed Views from A Window Seat, Thoughts on Writing and Life by Jeannine Atkins last Friday, and finished The Mark of The Dragonfly today!

The Mark of The Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
           This is a perfect middle grade read. It's set in an imaginary world that appears strangely dystopian, with elements of the middle ages although there are machines. It's different, which leads one to be extremely curious as to how this 'life' works for the people, especially Piper, the main character, who lives in a "scrap" town, where after strange meteor showers, people run to grab what has been left by the shower. They seem to be the leftovers from a long ago earth-intriguing-and perhaps another book will tell that story? Piper is a machinist, able to repair some of the objects found, and also has been left to fend for herself, although she's just 13, because her father has gone to work in a near town factory to help earn a living, and has died from the pollution emanating from those awful factories. But that's just the start of this story that propels the reader very quickly into the action, takes Piper, and later "new" friends into a train adventure that never stops with heart-stopping action, suspense, surprises, and even a little romance. This was recently published, and I imagine some will be talking about it for a while.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Always Celebrations At End of May

     Join Ruth Ayres for Celebration Saturday! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!  Thanks Ruth!

The concert was outside, and Carter plays the
trombone, just like I did.
          It's a pleasure to share my celebrations and to hear yours about the week. I didn't post last week because I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson in Texas, to see them all, but specifically to hear my grandson's spring concert and to watch two baseball games. It was a terrific few days, seeing a few sights, eating out more than once, and being at those special events. I miss them being here in town every day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Book To Savor

                 Poetry Friday! Today at Violet's  poetry blog, Violet Nesdoly/Poems. Thanks to Violet today for hosting us.
             I just checked out a book from the library titled Tick-Tock: A Book About Time by James Dunbar. and that's what I'm feeling right now, mostly wondering where time goes! It's nearly the end of the school year and I've just had two long after school/evening events. I relish the idea of spending a day reading some wonderful book, perhaps re-reading some favorite passages in the book I'm about to review. 
             Sometimes I read books fast; the action propels me forward to the end in lightning speed. And other books’ pages slow me down. I re-read lines, and often underline them. I star passages, and add notes to some.  For anyone who wishes a book to savor, a passionate affair about writing, life, and created with loving authority too, please find Views from A Window Seat, Thoughts on Writing and Life, by Jeannine Atkins.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Non-Fiction Greats!

Hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy, this is a great place to find terrific non-fiction picture books. Come visit to see what everyone is sharing.

        I was gone all the weekend, and didn’t read many non-fiction books, but the two I want to share are worth a look. These two respected authors have given so many books to savor.

The Scraps Book – written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
            I’ve had this book for a while, and finally sat down and read all of it, not just looked often at a few pages. I imagine it would be in every classroom that encourages art and playful creativity. Lois Ehlert writes of her childhood beginnings, her parents who encouraged her by providing the materials and teaching her to use them. She took the art table her father built for her to art school!  On one page: “I created lots of art, though not for books right away. But I didn’t worry. Everyone needs time to develop their dreams. An egg in the nest doesn’t become a bird overnight.” Other pages show how she creates pages, where ideas are developed, simple materials available that are used. It’s an inspiring book for all ages.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers
                     Come join us!  Tweet at #SOL14
            Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Beth, Dana, Betsy and Anna for hosting such a marvelous community!

      I'm not sure if this is a slice or a book review. I began today thinking I would write about gardening and this time that meant mowing my lawn and doing a bit of weeding. Because it snowed last week, then rained, and I was away on the weekend, every green and growing thing GREW! The snow and cold didn't appear to hurt even a bud, so flowers are opening and my small bit of lawn is growing. Here are two pictures of the first iris and columbine. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Monday Reading Recap

 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting our Monday Reading community. Come join in to see what everyone is reading!
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

             I traveled for a long weekend to see my son, daughter-in-law and grandson and didn’t read very much, just on the plane, but do have a few to share. Still reading Mark of The Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson. Next, hope to start The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner, one of my #MustReadIn2014. Have a happy reading week, everyone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Non-fiction - Great Learning

           Terrific to share at Alyson Beecher's Kid-Lit Frenzy for Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday here!  Tweet at #NFPB2014

       Getting ready for summer (solstice), and two books about animals and their homes are my latest non-fiction. All will be interesting to read for learning about their various topics.

Summer Solstice – written by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis

            This book is filled with information from the origins of celebrating the summer solstice to today’s celebrations all over the world. For young students who are interested in how people make sense of their world as they observe it, this would be a fascinating read. It begins with Lithuanian villagers rolling a flaming tire down a hill, shows the beginnings and reasons for sun worship, and includes both discoveries made by ancient peoples and how they observed the actual solstice, to someone who just wishes to discover what’s happening today. Illustrations show the details that are described in the text.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beauty, created by an app

Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers
                     Come join us!  Tweet at #SOL14

Part of my life, as many know, is reading blog posts. I enjoy them, I learn from them, and share what I read often. Last Saturday, Tara Smith wrote here at TWT about her amazing end-of-the-year multi-genre project. While I loved every bit of the description of her work, what caught my eye also was the mention of an app for IPad & other devices named Waterlogue. I've been playing with it since then. We've had snow since Saturday night, so Saturday I raced around taking pictures of those flowers that were already blooming because I knew we would soon lose them. Here are the pictures, but created into watercolor paintings from this app. I just had to show you! There are multiple choices of the look one selects, and one can frame them, or create a postcard from the art, print and mail. It was super easy. Here are the basic pics I chose. The snow pic Monday morning, then the flowers from Saturday, plus one of apples because I wanted to try it. Enjoy looking, and then perhaps create your own!
          FYI-I'm also excited that I'm leaving Thursday to visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Texas, to see Carter's spring concert & two baseball games! Can't wait!

          And-discovered late, my 'water-based' poem is being shared at Michelle Barnes Today's Little Ditty. You can visit there to find out about Laura Purdie Salas' poetic challenge, and to read the poem. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's Monday - Time To Share

         Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting our Monday Reading community. It's just great to see what everyone shares. 
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

      It was a great week of reading, some finds in my school library and some read at a bookstore made the week fun.

         This book meets the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit reading challenge that shares more books from Latino authors or about Latino people. You can read about the challenge by clicking on the sidebar button.

Love And Roast Chicken, a trickster tale from the Andes Mountainswritten and illustrated by Barbara Knutson
                 The first reason I found this book is because of the beautiful cover. With bright colors emphasized by black outlining, it is so appealing. The story follows the usual structure of a trickster tale and while the back matter says in the Andes mostly the trickster is a grey fox, this time it’s a guinea pig, or “cuy”-guinea pig in Spanish, mixed with the ancient languages of Quechua or Aymara (what is spoken in the Andes).  Other Andean words are included in the story, like “pobrecito” (poor little thing) and “Que ridiculo” (how ridiculous). The dear guinea pig finds himself in various scary situations, which he smoothly talks out of, tricking the fox time and again. It’s a book to use for predicting, with lots of laughter at the fox who keeps believing that CUY again and again.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Celebrating Words, in conversation

Thanks to Ruth Ayres for Celebration Saturday! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!

             This week, I'm celebrating the gifts of words: 

  • I celebrated my mother yesterday in a poem for all mothers. It's for all of you, too, if you didn't get a chance to read it. You can find it here.
  • Today I celebrate my daughter and daughter-in-law, wonderful mothers who, like many of you, juggle such full lives, raising children, managing the household, their professional lives, and offering me such support, especially in these past challenging years. A proverb for them: "Mother is a verb, not a noun."
  • I started a writing workshop for a small group this week. We'll only meet for a few weeks, and they were so excited. They all have chosen personal goals:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Poetry Friday-Mother's Day

           Poetry Friday is hosted by Jama Rattigan, of Jama's Alphabet Soup. Missed you Jama, and thank you for hosting with love today.  

           My poem today is for all mothers, but especially my mother, gone for a while, but still in my heart every day. I've messed about with words all week trying to choose the 'how' and 'what' of a poem for her. It became too specific, it was too flowery, it was too vague. Hm-m. Well, then I thought of all the songs she sang to me, all the songs I sang to my children, all those they sing to their children. Most of the lines are lifted from lullabies I know. It's a thank you for love, for music, for comfort. 
Happy Mother's Day to you and yours!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Non-fiction Biographies

  Sharing with Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday here!  Tweet at #NFPB2014

       I don't have many non-fiction books to share, but found two more biographies to celebrate. Both are interesting people who show such passion in their chosen work. Read on...

When The Beat Was Born, DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop – written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
               I’ve never heard of Kool Herc, and this story of how he became the DJ who started the dance parties in the Bronx, created the “break” between records by using two turntables, which became “break dancing” and hip-hop. You never know when something you love so much becomes what many others love, too. The illustrations are graphic and vibrant, like hip-hop! It’s a “Kool” biography!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A "Wandering" Slice

Time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Tweet at #SOL14  
        It's great to read what others have to share from their lives. Come visit! Hope everyone is beginning a terrific week!

       My One Little Word is "wander", and while I haven't really been out of town, I have been trying a few new things. I am still weaving, but the new work at school has taken more of my time. I am traveling in a little while to visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandson, and I have plenty of terrific plans for the summer.      

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Monday Reading!

         Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting our Monday Reading community. Come along to find new books to read.
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

            This is a week of finishing things. In addition to those above, my book group completed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a Newbery to love and enjoy for sure. 

A Snicker of Magic – Natalie Lloyd
                 There are moments in this book that are marvelous, the exuberance of this young woman, Felicity Pickle, called the “poem catcher”, just trying to figure out who she is, what’s important in life, and where she really belongs. A big help along the way is a new friend, Jonah Pickett, a wonderfully thoughtful boy she first meets at school. Most of the answers are figured out with Jonah in Midnight Gulch, where she has lately landed with her mother and sister, to live for a while with her Aunt Cleo while her mother makes a little money so they can take off again. It seems Felicity’s mother is a wanderer, doomed because of a long ago curse on the Threadbare brothers, but we don’t discover the connections for a long time. There are numerous interesting connections in the book, some heartfelt, some a little crazy, but all the threads are straightened out satisfactorily. I loved when I got to the part about the “snickers of magic” and loved the magical qualities that appeared throughout. I was reading still another book these past two weeks, so wonder if my opinion wasn’t colored a bit while reading both. I should have read it faster perhaps, but found there were some slow parts, and quite a bit of repetition of the same desires and feelings from Felicity. In all, it was a book I will recommend, but it didn’t touch me as much as others have expressed they were touched.


Margaret Simon has started a new meme titled Digilit Sunday. You can find it, and all who are linking up at Reflections On The Teche, Margaret's Blog. Thanks Margaret!

       If you read my posts at all, you know that I enjoy finding ways to do collages, especially when I'm sharing books. I like to share the book covers, too. I usually use Picasa, and have looked for other creative ways to make them. I want to share Kizoa today, an app that has quite a few ideas for creating, including adding music, different ways to make images stand out, ways to add text, etc. On this site one can also create slideshows and videos.  I can see that one could share a short piece of text, like a description, brief memoir, or poem with one image or more. Today I just grouped a few animal pictures, and added jungle sounds so you can see how it would work.

Don't forget to click on the speaker to start the sounds!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Celebrating Goodness

        Thanks to Ruth Ayres, we Celebrate each week together! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!

             There is nothing better than a birthday party. Unfortunately it was supposed to be at the park near my house, and it turned out to be cold and windy. We crammed inside and had a great time anyway. Kids picnicked on a quilt in the living area, adults moved through the rest of the rooms. We did bundle up for a piƱata outside! 
Ingrid celebrates being five with friends, and little sister Imi.

Monster cupcakes!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gifts of Poetry

           Thanks to Katya Czaja of Write.Sketch.Repeat for hosting this first May Poetry Friday. Hopefully this is the start of something big-warmer springtime weather! 

             It was a wonderful April Poetry Month. So many wrote and invited others to write. I'm fearful of leaving someone out if I try to list all the April projects, but I read many, many poems and words about poems this past month. I needed an "April break" so I could keep up! Thank you everyone!

             One of the projects is one that has been dear to Jone MacCulloch (Deo Writer) for several years, and I was a lucky recipient of one of the Poetry Project poems created by students at her school.  Thanks to Michael C. for the lovely reminder of the beauty and mystery of snow leopards. Wouldn't it be awesome to really see one? Enlarge the picture to see that "tiny" leopard sketch.