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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Will You Bag Up Today?

a day
to end the year.
A day to review
with spirit and cheer!

I always say, "It's a short chapter." All those things that linger and nudge us to do better, those battles we fight, the moments of laughter; they are all short slices of life. However, they make up chapters of lasting memories. I look at today and I see snow falling, children playing, a day of possibilities ahead but it will all be over tomorrow. What will I do today to shape the next? I don't know yet! I hope celebration and happiness is in my future. Life is full of decisions and I find myself at the start of this day with many decisions ahead of me and many good times to follow.

I hope you will have many slices of happiness in this last day of 2013 and share them at Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life.

My SOL today:
My day began with a discovery. The house was an icebox this morning. We had all slept in a bit and the heat was still in "leave" mode since we are not usually home on Tuesday mornings. I turned up the heat, turned on the coffee and prepared for a relaxing morning. I had to go downstairs to the basement for a moment to get something for my son when I realized something wasn't right. As I rounded the corner of the stairs there in front of me was a huge garbage bag ripped to bits with all its contents strewn everywhere! NOOOO! See, we have been doing a lot of cleaning in our basement: getting my writing space back in order, going through toys, papers, books all the things that accumulate in a space that doesn't get used the way it should. That is our basement. A dumping ground for lost things and things that need to get lost! But, there it all was again. Everywhere. My first thought, "WHERE IS THAT DOG!" My next thought...there it is (not the dog) but my year, all over the floor. Utter chaos spilled all over my basement of this and that. Here I was, picking up my year and putting it back into a new bag...a new bag. The old bag was torn and ripped with holes and many imperfections. The new bag, well it was shiny, bright, fresh handle ready to take all that garbage, baggage and battle left from 2013...I was ready to pack that up again. I had done it once but over time. Today I would bag up 2013 in one moment. One sitting. One bag that I will not leave in the basement but will take to the trash can and move on. So much good to celebrate from the year but there is always garbage that comes along. I hope you can take out the trash of 2013 today and focus on what you loved, how you loved and what doors are opening for you in 2014.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Have a Great Day!

How is it that as the kids energy level and excitement goes up mine somehow starts to decline. I feel like a tank that is slowly being emptied of its fuel with no station in sight for refill. I laugh a little as I write this because I know I am not alone, but geesh! It is the little things that fuel me in these moments. Today, I have been trying to text level students before we head to break. I want to know exactly where they stand in terms of reading. I want to know before they go away for over two weeks to slide back. As I was working I noticed a sticky note on my clipboard. I didn't give it much of a look. I thought one of the kids had gotten in my stash of stickies again. However, upon closer inspection this is what I saw:
"I hope you have a Grate day Ms HuBrd."

Well thank you little one who sent me this note. I am having a great day and it is thanks to all of the little cherubs that are excited and high on energy. They make each day easier as we get closer to a break. The hugs. The faces. The smiles. These little things are my station and I am filled.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Celebrating writing about my children today. Christmas trees. The season's magic. Growing. They are growing so fast. I found myself leaning up against the wall as I prepared my living room for a huge green tree invasion. My children, full of energy, began running in circles around the house. I wrote a poem about my son and I know I will treasure it.

I am treasuring the moments I had with my students this past week as we really dug into revision. Students enjoyed using a different tool to go back into their writing and really make it better. Can't wait to see this go further.

I am celebrating the #nerdlution with Chalk-A-Day. I am having so much fun chalking a little poem each day @Betsy_writes.

A new computer was cause for celebration this week. I can finally work on my, Where is Poetry? It's Everywhere, presentation for the Dublin Literacy Conference. Will you be there? I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Funk

I'm sitting here. In my classroom. It is quiet. I have a slight headache but a break from the chaos for the next thirty minutes. I'm sort of having one of those moments where I finally feel like I can breathe. It hasn't been a particulary stressful day with students, but I am feeling stressed. Monitoring student writing this week has me questioning whether I want to switch to "How To" books next week, like I am suppose to. Looking at my reading block, I feel like things are starting to fall apart a bit...could be the holidays. I think I am reaching that point where I am just tired and need a break...wait, didn't I just have one? It is frustrating to me that I feel this way after having a nice long weekend off. I should be revitalized and ready to tackle the week. Instead I feel run down and out of it. Don't you just hate that? I hope to crawl my way out of this funk by this evening when my BRAND NEW LAPTOP  arrives in the mail! That might just do it!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Week of Celebrations!

Celebrating? Yes!
I am celebrating a short work week that deviated from the normal. When this happens everything gets the shaft a bit and I love that my students, though they love a little deviation, get upset when Writing Workshop is cut short. There are groans and moans and my boys say, "It's already over?" or "When do we get to finish? Can I do it during open choice (playtime)?" Yes, I celebrate this. Even though we were making pilgrim hats in one room, watching Charlie Brown in another and learning about popcorn in my room, when my class returned from their crafty projects they wanted to write. I live for this.

I had a student write a story about being an author, the title was, "When I Become an Author." Ummm, yes I celebrate this. I celebrated so much I interviewed her on camera to express to her how much I love that she feels she will accomplish this goal. Then I reminded her she already was an author, of many many books.

Celebration also flew in this week when I spent time with my children on a less than busy Thanksgiving day. We ate spaghetti! We laughed. We played. We deviated from the normal Thanksgiving traditions and it was fun.

I chalked the other day with my kids, at night. My daughter kept asking, "When are we doing Chalk-A-Bration?" I kept telling her, "Oh, yeah, we'll get to it." Then it was suddenly dark. Well, so what, get a flashlight and let's go! So we did and we loved it.

Today we spent the day with my husband's family. It is always nice to reconnect and we laugh...a lot! My cheeks hurt a little.

Tomorrow I get to see my family and celebrate my mom's birthday. I can't wait. My sister and I bought a very special necklace for my mom that symbolizes an important part of life, a life that lacks nothing. Most of us live this truth. Our lives really lack nothing if there is love shared. I hope you have love to share in your lives and can find time to celebrate that love.

Thanks to Margaret for sharing her students Thanku! Check them out here. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bedtime Stories

Tonight my daughter has been plagued with a bad dream and can not shake it. It reminded me of when I would have bad dreams and go snuggle down with my mom and dad in their bed. I remember climbing right in between them and feeling the warmth and love that is so comforting when you are scared.
My daughter wanted me to tell her a story. I came up with many. One about Janie the fish. Janie the teddy bear. Even a story about Janie the puppy who had an owner named Pennsylvania. All my silly stories did the trick and got her mind off whatever scary things were lurking in her little head. She is now in my bed, resting quietly. Which means someone will need to move her before my bedtime comes. Then again, maybe I will just leave her there to keep me company in case I have any bad dreams tonight.
Happy snuggling. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Why do I tempt her? Why is it even within reach?

My husband, Shawn, collects typewriters. Yep, he does. We have four of them. He's always looking for one that is more ancient than the last one he's purchased. One of the typewriters sits in our living room and is "untouchable." Shawn will occasionally type on it but otherwise it is basically a decoration. Last night my daughter was plucking away at it and we reminded her not to touch. She stopped and we thought it was handled.
After the kids went to bed we noticed a paper next to the typewriter. An old large sticky note with several typed letters. At first I thought, "Was it my son this time?" Um, no it was little Jane. She had typed JHubb in several spots on the paper, basically labeling the evidence that she had touched the typewriter AGAIN. Then I looked up and noticed what was at the top of the paper, "mmoomm I Love you." Kinda made it hard to be upset with do they manage to do that?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Red Badge

My husband put on an old coat this evening. It belonged to his father when he was in the Navy.
I would wear it on cold fall mornings my first year teaching. I was a preschool teacher at an inner city school. There were all kinds of students but each came with their own story of heartache.

He wore it outside today to take out our dog who was begging for a quick break in the cold air. When he came inside he said, "Wait for it." He was holding a small red circle with a safety pin poked through it.

Puzzled, I didn't understand. "What's that?" I asked.
He turned it over in his hand.
This little circle in his hand held much more meaning and he knew,
he knew it would bring me to an emotional state.

I Gasped, "I can't believe it. Of all the names, it's his name on that little circle."
"I know." He said back to me. "Do you remember his last name, do you think you could find him?"

I didn't.

I couldn't remember his last name but his face was burned in my brain. His home that I had visited on a cold fall day back in November of 2001. I remember it. Door ajar. What would we find, but an empty house. No mother. No father. Just noise from the TV and a broken door. He was gone. I didn't see him for days. When he returned to preschool it was as though nothing happened. He smiled. I smiled and we went on with our lives.

He was my first project. One I never got to finish. One I never quite felt I did enough for. A little one. The littlest of my four year-old students. He was special. I have his name badge and I will keep it forever just as I have kept him in my heart all these years.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Classroom of Love

Celebrations, thanks and gratitude...I have them all. 

I celebrate my students everyday but what I love the most about each of them is the tolerance they demonstrate on a daily basis. We have a lot going on in our first grade classroom:
A student who screams because it is a release from all the sensory stimulation we cannot relate to, but is loved.
A student in a wheelchair battling a disease, but is loved.
A student who goes under the table because he is overwhelmed, but is loved.
A student who interrupts, distracts and disrupts, but is loved.
A student who is very hands on with peers, but is loved.
A student who is difficult to communicate with because of a neurological disorder, but is loved.

All these students and their needs are tolerated, embraced and accepted in a classroom of love. What could be a better celebration? I can't think of one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Slice of Mary Oliver

I started reading New and Selected Poems Volume One By Mary Oliver this week. I have had the book since summer but didn't pick it up until recently. I really enjoy Mary Oliver's work. I have read two of her books previously and find her style of writing poetry quite fascinating, beautiful and something to aspire to. Her words are quite lovely, dark at times, but true and real. Tonight I went back to one of the poems I marked. I felt warmed by it and a bit more centered. I thought this might speak to you as well.

The Sun

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon here to read the rest

The last two stanzas are what speak loudest to me:

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

Certainly gives us something to think about doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thirteen Sips

A funny little moment.

I was right in the middle of teaching when, "HICCUP!"
Okay, hiccups and teaching don't mix. I tried to control myself, "HICCUP!"
Well that wasn't working.
I went to find my water. Of course while I'm doing this the class is a bit oblivious but chaos slowly begins to creep in. I am distracted and they see an opporitunity.
I'm looking, I'm looking everywhere and it's getting loud. Students are restless.
Of course while I'm looking, "HICCUP, hiCCUp, HIccUP!"
I'm getting annoyed all the while knowing that teaching a mini-lesson and hiccups will not work.
Okay, found the water. Then I suddenly hear one of my softest spoken little girls yell out over the chaos, "THIRTEEN SIPS, Mrs. Hubbard!"
A little startled, I look out into what feels like a sea of little beings all spread around the carpet, "Who said that?"
"Thirteen sips, I said it!" said little Jolie. She was beaming a bit and everyone had kind of stopped in their tracks at her exclamation.
"Thirteen sips?" I asked. Then her story told me that apparently not everyone was oblivious to my hiccuping.
"Yeah, that's what my grandma told me. When I got the hiccups for the first time we were at her house. She got me a glass of water and told me to take thirteen sips. It really worked and that is what I always do when I get the hiccups. Try it!" She said.
"Uh, okay." So I took thirteen sips. The class counted along, and sure enough it was like magic. It was as though someone had waved a wand saying, "hiccups be gone!" And they were gone.
I waited a moment, you know you do this. You question, are they really gone. You don't want to be fooled. I waited. The class waited. I took a breath and went back to work.
We moved on and I learned a little something from Jolie's perfect little small moment, thirteen sips is all it takes!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An All Week Celebration

I was lucky this week. I got to celebrate triumphs and struggles all week long with parents during conferences. Struggles are a celebration as well. We get to see where the child is going. What will they do next? What is their next hurdle to jump and triumph to share?

I won't gloss it over too much. Students have struggles. Struggles that have as much to do with school as they do with their whole life. We all focus on these at times. However, I don't always see this focus as a bad thing as long as we have an ending goal in sight. My mom always says, "What we focus on expands." She is right. If we only focus on what is wrong and despair in this weakness it will grow like a weed in a rosebush.

It was my challenge this week to focus on all that was going well but to also share honestly.

I shared. Parents and I walked through all the content areas and learned where their child excels. Some are really good at Social Studies. Some are showing strength in science. Others are reading well above grade level. Students are growing and learning everyday.

During the conferences, if the students were present, I had them share their writing with their parents. It didn't matter what level the writer was, I did not see a single parent sit quietly or disgusted when their child shared their words. They were proud. They had every right to be proud. The evidence of growth from their once four or five year old, now five or six year old was there; right on the page. Everyone was smiling.
This is what I love about being a teacher of writers. The growth and evidence are always right in front of me. Sometimes with math or science it is harder to show a change over time with evidence. A unit test? It just doesn't have the same effect as a piece of writing from a once four year old to a year later.

Another celebration: Apparently there are rumors going around about me among students and their parents.
I had one parent ask, "So this looping thing, when does that end?"

I was a little taken aback. Uh oh, not sure I like the sound of this. I responded, "Well, after this year they will go to second grade and have a new teacher."

I had thought based on their tone maybe they were unhappy with the looping process. Wrong assumption.

"What? Why? I thought you were going to have them until fourth grade!?"

Upon further questions and discussions with parents, some thought I would continue with their child next year or through third grade, the misconceptions were plenty and I was a little bit touched by their responses. These parents are so invested in me and their child's education. We have a bond. One that will be hard to say goodbye to at the end of the year. I feel a tear already.

And finally, I think I shared a bit of this is a previous celebration. Here is a video of my school's middle school boys football team showing the world what it means to be a champion. I had several of these boys in kindergarten. Talk about needing a kleenex, go get one before you click the link.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sometimes it still shocks me what my students do and say at writing workshop. Today we had a schedule that deviated from the norm. There were fire trucks for fire safety, a tornado get the picture. Among all the chaos we had to fit in writing workshop. I knew I would have to cut it a little short, mind you we are up to sometimes more than an hour when all is said and done. When I say cut it short, there is still lots of time. Anyway, one of my little boys had been planning away, had been working on his story diligently and I had to give a "five minute sign" warning. It was just about time for lunch. His response was priceless. You would have thought he lost his dog. Shoulders slumped, sad eyes, a pout, and to top it off a moan...picture it AaaaAAaaAAah!
I looked at him, kind of unsure why he was upset. I mean really, this was a bit over the top.
"Dylan, what is it?" I asked him.
"I wanted to keep writing," in the whiniest voice he could muster.
Then I think my face mirrored his a bit because I felt so sad that I had to tell him to stop soon. He kind of tossed his pencil in frustration and began to clean up. I wasn't going to mention he still had five minutes, he was at the point of no return. But I stood back a moment and felt proud. My kids really love this time of day. It is probably their favorite. They love it so much they would rather write than go to lunch. I call that a big WIN!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I watch milestones happen everyday. I am lucky that I get to watch children grow. This week I listened as one student jumped a reading level. I watched another beam at her "spelling power!" I witnessed another student reach out to a child suffering. As I stood back at writing workshop this week students were awesome. I saw a lot of good writing this week and we get to start fresh again on Monday. I saw students taking care of each other, having fun and continuing a community we formed long ago. I continue to be happy with my decision to loop with my students this year. It is a celebration that I get to watch them grow another year older, wiser as human beings and more caring for others as they mature.

Another celebration...I get to run a half-marathon tomorrow that I have been training for since June! Wish me luck. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Warning: A Flood is Approaching

I'm smiling. I'm happy.

I watched a video at my staff meeting this morning that praised our eighth grade boys for showing a special bit of kindness at a football game to a student with special needs. It actually was a story on a local news channel.

Eyes a little misty.

One of my students got a compression vest today. Her response, "I LOVE it!"

Teared up a bit.

I listened to my student who has struggled with apraxia say the words "Chicago is a city," with practically perfect articulation during a speech therapy session.

Starting to feel small pools form in the corners of my eyes, but I am still smiling!
I am waiting. Waiting for the moment to happen where tears of joy begin streaming. So many happy things can bring up so much emotion. Especially when I watch students with needs beyond my imagination struggle each day and leave smiling. There are a lot of things to get a little misty over and even more things to smile about. What made you smile today?

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build. is starting a new movement, Celebration Link-Up. On each Saturday share your celebration(s) from the week, link it to her blog and comment on other celebrations shared.

One of my celebration from the week was seeing joy on my students faces. Sometimes we do the simplest things to find joy and leaf hunting was the ticket on Friday afternoon. We each went and found two leaves for leaf rubbing. Then students got creative with colors and designs. I wish I had taken a picture but instead I will invite you to go find a leaf and do a crayon rubbing yourself. It is bound to make you smile.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sometimes They Just Know

Just like we are always in tune with what they need each day, they are tuning into us as well. Sometimes little pick-me-ups come at the right time. I was feeling a little defeated today at writing workshop. I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see and was forgetting what it is all about. Then little Kaylee gave me this:

Poem for Mrs. Hubbard

I love Mrs. Hubbard
I think she is nice
I love her

To say the least, I was no longer defeated but proud and touched by her sweet poem. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Speechless Slice...Is That Possible?

I start this slice...
I realize I am a bit speechless.
I feel a little lost.
A little stuck.
A little speechless.
Like I am in a field of sunflowers.
I wonder what is beyond each one.
I keep turning corners and there is yet another.
Another beautiful sunflower full of opportunity.
I am wandering.
I am grinning.
I am speechless
with petals in my hair.
My ears are full of sun.
My mouth is full of words
ready to escape.

I really enjoy writing a story this way. I did not know where this was going, only that I was feeling speechless today. Then all these images started to flood into me and now I must go draw them.

One perspective of my thoughts. A bit different from what I was envisioning but a visual perspective none the less.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sensory Details

Today we began talking about how to add details to our writing. We are starting with sensory detail, something with which they are familiar. This video was a great tool to get a conversation going. It suggested writing in your notebook about what you were noticing in the video clips. We did shared writing instead and ended up noticing that our phrases looked like a poem. Then began the challenge to write a poem about each sense. EXCITEMENT was brewing! We had such a great time. The kids sat for forty minutes as we watched a minute of video, talked and then wrote a poem together. "FORTY MINUTES" you say? Yes, it normally would be way too long, but we were on a roll.
I love my class. Their stamina for learning is fantastic. What a fun lesson and a fun time together. 

Students then went to their writing from yesterday to see if they could add sensory details to make their writing more interesting. Many of them did just that! I use the word amazed a lot as a teacher but I find myself in this position often. I am AMAZED to see them take on learning and utilize it so quickly. I can't wait for tomorrow when we chart what we learned and share our details peer to peer. FUN!

Chalk-A-Bration is coming up soon, September 30th.
I hope you will join in and share your chalk poetry. 
Click here for more information. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Internal Debate


I am finding myself questioning a few things this year because I am in a new grade level. As some of you know, I looped with my kindergarten students this year and am teaching first grade. For the first time! I feel a little bit like a first year teacher.

So, the debate begins. In kindergarten writing workshop we focus a lot on drawing and talking at the beginning of the year. I am finding my students have easily gotten back into the swing of this routine. It has been a great process to observe. I am also finding that they are spending a great deal of time drawing their picture instead of getting their words on the page.

I am such an advocate of planning and taking time to do this with drawing and talking. However, I am feeling this need to put a bit of a limit on the planning if it goes much past fifteen minutes. If I thought it was successful for everyone I might feel differently, but their results are not necessarily their best work.

Before Workshop Today

I am planning on setting a timer today for students to pause in the planning process after fifteen minutes to try and write their thoughts. I want to see if they are able to do this, therefore not necessarily needing all the drawing as plan time. The illustrations could be enhanced after the writing. I hope to update as the workshop begins and ends today!

After Workshop Today

Well, I am happier with the results of pushing the writing over the planning. I set the timer for fifteen minutes explaining this was their plan time. Several students used the entire fifteen minutes. I only required five minutes of writing, but most wrote for longer than five minutes. Many students were able to transition easily.  They just needed the push and the structure.  A sizeable handful chose to write  a small moment as well. This was exciting to me as we have been talking about small moments in writing and stories for a over a week now.
We continued our writing workshop for forty minutes and the students seemed to more easily pace themselves. I hope to only need the timer for a short time until they more independently regulate their planning vs. writing time. Overall, a successful day in workshop.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And It Blooms...

Happy sigh. That is my feeling after the first six days of school. When I looked back at my first days of school post from last year, I am relieved to be in the position I am today.

Here is that short and sweet set of words from so long ago:

September 4, 2012
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.

Today, on September 10, 2013 I am in a different place. All of the above still exist. I got everyone home. I conquered the day and I survived. I also am smiling...BIG! I have looped with my kindergarten students to first grade. A class that is not just perhaps the most challenging group of students I have taught, but most definitely is the most challenging group of students I have had in my short twelve year career. As I enter year thirteen I am inspired by my students and their ability to jump right back in to the workshop. I look around and it is as if we never left. I see and smell victory as I watch students use their playtime to write. I hear the silence of the writer in my classroom and I beam. I feel their love and their hearts beat as they walk through their ideas and land on their feet. 
We are landing, we are growing and we are loving it! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What a Week of Celebrations!

So many celebrations are unfolding this week. 

  • Ruth Ayres shared Chalk-A-Bration with her readers at Ruth Ayres Writes this week. 
  • I will get to be a guest blogger on Two Writing Teachers this week....I must be dreaming. 
  • My son and daughter had their open house tonight and are excited for the school year to begin next week. 
  • I re-united with several of my former students young and old tonight. 
  • My classroom is nearly ready for students to come in and learn.
  • In a few days I will officially be a first grade teacher.
  • Summer is transitioning into to school and though I hate to say goodbye, I get to say a lot of hellos. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Little Lights

I am lucky enough to loop with my students to first grade this year. I am truly excited to see each of them again. I know it will be a challenging year, much like last year, but the layers of foundations that have been laid will be such a benefit.
I've been thinking a lot about light lately. Inner light. How it shines and illuminates. How it breaks up the darkness and shows us the day. Even if you can't see light you can still feel it and experience it in different ways. I've been thinking about my light, my inner brightness and the brightness of others.
My little class is like a bundle of stars lighting up my day.
I hope you will slice today and chalk on the 31st. Chalk-a-bration is fast approaching and it is a chance to share your light with others!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Day of Learning

Anticipation, excitement, notebooks, pens, ideas...these among other things are what I was carrying around this morning as I got myself ready for the first day of the ALL WRITE!!! conference in Warsaw, Indiana. Could I be surrounded by nicer, smarter, more open educators? 
I love being in an environment where I meet new faces that reflect my same beliefs and philosophies when it comes to teaching a writer. 

Here is what I took away from today:

Start and end your day with a poem.
Dedicate the reading of a poem to a student, they will remember this gift.
There is a structure to "adding details." Three main points:
  • action details
  • thought/feeling details
  • dialogue as a detail
There are little bits in between, but saying, "add details" doesn't really help students add anything. 
When you confer there is a structure:
  • Research what your students know.
  • Decide what you they need next.
  • Teach it.
  • Link it, make a connection. 
Top Book Picks: Here are a few that stood out for me from the list of great mentor texts:
  • Little Bird, Zullo  
  • Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw, Zemach
  • Thank You, Miss Doover, Pulver
  • Zero Is the Leaves On the Tree, Franco
I wrote a poem with the simple prompt--Journey, which I will link here.

What a full and luscious day! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

As a Writer...

Writing has become so much more than words on a page. I see and appreciate so much more about the writing process since becoming a writer myself. It was always in me but suppressed by fear. This community is what brought me out of that fear and helped shape a more confident writer, free to express herself. I wasn't sure what my slice would be today, my sick daughter (sinus infection), the beautiful sunshine (perfect day to be outside), a poem (HERE) or my growing excitement for the ALL WRITE!!! conference later this could have been any of these.  Then Stacey's question begged to be answered.

What does being a writer myself do for me as a teacher:

  • grows my confidence
  • puts me through the frustration of not having anything to write about
  • gives me something to share
  • allows me to model planning, drafting and revision....yes even in kindergarten
  • becomes a bridge to drawing, another love
  • reminds me that writing is a process
  • connects me to other teachers who love teaching 
  • makes me vulnerable
  • makes me think and process more
  • helps me to reflect as a learner
  • reminds me that writing is fun and stirs my enthusiasm...therefore stirring my enthusiasm to teach writing.
I think that last one is what makes the most difference. Before I was a writer my enthusiasm for writing was lacking. I was at a loss. I didn't really know how to do it and how to create excitement. I saw writing as a "thing" to be done on the list of things. I now know better. I know it is so much more, so much more than just words on a page. 

If you didn't get a chance to see all the chalk-a-brators last week you should check them out. Remember, there is another Chalk-A-Bration on June 30th, July 31st, and August 31st! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Birthday Wish

It never ceases to amaze me how gratifying teaching can be. It is all by itself a satisfying and driving career for me. Then I check my email and get a message like this:

"You are probably one of the most dynamic people that I have met, in a long time. If anyone would have ever told me that my daughter's Kindergarten teacher would be life changing to my family, I would have said, "Doesn't everyone cry on their kids first day of school?" Thank you so much for the last 1.5 years. What you give back to these kids is once in a lifetime. Happy Birthday to one of the best people that I know!"  
Yeah, that makes it even better.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Kind of feeling like everyone might be feeling a little like this...or maybe at some point in your life you have. Such a busy time, busy thoughts, busy...busy. What more is there to say.

Two Writing Teachers Stacey and Ruth host the Slice of Life!

Slowing down my thinking
as words swirl in and pool
I drown in thoughts and feel their drag
as under currents pull

I will them to surrender
I wish them not to stay
I fight against erosion
but words don’t wash away

Their waves roll in like thunder
Though silent unto you
Like beating drums inside me
Vibration can’t undo

No fibers can divide them
No sun to dry them out
No better way to spite them
than better words to sprout

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Winter Memories

Elizabeth Steinglass is our Poetry Friday host on this early day in May. 

I attempted to write a poem using the starter, "wanting memories." It is from a song that my husband sings around the house and constantly has in his head (therefore it is in my head as well).
However, wanting memories soon became winter memories.
Winter memories 
replaced with blooms
puddles pinked
with sunset hues


As you can see my poem has been chalked in celebration of a very fun week with fellow chalkers. If you have a moment you can check out the other chalk poets who contributed to CHALK-A-BRATION 2013. If you have a hankering for dusty palms join in on May 31st!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Think in Poems

Two Writing Teachers
Go get some inspiration.

I almost always get ideas when I am in the car for slices, poems, school work, student next steps all those things that swirl in our heads. Maybe it is the scenary. I have a beautiful drive. Maybe it is me trying to block out the, "he's touching me...she's poking me" that is inevitable in my tiny Matrix.

My point. I realized today that when I am in writing mode I begin to think in poems. I was asked what I was thinking the other day and I wrote what I was was a poem. Unintentional. I am now writing poems without intention, hmmm, I think that might be the best kind.
People (not a lot mind you), in the blog world have said, "you should publish your poems." I can't say I have no desire to do this but my poems are for me and obviously the people I share them with here. However the idea of publishing is sort of exotic isn't it? It is like that thing that you can't touch because it might go extinct or get damaged if you mess with it. I wonder if I got published if I would feel my poems like I feel them when I just write them for me. I wonder.
Then as I pondered this thought, I wondered, what would the name of my book be? Immediate answer, I THINK IN POEMS. I love the title of my non-existent book. It is me.
Then I realized that every title has to have a poem that goes with it, well, at least I think it should.
So, I wrote two versions of my title poem.

I think in poems
They swirl
They spring
I think in poems
Words brought
Words bring
A sense of wonder
Will, I weep
I think in poems
In slumber deep

I think in poems
In slumber deep
I think in poems
They swirl
And bring
A sense of wonder
I weep
I think in poems
Words to keep.

I kind of think there is a better version somewhere out there that combines these two sets of words in a better way. But for now, this is what I got. Happy poetry month. 

We have had so much rain I haven't been able to chalk. Maybe this week...fingers crossed. However, I do hope you will chalk a poem with me on April 30th here and link it so others may enjoy your CHALK-A-BRATION too.
What, what did you say, you want to know what CHALK-A-BRATION here!