Friday, February 28, 2014

Time to Chalk?

It's Poetry Friday.  Today's event is hosted by Anastasia at Poet!  Poet!.  Of course, it's also a day for a Chalk-A-Bration hosted by Betsy at Teaching Young Writers.  It's been quite a winter and, while I'm trying hard not complain, I'm really done with it.  Needless to say the thought of dragging chalk into my driveway is downright frightening so today I'm joining Poetry Friday and Chalk-A-Bration thanks to my Chalk Board app.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Slice of Life: What Are You Doing About It?

Today's post is part of the Slice of Life roundup at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to many great slices or, better yet, join the fun by linking your own piece.  Thanks to all for hosting.
"A winner is a dreamer that never gives up."  Nelson Mandela
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see Bryan Collier at the Dublin Literacy Conference.  I'm always fascinated to listen to creators talk about their work.  Bryan started out by asking the group, "How many writers are in the room?"  A few hands raised, but I'm guessing there were truly more writers in the room.  "How many of you have a story to tell?" he asked.  "How many of you hope to get something published?"

"What are you doing about it?" he added, letting a long pause fall across the room.

His statement found its way into my head where it swirled for awhile.  It bounced.  It rested.  It whispered.  It shouted.

"What are you doing about it?"

His words replayed over and over in my head.  What do we do about our dreams?  Dreaming is one thing, working to make it happen is quite another.  Bryan shared how he went from publisher to publisher for seven years trying to get his work out there, but was turned down repeatedly.  He never gave up.  He went back again and again until he made it happen.  Now he keeps quite busy.
Bryan encouraged artists and writers to paint and write with purpose.  Collier reminded us, "Writers and artists tell the world everything they missed."  As he wove words to tell the stories of his illustrations, I began to wonder if the story breathed life into his painting or if the painting helped to find the story.  Bryan called his life "dream walking" because he was living the life he had dreamed about.

Some of Bryan's powerful words:
  • "Words saved him." in reference to Dave the Potter.
  • "If you are planting seeds, what's going to come up?" 
  • "The space between the words and the story is left for the reader."  
  • "There's some joy coming in the morning if you hold on." in sharing the story behind Knock, Knock.  (You should really stop by to watch this video.  The picture book story originates here in this Def Jam Poem by Daniel Beaty)
  • "The voice is in you.  It's powerful, but you have to listen."  
So today I'm wondering.  What are you dreaming?  What are you doing about it?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Poetry Friday: Winter Statue

It's Poetry Friday.  Karen Edminston is hosting today.  Be sure to stop by for your Friday dose of poetry.  

My class has been talking about nonfiction.  We were reading a National Geographic eBook about animals in the winter.  We came across a page that inferred that frogs freeze in the winter.  Interestingly, one first grader assumed that meant they die.  Another thought it meant they froze to survive.  We decided we needed to find out more and began reading.  I thought I'd try to turn a little research into a nonfiction poem about frogs.

Winter Statue
the snowy landscape,
the weathered log,
the gray rock,
the decaying leaves,
you hide
on warmer days.

A winter statue;
long legs tucked close by.
Your icy body
is silent.
Your heart no longer beats,
You are still.

warmer days 
will arrive,
the temperature
will rise.
Your heart 
will beat again.

© Cathy L. Mere

Interesting Facts

  • Dig into ground for winter
  • Hide under rocks, leaves or logs
  • Cold blooded (ectomorphic)
  • Body temperature stays close to environmental temperature
  • Heart slows and eventually stops

Amphibians of Ohio
Can Frogs Survive Being Frozen
How Do Frogs Survive the Winter

Friday, February 14, 2014

Poetry Friday: Valentine, Be My Friend

It's Poetry Friday!  It seemed only right to dedicate today's post to Valentine's Day.  It is February 14th, after all, which makes today the perfect day for poetry.  Stop by TeacherDance where Linda Baie is hosting today's event.  

Yesterday our class celebrated Valentine's Day.  I had to smile at my students as they were so excited to share Valentines with their friends.  Ah, to be six.  

Valentine, Be My Friend

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Guilty Pleasure: #micropoetry

It's Poetry Friday.   Today's event is hosted at No Water River.   Stop by.  

During the hubbub of the holidays Maureen Devlin (@lookforsun) began tweeting about #micropoetry.  It was busy at the time and "micro" sounded like exactly what I needed.  I clicked the link and sat for some time reading these tiny poems written on Twitter in l40 characters or less.  Of course, I had to try a few.  Here are my first #micropoems written at that time:

Of course weeks passed, but I continued to stalk the #micropoetry hashtag.  If you haven't stopped by, you might want to check it out.  Today I decided to try a few #micropoems for Poetry Friday.

Endless Winter
White blankets the earth
I try to envision 
The green grass
The flowers soon to fill the yard
The birds fluttering again
Hurry spring.

Writer's Block
The dark keys
stare at me
as if I should have something to say.
I stare back
as if they should help.
There is a silence
between us.

Micropoetry is a little addictive.  I haven't had this much fun playing with words and lines since #6wordstories.  I'd love for you to give #micropoetry a try in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

On Being Ordinary

Today's post is part of the Slice of Life roundup at Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to many great slices or, better yet, join the fun by linking your own piece.  Thanks to all for hosting.

For a recent party, we were asked to write one thing that was true about us and one thing that was false.  Of course, the idea is that you have something so outlandish that is true that others will think it must be false.  The request overwhelmed me a bit though it was a simple one.  What do you tell people when you live an ordinary life?

Do you talk about the way you wake up each morning as the orange, red sun ascends into the sky?  You walk into the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee, and add a little creamer to make it sweet.  The smell of the coffee brings you comfort and you linger to take it in.

Do you talk about the way your drive to work passing the fields of brown or green or white depending upon the time of year?  You sing to the latest top hits at the top of your lungs as you meander down country roads.  Some mornings you are lucky enough to spot a heron, her wings gracefully carrying her between land and sky.

Do you share the way you walk into your classroom and feel at home?  The halls outside your classroom are filled with banter as others arrive and prepare for their day.  The room soon fills with the voices of young friends greeting one another.  You laugh at the stories rushing in through the door as you begin another day of learning.  You spend the day reading books, listening to stories, watching students reach for the next star.

Do you talk about the way you drive home back into the sun now slowly descending upon the fields before you?  You pull up into the driveway to the see the oddly shaped house that has, for more years than  you would have imagined, been the place you call home.  You pause as you walk up the sidewalk to notice the flowerbeds full of tulips or annuals or brown leaves or snow depending upon the season.

Do you talk about the feeling of comfort as you walk back inside?  Everything feels familiar as you place your things on the floor near the couch.  You go to the kitchen and begin to fill the house with the smells of dinner.  You glance out the window at the growing number of trees beginning to rise above the house.  You gaze at the patio soon ready for you to pull up a chair and stay for awhile.  Slowly, one by one, others return from their days of bustling about; each sharing stories of challenges and triumphs.

How do you explain your gratitude for this ordinary life?  The moon rises in the night sky.  The silence of winter or the gentle of hum of warmer weather fill the air around you.  The world is full of challenges for so many and sometimes your heart aches for them.  You sit in the chair and gaze at the stars lighting the ebony sky thankful to be in this place, with these people, at this time.

How it happened you do not know.  All you know is that this life, this simply ordinary life, is an extraordinary gift you've been given.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Celebrate January Discoveries

Today's the Celebrate Link-up hosted by Ruth Ayres at Ruth Ayres Writes.  Stop and join the celebration!

The calendar turns to February, but as I look forward I want to take a second to pause and reflect on January.  As we entered 2014, I chose my word DISCOVER to be my lens for a new year.  Today I want to take a minute to recap some of my discoveries.  Some are new to me; others I just paused long enough to enjoy them or to see them differently.  Today I celebrate January's discoveries.

Mmmmm!  January discoveries:

Places and moments I loved in January:  

Books and blogs:  The Highlights

Let's see what February will bring.  

One Little Word 2020

As Christmas approached this year, I looked at the calendar and took a deep breath.  We were out of school on Friday and everyone was arri...