Thursday, July 31, 2014

Poetry Friday - Creatures In The Garden

          Poetry Friday can be found at Margaret Simon's Reflections On The TecheThanks for hosting, Margaret, and for sharing such beauty from your trip to Whitbey Island.

       It's been such a busy summer, and I have been out of town for most of it. There have been good times away, but I haven't had much time to write. I have managed to write a few poems for a project I've been working on for a while. I love learning about plants and this has given me an interesting focus. Here's a recent one, a favorite plant in our semi-arid climate.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Chalk-A-Bration

Betsy Hubbard at Teaching Young Writers started this tradition a long time ago, where we're supposed to chalk a poem to share, take pics, and share. It's been raining in Denver for the past two days, so guess it's going to be another app instead of outside on my sidewalk. Next month? Visit Betsy first, then those who share their own chalking art!  Thanks Betsy!

Worth Having In Class

        Time again to add to your growing non-fiction lists. Come visit Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy for Non-Fiction Picture Book Wednesday!  Thanks for hosting, Alyson!
        I've been focusing on reading chapter books more lately, so have read fewer picture books. Time to grab more at the library!

      But, although some of you will recognize these, I have three good books to share, all should be in classrooms or at least the school library!

How People Lived - DK Publishing
      A variety of readers will enjoy this book, for research in various times of
people's lives or of cultures or simply to turn pages and read what grabs one's attention. The book covers information from a stone-age community 160,000 years ago to modern day living, projecting into the future. At the end, there are two pages of riddles, to see how much is remembered, a terrific timeline and a glossary. The book is filled, DK style, with many illustrations, and small bits of information. For those who love some information and some explanation, this will inspire everyone to want to know more about the way people lived all through history.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Special Slice - Grand-Girl Imogene Is Three!

              Time for our Tuesday Slice of Life Sharing at theTwo Writing Teachers blog. Thanks to all who share, and to those who host the community. It's the final slice of July!
            You know I love spending time with my grandchildren and I just returned from a week on the beach with all of them and their parents. The days were such good, good slices to remember. And I could write about that, yet today, JULY 29, is a special day, my youngest granddaughter Imogene’s birthday.
a few days old
          Imogene is three, but she is quite a bit more than the usual three. (Don’t all grandmothers think that?) Having spent all last week with her on the beach, a week’s road trip to Missouri, and about three weeks at my house with her, parents and older sister, in late May, early June, I am in awe with the surprises she has in store for us each day. I wrote about her here, the day she arrived. She was a lovely and quiet, self-contained baby. In a post here I wondered how she would gain attention with her quiet ways.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's Monday...

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Visit Unleashing Readerswith Ricki and Kelle, and Teach Mentor Texts, with Jen to read about the books on everyone's lists!
                 I didn't get to read as much as I thought I could last week at the beach (too much fun in the water and shelling), but it's been 2 weeks since I posted, and I managed to finish several longer books, all I enjoyed, some I loved. 

chapter books
Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle – written by George Hagen

          Coming at the end of October, you won’t want to miss reading this fantasy adventure, with a thoughtful main character, 12 year old Gabriel, who carries on his family legacy in the quest to find his father who disappeared when he was nine.  The book holds ravens and riddles, which Gabriel and ravens love, good friends who leave, unexpected friends who appear just as the action begins. George Hagen craftily adds hints of what’s coming, although one doesn’t always realize it for a while. The opening about ravens is important, and I found myself needing to return to re-read it, to begin to understand the rules of the magic in this book. There are some characters and descriptions who appear that makes one want to shout to Gabriel, “watch out, this does not sound good!” And there are the wonderful raven characters, both loving and terrifying. It’s an adventure that takes Gabriel down numerous paths, and they all provide a clear vision of the good and evil in the world. I enjoyed the book very much. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

On vacation, also visiting online

Visiting Michelle Heidenrich Barnes Today's Little Ditty, a poem for teenaged girls, after Whittier...

Thanks Michelle for sharing my poem, and Tamera Will Wissinger for the challenge!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Poetry Friday - Old Acquaintances

             Poetry Friday is hosted today by the always entertaining Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. This time it seems that a strange admirer of Emily Dickinson is also visiting. Go over to see what's going on.

          I've had a long-time link with the poet John Ciardi because I used his poetry book How Does A Poem Mean in a poetry class long long ago in college, and have read it since then, although not for a while. At the time, I thought it wasn't terrible interesting, but I loved more the teacher I had, a former poet laureate of Missouri, John Neihardt.  I thought he told better stories about poetry than the book did. 
       Yet since then, I've come to enjoy different texts about poetry, and all kinds of poetry. I had the good luck to go antiquing when I visited my son and family in Texas. I don't buy many things any more, have too much already, but this time I had the extreme pleasure of finding what appears to be a first edition of  Doodle Soup, a book of Ciardi's children's poems. It seems untouched, although now it is!  I've discovered some of the poems are akin to Shel Silverstein and I will try them out with young students this year to see if I'm right. Yet the humor is sometimes a bit strange, too. More than one of the poems talk about disappearing, somehow making a mistake and "poof", one is gone. They can be wry in humor, yet still others offer a big laugh at the "new" look he imagines.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Forming Reading Communities! #CyberPD & NFPB Wednesday


            Reading In The Wild by Donalyn Miller this week added more ways to encourage reading, especially in communities. Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone(@litlearningzone), Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate (@LauraKomos) and Cathy Mere at  Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community(@CathyMere) are hosting #CyberPd this summer, where we read a certain professional book, this time Donalyn's, and share our response to it. 
         This time, Laura is hosting, so link up your posts there, read and take notes for the school year's beginning!
         It was a pleasure to read everyone's thinking last week, and I look forward to this share, too!                            Tweet at #CyberPD

Monday, July 14, 2014

Travel Words, Lists and Plans - Sort of

      Time for our Tuesday Slice of Life Sharing at the Two Writing Teachers blog. Thanks to all who share, and to those who host the community. 

       I've traveled quite a bit in my life, with my parents of course, with my husband, with the rest of the family, with friends, with my students, and on. This year I've traveled four times since the middle of May, only one road trip. Coming Saturday will be the next air trip, to Captiva Island with both my son's and my daughter's families. My nephew and his partner live in the Ft. Myers area and we will see them too, with a few other extended family members coming in for at least a day or two. My SLICES of life today have to do with the preparation, the planning, the insistent voice in my head that asks endless questions before time to go.  
It looks like this:
photo credit: carrie227 via photopin cc

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday Reading - Giveaway Results!

It's Monday, and time to visit Unleashing Readers with Ricki and Kelle, and Teach Mentor Texts, with Jen. Thanks to them we have this awesome group that shares the latest books read, and their opinions about them. 


           AND, this Monday, I have the results of my giveaway of The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson. 
It's my own bowl of names
of the commenters!
               And the winner drawn is Andrea Payan, of Mrs. Payan Reads. Andrea, you can find my e-mail in my personal profile. Send me your home address and I'll mail your book! Congratulations!

I'm taking a week off next week, starting Saturday, going to the beach with family, but I've read a lot this past week. What a pleasure it was. I hope you find some good books here you'd like to put on your TBR list!

verse novel
The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

               The story’s woven into a basketball world, former European star player is dad, twin sons with the talent of their dad, and the values too, along with the mom, worried about her husband whose father died young from hypertension.  Tension comes in brief moments, a look, a grunt, a movement of a hand. The poetry sings with rhythm, fast then slow, inner rhyming and story-telling. The feelings behind each poem almost tell more than the poem itself. It’s a story beautifully shared, of adolescent feelings that arrive as fast as a pass, and change as quickly as the “game”. Each time I read another novel in verse, I love them more. You won’t forget this one easily.

middle grade chapter book
Absolutely Almost – Lisa Graff
               There is no “absolutely almost” liking this book. I absolutely loved it. I’ve commented to other reviewers that their reviews made me think that all teachers should read this book, and then read it aloud to their students. And now I know I’m right. It is a book important for teachers and parents as well to read, to learn about kids and how they hide, how they want things to be different, yet often don’t know how to communicate that. The main character, this boy, Albie, like his mother says, is “caring and thoughtful and good”, although for a long while I’m not sure his mother really knew this in her heart. It was a tough story to read, especially for the adults’ foibles. Parts made me want to shout into the story and say, “wait, why aren’t you doing something”, or “why are you doing this?” It’s been a while when I wanted to shout at a book character!  But Lisa Graff tells it true, the adults, even the sweet “not-a-babysitter” Calista are not perfect.  But Albie “almost” is! Read the book!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebration-Fun Times

         Many of us celebrate together on Saturday, the little things and the larger ones, because Ruth Ayres invites us from her blog RuthAyresWrites: Discover Play Build. Come join in the fun!

       "In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." Kahlil Gibran

      My pleasures to celebrate this week:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Poetry Friday - A Poem Gift

Poetry Friday is celebrated today at Linda Kulp's WriteTime.

      For several years, Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference has given many of us the gift of a poem swap, where she matches different poets who join the group, and each sends a personal poem to the name given. This has been one of the loveliest ideas I've seen someone create. It is a wonderful thing to open the mail and find a special poem, and also a joy to write for someone, to prepare the package filled with a gift of words. 

A quote for Tabatha's gift to so many: "The only gift is a portion of thyself." Ralph Waldo Emerson  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hurrah for Wild Readers - #CyberPD

            Reading In The Wild by Donalyn Miller is something to shout about, and luckily for us, Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone(@litlearningzone), Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate (@LauraKomos) and Cathy Mere at  Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community (@CathyMere) are hosting #CyberPd again this summer, where we'll read Donalyn's book, and reflect upon it, discuss it, perhaps even disagree about it.        
        That's the great thing about reading together, and Donalyn writes about it on page 9, "During daily reading time, our students practice more than their reading skills; they practice living like readers. Reading together, swapping books, sharing observations and recommendations, and developing reading relationships help students approximate wild reading behaviors. This why reading time at school really matters. Students need to connect with other readers and participate in a reading culture that values them." It's exactly what we'll be doing today, and for the next two weeks. While following the tweets from #nERDcampMI, I found this tweet from @BrianWyzlic, quoting Donalyn's presentation: 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Slicing At Home - Ah-h

Time for Tuesday's Slice of Life Sharing at Two Writing Teachers. Enjoy!

              I missed reading your slices last week, living another slice of my life, traveling again. I'm home now for a couple of weeks until I travel for the last time, special time by the ocean, until work begins again.

            Having some down time at home means I can play a little, work a little, read and write a lot! So today I considered what I want to share about these slices of my life.  Because we talk about our slices of life, to me that means the parts spent "living" that slice. I am tickled thinking of the way a pie chart of my life can change during different parts of the year. So I created a chart on the Numbers application. How does your slicing add up? Are the largest parts of the chart just the wonderful things you want to do, at least in the summer?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monday Reading Plus A Giveaway

                                 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at UnleashingReaders for this Reading community. 

       Come share what you've been reading!

          Tweet at #IMWAYR

GIVEAWAY! I’m happy to offer one copy of The Great Greene Heist on this post. If you’d like a copy, leave a comment and I’ll draw later in the week from those commenting.

The Great Greene Heistwritten by Varian Johnson
               Here's a great story of a group of middle schoolers who are growing up with all the usual problems, cafeteria food, popular kids who aren't so nice, and girl-boy problems. It's also a story of a group of friends who carry off a heist that holds a few surprises. It's cleverly twisted when one doesn't always know what's true, but going along with the fast-moving action is fun. I taught this age for a long time, and found the characters realistic and likable, with just the right amount of humor without sarcasm. Mostly, they're nice kids trying to learn how to live life. I also enjoyed the small parts parents played, beginning to be hands-off, but supportive. There's a fun part at the end about rules that wraps everything up nicely.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrating-After the 4th!

       Thank you Ruth, for Celebration Saturday! Everyone come over to RuthAyresWrites to share in the celebrations! 
        Tweet at #CelebrateLu  

         I've been gone almost since school was out, and am now celebrating being home! I haven't posted since the wonderful All-Write Conference. I was happy to be home for a few days, to relax a little before the next adventure. A week ago Thursday, my grandson flew in from Texas, and on Friday, he, my daughter and two daughters, and I took off for Missouri, to visit with my brother and family. What a wonderful time, a list of celebrations day after day. Among all the wonderful things, the very best is visiting with family, talking over old times, catching up on new times, and this time my grandson (13 next month) got to stay up with the grown-ups, listen and add to the conversation. Do you remember when you were old enough to do that?
        I've posted some of these on Facebook, so forgive me if you've seen them already, but am really happy about all the small things we loved doing. Each part is a special memory for us.
It looks this way, across eastern Colorado, then all the way
 through Kansas, & finally, rolling hills begin
as we near Kansas City, Missouri. After that,
 two more hours. Long days going and returning!
Goofiness surrounds us. The kids are hamming it up here!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Nature's Fireworks

              Heidi Mordhorst has the poetry fireworks at My Juicy Little Universe.

           I haven't posted since the beginning of June, traveling here and traveling there! The latest trip with family, including my three grandchildren, brought us to Missouri humidity, and the best of all besides more family was FIREFLIES. It seems fitting to celebrate our Independence Day with poems about those magical insects, nature's fireworks. The two youngest grandchildren, three and five year old girls, had never seen fireflies, and so with their older cousin's help, danced around the lawn trying their best to catch a few, and a jarful was caught. They were released later, but loved the doing and the real sight of something we just don't have in Colorado. In early evening, the best thing to do is to sit on the porch and watch. Then watch a little more, and when the evening deepens, the fireflies rise. They live in the ground, come out at night to attract mates and prey. If you want to know more, there's a good article here!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Must Reads - Checking In

          This is a quick post to share with those taking the #MustReadIn2014 challenge hosted by Carrie Gelson at There's A Book For That, and at Gathering Books: Check Off Your Reading Challenge.

            I have 26 books on the list (see the page above), have completed eleven of those, and am ready to start Every Day After by Laura Golden. Too many new (and good) books take the time away from these past books (also good), so we decided we needed to challenge ourselves to catch up as much as possible. Thanks to Carrie and Maria Selke (Maria's Melange) for the idea.

    Happy Summer Reading:

Let books be your dining table,

And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
~Author Unknown