If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Writer Emerges - SOLS Day 30

Few events in the classroom top the moment when a student finds his or her niche in writing. It might be a place of comfort, a favorite genre, a voice of confidence, or any number of triggers that give a student the nudge to see himself as a writer. Today the seeds were bursting for K. typically a “reluctant” writer who has been known to stare at a blank page for all of Writing Workshop. Even with an idea, K. had a pattern of brief descriptions followed by a claim that he had nothing else to write.

For the first couple weeks his SOLS fit the above pattern. Then little by little the stories started to creep out like a toe testing the cold pool water. Now I would say K. has reached a significant turning point with a distinct style emerging in his writing. He has the voice of a storyteller and is standing tall with pride.

We are turning to color for inspiration this week. Click here to read about 100 colors (paint chips) sparking 100 stories. Sometimes it’s the name of the color that gets the writing wheels turning. Today’s color, tropical lagoon, a beachy blue sent a story sailing for K. It was a snippet that packed a punch with sensory details, a line or two of dialogue and a Jamaican accent when K. read his piece aloud. You know “mon” it was an amazing moment listening and watching K. beam with pride as he shared his story today. K. learned that he really is a writer with something to say! And if you are wondering he did use “mon” in his story.

Blessed Birthday

Another Birthday Slice

It’s late again so I will leave just a small slice tonight, but if it was a slice of cake it would be a slice filled with frosting. I head to bed tonight with a smile on my face. Today I celebrated another birthday enriched by the wishes and kind thoughts from friends and family. It seems like yesterday that I was writing a birthday slice. The speed of life accelerated when our children were born and the years continue to fly by even now that they are grown. But oh how blessed we are that they are here in town to brighten our days and create memories together. Our celebrations have changed. Now we choose a favorite restaurant and gather there for dinner. When little ones are once again part of the group we may go back to gathering around the kitchen table. Going out to dinner and being with my family are surely among my favorite things, but truly it is who we have surrounding us with love that matters, not where we are. Cheers to birthdays and loved ones to share them with.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Looking Forward to April - SOLS Day 28

“Poetry is not words that rhyme. It’s words that feel true.” ~ Georgia Heard

I am ready for a new month, a new season, and some POETRY. We have continued to pop a poem in here and there. We have stopped by to visit the Poem Farm where Amy LV is approaching the finish line in her Poetry Year. I hope she hears us cheering for her accomplishments and also fearing that we will miss her gifts of poems and writing advice.

My love affair with poetry started many years ago during a Children’s Literature course in college. My passion for books and poems grew even more when our children were born. Years later when I started teaching, literature and poetry became my lifelines, my “bag of tricks”. However, I quickly learned that poetry was not something to save for a unit or a month in the spring. The value of poetry and the power of poetry needed a special place in the classroom culture. And heck I needed to do something with the poems I was collecting like they were rare, vintage baseball cards. I was constantly discovering new poets or finding out that some of my favorite authors also wrote fabulous poetry. This year, I tucked a poem bookmark in the envelope with my August “back to school” letter. Students had a head start on their 4th grade collection and already knew their teacher was a poetry lover. There are still a few doubters, but by this point in the year most of my students have been bitten by the poetry bug.

As we march towards April I am looking forward to the month that celebrates all things poetry. Even though I believe that poetry deserves our respect and attention every month it’s fun to put poems in the limelight for a month. This year I am hoping to involve more classes in Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 14, 2011. I am especially excited to celebrate this event just two days before our spring break. How cool would it be to have the momentum for all things poetry get tucked into backpacks and suitcases? A Poetry Vacation hmmmI will have to think about this a bit.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reflecting on My One Little Word


My one little word for 2011

Today I am ponderingam I reaching far enough? Am I reaching out to each and every student? Am I helping students to reach for the stars? How can I reach out to the students who need more? More what? Time? Challenge? Encouragement? Attention?

According to Dictionary.com there are numerous definitions for reach including:

· To succeed in making contact with, influencing, impressing, interesting, convincing, etc.
· To stretch or hold out; extend
· To establish communication with
· To get to

This week I will be looking for new ways to stretch, to communicate, to influence, to interest, TO REACH those who are near and dear to me.

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” A.A. Milne

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Story Tellers ~ SOLS Day 26

Doing some spring cleaning and trying to get a bit more organized...read an article this morning about discarding old books that got me thinking about what I might be ready to part with. Only thinking...I don't really believe it is going to happen. I am so attached to our books. Many of the treasured picture books are tucked away, waiting for grandchildren and a few are still standing proudly on our family room bookshelf pictured above.

You know the saying;

a picture is worth a thousand words.

Or the Rod Stewart Song,

Every Picture Tells a Story.

Think of all things

in our lives

that could tell a story.

Pictures, yes,

Many other belongings too

Have tales to tell.

A desktop,

a bulletin board,

a writer’s notebook,

a junk drawer,

an iPod playlist,

bookmarked websites,



a favorite sweater,

a backpack,

a purse,

or a bookshelf.