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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slicing a Story

I bet you thought this would be hard. And, you were probably right. The past few days have been harder for me, but there is always something. You see it somewhere. You find a moment of your day. Your whole life is a story full of chapters worth telling. I hope through this experience you discovered a little more about yourself and I hope you found that you are a writer. That you are worth sharing. That you are enough to have a story. Don't forget it. Don't stop. Keep telling.

I notice and look
My surroundings are clear
Moments and parts
Seed stories appear
Out of the blue
Some sad some of glee
Slices of life
Are waiting for me

Thank you to Ruth and Stacey for continuing to foster a community that has helped me grow as a educator, person and writer. Hope to see you here again on Tuesday. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful day here in Michigan. Celebrated birthdays and Easter with some family yesterday and finishing up with more family today. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoys their families, cherishing them and the time they have together.
Enjoy the sunshine if you have any and if not close your eyes and picture it...soon it will be in your backyard too.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Notebook Poetry Slice

I went on a hunt in my notebook today. I found this entry from January. I decided to take it, change the tone a bit but use a few of the lines.

flowing white
princess bright
from dark to light
our hearts ignite

show me the way
to the vaporizing fires
and may love burn on
in our lives forever

The host on this lovely Poetry Friday in March is Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.

And...Why not slice up a poem for today's Slice of Life Challenge with Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lost Dog

We lost our dog in the woods tonight. He ran right past me as I opened the door to go see my husband. It was cold. Dark. Silent. I thought, he'll come right back. My husband said, "Did you put on his leash?" Well...wasn't really planning on him coming with me, so, NO! I went and got the leash. He took it and said, "I'll find him." And he disappeared into the dark too. I kept hearing him calling. I stood in the middle of our backyard a bit helpless, waiting. Listening to all the crackling and wondering, can he see anything? Should I go back in the house? Will he come to the front door somehow getting around the other houses? I stood, motionless. Then it got quiet. No more calling out. Relief.

Lost in the night
you were
Alone in the dark
you were
Crackling your feet
you were
A ghost in the trees
you were
you were
Coming back to me, you were.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Outside My Window

On my way home tonight I couldn't help but notice the beautiful brilliant blue sky, cotton candy-like clouds and the glistening sun. It was a breathtaking site that I had to capture. Here are the pictures I took as soon as I could get out of the car.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Down a Notch

Today was one of those days when everything seemed turned down a notch. I appreciated it. Everyone's mood was a bit dialed down. My students seemed more mellow. I was more mellow as a result. Less stress seemed to fill the air today and there was a little mores space for smiles; even though there were some snow flakes today--totally uncalled for!
Two days to go and then we can all have ten days of less. I am looking forward to having less responsibility, less to think about, and more time to focus on my family. I hope you have a little less in your future too.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Poetry Well

My sister once used the phrase, "Your writing well is full." I liked that. I find it to be true. Sometimes my well is full, full of stories, rhymes, words, rhythms, meaning, feeling. I have several notebooks, no particular theme to any of them, mostly they are dedicated to places (bedroom, purse, school bag, car) so I always have a place to put the words. I also write frequently on the computer in a file kept just for my words. Today I really wanted to write a poem, but it never really works that way for me. Poems just come. I might get an idea when they are coming but they are born when they want and I don't seem to have any control over them until they are on the page. I have several unfinished poems in notebooks and on the computer. I say unfinished because they will probably never amount to something that feels right. However, they have good parts, some good words. I keep them. I decided since I wanted a fresh poem so bad maybe I just needed some new inspiration. Needed to see some of my favorite words in a different arrangement. So I made a wordle of several random lines and poems that haven't gone anywhere and hit the "create" button. Here is my wordle:
Then I had some fun. I have to say that some of my favorite word partners are LANDING GRAY, GROUND TODAY, JUST WIND SOMETHING and SAND SONG. There are others, but those all really jumped out. Funny thing though, I couldn't work with them, but this is what I got tonight. You might try making a wordle for inspiration too!

Burning Waters

We watch
burning waters
descending a breeze
from storm lashed waves
that wallow and wheeze
as mist kissed the air
and fog knew and grew
blues and grays landing
on me and you. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Creating a Character

Last summer I participated in Teachers Write, a summer writing camp here in the blogosphere. I thought I would try out one of the assignments as a slice! Here it goes.

Creative multi-media approach to creating a character!
Find a Face
Find Their Song
Describe Characteristics

 Photo Credit: Sheldon Levy, March 2010

Name: Kelen Aubrey (People call him K)

From: Northern Michigan

Physical/Internal Characteristics: Weathered and wise he has grey thinning hair which he always covers with a cap. His light grey eyes reflect a reality that is different than the one he lives in his mind. The lines that surround his mouth are the roads that lead to early day memories of laughter and delight. An artist hiding as a retired steelworker, he used to cut metal for building frames, saving the scraps for his own sculpting. He knows pain and has known it in all of its forms. Though he hides it within him there is a gallery of his pain in his workshop. He finds himself humming along to a Johnny Cash song now and then but never near the ears of another. All he knows of himself is what he has created. He is alone.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Something About Nothing...Or Not

Today was one of those productive busy days. I have a bunch of things I could write about but don't feel like I have anything to write about. So here I go, the post where you write about having nothing to write about...but we all know there is always something.
My kids and I worked on two experiments for the upcoming science fair. It was fun. We got to blow bubbles with all different shaped bubble wands for my daughter and make a tornado out of bottles for my son. Delightful. Displays are almost finished, even more delightful.
We went to a pretty trail by the river in town and walked to one of the lookout points. There was ice on the river in clear large triangular shapes, bobbing and sliding around on each other. It was so quiet, peaceful, cold and beautiful. I watched my kids delight in the very gray skied day made brighter by their smiles.
We went to the playground and they played tag with two other children. The only other children who had a parent silly enough to take their kids to a park on a cold day. It was fun watching our breath while we swung, ran and spun.
We went and got ice cream at the store because I believe in rebelling against the cold weather. "It is warm and I want ice cream," said my head. So we did.
We went home. Ate our ice cream. The sun came out. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Want...

I want to cut the ribbons of doubt that tangle my thoughts and web my happiness.
I want to tear the teams of thread that block my will to be free.
I want to gleam in the river of light and swim in its ocean.
I want to pluck the petals of softness that would dampen this emotion.
I want to love with the fullest of love and feel with the fullest of feeling.
I want to step past the erosion that explodes from my every opening.
I want to lock those doors and wait for doubts defeat.
I want to let love fill and strengthen me. 

Join Greg at Gottabook, the host on this lovely Poetry Friday in March.

And...Why not slice up a poem for today's Slice of Life Challenge with Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Social Story Tools

Here is the social story I hoped to share. I wrote this to help my student Mikaluh with the structure of our workshop time. It really seemed to help and she has often enjoyed reading the story to the class.

Mikaluh's Social Story

There are so many transitions to writing. So many materials. It is fun but can be so complex. What we found with Mikaluh was that transitioning or pressing pause on a piece of writing was very difficult. Therefore we started using the phrase, "If I don't finish today, that's okay!" The whole class began to join in and it has been a sweet moment of workshop time. It really feels okay and frankly it has made that transition easier for a lot of folks. I enjoy when something that was a necessity for one ends up being pretty great for someone else too. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mikaluh's Visuals

Yesterday I introduced you to Mikaluh. Several weeks ago we started to use more visuals for her to support her during workshop time. This time of day had been very difficult for her, as it is for many people who have autism. Learning to write is a tricky process anyway. A messy process. If you are someone that likes things to fall into place in a certain way, writing does not necessarily fit real well into that plan.

Here is a series of pictures we use with the whole class to help students transition through the writing workshop process each day.

In the video I demonstrate how Mikaluh moves the green magnet. As she finishes one task for the day she moves the magnet. She also has a personal copy in book form with text that tells a story about writing workshop. I will try to share that before the month is over. It has been so wonderful to watch her make the progress she is making in this area of her day. She enjoys workshop time and is feeling success! 

P.S. I made this video before school and you can hear my daughter in the background listening to a story on the computer. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thumbs Up, Elbow Bump

Meet Mikaluh

Mikaluh has a gorgeous smile, beautiful blue eyes, an artistic side, a sing and dance side and she also happens to have autism. She has a lot to offer the world but tapping into those gifts is sometimes challenging. As you can imagine it is difficult for her to engage with others. This has been our goal for her from the beginning. Early on in the year we tried so many things to break into her world. Music was definitely a way. We sang together and for a moment here and there it felt like we connected. Then one day she said to me, "thumbs up, elbow bump," and gave me literally a thumbs up and with the same arm put out her elbow for me to bump with my elbow. You can imagine my disbelief and excitement.This became a way to connect. Students began saying it to her and she would elbow bump a friend. The chills and joy this brought helped create a tight community of children who have shown so much tolerance and love it is unimaginable unless you experience it.
She is a wonder. I may never fully know what she is thinking or feeling but I do know that she brings her own brightness to every encounter. I see that she is so much more than she may be able to communicate. I have high hopes for her and what she can accomplish.