Thursday, August 31, 2017

Poetry Friday - It Could Happen

      Poetry Friday is hosted today by the wonderful Kathryn Apel from down under with lots of happy pictures of kids creating. Thanks, Kat! You can find her blog HERE!

        I know that you know many sites available for giving to help the people in Texas after this terrible weather tragedy. So many have posted those sites, and many have already given what they are able. I imagine we will be helping for a long time. 
        No matter how much humans try hard to live lives with joy and good will, some are slapped down and must find a way to rise and take a next step. I am touched when I see the pictures of people helping in every way, sometimes very tough ways, or people in shelters smiling to get their meals although they're wading through water because their shelter has flooded. I have a poem from William Stafford that I feel connects to us in this time. I hope you see that having a meal, even knee-deep in water, is what he's writing about.

It begins:

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

It could you know. 

Read the rest HERE.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Research Motivation

        Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!

     I've been on a wonderful trip to view the eclipse, hence no post last week, but I've scrambled since in order to finish and share this longer non-fiction, fabulous book. Some of you have shared it, and that's how I discovered it! Thank you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Much To Do, and Continue to Do

  Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 

    "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

             Much of my life is often involved with nature. Last week I celebrated nature through the amazing experience of the eclipse. This week, nature showed us she still is in charge no matter what we have created or learned to do that we believe makes life better. Whether we live close or far away, we'll need to be helping coastal Texas for a long time. 
            I imagine you've all seen the long list of places that welcome donations. And I have given. But I will always be a teacher, and while I've watched the news often, all I've seen about schools is that they're closed, at least for this week. And I think there must be a lot of schools and teachers who will need to fill classrooms all over again with equipment and supplies and books! The priority now is to save people and help them save their homes if possible. But soon, remember the teachers, too. I've wished many good wishes as the new year is beginning, and now hope we can all help those teachers in need, and therefore, the kids! 
            FYI - Kate Messner has started fundraising with "Kitlit Cares" where many authors and illustrators are offering literacy experiences for schools and classrooms with a bid that will help the needs of the storm victims. Look here for the posts!

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    Monday - Celebrating Joys of Reading

                  Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!                                      
                          tweet #IMWAYR

        I love picture books, but I especially love them when the author’s words are poetic and the illustrator’s imagination brings forth the very best of those words into something that can be enjoyed by all ages. This book by debut author Matt Essenwine will be out in early September. I was lucky to win a copy from Matt, who signed it for my granddaughters, who adore it. I have my own copy too, and think I love it just as much as they did. Now I wish I had a class to read it to!

    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    Celebrating Family

            Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how wonderful it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 
             I am currently reading Alan Gratz' Refugee and am struck by several common themes within the stories of the three children, but one that I am celebrating today is family ties. No matter the crisis, each child stands firm with family, is supported by family. And now today with hurricane Harvey bringing destruction, I see again people saying only that being safe as a family is most important. I am grateful for my life with little danger but am also aware that I am fortunate, need to help however I am able and need to keep informed of the wider world in which I live. Along with my own life events, I celebrate family love that I read about everywhere, in the best and worst of circumstances.  My time in Missouri with my brother and sister-in-law and niece was a special time we will remember.  I don't have a picture, but also had a nice visit with my nephew who just started his first year as assistant principal of a high school. Wow, what a challenge! We were so glad to see him and hear about his first week!
    The beginning of our fabulous time at The City Museum
     in St. Louis. What a fantastic visit. If you can get there, go!
    Yes, as I wrote in my last post here, the grand-girls had their
    lemonade stand on eclipse day!

    Thursday, August 24, 2017

    Responding To The Eclipse

                   We're gathering for Poetry Friday today thanks to our host,  Jone MacCulloch at Check It Out!
             I traveled last week to my brother and sister-in-law's home in mid-Missouri to see the eclipse. My daughter and granddaughters joined us on the weekend. Being on their small farm and then traveling to their antique store in nearby Boonville, Missouri to see the eclipse made it all a wondrous trip. There are words aplenty to describe our experience, but I've chosen only a few in response. This town is by the Missouri River; the bridge walkway was where we viewed the eclipse. FYI - Our totality was about 1:18 pm.

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Kindness Creates More Kindness

              Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how lovely it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 

            As I wrote last week, I'm taking the next week or more off to travel to my brother and sister-in-law's home in mid-Missouri, to view the eclipse! I am excited. My daughter and the granddaughters, perhaps my son, will join us and we are preparing for an amazing experience! I hope some of you will be able to view it where you are! 
            My brother owns an antique store in the town where we'll be and he has been preparing for the girls to help him with a lemonade/snack stand so they can help him. They have been so excited about this that their papa built them a stand for here in Denver so they could practice. Then, their mama helped with ingredients and decorations. I'm celebrating my brother whose kindness started the girls, then their parents, thinking of how to make this a wonderful experience even before we leave on our trip. Here are pictures from this morning.  Kindness is contagious!
    Posing for me! They're ready!
    Serving a customer. 
    The Menu

    Sunshine meant time for the umbrella.

    Thursday, August 10, 2017

    Swapping Brings Joy - Always

              Poetry Friday is hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflections on The Teche, and she's celebrating birthdays! Happy Birthday, Margaret. May poetry always sing to you, but especially on your special day!

              I'm taking the next week or more off to travel to my brother and sister-in-law's home in mid-Missouri, to view the eclipse! I am excited. My daughter and the granddaughters, perhaps my son, will join us and we are preparing for an amazing experience! I hope some of you will be able to view it where you are! My brother owns an antique store in the town where we'll be and he told me an artist stopped by who told him she travels the world to view the eclipses and to paint them. We're planning to see what she creates this time.

             More poetry, more wonderful swapping! I received a special package this week from across the ocean, from Iphigene Daradar in the Philippines! It's a fabulous poem and painting, and you've seen other wonderful paintings and poems by Iphigene, so you know I feel honored. Here's a picture of both, and the poem typed for easier reading. 
            Thanks Iphigene for bringing smiles to me a few days ago, and continually since!

    Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    WooHoo! #PB10for10 2017

          It's PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must Haves! Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning host this wonderful traditionHere's how! 

    I've posted more than once with Cathy and Mandy, and the only thing that scares me is how much my TBR list will grow. I read a lot of picture books and it's a surprise that I learn about more while reading everyone's posts. Thanks, Cathy and Mandy, this is a tradition I look forward to every year!

    Here are my previous posts for   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015    2016  

    I chose recent books this year, choosing those that I loved so much that I had to own them, either for myself or for my granddaughters, eight and six years.

    Here's the list! I've written a bit about each. An FYI - I had 15 on my list, and it was tough to eliminate five! I appreciate authors and illustrators who are creating these lovely, lovely stories. Each of these first seven are nostalgic, at least to me. They focus on loving life during the day, in the nighttime, with friends, being kind. Those are important to me more than ever lately.

                With pen swirls of color and cut-outs blended into a garden of flowers, a tree, a bird feeder, Lane Smith has published another favorite picture book and it is a gem. Cat, Dog, Chickadee and Squirrel are having the “perfect day” until one more animal arrives. And then, Bear has his own perfect day. It’s all about perspective. I loved viewing each page, but think at least one favorite is the squirrel’s feelings while holding a whole cob of corn! Fun story, beautiful book.
           The sweetest goodnight book, a perfect book for younger children. Young Lala is putting off her bedtime by saying good night to the usual things like her cat, the fish her papa caught, the goat. She gets quite creative as she tries to gain a little more time before bed and also says good night to the chickens, the little ants, her dog. Finally, into bed, a surprise that I won't give away. The full-page illustrations show evening colors, first bright, slowly darkening. It's lovely! 
                There are ways to rise and greet the sun each day, and there are other ways. Cynthia Rylant’s few words show us wise advice from some animals who respond to her question, “What do you love about life?” They answer differently from humans, perhaps, like she writes that a hawk would say “sky”, yet all those special things can be for humans, too, if we only notice. Ups and downs in life may come, feeling like a wilderness, yet hope is there. Brendan Wenzel includes the vision of Rylant’s words in his exceptionally lovely attention to nature’s details. It’s a wonderful book, a gift for all ages!

    Monday, August 7, 2017

    A Slice of What Used To Be

      Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 


         I retired two years ago, and I write less and less of teaching. Mostly I have old memories, old "things I used to do". The best thing is staying in touch with former students! But here at the beginning of the year, I do like to share at least one thing I did that may be helpful. This is a re-write from a post several years ago. 

             On the first day of school, I wanted my class to know that this would be a year filled with reading and writing, and I wanted them to realize that they were the ones that would be driving the year. I taught a mix of 6th, 7th and 8th graders and many of you know that personal choice was a top priority for all of our students, K through 8. One of the things I did on the first day was to share a poem or a poetic quote to help us leap into the year. I gave each student a copy, they taped it into their writers' notebooks, and then responded to it. In that response, I asked them to make one secret and very personal goal for the year.  Although I never knew what those particular goals were, I would re-visit students once in a while to ask how they were doing with it, and if there was something I could provide that would help reach the goal? Obviously, it involved trust. There were other times that students created goals that I did know about, but I felt that trusting that they could work to reach a goal secretly was inspiring and empowering. 

              Yesterday on Facebook, Michelle Haseltine (One Grateful Teacher) asked for ideas of poems for 7th graders for the beginning of the year. Here are two poems I used often and shared with her, both by Eve Merriam: "Metaphor" and "Thumbprint", highlighting the concept of Tabula Rasa, or "clean slate" and the uniqueness of each person. You can find them on the web easily, and I suspect many of you already know them. There are others that might fit you and your class, but these two are favorites of mine. And here is another, some call a poem and others name it a quote, author unknown. It's inspiring to me, too, every time I read it. It calls for courage, venturing into the unknown, just what each student does every year. 
              Don't you agree that they're brave?

      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.

          Best wishes as you all begin your journeys this school year if you are still educators. If not, the wishes go to you as well in your own unique journeys.

      Sunday, August 6, 2017

      It's Monday! Good Books Everywhere!

                    Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!                                      
                            tweet #IMWAYR

             I have a busy week ahead, completing quite a few from the "to do" list because I'm gone next week to visit my brother in Missouri so I can see the eclipse! I'll be reading Evicted by Matthew Desmond and Refugee by Alan Gratz

             REMINDER! Thursday is PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must Haves! Be sure to link up with Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek. Here's how!

             I savored this book for a few weeks, learned about it from Tara Smith, so thanks, Tara. It's for adults and older teens, a series of essays written about Eula Biss's life, her moves, her response to racism and often, how it happened to be that way. She backs her thoughts and experiences with research. I learned a lot of history and new ways to contemplate what I see and read in other areas. The Goodreads review ends with this: Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, "not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it."

            Remember the movie Philadelphia with Tom Hanks? It was so long ago, and broke some barriers then, and we've come a long way so that now that same kind of story can be found in books for kids. I had such a happy feeling coming away from that movie, thinking that it held the kind of family I wish everyone had. And now Richard Peck has also offered that wonderful kind of family, the one that does the right thing in being good people. Archer is eleven; the story is about him from first grade to seventh, and the telling moves back and forth showing the quirky friends he makes, yet somehow he has chosen those who do good, too. The thread that holds the story together from the title is not only a "Best Man" in a wedding, which Archer becomes, but the "best man" that he aspires to be, like his grandpa, his dad, and his Uncle Paul. There is humor and some "hold your breath" moments, but I don't mind telling you that it all comes out in the "best" way, like all of us wish for our families. I loved it very much. (from my #MustReadIn2017 list)

      Saturday, August 5, 2017

      Celebrating The Week, Future, too!

                Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how lovely it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 

      Happy August!

             This week continued to be busy, but it was one that I was happy to have. I managed to check off some things that have been on a "to-do" list for a long time, like a talk with my insurance agent to be sure my coverage is okay. It is. I also had to get an emissions inspection for my car to renew my license. It passed. I'm glad those are complete! They are those "things" that that are not hard, but take time. 

               The week held some happy celebrations, too.
      Work at the bookstore, meeting new customers,
      a great talk with a young boy about his
      favorite books.

      Smiles "after" the girls' performance at
      the Denver Center for Performing Arts
      drama camp. Each group's play is written
      by the players, and oh so cute, with songs
      and dancing, too. 

      Thursday, August 3, 2017

      Lost Words, About Those Slippers

                 Poetry Friday is hosted by the Donna at Mainely Write with a new fun way to link up!  Thanks, Donna!

                Last week, Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise hosted and added an extra. She shared numerous lines for inspiration in writing a poem. We were to return as many lines back that we took. I borrowed one, and while it is one I've worked hard on, I'm still not very satisfied. Even as I posted, I thought of another "move". This line was not easy!

      Nonsense, Maybe?

      Mother Nature lost her slippers!
      A story like a Mother Goose rhyme.
      It’s nonsense, made-up, yet like the others
      conceals a message if you take your time.

      Mother Nature lost her slippers
      when she took a different path,
      mislaid them in a north woods blizzard
      as she escaped that stormy wrath.

      She had neglected to prepare
      with fur-lined boots and winter wear,
      stopped only for a while to view
      flowers gone and trees grown bare.

      Mother Nature often drifts
      into dreams of summer stops.
      This time, she moved far to the south,
      happily stepped into flip-flops.

      For us earthlings, this story shows
      our Mother Nature’s getting old.
      Find those slippers, do what you can
      assisting her (and our) household.

      Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

      photo credit: benhosg Slippers DSC_1406 via photopin (license)