Friday, October 31, 2014

Best Celebration-It's Saturday!

           Celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build each week. No matter what the week before brings, to reflect upon it and to celebrate those special things is satisfying. Thanks to Ruth, we're learning to find that there is much to appreciate every.single.week.
           Yesterday, I hosted Poetry Friday, and one of the bloggers shared a poem by William Stafford. I'm going to share it again today because it speaks to our celebrations so aptly. 


It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could you know. That's why we wake
and look out--no guarantees
in this life.

         find the rest here

Other celebrations!
  • Teaching a lesson in a class of older students, fun to work with them again!
  • Helping in my granddaughter's class, working with a small group helping to prepare some pages for their portfolio conferences. 
  • Learning the different ways that I work with the oldest and the youngest, but also what is the same.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poetry Friday - Boo-o-o!

                                                                                                  Linda Baie (c) All Rights Reserved           
               I think I must have read the poem I want to share today last year at B.J. Lee's post and then printed it out. I have the printed copy in my Halloween poems file, and when I looked for a link to it, B.J. Lee's Blue Window blog came up. Here's the beginning of Alice Schertle's poem "Walk Softly", from her book, Keepers, and you can find the rest at Blue Window. AND, I also found the poem shared by Laura Purdie Salas when her blog was on Live Journal, way back in 2010. Laura adds more about the poem here. If you don't know it, enjoy. If you remember, enjoy it all over again.  Among so many others, it's a favorite of mine, too.  
            I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween, full of spooks and goblins, or whatever you'd love to fill your Friday nights with. I'm rather full of candy corn after this week of school hijinks! We have a big parade at my school on Halloween, before the parties, and find even the older students (8th graders) wearing marvelous and creative costumes this one last Halloween for them.

            Welcome to Poetry Friday's fright-filled day.

Walk Softly

Walk softly
in this wood,
where little wispy things
in gown and hood
slide down the dark
and fold their wings.

         Find more in the links above!        

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Non-Fiction PB Wednesday

Thanks to Alyson Beecher we can discover favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday when others link up on her blog, KidLit Frenzy
I'm sharing three picture books this week connecting to art, two more directly than others. 

Ivan, The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla – written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Gl. Brian Karas

           Finally had the extreme pleasure of reading this. After reading The One and Only Ivan, I thought the story was told, but not exactly. Here it is really shared, the sad and happy times, and the connections, to the children who grew up visiting him at the mall, to his keeper at Zoo Atlanta, and to Katherine Applegate. One line touched me about Ivan and his companion baby gorilla Burma, who died shortly after being captured: they were ordered by the shopping mall owner, “like a couple of pizzas, like a pair of shoes.” The illustrations are gentle depictions of Ivan’s story. Ivan’s picture book continues his story, this time for younger children to learn of all animals who are still being captured and misused today.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Visiting My OLW

          Time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Tweet at #SOL14  Thanks Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy!
          It's time to write about my OLW for the year, WANDER. Remember back when I wrote that I had found a new journal that said wander, and then I'd connected this to meaning MORE WRITING?  It has!
          I have been doing what Merriam-Webster says is the meaning of wander: "to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction" or "to follow a path with many turns".   Some of the time I have had a direction, to improve my writing, but I also need to share a secret. I'm writing different things all the time, seems like practice, and it's fun.  Learning to wander into a new approach instead of just changing a word is part of that. 
            To learn and grow, I've taken the online poetry workshop with Renée LaTulippe (see the button at the right). I've wandered back to Honesdale, PA to enjoy and work hard at a second poetry workshop with David Harrison. I've continued my writing group which has grown smaller, but some of us are still pushing on together. And, I've just signed up for PiBoIdMo. Clearly, I'm following a path of many turns.  

          A friend sent me a quote: "Having precise ideas often leads to a man doing nothing." Paul Valéry, a French poet
          I've been sketching more; it helps me think and imagine. Mostly I sketch what I see, sometimes from a photo. Clearly I'm wandering, and more than once, it's a slice of life that I'm living.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monday Reading

Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share recent books read.
             Then, Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started one with a children's focus. My book TBR list grows each week. It's wonderful discovering new great books!  Thanks Sheila, Jen, Ricki and Kellee!  And Happy Reading Everyone!

      The following two books meets the challenge made by 2014Latin@s in Kid Lit (See the button on the right if you'd like to explore this terrific blog resource.)

Draw! – by Raúl Colon
I loved looking at this book, and while I didn't draw much when I was young, I did spend hours imagining stories everywhere. This time, Raúl Colon takes us into his childhood drawing world, sitting in his bed with a sketchbook, taking us into the world of a safari, moving along with sketchbook and supplies in hand. We enter what looks like a savannah, and there are the elephants, zebras and giraffes. From a tree, there are lounging lions. And in his imagination, there are a few frightening moments. Colon's drawings and imagination will take students into their own imagination, I hope, so they can draw! Beautiful double-page spreads that fill you up with color and action. I can't wait to share the book with students.

Dancing Home – written by Alma Flor Ida and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta

            I am grateful to Alma Flor Ida for sending me numerous books that she has written, both picture books, chapter books, and cds of her reading some of them. I’ve shared many with our Spanish teacher who in turn has shared with students.
           Margarita, one of the main characters, is about to have her life changed, and she believes it’s not for the better. Her cousin Lupe is coming to live with the family because her mother has remarried, and it’s a chance for Lupe to have a good education in the U.S.  Margarita likes to be called Margie; she’s decided it’s more American, & she is American, born in Texas. Her own parents are immigrants, and Margie is a little embarrassed that they don’t always act like her classmates’ parents. She is also now worried that Lupe will embarrass her even more because she doesn’t speak English at all. This is a story of complications, immigrants trying to fit in, but still feeling proud of the country of their birth. It’s a story of being teased because one is different.  And it’s a story of family love. The chapters alternate voices with Margarita telling part of the story, and Lupe telling the other. I enjoyed it very much, the sweet voices of these young girls wondering if things will ever be okay, and finally, through the help of a new friend, too, they do find a comfort in both their heritage and their new country. It would make a good read aloud to bring up so much illuminating conversations, to step into the shoes of others you might not know much about, or to hear the voice whose experience parallels yours.

One New Online Tool I'll Use

Margaret Simon, at Reflections On The Teche, gathers links from others who'd like to share a digital tool that can be useful, personally or in the classroom. Hope you'll find something you'll like in the links for this Digilit Sunday.

      This week, I'm sharing Canva, an easy-to-use graphic tool that can cost per image, but there are many free images and backgrounds too, and one can upload photos, etc. as well. Check it out. I will find it useful when creating my own images, collages, illustrations, etc. I can imagine students printing book reports, quick illustrations for posters, too. There is also a draw tool. It is super easy to use and provides a .png image or a link.  Here's are two simple ideas:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Celebrations - All Sizes

           Celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build each week. It's a lovely way to touch base with others online to see what they've been doing and celebrating!

          I didn't write last Saturday because of my staff retreat, always a pleasure to spend that time with colleagues, easy evenings and great talk about everything, then purposed talk about the future. We are lucky to be able to travel to a family cabin in the Y of the Rockies. Beautiful weather, beautiful place.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another leafy poem for autumn

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at Cathy Mere's blog, Merely Day by Day.  Thanks Cathy!

          Earlier in the week I spent several hours outside on another beautiful autumn day, playing with photographing leaves falling, playing 'gotcha'.  Since then more leaves have been blowing around, falling, swirling, whirling-verb lists grow! I posted one photo I loved on FB, and now have written a second poem about it, too. I realize many of you have seen the picture, but it is such a lovely look, different than my other leafy pictures. I'm not tired of leaf poems yet, are you? I'm still discovering new, wonderful ones. See you here next week on Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Non-Fiction Beauties

Thanks to Alyson Beecher we can discover favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday when others link up on her blog, KidLit Frenzy

I had a good time with non-fiction books this week, some amazing books and interesting stories are available. Thanks to many of you who've shared these titles so I could enjoy them too!

Move! – by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
               It’s a book new to me by this team, a “gallop” through actions done by many animals. I imagine using this for descriptions in stories, a lesson in verbs. Jenkins uses clever wording to move from animal to animal. For example, a spider “dances to impress”, and then “floats away on a thread of silk.”  But the next animal connects, to “float”, a polar bear floating in the sea. There is additional information about each animal at the back, and the illustrations are the usual lovely collages.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Autumn brings old memories

Time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Tweet at #SOL14  Thanks Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy!

      I usually don't work Mondays, so today I played a little bit, taking pictures and really just being out in our fabulous fall weather. It was especially windy, and leaves blew, and blew, then blew some more. Some branches are stripped! My garden filled up with leaves, as did the evergreens. I posted a poem on Margaret Gibson's kidblog site, where they gave a challenge to write a choka, which is a double haiku, for the National Day Of Writing. Check it out from her students! That pushed me to sit in the yard and take a 'burst' of photos on my phone so I could capture leaves falling. See, I really did play! That one leaf in photo two looks like a butterfly!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Monday - Great Books Plus A Visit!

  Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share
recent books read. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started one with a children's focus. You should visit to discover some great books!

        Today, I'm excited to have my zeno poem posted at Michelle H. Barnes' Today's Little Ditty. If you haven't heard of this challenge by J. Patrick Lewis, head over to check out my poem and see if you'd like to try it, too.

Better Nate Than Ever – written by Tim Federle
            Now that I’ve finally met Nate Foster, I’ll need to read his next adventure, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!  This was a fast read, partly because I couldn’t stop seeing how this thirteen year old was going to make it to NYC for the tryouts of ET, the Musical. His parents didn’t know, and the only one who does know, and who helps plan the escape, is his best friend, another one passionate about the theater, Libby Jones. This young boy, teased and stuffed into lockers, already being called ‘fairy’ by his older jock brother, holds onto what he loves, pushes past the hard things, and keeps his passion for musical theater no matter what. The story, including family troubles, meeting an aunt he hasn’t seen in years, the figuring out that “it’s now or never”, is terrific. It makes me want to put it into the hands of young students trying to figure out who they are.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Bit of Non-Fiction

            Thanks to Alyson Beecher we can discover favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday when others link up on her blog, KidLit Frenzy.  Come visit!

Goldie Takes A Stand, Golda Meir’s First Crusade – written by Barbara
Krashner and illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
         I was lucky enough to read this book at my poetry workshop in their library. It is good to hear the story of a later world leader who did some fund-raising for a cause when she was only nine years old. Goldie Mabowehz became concerned that young immigrant children could not afford school books, so she formed a group and began the journey of raising money for those needy. It’s a story of persistence to do the right thing even when it seems impossible, to find new ideas when the first ones don’t work. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

It Really Is The Little Things

              Time for the weekly Slice of Life at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Tweet at #SOL14  Thanks Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy!

BEFORE THE SLICE: My Must Read In 2014 update (see page above, & button on the right) is dismal. I'm not even sure when I last read one from the list! Too many books out lately keep me from reading the older ones. So-Carrie, Maria & everyone: I've completed 13 of 26. Will.try.harder!

          My granddaughter Ingrid spent most of Saturday and part of Sunday with me. We stayed home most of the time, reading, doing a puzzle, drawing and playing. But one thing she asked to do was to go to the grocery store. She had a few things to get, like 'yellow' string cheese, since I only had mozzarella sticks. Now, I love my very close grocery, but it doesn't have the variety of things to see that a nearby large Safeway does. And I knew Ingrid had not been to this particular store because she and her mom usually shop at Sprouts. So off we went. I needed coffee and a loaf of bread. This isn't the "rush in with a basket on your arm spree" to grab and go, but a slow-moving "examine everything that looks good" expedition. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Monday Reading Recap

     Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started one with a children's focus. Come read about some amazing books.

REMEMBER: You have until  this Wednesday, the 15th to nominate a favorite children's book, poetry and more, for the Cybil's awards. Find that link here

       It's been a nice week of reading. I enjoyed some beautiful and clever words this past week, shared a lovely book of poetry here on Poetry Friday by Naomi Shihab Nye, and read several not-to-be-missed chapter books. 

chapter books
Prodigy – written by Marie Lu
             I didn't enjoy this second book as well as the first, Legend, but was compelled to read it through, to see what exactly was going to happen to June and Day, and the rest of the characters. The created world of the Colonies and the Republic is fascinating. While we don't have such loss and violent splits in the US, we do have large disagreements. The tension throughout both books is well done. I was always worried about one person or another! Some of the parts are repetitive, like descriptions of the feelings between June and Day. However, I know that students are racing through the series. I even heard a group discussing Champion, what was happening, whether they liked the scenarios or not. Clearly, they were excited, and that means a lot. This group I observed read broadly (middle-school-aged students), and their excitement is catching. I hope I can borrow the third book from one of them.

The Boy On The Porch – written by Sharon Creech
              I read a brief review of this book, and was intrigued. I can’t believe I missed it. It’s short, and a story that keeps the pages turning until finished.  Really, until almost the end, there are only three characters, the boy, and a couple who live in a modest farm home with a dog, a few goats, and a couple of cows. I don’t want to give away anything, but urge everyone to read it. You will be surprised

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Celebration Saturday

Thanks to Ruth Ayres, we all have the pleasure of celebrating our past week together. Come read everyone's posts linked up to DiscoverPlayBuild.
        Whew-what a week, a pleasure and busy. For a little while, I am subbing for our new teacher, who is also a new father as of Wednesday. It's always something to celebrate when a new baby enters our lives. I'm celebrating new life, and being in the classroom with wonderful middle school students again. 
         I had three lunch meetings also this week, starting conversations with the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced School teacher groups. We made some goals, and will finally begin talking about best practices in different areas. Exciting.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Poetry Friday - found treasure

        All the Poetry Friday Links can be found at Tricia Stohr-Hunt's blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks for hosting today at the last minute Tricia.

                    "Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."  Carl Sandburg
       I visited a favorite used bookstore last Saturday, and found a prize, an early collection of poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1986. The sales ticket left in the book is from Pittsburg, PA. The cost was $4.00. I paid more for it used! While I have nearly all of Naomi Nye's children's poetry anthologies, I haven't read very many of her adult poems, mostly when others share. This particular book is her third, and reviews say it shows a more mature poet, one examining themes of loss, particularly in her growing concern for middle east problems. 
      Interestingly, one of the poems that touched me is titled Jerusalem, but when I searched for it online, I found another poem with the same title. 

The poem in this book begins:

    Two girls danced, red flames winding.
     I offered my shoes to the gypsies,
     threw back my head and yelled.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Learning Important Things-not just about writing

           Time for the Tuesday Slice of Life Sharing at the Two Writing Teachers blog. Come over to read and enjoy everyone's post!

       I've already written two other times about my poetry retreat last week (last Friday & Saturday), & as you can see from the badge on the right, I've also been writing in an online poetry class in September. I'm trying to focus on several things I can share as takeaways for teaching writing (teaching writers) in the classroom. I've written about happiness in finding one's passion, gratitude for people who really listen, and in this final post, want to emphasize the importance of being surrounded by beauty. Here are some photos, and thoughts about connections to a classroom.
A special space in a classroom can mean much
to a student who needs to be alone to write.
                  Looking out a window for one beautiful thing
among the rest is something writers do.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's Monday, Here's My Reading

Monday - Books to Love!

             Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started one with a children's focus. Come read about some amazing books.

            On Oct. 1st, the nominations for Cybils awards opened. You have until Oct. 15th to nominate a favorite book in several categories from YA to easy readers, poetry to apps! Go here if you want to know more.

Sun Moon Stars Rain – written by Jan Cheripko

          I met Jan Cheripko at my recent poetry workshop, and what an interesting man he was, has written several books, and like all authors, loves his characters. And it shows in this book I discovered and read while I was there. They have a library of recent published books, and I was drawn to the cover and the title, a line from an E.E. Cummings poem.
           Danny Murtaugh, 17, has just dropped out of college as a music student, saying it's because he found his girlfriend with another boy, but there is a  melancholy feel about him that is mysterious and draws one into the story. We learn about his father's tragic drowning, his mother's anxiety over Danny dropping out, and that his love of photography takes him into the woods which is off-limits by a wealthy, but grumpy older man, fighting to keep his land from being taken by the state. It has a river running through it, and a dam may be needed. Sound complicated? It is, and then there's this girl, a new waitress at the local dinner, with whom Danny becomes entangled. Religion also plays a role in Danny's life as he shares what's going on during this particular time in his life. With all that, the story grabbed me immediately and I was immersed in the passion and depth of each character in Jan Cheripko's story. There are a few more I haven't even mentioned. Definitely high school and up, and well worth reading this introspective book about figuring out what one wants to be.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Celebrating Special People

         Thanks, Ruth, for Celebration Saturdays. Check HERE for the links. 
Don't forget to tweet at #CelebrateLu

      On Oct. 1st, the nominations for Cybils awards opened. You have until Oct. 15th to nominate a favorite book in several categories from YA to easy readers, poetry to apps! Go here if you want to know more.

          It was a spectacular week at my writing retreat that I was anticipating last Saturday. I've wondered how to share, what to share, and while I will celebrate poems that I wrote and poems I hope to write, I think I want to celebrate people today. This applies to those we live and/or work and play with, those we meet who are new, old acquaintances, too. 
         I want to celebrate how kind people can be, how honest and open, sharing pieces of themselves, if--a big IF--we are also kind and willing to listen. This workshop, while in the best of circumstances like beautiful surroundings, cozy places everywhere, and delicious food, we also nourished each other by listening, and by sharing. I met and worked with eight wonderful people this past week. We all do that, at work, in church, in other organizations, exercising, having coffee at Starbucks. And I'm hoping in all those interactions that we are kind, and willing to listen.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Grinning for Poetry Friday

                 Jama Rattigan, at Jama's Alphabet Soup is our perfect host today, ignoring the soup, and going straight to the sweets! Go visit all the desserts shared by everyone!  

                 I have been immersed all of September in poetry, and enjoying the writing with groups in two different worlds. Since the beginning of September, I've had the pleasure of joining Renee La Tulippe's wonderful Lyrical Language Lab, an online writing workshop with Renee, and other poets from all over the world. Renee blogs at No Water River.  I still have one more week of that work to do because I also just returned home from the barn at Boyd's Mill, Pennsylvania, a Highlights Foundation Workshop, Poetry for the Delight of It with David L. Harrison.  It was another marvelous time and opportunity to write with a great group. It feels good to be with those who love writing as much as I do. One additional special thing was that I got to meet and write with JoAnn Early Macken of the Teaching Authors blog. After enjoying their blog posts for a long time, it was wonderful to be with JoAnn in person!