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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Bobby Pin

I've been looking for small things all day. It all started with a bobby pin. I had one but I needed one more. I searched. Each place I looked I was surprised that there wasn't at least ONE bobby pin.
I gave up.
Then I looked again.
Gave up again.

To be continued...

The search for small things went on. I noticed that one of my students who has had a very difficult couple of weeks looked brighter today. I pointed this out to him and told him how happy I was that he was happy today. A once small smile grew big. I was proud of him.

I have been working daily with a small group to recognize and supply rhymes. It has seemed impossible but today three of the four did it and I'll get that last one yet. :)

I was looking for something on my desk and found a card with a small hand drawn heart and the word love written inside. My eyes ached as I held back all my tears.

I can't find any small way to process the events that occurred last week. I am reminded of the fragility of life when I take the small hands of my kindergarteners and lead them down the hall.

I've been searching for my one little word of 2013. I haven't found it yet...but...

I did finally find a bobby pin. In fact when I went and looked the last time I found a whole package. Sometimes when you are searching for something, even a small thing, you get more than you expected.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smiling at Lions

Dandelions are on my mind lately even though snowflakes were filling the sky today. My new notebook appears to have dandelions sketched on the cover. I think that is what caused me to become a little wrapped up in the symbolism of a dandelion. For me a dandelion symbolizes a gift from little hands. A reflection of the light that gives me and everything around me life. A reminder that even though they all look the same each is different. Dandelions are special. Don't you remember blowing on a dandelion? Remember the excitement? Just for a moment, close your eyes and imagine blowing one into the wind. You'll smile. 

Link a slice, grab a slice and enjoy serving after serving over at 
Two Writing Teachers with Ruth and Stacey. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Summer Dandelion

Poetry Friday is hosted by the animal loving poet and author herself, Robyn Hood Black (her name is so cool). Visit her at Read, Write, Howl to check out more poetry and touches of many topics, seasons and an animal or two I'm sure!

a seed
it sees
it breathes
the air
and varies
every breath
on wind
it glides
past the corn field
hi and bye
birds eye view
it dives and hides
an eventual
pull to end
the ride
it pops and drops
and droops
and slides
it stumbles over
blows right by
then rests on grass
a blade
or two
and doesn't
know just what to do
but lay and wait
for drops of dew
to sun itself
from noon to two
then burst and grab
and stretch
and slide
along the blades
above to ride
again the wind
will have its turn
but firmly planted
it will learn
to hold and
bend and
and play
until it blows
its seeds away.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random Doodling Thoughts

Serve up your slice over 
at Two Writing Teachers with Stacey and Ruth.


New notebook
new stories
new pen
new pourings
of poems
things and doodles
marks sharing
the page
visions and thinking
soon to be
perfectly imperfect
just like me. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sneak Attack Follow-Up

Finally an update on our finished products!
This was one of our first published pieces. I rarely have students re-copy a piece when publishing, but it was so early in the year it seemed okay. I do look forward to the day, oh let's say in mid-March, when they are writing buckets of words and their stories are full.
But, I will take their random letters and amazing watercolor illustrations that they are producing right now. It is a nice peek into what will be!
Here are some photos of the process.


A happy pile of drying artwork.

I took those watercolors and their writing. I typed their stories and mounted all of it onto some black paper. We talked about what a sneak attack of kindness does for someone else and for ourselves. 
It makes our hearts happy. 
Each student wrote their name on a heart to display with their work. 
A portion of the display...oh so happy am I!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Peanuts, Thanks and Memories

Lots of poetry bliss is dancing about in the blogosphere today.  The Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by the radiant spinner of words, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater down on The Poem Farm

Jama Rattigan has been celebrating all things peanut butter this November. I am excited and honored to be in good peanut buttery company on the finale of this celebration at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Go read mine along with the peanut butter spread of poems by Linda Baie, Cathy Ballou Mealey, Mary Lee Hahn RenĂ©e LaTulippe and J. Patrick Lewis. 
And Finally...
Teaching Authors is sharing the roundup of Thanku today. You can find mine and many other haiku that share a thankful theme.

The tone of my poem today is a bit less peanut butter, a little bit thankful and mostly a memory.

Not a Condiment

I have this bag.
We called it my mayo bag.
Mayo, but not for mayonnaise.
Rather, Mayo, the clinic.
When preparing
to go to THE clinic, you prepare a bag.
You prepare every documentable symptom.
You want every moment to be clear
and you want to look serious
smart and worth hearing.
When I look at the bag now I just see
a bag
expanded by fear.
I was so afraid.
That bag
had a hold of me.
Parts of me want to open it
take out the binder and file folders
the timeline of those years in my life.
I want to relive it through the documents
because I think it might make me
feel more grateful.
But I can’t do it.
Because I don’t want to relive it.
And I can’t get rid of it because
that bag
has a hold of me.
So it sits on a shelf in my basement.
So full it can’t be closed
only concealed by a large flap with dangling clips.
I glance at the bag,
breathe and walk past.
A part of my past that will remain
but is detained.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanku for Thanksgiving

My Thanku is a thanks to the communities that have become a driving force in both my learning and growth as a teacher of writers. I would not be sprouting into the teacher I am without your kind words. It is truly gratifying!

Sprouts of happiness
Words collect sunshine and rain
Communities grow

Yesterday I heard about a two week challenge at Teaching Authors on Linda's blog Teacherdance.

Write a poem of thanks in any form, but haiku are especially welcome. I wrote one in the comments of a fellow blogger and from there wrote a new one to post here as my Thanku submission.
I hope you will submit your own Thanku and check out the roundup at Teaching Authors on November 30th!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Listen to Life

Join in with a little life story at Two Writing Teachers.

I went to the apple orchard this weekend. Got my donut, cider, watched my kids enjoy all the activities, took photos of the amazing pumpkin crop, it was wonderful. A sun shiny grass glistening kind of morning.

My children's favorite activity was the enormous slide. You have to walk a hill to get to the top, wait in a moderately long line and then WHEEEE!

My husband and I sat on one of several available benches that are near the bottom and listened as child after child came down.

Every little face was elated. Huge smiles and giggles were everywhere. It was pure and un-messed with joy that almost always ran from the bottom of the slide back up the hill and into the line for more!

We sat there and listened to life. It was magical.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dinner Conversation

Yesterday, after dinner...
"Mom, can I get one of those things like you and dad?"
"I'm not sure what you mean."
"You know one of those things you and dad write poetry in."
"A writer's notebook?"
"Yeah, can I get one?"
(chills) "Of course you can get one, maybe this weekend we can go pick out a special one."

This evening after walking in the door from school...
"Hey dad when are you gonna take me to get a writer's notebook because I really want to get one tonight, can we go to the store?"
(Shawn) "Well, I really thought we would wait until this weekend, but let's see if we have time after dinner."

(Mom and dad have a conversation that the pharmacy/everything under the sun store down the road might have a notebook).

After dinner and a short trip...

And, he's already put a poem on the first page inspired by one of his favorite Jack Prelutsky poems, "High Atop a Lofty Mountain."

This kid has a lot of notebooks, but I think he knows that there is something special about "this" notebook. There's definitely something special about him. Love this seven year old.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Children Should Be...

Much can be learned when we look beyond the surface of a child and really see them.

Listening leads to discovering the best in children.

and Believed
What is real to a child is real enough for me.

Join in and slice today with Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Little Things

Slice and share at Two Writing Teachers with Ruth and Stacey.

It has been a day of many little things that bring me joy.

During our morning drive this morning my son said to me, "MOM, I just saw a blue heron again in that pond back there."
"Well then, we are going back because I have yet to see this heron you keep telling me about and I want a picture." My son knows this is my favorite bird, I always point them out with delight on the rare occasion when I see one. He seems to have caught the blue heron bug too.
I was amazed to see not one but two unique birds. I am still unsure of the exact species. The darker bird may have been a Little Blue Heron or a type of Sandhill Crane. The other bird was white and I think it must have been a White Egret. I did read this evening that the juvenile of the Little Blue Heron is also white. A mystery, but one I will hopefully be able to solve as I get more peeks at these fabulous animals. I may need to take a different camera tomorrow and zoom in a bit better. Hopefully they are still there.
I love how you can see the fall colors and the egret's white reflection on the water.

I had a day full of support at school today and felt like a lot was accomplished just because a couple of people helped me. I have some great colleagues and was reminded how lucky I am today.

Tonight my daughter said, "MOM, I know how to draw a HUMAN!"
"Really? Show me!"
There we sat as she drew and I watched.

Can you figure out her favorite color?

Tonight was soup and salad night for dinner. Soup was in the freezer and salad was a quick throw together. My favorite kind of food, easy, tasty and quick!

I am taking more and more steps each day. I can't walk at work yet, but I'm closer to the day that I can.

Now I am sitting on the couch while my kids read beside me. I am relaxed and ready for the rest of the week to roll out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Options? Hope!

Be a slicer. 
Join in at Two Writing Teacher with Stacey, Ruth and many others who are inspired by each others stories. 

I sit here wordless with so much to say. I want to tell you about all their challenges. I want to tell you about my fears. How will I do will I? Needs that go beyond my bounds of knowledge. Needs that I am tackling one at a time. Files thick with accommodations and gaps for me to fill. Feeling strapped for energy and changing plans moment by moment. Playing instruments for 20 minutes instead of reading because that's what one student wanted to do, so we did it with her, she was a part of us for a moment. Interpreting hand gestures from another who is determined to speak. Cradling the tired one, hugging the criers and singing all day because the indescribable ones don't look at me otherwise. Intervening before the hitting. Showing tolerance toward anger. Smiling. Cheering for the triumphs even when they seem small. Moving past the failures. Encouraging pride. And telling myself over and over again that each day is better and my only option is hope, there is no alternative.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Brave New Year

 Today came and I conquered.

Which basically means:
I survived.
I got everyone home.

I am still awake and it is after 8:00 p.m.
I am asking, "How will I do this?"
I am answering, "Any way possible."

Onward to tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Chapter

A slug,
a troll,
is what I've been.

A bit slow,
a bit small,
invisible I've been.

Not slimy
not hairy
but, I've been.

A bit sorry,
a bit pity,
a bit sad I've been.

So, I've been away from the blogosphere a bit. Not how I would have pictured my August to be. I had big plans to write everyday. Then, on a sunny August day, on my way outside to ask my husband a question snap, bam, boom, I broke my foot.
People...I teach kindergarten!
I looked at my husband after the realization and all he could say is, "I know."
I was in disbelief. It has changed everything about how I would normally prepare. It has changed my priorities. It has forced me to look at things differently. It is a small thing, really it is...but it has changed me. I can still do a lot of things and there are a lot of things I cannot do. It makes many things take twice as long, and again, there are some things I just can't do, so I save time! I can't go to my writing spot in my house, this changes me and my routines. I have had to give in and give up on some things, but it is really just a bump. A short chapter in the many of my life. I have always said, I hope to make my life a great read, everyone should.

Sometimes, I just wish I was the one writing it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lines Through the Day

 Visits the poets of Poetry Friday and share in their lines at Violet Nesdoly/Poem.

Today has come and gone. A busy day, a day full of words and lines but unconnected in meaning. I have been working on words that connect in my notebook and they are, well, not ready. So...I come with lines, seeds of poems to come, maybe.

Moments of my day...

tree across the road
shall we move it?
exhilarating, as I hurl a limb
my part, I feel
my daughter's words, "way to go mommy and daddy,"
as we clear the road of worry.

the first glance
at the year
the room, still and alone
ready to be molded
filled with its purpose
a home

deer in the dark
I see you
as you cross shadows
disappearing into night

And, someday my driftwood poem will be here, some Friday it will be ready. Never have I felt so guarded about my words. But, I think it's okay to think harder about some and let some others go.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Find a Penny...

NaBloPoMo August 2012I have been working on curriculum since I got up this morning. I enjoy the finished product and even the process can be fun at times. It can be so frustrating though, the time it takes to do small things makes my eyes cross. Then, as I was leaving my school today, I came across a penny. It was on the ground and I walked past it. Then I decided to go back and pick it up. Into my pocket it went. Maybe I will feel like I have accomplished more when tomorrow rolls around! Until then, back to work.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Spider, Cicada and Water Play

I have an affinity for insect, bugs, arachnids...I can't help it...I like them. Maybe I should have been an entomologist. I find them absolutely fascinating and although I don't like being bitten or stung, I like to watch them. Several day ago I noticed that a spider had taken up residence on our window ledge in the bathroom. The spider was hiding behind a bit of decoration which it appeared was an anchor for the web. I watched the sweeping web a while. I decided to leave it alone and visit each day. If nothing else the web was great for gathering dust that would otherwise be landing on the window sill and I felt a little bit like I was rooting for the spider. A few days later it came time to clean the bathroom...hmm, what was I to do? I caught my little friend and sent her on some hydrangeas which I thought would be excellent web real estate and got to cleaning. I hadn't ever felt a web (on purpose) with my hand before. I had gotten plenty in the face, which is not as desirable, but I was curious. Here is my photo of my web exploration.

Then today my kids came running in, "mom, mom there's a cicada outside and it just came out of its skin, come look!"
I grabbed my camera and went out to see the cicada and was it ever a sight. We watched it for a while. He seemed a little bashful after I was finished photographing him as he went under the larger strands of grass and hid.

I know they are pests, destroy crops, create a mess, but they have a purpose too. If nothing else to fascinate people like me who are so entertained by six legs, huge eyes and veiny wings.

I had to share a couple pics of my kids on our last trip of the summer. That toe dipping starts out so innocent and then suddenly you are swimming fully clothed. For the whole story, you can read the end of a previous post here.

NaBloPoMo August 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Under the Stars

Last night I was under a northern Michigan sky. A clear sky that reflected its constellations on the still black water of the lake. I stood there looking, neck stiffening from the strain of trying to see it all at one time. I saw many formations of stars, some that I recognized and some that I did not. I did see the most popular though, the big dipper. It is always interesting to me how excited I get when I see it, I have to verbalize it out loud every time, "look, it's the big dipper," in my excited whisper. When it is that late and that peaceful you can't help but have a hush in your voice.
Tonight we are home, southern Michigan. It is late and we went outside for a moment to look up at the same sky. Sure enough, there it was again, the big dipper. There is comfort in knowing that the sky is the same sky, every night. Even when I can't see it, when it is covered in clouds, when it is filtered with light, it is all there, looking down at me.
NaBloPoMo August 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sighs and Sparkles

 NaBloPoMo August 2012

We take this drive every August. Miles of dirt road that leave a memory of dust clouds. Scraping tree limbs on my window as we enter a canopy of birch and pine. The final stretch, a grassy two track and then the glittering veil. We park. We sigh. The quiet lake in the middle of the woods with wind songs for entertainment and wildlife for companions. We listen, look and long.

you wail
calling our ears in your direction.
We see your wake
as the water sighs.
Once black and still
now rippling with sparkle
as the sun melts into night.

I didn’t get to post yesterday, but I found humor in moments of my day. We went into town and for some reason I took my children out of their bathing suits and put them into clothing. Is this my first rodeo…no, I know better. Even when you go into town, there is likely water nearby and you will find yourself toe dipping. This turns into wading. Then one big wave comes along and from eye brow to ankle you’re soaked. From there nothing is off limits. Sandcastles are started, swimming fully clothed ensues and you just wish you all had your bathing suit and a towel…and a lemonade (or in my case an ice tea)…and probably something else, like a sandwich. However, this just proves that you don’t really need anything to make a memory.

Friday, August 3, 2012

That Kind of Day...

Kinderblog 2012 Question:
My tips or trick for getting through a day I don't feel at my best?

I have to say that the culprit for me not feeling my best is usually feeling overwhelmed by my workload. Creativity is my prescription. If I put out a cosmic explosion of materials and say have at it, that usually loosens everyone up a bit. I am also able to get a little something done too, which lessens my likely overwhelmed feeling.

The colder months are always tough too because there are those days you can't go outside and then there are the days you can and you have all the boots, snow pants, blah, blah, blah and mittens (the worst)! So I dream about the day when it will be 60 degrees or warmer and we can ditch all that stuff and run outside with no coats on. I usually have chalk and bubbles at the ready to celebrate. It is bound to put a smile on your face.

If all else fails, I go across the hall to my teaching buddy and talk with her until we are both laughing so hard it hurts. That is always a winner.
Happy August school dreams everyone. Have yours started yet?

Sweet Challenges

 Share in some poetry fun this Friday with Rena at ON THE WAY TO SOMEWHERE...

Trying to blog on my phone while in the car, not sweet.
Blogging from my computer via my husband's phone tether while sitting in the car...sweet!

I am on my way to an up north family weekend to a quiet lake full of turtles, fish, sunsets and loons. It is always a peaceful celebration of the near end of summer and our kids look forward to this getaway every year. Last week we took a trip along the Thornapple River on kayaks. My first time kayaking was awesome and left me quite sore, but it was worth every muscle aching stroke even after three hours. We had a great time and this is the poem that came from that experience.

current slow
my eyes cast
and watch
snails netted in muskgrass
congregations of duck weed
water bugs in a whirl
swift fins below
break the tension in hunger
and I fly
across a watery sky.

I hope to have some photos and poetry to follow the next few days while we dip our toes in more serenity as I blog through August with a "sweet" theme.

 NaBloPoMo August 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NaBloPoMo and Hummingbird Moments

NaBloPoMo August 2012
I saw lots of "sweet" things today. However the sweetest was a perspective of a full moon that I have never noticed before. In my backyard we have several trees. One in particular is a stand out as the moon was framed beautifully by its limbs tonight. I tried to photograph it and couldn't. This has happened before...when something amazing is right in front of me and I can't capture it with a camera, and yet, I can with words. Amy Ludwig Vanderwater from The Poem Farm told me (@ Teachers Write) I would see a "hummingbird" today and the whirring was the moon. My hummingbird moment was a full moon lighting my night.
Here is my photo, in my mind of course.

Calling my eyes up.
Trapping you,
And yet you'll escape by morning.

I am going to try out NaBloPoMo this month. The theme is sweet. You can sign up through August 5th!

Friday, July 27, 2012

But Who Am I?

The Kinderchat challenge for today...
a photo get to know 140 characters or less per pic!

This is a piece of driftwood that I saved from a recent trip to the beach. See the little granules of sand?

 Today the kids and I set up the house for our painted ladies and I learned the plural word for chrysalis is chrysalises or chrysalides. Aren't you glad I found out?

 This is what my notebook looks like. A blurry view of the poem about driftwood I am loving and hating (first stanza peek).

 I went to the library today.

 I love chalk. I love poetry...the two go together again on July 31st. should do it too!