Monday, June 29, 2015

I've Been Here Before

          Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Beth and Anna! I've had a wonderful couple of weeks traveling to the All-Write Conference and then to Missouri with family to visit more family. Now I'm back, and ready for, well, here's what I guess I'm ready for!
the hall to the room

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Monday!

           Every Monday, different bloggers link up to share books read that are for children and teens with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link o share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago. You'll discover so many great books.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

        It's been a couple of weeks since I posted, but going to the All-Write Conference, then on a family trip didn't offer much reading time at all. I do have a few books to recommend, however!

Crenshaw - written by Katherine Applegate

       I am happy to have received a copy of this new book by Katherine Applegate from Net Galley. It’s a story of magic that will be a brief read aloud to begin discussions about family, friendships and loyalty, the needs of children who are often left out of conversations about serious topics, and resilience. Is there a time when children are asked to cope with too much? Do parents and other adults in their lives assume too much when children just say, “it’s okay” or “I’m all right”? The main character Jackson, a boy who’ll be in fifth grade, has already dealt with living in a van with his parents and little sister, and sees that it may be happening again.  There’s little money for food, and certainly not enough for rent, and Jackson sees it all happening again, remembers that “other” time, when dealing with being hungry, not much room to sleep, and washing in public restrooms was tough. A large cat, Crenshaw, appears again, this time in a bubble bath of all things. Don’t worry; he’s imaginary, and has arrived (like last time) to help. The story weaves in and out of the past and present, showing Jackson’s thoughts about what kind of person (who wants to be a scientist) has imaginary friends and what is “real” in his life (parents having to move out again). Applegate crafts a good story with a sweet character who learns a few things about families and friends.

         The Gathering Books blog holds a challenge to read award-winning books each year. You can click the picture on the right to find out more about it. The following book won numerous awards last year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrating Connections

              Celebrating Each Saturday with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build. It's a good time to read about everyone's celebrations! Come join us!                      Tweet at #CelebrateLu

              It's been two weeks since I celebrated all those endings at school, and now, these past two weeks of wonderful days make me want to write an entire book about the beauty of connected friends no matter how far apart (my time at the All-Write Conference), then about the blessings of family (my trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Missouri).  

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” 
     ~ Herman Melville
        I love the idea of those tiny fibers, that woven or twisted together, they make a lifeline for living. As we spend time with friends and family, we talk and learn new ideas to contemplate, to keep and enlarge, to hold for another time. Yet, all of it enriches when attention is paid, and the return are the effects, as Melville writes, for all our lives.

Maya Angelou's Point of View

Carol Wilcox is hosting Poetry Friday this week at her blog, Carol's Corner.  Run over to read all the other poetry shared, and Carol's poem by Billy Collins.

I've been traveling, first to a conference, then to visit family, and there is much to share. But first, along with all the joy, there is sorrow.

The recent tragic murders last week of  those attending their prayer meeting have been ever on my mind. I've been wondering more and more how someone can feel so opposed to other groups that he believes he must destroy those that he sees as alien? Here's a poem by Maya Angelou that I want to share with you today in memory of those nine from our "human family".

              Human Family
                                by Maya Angelou
I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

the rest is here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Visiting - Two Places At Once!

Yes, HURRAH! I'm on my way to the All-Write Conference in Warsaw, Indiana, to meet a whole bunch of friends, and some new ones too, all through blogging. We will have some sweet reunions and some terrific learning, too.

And, while I'm traveling, I'm visiting Michelle Barnes on her website, Today's Little Ditty with a new poem. Each month, Michelle has a guest poet whom she interviews and who also offers a poetic challenge. This time the poet is Corey Rosen Schwartz who has given the challenge to write a stanza or two about building a treehouse, using unpredictable rhymes of more than one syllable. Michelle's wonderful interview and post about this is here.

Please visit to read my poem about a mouse's wish and a treehouse, and then visit those other poets who've written poems, too. 

Thanks for featuring my poem, Michelle!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Slices - Goodbyes

          Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Beth and Anna!

          I guess this whole past year has been a kind of goodbye. I've known since it began that it would be my last year, but when I started I never dreamed that I would end with one final group of students, back in my original classroom in this building.  I said goodbye today as I finished up clearing out the room. I still have some things that I will need help moving out, stored in my office, but the classroom is free for the teacher who will make it hers next. She is a teacher already at school, moving into teaching the oldest students, and I know she's thrilled for this next challenge in her teaching life. I wish her wonderful times, just as I had. The classroom already has many supplies and books and tables, etc., but now she gets to arrange and re-arrange (as we all do) until it feels just right for her and her class. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Monday - Mostly New Books!

           Every Monday, different bloggers link up to share books read that are for children and teens with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link o share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago. You'll discover so many great books.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

I’ve loved Pam Munoz Ryan’s books a long time, read them on my own and with numerous book groups. This new book, Echo, fills one with such beautiful connections that one struggles to stop reading in order to do work, cooking, other things that must be done. In this, music is a the brightest thread that binds, the music of a magical harmonica. Or is it the strength of family relationships? There are three main characters that, through the music of a special harmonica, find that they can do the right thing, even when it’s scary, even when it’s dangerous.
           Otto, a little boy, finds himself lost in a forest, and encounters three sisters with a sad tale of a prophecy that somehow he must follow. It may take a long time, but Otto soon realizes that his journey, after being found, is just beginning.
            Three additional stories mesmerize with tales from the Holocaust, an orphanage, and a migrant worker’s home. My only dismay is that while becoming engaged in the stories, I am always left with wanting more. This book is created in a different way, makes one wonder, worry and still enjoying the telling with each page. I had tears when the first character played his goodbyes on the harmonica: “Lullaby, and good night, with pink roses bedight. . .”  The ache of leaving something precious occurs with each character, and yet they do leave for good reasons, and they survive. There are many beautiful songs shared in the book, tightening the thread that binds the story. I loved it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Celebrating - Minutes Fly

              Celebrating Each Saturday with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build. It's a good time to read about everyone's celebrations! Come join us!                      Tweet at #CelebrateLu

          I've had such a full two weeks that I'm going to throw it all out there. Each day has been fun, filled, exhausting, exhilarating, tough, poignant - well, an ending.

     Since I last wrote, celebrating

    Little Expo - Parent Share (proud of students) - Finish Portfolios (lots to read & double-check) - Get Ready for Continuation - Students clean Room (take out re-cycle or take home) - Continuation Day (tears & pictures-yummy cake) - Remaining Class Walks to nearby stores for treats like Starbucks - Final Day, class awards & thank yous, special goodbyes in rocks & poems, pics of all, including Ingrid's last day, final assembly, final staff meeting, final final final, cart home all the papers, tubs of files, ready for writing. . .
       hello family guests, wonderful visit, lots of words, dinners, sweet shopping & Botanic Gardens, sleeping later, later, later, Sunday-school anniversary celebration picnic (visiting alums), organize for evaluations, read more portfolios, sometimes breaks - Starbucks, walks, mow lawn, read more portfolios, note highlights, start typing, typing, typing, break for public library sale, Starbucks, grocery, overview first then 22, 000 words plus, read aloud, read aloud, pics of butterfly, save in Evernote, back up, re-read - ready for finishing on MONDAY!
Favorite pics!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Poetry Friday With Jama

         Poetry Friday this week is at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup, where we always get to taste our "bright world". You'll need to rush over to understand the reference, and have a lovely blueberry crumb bar while you're there reading poetry.

          I am at the end, nearly, just a few more evaluations to write, and then the ordering and copying, ready to mail. I am happy to take a break once in a while, walking around the block if no further. Yesterday I walked onto my porch, and looked to the side at the late lilacs blooming (a different species I think). And look what I found having a bit of a nectar nosh. It stayed for a picture, and I wrote.

Click to enlarge!

spring chauffeured the butterfly
to my garden -
what else am I missing?

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Non-Fiction Books - Savoring

      Each Wednesday I'm happy to link to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy, but I haven't posted for several weeks. That doesn't mean I've read many. It's the ending time of school (I know you know.) and I am scrambling to finish the evaluations.  I love finding good non-fiction picture books available about varied topics, for all ages, too. I own quite a few books, but I also have an amazing library that nearly always has the books I request. Here are three books with stories and illustrations that just might become favorites. I found the titles from the blogs I read, so to some of you, these will not be new. For others, hope you'll find them.
        Thanks Alyson!

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page have written another beautiful book that teaches. In egg, I learned many things about eggs, and especially loved that the information showed size in relationship to something familiar, and sometimes real sizes! The book is divided as you might guess, who lays them, where, how are they protected, and what happens at birth? There is a little additional information in the back matter. For those studying eggs, or the intricacies of animal behavior, this is a wonderful book. It is limited in information. Sometimes I had more questions. But that's good. It's a great book to start a child's interest in more than eggs. The animals fascinate too! The illustrations are marvelous Jenkins collages.

Monday, June 8, 2015

About A Dear Teacher's Creativity

          Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Beth and Anna!

             School is over, but writing evaluations are not. Instead of grades, each teacher at school writes a yearly summary, but then writes an evaluation of each student, as best we can, highlighting the year's accomplishments and the future needs of each. I'm happy to take a break from that writing so I can share a little bit more about those units that I mention sometimes. At my school, each student chooses a particular topic around which the teacher (with student input) wraps the curricula. There are many other things our students do, but the main part of their schooling is the unit. They choose books, only sometimes related to the units. They do specific assignments related to the unit, but also as a class when the group is studying something particular. It's a little complicated, and differs with each student.

It's Monday - Time To Share!

"Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are."

           Every Monday, different bloggers link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. and Sheila at Book share books they've recently read. You'll discover so many great books.  Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

Ready Player One - by Ernest Cline 
        It's taken me a long time to finish this book, and only because I had so many other things to do. It is long, and definitely for young adults. I read it because numerous students continued to say how much they loved it, and that they had read it more than once. I must say I didn't ever want to stop, and I'm also sure that I didn't understand quite a few of the references to eighties video games. It's a futuristic story told in first person by a young teen who is immersed in the Oasis, a virtual world created by a former video game creater, James Halliday. The plot begins with a description of how the boy, Parzival (the avatar name) or Wade (his real name) lives with a not-so-friendly aunt in a place named the stacks, where old trailers are staked and jimmied together for those who need shelter, but space isn't available except "up". It sounds like a junkyard, or a most depressing warren of dwellings, and this world is not very pleasant, and at least it's a place "inside". Parzival also has a hideout where he logs into Oasis, is in touch with specific other characters, soon to be his friends and compadres, all through this virtual adventure. It doesn't stop moving, it has some mature language and subject matter, but Cline has introduced a new kind of hero, a smart gamer who at the end faces big challenges and has a love challenge, too. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Poetry Friday - I'm Right Here

        Let's celebrate James Russell Lowell's "And what is so rare as a day in June?/Then, if ever, come perfect days" as we visit Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog for the first Poetry Friday in June.

        Today I said goodbye to my last class. I'm retiring from the classroom and from my school after twenty-six years there. What a lovely journey it has been! Here is part of Karla Kuskin's poem, "Thoughts That Were Put Into Words" that I shared with students today: 

The words were then spoken
And written
And read.
Take a look and go on
We are practically done.

          I always leave the students with a goodbye poem, and this is my favorite. They each are given a laminated copy, but I also hope they'll carry poetry from all the year in their hearts. 
          At the ending of this year, I am ready, yet the last couple of weeks are so packed with exciting activities, and filled with things to do that I seem to be always looking ahead, looking ahead, hoping I didn't forget anything. 
          My words to myself--especially this year--are to stop that looking ahead, to stay in the present. I took my own advice early Monday morning. I sat in the car right after taking this picture and wrote. Then I went into school to begin my last week as a teacher.

June is here
I will be like the poppies
and enjoy the sun

Monday, June 1, 2015

June - Final Trip Memories

          Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Happy June to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Beth, Anna and slicers!

         It is the final week of school, our parent 'mini Expo' happened Monday morning for a few hours when parents, siblings and little buddies visited to see students' work and to see the trip board, a tradition that each classroom does, and leaves up for the summer visitors. Some of you asked how we did this, so thought I'd post some of the pictures.