Thursday, June 26, 2014

Visiting Today's Little Ditty

                 With a challenge at Michelle Barnes' Today's Little Ditty, I wanted to try something, so go visit her wonderful poetry site to see my attempt at a slide/movie. I now know a few things, and wish I'd added some text. Next time! Thanks to Michelle, you can enjoy many of the tree photos I've taken through these past years, with a poem accompanying!
               I've been out of town the past few Sundays and missed the Digitech meme at Margaret Simon's Reflections on The Teche. It's worth visiting, too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Non-Fiction Inspiration

    Thanks to Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy who hosts this community. It's exciting to discover so many good non-fiction picture books!

         I managed to read two n-f books, two I'm sure that one of you, or more, have shared and that's why I ordered them from the library. I'm very happy I did! Both are worth more than a look!

Barbed Wire Baseball - written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
            It's a wonderful thing to discover so many kinds of heroes in the recent numerous picture book biographies. We've learned about sports heroes, adventurers, visual and musical artists, women who defied the usual stereotypes, and stories about writers, much in these past few years. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

All-Write - Around and Around

Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers
       Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth and to the bloggers who share. It's a pleasure to read your writing. 

        I really celebrated last Saturday about my trip to All-Write last week, but only shared the verbs, not the incredible experience every.single.minute. Even the hotel room provided a respite before going out again with friends to talk about education. What an inspiration to be there at the start of summer when we read and talk and tweet and plan--for next year! Remember that these are my words, my takeaways. Others may bring differing ideas, the speakers may have intended different messages. This is Day One!

Pictures and Why They're Here:
Ruth Ayres gave an amazing keynote address, starting, as is her mantra, with a story. She spoke of her children and the challenges they, with the family, face. Yet, Ruth, through much thought and advice, finally figured out that there was hope in Celebration With GRIT!  My Takeaway: Instead of working in our lives for ourselves, for our students, seeing what is NOT right, look for the nugget that is right, and CELEBRATE! It may be dusted with grit, but it is worthy. She referenced the beautiful "Man In The Arena" quote from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt, which you can find here. And shared "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them" by Maya Angelou. I believe I do this in my own life, but perhaps forget when I'm teaching some students that I also can look through that grit & find the celebration!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's Monday Reading!

                 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for this terrific Reading community. Come share or at least visit!
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

      Happy One Year Anniversary to Kellee and Ricki! Celebrate with them this week!

           I’ve read some great picture books that I know have been suggested by others. Thanks to all who keep adding to my list. What fun it is to read these books!

Breakfast Served Anytime – written by Sarah Combs
             I am late reading this from NetGalley. It is a debut novel published in April, and I finally found the time to read it.  I thoroughly loved this young Gloria, off to Geek Camp, a month without tech (wow) before her senior year in high school.  Within the group of four students, and the teacher, all begin to feel comfortable being their true selves, especially when they accept who the others “are”. Gloria faces additional challenges with her perky roommate Jessica, also not exactly what she first seems. It becomes a summer of learning for Gloria as well as the others in the story. Sarah Combs writes beautifully as she peels off the layers of each character, using the classes led by the teacher and the experiences of the group. Told with Gloria’s strong voice, it is a poignant read of that time just before a child leaps into adulthood.  It’s definitely for teens, no younger.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Celebrating Travel

            Thanks To Ruth Ayres, we have Celebration Saturday! Tweet at #CelebrateLu  and today at #AllWrite14
         Link up here!  
 At All-Write-literary conference in Warsaw, Indiana. What a marvelous time filled with verbs! Yes, VERBS (most important part of speech): talking, learning, laughing, yearning, thinking, listening, sharing, sitting, smiling, introducing, greeting, eating, writing, applauding, photographing, story-telling, hugging, commiserating, questioning, watching, walking, driving, discovering, snacking, reading, and, of course, CELEBRATING!
        Thanks to Ruth Ayres and Mary Helen for their warm, hosting welcome!  More next week when home with the laptop.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Changes Still

     Thanks to those who write for the Two Writing Teachers blog, we have the Tuesday Slice of Life Sharing.
     Since I last wrote two weeks ago, school has ended, my daughter and family are still with me, (although it may be the final night), I've been to Texas to stay with a grandson to help out while he recuperated from a baseball hit to the eye, and now I'm on my way tomorrow to the All-Write Conference in Warsaw Indiana. When I return, I'll have five days, and my daughter, two grand-daughters, and that same grandson are taking a road trip to Mid-Missouri to visit my brother and family, back on the 2nd. June will be over... Wow!  So, what have I learned anew in these days since I said goodbye to school? (Pictures were posted on FB, but wanted to share again.) 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's Monday - Reading Magic

                 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, we have a terrific Monday Reading community. Come Visit!
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

            I’ve been out of town helping with my grandson since last Tuesday and didn’t have much time for reading, yet managed to finish We Were Liars on the plane coming home. My grandson is better, still restricted to quiet activities (eye injuries are serious!), but it does look as if he’s escaped surgery! I had a wonderful time with him, and with my son and daughter-in-law. Now I’m back, and on my way to the All-Write conference this Wednesday, so exciting. I hope some of you will be there! And I hope to find more books to read for this summer!

We Were Liars- written by E. Lockhart
                  One cannot put this book away from one’s mind either during the time reading, or at the end. It will be one that stays with me for a long time. I re-read parts as I read, and am actually happy I have it on my Kindle, because it’s ready to visit again. I wonder if I’ll see more truths this time? The story tells of a few summers on a private island owned by a wealthy family who gather each summer.  There are gorgeous descriptions and achingly beautiful scenes. The story mesmerizes, from parts about the patriarch to the youngest, and the secrets can’t be revealed except when you turn your own pages as you read it yourself. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday-reading wrap!

                 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, we have a terrific Monday Reading community. Come see what everyone shares!
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

            I've read some of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart-so compelling already, but having my daughter, son-in-law & two granddaughters here, & now my grandson in Texas having a baseball accident will bring me to be with them on Tuesday. My time is definitely not my own, yet! Hopefully this book will be finished this coming week.

However, I did read some good books this week.

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story – by R.J. Palacio
           It’s an extraordinary piece of writing that expands a book that is already “wonder-filled”, yet this short story filled me with delight. When we read and love a book, although it can be satisfying, questions do arise, particularly about other characters. It’s one of the reasons I loved the way Cynthia Voigt wrote books about the characters in Dicey’s Song. In those novels, I learned so much about Dicey’s friends and family, too.
           Discovering the backstory of Julian, the bully in Wonder pulls me back into the story of August, and those events that connected these two young boys. Now I want to read Wonder again, which of course will make me imagine what the expanded story of others might be.  I appreciate R.J. Palacio’s sharing this story.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Hope of A Celebration

            Thanks To Ruth Ayres, we have Celebration Saturday! Tweet at CelebrateLu  Link up here!  

             It was a week of celebrations and a week of worry this time. I hope I can find time to read and comment tomorrow, but I still have my company, daughter and family, and am preparing for an unexpected trip. My grandson in Texas had a bad accident in his final baseball game. He missed catching a fly ball, and it hit his left eye. He just came home from the hospital Thursday, and the ongoing concern may mean surgery. Like any injury to a growing child, the worry is how future growth might affect the injured muscle, etc.  So, as you might imagine, with both parents working, it's tough. I'm going to go and help this coming week, starting Tuesday. I celebrate that the injury wasn't even more serious, and that I'm finished with school! Whew, life throws a metaphorical curve ball sometimes, but this time it really was one!
Continuation of our 8th graders happened Wednesday. For many
years, I've been in awe of how wonderful the ceremony is. The
pennants are designed by the students, and created by parent volunteers.
Those on a black backdrop are for the current class.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Goodbye School

          Poetry Friday is hosted today by Carol Wilcox here, at her blog, Carol's Corner, welcoming summer days with a beach trip! Happy Travels, Carol!

             Thursday was the final day of school for our students, and while all of them and all of us staff are ready for a break, there were tears too. Here's a goodbye I imagine from a student or a teacher.

Outta Here!

Goodbye pencils
and lined paper,
friends at recess,
game creators.
Farewell teachers
and homework lessons.
They must leave us to our summers-
assignments lessened.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stories - whales and politics

        Two quite different non-fiction books, yet both have connections, about the good results of working together to make good things happen. Thanks to Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy who hosts this community. I am grateful for learning about so many good non-fiction picture books!
         Happy Reading!

        Finally a little free time at school, so have been reorganizing books in my office, then going in to browse in our library.  This first one is an older book, another magical book about whales. The second is not a new story, but told in a fun way for younger children. 

A Symphony of Whales - written by Steve Schuch and illustrated by Peter Sylvada.          
         Because of the recent special book about whales, Following Papa's Song, this book caught my eye. In my own library, hiding in a stack. It's a wonderfully inspiring story of the people of the Chukchi Peninsula and the crew of the icebreaker Moskva risked their lives to save thousands of beluga whales. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Changing Slices

Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers
       Thanks to all of you who gather this community (Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth) and to you who participate. I love reading what's going on in your lives.
       My life has changed because Saturday my daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters moved in with me while renovations are being done. This also includes a dog and two cats. By now, all are relatively used to their new lives, except one cat. Rose May, a beauty of a black and white cat, but shy, elusive, and now hiding out in the "parents" bedroom. Imogene, the almost three year old granddaughter is having more trouble sleeping. She's at the stage of transitioning out of a crib anyway, so she is lately spending time climbing in and out of the pac 'n play, lying in the bed with her sister, trying out my bed, and so on. If you've raised children, you know this hard, hard stage. How does one keep them down in the bed when in the crib, it was so easy?  And Ingrid is busy with EVERYTHING, painting, making pla-dough, playing in the sprinklers, reading books. Then she collapses in bed at night. Sorry, wish I had a pic of Imogene, too! She walked to get the mail with me today, (a half block), and literally jumped all the way!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It's Monday - Fabulous Reads!

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

          It's taken a while in this busy final weeks of school, but what a wonderful time I had reading this recent, poignant book by Gae Poliser. I loved meeting Francesca Schnell (known as Franki), her friend Lisette, Lisette's boyfriend Bradley, and four year old Franki Sky. Yes, all of them play a part in the puzzle of who Franki Schnell is, discovering hope in her life after the tragedy of her little brother drowning in the ocean (which she blamed herself for). Life is not easy, it is complicated, and as Franki keeps figuring out the truths of her life, and using them to get better, I found myself hurrying in the book, wanting to discover what important thing she would discover next. I'm not a teen any more, but really the life lessons shared in this book apply to all of us! I know many of the mature middle school students in my school will love the voice in this book, and connect to those mixed up feelings so aptly shown.
(This book meets the challenge of the Gathering Books blog found here, named CORL: 2014 (Check Off Reading List and Carrie Gelson's #MustReadIn2014 here)