Monday, May 30, 2016

A Sea Slice

I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today.

       From reading my posts, even over the years, you may or still may not know that I am an "immersion" kind of person. Whatever I do, I fill up with that topic and fling myself into it with enthusiasm. For example, when I had a horse and was riding, I subscribed to every horse magazine I could find, and hung out at every farm store that sold tack, horse "snacks", grooming tools, etc. I was crazed to learn as much as I could. When I traveled with students, I researched and had my students research many things about the place we were visiting, people and habitat stories, science concepts, history. I know that sometimes the thrill of traveling is in the discovery, but I wanted all of us to be ready to discover more than we already knew, to add more layers of expertise.
      Do you do this? Now I'm digging deeper into the sea, this particular part called the Gulf of Mexico, an island named Captiva. It's my fifth time here, and I will be alone until the rest of the family arrives later in the week. I've walked, sat, watched and sketched, photographed and read. I've sifted the sand, written a few poems, noted observations, learned quite a bit about anoles. Some of this is my fascination with how nature works. Having never lived in this habitat, I want to know how it works, and I only have two weeks to experience it. 
       I'm reading Henry Beston's The Outermost House, a dream of a book for me. I've read it numerous times. He writes: "Touch the earth, love the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and the dawn seen over the ocean from the beach." 
        A salty slice indeed this time.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Monday - From The Beach

This time, from the beach! My family doesn't arrive starting late Wednesday so I have some time to write and read.  
              Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. If you visit, you'll be sure to find a book or more that you know you'll want to read! 
          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   

picture books
 It's a re-read and and I still loved it! The story of two friends trying so hard to outdo each others is priceless. As they argue back and forth, and build the houses higher, they find that it isn't working out as they imagined. Neither is satisfied, and both end unhappy. The rich and warm colors of illustrations that fill the vertical pages are fabulous.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poetry Friday - Speaking for A Young Girl

Julie is hosting the Round-Up this final Friday in May at The Drift Record. Thanks, Julie! I hope everyone has a safe and good holiday in remembrance. 

      I've been quite challenged this month with Michelle and Laura's persona challenge this month at Today's Little Ditty, have tried numerous people, animals, etc., and was not very excited about any of them. This month’s Ditty challenge on Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty, asks for a persona poem, connecting and celebrating Laura's new verse novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary which is filled with persona poems telling the story.  A persona poem makes the poet (then the reader) see the world through the eyes of another person.  

Finally, I have one to share, inspired by a picture of my husband's grandmother at sixteen. I loved being with his grandmother, a sweet woman who was a farmer's wife, raised a family and did well what her life seemed to hold for her, traditional women's work. She was raised in a time when that was expected, and when I looked at the picture, it made me wonder if there were other dreams in that young girl's early life that went unfulfilled. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Learning Before A Trip

              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. We learn much from authors who are sharing about their own special topics.

              I'm taking off Saturday for two weeks on the beach, may probably post again because family doesn't come in till next Wednesday late. I thought it would be a fun thing to save an ocean book for today, anticipating!

           With a book by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon, how could it be anything but great? This tells the story of Marie Tharp, whose vision helped her persist in going where no one had ever gone, figuring out how to map the ocean floor.

          Even the endpapers excite, ocean covered with a school of fish, as we begin this watery journey. Here's a photo of the title page, with lovely soft colors and that hand, clearly defining Marie's goal!

              Marie Tharp's father was a map maker, and they moved often for his work. She loved watching what he did, and ended up graduating from college with four degrees, including one in science. At the time, the late 1940's, few thought that women should be scientists, and Marie struggled to find a job. Finally she did, often given menial tasks, but she persisted, and became interested in what the bottom of the ocean looked like. This time people were beginning to collect data of the depth of the ocean floor through what are termed "soundings". This is when machines send sounds to the bottom of the floor and determine the depth by the time it takes for an echo to return. 
               Through use of the sounding data, Marie slowly "drew" what the ocean floor was like. She remembered the prior love of mapping, used colors Yes, with mountains just like on land. At this same time, the theory of continental drift was hypothesized, and disputed as well. Marie's observations from her map showed a rift between the mountain peaks of what was now named the "Mid-Atlantic Range, proving that something had "pushed" or "pulled" them apart. 
                It's a fascinating story, with beautifully illustrated pages showing Marie's work, and the beautiful ocean that, until her work, was less understood. There is additional information about Marie Tharp, a glossary, a bibliography and a short essay about "wondering". Wondering questions then searching for answers is how Marie started thinking about the ocean, and this piece challenges the reader to do that too. Make maps, take your own soundings, and more. For those studying anything, this is an inspiration in persistence, keep questioning!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Making Memories-Then & Now

I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today.
           Some of you know because I posted the picture above with the title "waiting" a few days ago on FB that I'm headed Saturday for the beach house, and the rest of the family will gather different days next week. We stay at a special house on the beach and soak up the sea as much as possible. I think we soak up each other, too!

         The first time I traveled to the Ft. Myers area was with my husband Arvie on our annual trip with Carter. We stayed in a small cottage right on the beach of Sanibel Island, spent wonderful hours exploring, gathering shells, swimming, loving on each other. At that time I was doing all the planning and driving, and Carter, ten, helped much with navigating in the airport and on the road. It was a wonderful trip I was determined to take because I knew it would be the final one for Carter with Arvie. I wanted to make a memory for us all.
         My family is headed for Captiva Island for the fourth time this next week, and making more memories there, but Carter and I feel close to Arvie too, and remember the good times we had that first time. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm glad I persisted in going that summer. If I had waited for a better time, there wouldn't have been one. Don't wait for those "perfect" conditions; they probably won't ever happen. Go and do things you want to do!

favorite pictures from that summer of 2011
Notice the sign-big chuckle!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Monday Reading - Wow!

Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. If you visit, you'll be sure to find a book or more that you know you'll want to read!  I'm headed for the beach at the end of the week, will post from there next week, then take some time off. Happy Reading!
          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   

Picture Books
A funny short story, bold and colorful,  about a boy catching a dragon flying by, and the challenge of dressing the dragon, especially in the favorite underwear, and shoes! My youngest granddaughter thought this was hilarious. We've read it more than once. There is something about underwear. . .

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Celebrating The Good, Better, Best

         Every Saturday (or Sunday) I celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build.  and link with others who share their celebrations, too. It's always lovely to read everyone's words of celebration.  

         Busy, regular week, lots of good writing and reading, warming up weather, windows open, birds chirping, flowers blooming. In a week I'll be on Captiva Island, so will celebrate there and share some pictures. I celebrate anticipation, a good part of doing something exciting, right? 

Good: dental check - all okay so far, bookstore - fine, met a couple that were so excited to discover the store 

Better: writing group, helpful response for a project, always fun to be together, full moon tonight, ah-h

Best: Both grand-girls got their visits in, nice relaxing afternoon/evenings. You can tell it's the end of the year; they're tired!  And, my son was in Guayaquil, Equador last weekend, sent me a picture of my favorite bird, blue-footed boobies

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Poetry Friday - Change Needed

       Poetry Friday is hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflections on The Teche, whom I believe just finished her school year! She shares a marvelous collaboration with her nephew today. Visit Margaret for all the links to beautiful poetic things.

          We had a cold wave with rain arrive at the end of last week, the heat was turned on again, and it was dark as winter evenings all day on Saturday. I'll say it again. Denver can always use the rain, but a temperature in the forties is too cold for May. I wrote this poem over the weekend. I'm happy to say that more than the screen is open now. It's warming up again!


I know, I know, I need a sweater.
Cold air spools in through the back screen door,
opened to welcome spring.
The winter party has returned.
But I have heard those geese vees flying south,
and I have heard robins cheer me awake.
The porch furniture sits uncovered,
ready for iced tea and talk.
Trees are dressed in that gauzy green,
each wistful for the once-upon-a-time spring.
The door stays open.
I’m turning the page.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring time - good for Baseball History

              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. We learn much from authors who are sharing about their own special topics.

              This week, I had the pleasure of reading two books about people in baseball who made a difference. Terrific stories!

When Jackie and Hank Met - Cathy Goldberg Fishman and Mark Elliott
         I've read other books about Jackie Robinson. What a courageous man he was, and what awesome things he did, personal baseball achievements plus achievements for everyone who had been excluded. This time the story is about Jackie and Hank Greenberg, and new parts of history I didn't know. Hank Greenberg didn't have quite the hurdles Jackie faced, but some of them. There were those who wanted to exclude him too because he was Jewish. I really didn't know that signs in stores included Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups. The book chronicles these two men's lives from birth and family moves, through World War II and into baseball achievement and challenges. They first met from opposing teams when Jackie made a hit, and slid into Hank, the first baseman. The crowd yelled for a fight, but they did not, they showed they would fight for everyone's rights, but not because someone was different. There is much more about each one in the back matter: information, a timeline and additional resources. Elliott illustrates each part of the story beautifully, with paintings of action and portraits of these famous men.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Slice of Goodbyes

           I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today.

          Thinking of this school year ending and saying goodbye to students is both a celebration and a grief. Even as teachers are tired, and ready for rest, they still wish "just another week, another conversation, another book shared, another hug". I hoped good things for students at the year's end, for the summer near and the future far. And this year I am not saying goodbye, but still remembering the goodbyes. I thought those of you in the classroom would enjoy one of the poems I used and gave the students on the last day. It fits them, you, me--treasured words. 

As you journey through life,
      choose your destinations well,
      but do not hurry there.
      You will arrive soon enough.
      Wander the back roads and forgotten   
      keeping your destination
      like the fixed point of a compass.

      Seek out new voices, strange sights,
      and ideas foreign to your own.
      Such things are
      riches for the soul.
      And if, upon arrival,
      you find that your destination
      is not exactly as you had dreamed,
      do not be disappointed.

      Think of all you would have missed
      but for the journey there.
      and know that the true worth
      of your travels lies not in where
      you come to be at journey’s end,
      but in who you come to be

      along the way.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's Monday!

           Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. If you visit, you'll be sure to find a book or more that you know you'll want to read! 
          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   Tweet #IMWAYR
           This week I'm reading some older books that I have put off (except for this first one, not out yet). No reason, but they just kept getting moved to the bottom of the piles. 

The Memory of Things - Gae Polisner
        Young teens today don’t remember the day of 9/11. Older teens might remember people crying and watching television constantly. If you’re eighteen and graduating from high school, you were three when “it” happened.  This story immediately starts the reader wondering how 16-year-old Kyle Donohue is going to get himself out of a situation he never, ever imagined. Unfortunately he cannot, but in the days that follow, Kyle discovers more about himself, throwing doubts away, finding the strength he did not know he had. On 9/11, his school is dismissed after watching the first tower fall, and those who needed to get to Brooklyn were led to the Brooklyn Bridge, left to cross by themselves and go home.
          On the bridge, Kyle finds a girl covered in ash, crouched down and wearing a pair of wings. He sees she is in trouble, acting as if she might jump, and takes her home. His mother and younger sister are stranded in California and his father, a New York City policeman, is at the disaster. The next week Kyle is in charge, a first time to make decisions on his own. Although he questions himself often, this caring young boy does the right thing, and learns that what others have questioned about him is wrong, that he is the boy he wants to be.  Kyle’s favorite uncle who lives with them is wheelchair bound from a recent and terrible accident, and his caregiver didn’t make it that day. Kyle can’t get a call through to anyone at first, so the choices are up to him. He must care for the uncle, and must decide about the girl.        
           Gae Polisner’s story takes us through the first moments, the very real events and feelings that happen, but allows Kyle to be the main part of the story, interspersed with the girl’s story, told in poetry. This girl doesn’t remember anything, even her name, and Kyle’s doubts of how to help her feel safe show his inner turmoil, but the instinct to do good, too.