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Showing posts from March, 2016

Day 31 SOL 16: Shifting to Poetry

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"One learns by thinking and writing, and by talking about writing - but primarily through writing."       ---Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook (p. 17) Today one door closes another one opens, as today I step from the month long Slice of Life Writing Challenge with Two Writing Teachers into a month of writing poetry for April's National Poetry Month celebration.  I'm looking forward to spending some time writing poetry.  This is my third year to join poetry bloggers in a month of writing (thanks, Mary Lee , for the nudge and inspiration). Many moons ago I was talking about poetry with a friend and poet.  We were discussing poetry and I was lamenting that poets seemed to have a style.  I'm always trying to figure out my style.  Do I write for children or adults?  Do I write about small things or moments?  What type of poetry feels right when I sit down to put words on paper?  Without skipping a beat, my friend commented, "You're a narrative poet

Day 30 SOL 16: Lessons Learned

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Yesterday I met with our Slice of Life group , a mix of first through fifth graders, for our last meeting before the challenge ends.  The students gathered around the carpet as we talked about what we've loved about the challenge.  One student shared that she has written every day for two years of the challenge.  "I'm not sure what I will do next year when I'm in the sixth grade building," she bemoaned. "No worries," I assured her, "you just track me down.  I'll help you figure it out." The group started to rumble as they considered the end of our challenge.  Our conversation turned to what they'd learned in their month of writing.  Several students had written every day, or nearly every day, since the challenge began.  Others had maintained some consistency in posting for the month.  Everyone had learned lessons of one kind or another.  We started a Padlet for students to share what they had learned with the group (you can view t

Day 29 SOL 16: Happy Birthday, Mom

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"I keep going back to your blog, but I haven't seen any new posts in awhile," my mom comments nonchalantly one evening as we chat on the phone. I chuckle.  Saying you haven't seen any posts in "awhile" was a huge understatement.  I knew it had been weeks since my last post.  Actually, it was quite likely, the time could be measured in months.  "You know how I am.  When life gets busy, the blog seems to be the first thing to go," I reply. I had to smile.  My mom is probably the only person in the world that has noticed I haven't posted from my blog in awhile.  My mom constantly stops by to check out what I have been writing, and always leaves a comment. It makes me smile.  It's one thing to be in first grade and have your work hung on the refrigerator, but it's quite another to be as old as I am and still have a mom who is rooting for your every move. In life moms come in many packages, but I lucked out for sure.  When life get

Day 28 SOL 16: Getting Started

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A little over a week ago the rains came down for hours and hours.  The water swelled in the backyard forming a temporary pond to fool the ducks.  The skies stayed gray and our sump pump worked and worked.  My husband headed downstairs the next morning to put salt in our water softener to find water rising just above the first step of our basement. Since that day, we've been working through the process of getting the basement back together.  I find the task overwhelming.  Where do we begin?  Do we get a dumpster?  Do we haul out everything?  What can stay?  Thankfully, I handle most of our day to day jobs, but my husband is the king in crisis.  He's ready to dig in and get it done.  He's just waiting on the green light to toss all of the items that rest below our first floor. To get the ball rolling all I really need to do is walk downstairs and inventory.  What can be saved?  There are so many items of memory downstairs:  photographs, books from when the kids were lit

Day 27 SOL 16: Songs of Joy

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Songs of Joy Today the earth celebrates: birds of all colors sing songs of joy, buds ready to burst rest on branches, the sun rises to warm the land, the sky the bluest of blues, the daffodil dances, the grass, once brown now the deepest of green, abundant in the newness of life. Rejoice! © Cathy L. Mere, 2016 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers .  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.   Stop by  today's link up  to join the conversation or find some great reading.

Day 26 SOL 16: The Bookstore

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What's New? I'm a device gal.  Technology and gadgets are my thing so it doesn't really surprise people when I tell them I prefer to read on a device.  Despite what the research says, it doesn't keep me up at night.  I also question research that talks about retaining what we read if we're reading on a device.  It seems to me the secret might be knowing how to highlight, note, and actively engage in a digital text.  There are so many advantages to reading on a device: It's easy to carry a collection of books with you at all times. I'm ready for any reading emergency. Selection.  Selection.  Selection.  I have a record of the all the books I've read (very helpful when I forget a title --- which is all of the time). I can adjust the font side. I can refer back to lines or information read in just a few clicks on the screen. How far it is to the end of the book never stresses me out (it did in a regular book). There's no need to find space

Poetry Friday & Day 25 SOL 16: Night Writer

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Oh, night writer, how I envy thee; with your ability to find words as the stars illuminate the sky. You've spent your day collecting: stories, phrases, moments. Wrapping them in the pages of your notebook as your day settles.       I'm a morning writing.       Though I try,       my words       don't rise with the moon.       It seems I must carry them       into my dreams, where they       toss,       grow,       multiply.       My song plays       as the sun rises.       Words find their way       to the paper       as the world awakens:       the chickadee chirps,       the robin sings,       the finch flits about,       as I tap away       composing stories       onto the page. There are days when I try be a writer like you, settling into the blackness of night, searching for words, only to find emptiness.          I'm a morning writer,          I require the light          to find words          as they hide,  

Day 24 SOL 16: 5 Things About Today

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It's late.  I'm tired.  I had class tonight and just finished getting together all the information I need to have my taxes done tomorrow.  Ugh.  Taxes.  So I'm going to end this day with a short piece....five things that were great about today. Lunch with my aunt and uncle who are visiting from South Carolina.  It's always great to catch up with them.  I had a little time between lunch and my class so I headed over to the bookstore.   Before class I spent some time at Starbucks with a cup of coffee and some poetry.   I started planning for April's poetry month events.  I've wavered between not participating, to not tying myself down to a plan, to maybe a plan would be nice.  More to come on this... Tax information is in an envelop and ready for my tax appointment.  Yep, for those of you that know me best, I'm getting my taxes done "early" this year.   For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challen

Day 23 SOL 16: We Choose

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We Choose We can invest in worry about safety, about health, about others. We can invest  in fear of those with differences, of tomorrows, of ourselves. We can invest in waiting for a moment, for a miracle, for something to happen. or We can invest in being, in reaching, in changing, in doing, in making a difference. The choice is ours. © Cathy L. Mere, 2016 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers .  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.   Stop by  today's link up  to join the conversation or find some great reading.

Day 22 SOL 16: A Trip to Mom's

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Where the mountains touch the sky. Where the water  shimmers of sapphire. Where spring  comes earlier. Where flowers  color the earth. Where brown  has long since gone. Where everywhere the world is green.   Where games  are required. Where winning is not. Where dessert comes first.  Where laughter reigns. Where no matter how old you think you might you be, you will cared for, and reminded  there's no better place than a trip to mom's.  © Cathy L. Mere, 2016 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers .  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.   Stop by  today's link up  to join the conversation or find some great reading.

Day 21 SOL 16: A Child's Eye

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A Child's Eye The young family walks down the city street glancing inside windows. Mom in front Dad in back. Two children tucked in the middle. It isn't long until they near an ice-cream shop. The family pauses as if to decide. Going in? Staying out? Adults talk together. Children wait. Suddenly the young girl shouts, "Look at the sky." Her mom stops her conversation, glances up. The girl points, "White flowers floating." The street stands still. The adults, walking distractedly down the sidewalk, stop, noticing what they hadn't noticed before. Dogwood petals fall like snow toward the city sidewalk. A moment that might have gone unnoticed without the watchful eyes of a young child. © Cathy L. Mere, 2016 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers .  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this communi

Day 20 SOL 16: Our Own Kind of Luck

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Tonight my mom and I went down to play some BINGO with the Lion's Club.  The activity center near her residence houses the event every few weeks.  We walked in to the center, purchased a few cards, and played several games of BINGO.  I didn't win.  I'm not as lucky as my grandma used to be, but the time playing with my mom reminded me of some great times by my grandma's side.   There wasn't anything better than spending time with my grandma.  My grandma was the mother of three boys, so being the first grandchild AND a girl gave me quite a bit of privilege.  Not only did I have automatic points with my grandma, but when I was nine they built apartments behind my house.  My parents probably saw a problem with the open field being replaced by multiunit housing, but I saw opportunity. When the apartments started to be built, I picked up the rotary phone and called Grandma to let her know the place she should live was right behind my house.  It wasn't long unti

Day 20 SOL 16: The Promise of Spring

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As we followed the winding road south, we crossed  the line to spring much earlier  than usual. The brown turning green. The white dogwood blooms dotting the meandering road. The redbud accenting the world  in shades of sunset pink. Signs of hope. The promise of days to come. © Cathy L. Mere, 2015 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers .  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.   Stop by  today's link up  to join the conversation or find some great reading.

Poetry Friday & Day 18 SOL 16: Bird Games

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In the evening the blackbirds gather in gaggles across tree tops: whistling from white pine, calling from maple, trilling from tulip tree. The blackbirds' early spring songs contrast the silence of weeks ago, when the trees waited for their return. During the day they go unnoticed, as the sun begins to set they come out  to play bird games, soaring in pairs against the cerulean sky.   As evening wanes, the crescendo continues in chattered chorus, birds dart  from here to there, flitting from tree to tree, as if trying to keep  treetop numbers equal. As birds begin to blend with night sky, they sing their last refrain, play their last games, dance their last dance, the coda closes the day as the blackbird vanishes into their nests for the night.   © Cathy L. Mere, 2016 For the month of March I will be participating in the  March Slice of Life Challenge  hosted at  Two Writing Teachers

Day 17 SOL 16: The Real March Madness

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It's March Madness.  Despite my current fascination with fantasy sports, I'm really not much of a March Madness fan.  Short of watching a few Buckeye basketball games, I really don't watch much college basketball. Though I've hardly watched a game, I decided to join our family's bracket challenge hosted by my nephew.  I tell the family I add a little extra challenge as to get beat by someone like me would surely be worse than losing.  They don't seem as worried as I think they should be.   It's March Madness so my husband is kicked back in his chair flipping between at least four different channels.  DirectTV has helped him by creating a composite channel that combines several games on one screen.  After all the years we've been married, I've come to expect the world to come to a stop for basketball during this month.  How did we do this before the DVR?   While the rest of the world thinks the madness in March is basketball, those of us w

Day 16 SOL 16: A Flood of Memories

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Realizing my husband had left a few lights on in the basement, I took a deep breath and headed downstairs.   The light was coming from the far side of the basement so I had to walk through the scattered boxes and ruined remnants of our lives to turn them off.  As I stepped on the carpet with my bare feet, water squished under my toes.  The carpet had become a sponge still holding onto some of the water that had flooded our basement since Monday. Since first hearing the news, I'd tried to avoid the basement.  Most of my life, I have found pretending something isn't happening can make it a little less painful for a bit.  Knowing I'd eventually have to take myself down there and start filling a dumpster with unsalvageable pieces, I thought I'd take a wait to worry approach.  I was already heartbroken about the waterlogged hope chest that once belonged to my grandmother.  Years ago it stored letters from her first husband, my grandfather, sent to her while he was at sea

Day 15 SOL 16: Questions, Let's Ask Questions

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via Khaydock WikiMedia Commons Today I was talking with my friend, Julie, about an upcoming iBook project we will soon be tackling.  Julie has worked with iBooks before, but this is all new to me.  As we talked I began asking questions.  How will be do this collaboratively?  What will we need others to contribute?  Will we use a template?  Can we add to the book later?  Does everyone have to send their books to Apple before they become iBooks?  The questions were rolling out faster than Julie could even listen to them.  Finally, she looked at me and said, "Do you know this is Question Week ?" What?!?!   There's a question week .  I just love questions.  It appears question week has been organized by Warren Berger, the author of A More Beautiful Question .  I had to stop by the blog to check it out.  Sure enough, there are all kinds of links and activities suggested for question week.  Did you know you might  tackle any problem with these three questions ?  Did yo

Day 14 SOL 16: Superheroes

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We all have heroes; the people in our lives that save the day when we need it most.  Sometimes these people seem like more than heroes, these seem like superheroes.  They're always there at just the right moment.  Like Spiderman, they seem to have a sense to know where danger lurks.  Like Superman, they might have super strength.  Some people possess genius intellect and indomitable will like Batman. Today was one of the days that I was thankful for the superheroes in my life. After leaving a reading ambassador meeting, I checked my phone to find this message:  "Call me when  you get a chance."  My husband never asks me to call him so I knew it probably wasn't good. "How's your day been?" he asked when I called. "Busy, but great," I replied. "That's good," he said, "because I have some bad news.  The basement flooded today." "What?!  That's not good," I countered, obviously not coming close to

Day 13 SOL 16: Days with Dad

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"The kids are all here and we're ordering pizza," I texted my dad.  "You're welcome to join us." It wasn't long until my dad replied, "I'm in for the night.  I don't feel well so I'm going to stay here.  Thanks." "What?" the kids chimed together.  "Grandpa never says no," they said, "you should go over and check on him."  It was a little unusual.  First of all, my daughter was home from college for the start of her spring break.  She hadn't been home for several weeks.  My son was also at the house.  His schedule is usually so busy we rarely see him. If anybody else would have declined, we wouldn't have thought much of it, but my dad rarely misses any fun.  He's always the first to say, "Yes, let's do it."  He loves adventure and is all ready to go along with the crowd. When we were kids, my dad worked second shifts.  That meant he left for work around three and retur

Day 12 SOL 12: Opting Out

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Sometimes you hear or see something that takes you back to a memory long since forgotten.  That very thing happened today as I listened to Chris Lehman at Literacy Connection.  Chris was trying to show us how to compare texts through a similar lens.  He had decided to use text that had some political undertone.  He explained this to us and then added, "You are welcome to opt out."  Reminding us that students too should have the option to opt out of controversial or uncomfortable topics. As an eighth grader, I would have appreciated the opportunity to opt out.  Growing up my mom kept us sheltered from violence.  We didn't watch violence on television.  My brother didn't own toy guns. We were taught to solve problems with words, not fists.  I always joke that my first PG movie was Starwars...and that I was twelve.  I was a bit sheltered in comparison to many of my peers, but I always felt better off for it.  Of course, as a result I had very little tolerance for unkin