Look How High I’m Going! #SOL21

Swings and Sun – The Perfect Partnership on a Monday afternoon.

“The swing is tickling me!” – one of my kindergarten students exclaimed as she pumped her feet back and forth in the afternoon sun yesterday.

At first I thought she had said, “The sun is tickling me.”

The joy of being together – even masked – on the equipment is hard to describe.

After pushing another student for a few back and forths I realized what she meant.

I asked her,” Does the swinging make your tummy feel funny?”

YES! The recognition of someone understanding what she meant was priceless. She doesn’t know that is the same feeling as being on a rollercoaster….yet.

One of my favorite parts of kindergarten is how they chose their words to describe something. It is one of the many areas we can learn from them!

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Two opportunities are coming soon:

Fabulous Flash Fiction class – sign up for info here: https://mailchi.mp/d376163c35bc/fabulous-flash-fiction

What Do I Do With All These Freewrites?? course – sign up for info here: https://mailchi.mp/866f580e114c/freewrites

Poetry Prompt Day 2

It’s Poetry Month! Day 2!

This is the poem I used as inspiration for my own poetry writing today.

“On Turning Ten” by Billy Collins

This is a poem I have used with countless students and adults over the years. There is the idea of imagination that I am always drawn to. What did you pretend to be when you were little? I always pretended to be a mermaid or a fairy. This can be a beginning for you.

What lines sparkle for you?

I wrote my own version in my notebook today.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.

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I will tell you I am having issues with the transition back to a world of extroverts. People seem to be wanted to hit a delete or rewind button and have not reflected or learned from the last year. I will admit that the lock down was comfortable to me and it is closer to my ideal life than I knew before the shelter in place orders. I struggle now that the world is going back to “normal”.

My poetry class started last evening and it is an interesting group of people! The teacher is using The Daily Poet a book I have used often and was actually looking for on my kindle earlier yesterday.

I am eternally thankful that I have had the opportunity to take so many classes and workshops over the last year+ because so much is offered on Zoom now.

Do you have beloved poetry resources to share? I would enjoy seeing them in the comments!

Poetry Prompt Day 1

Welcome to Poetry Month!

This is the poem I used as inspiration for my own poetry writing today.

This poem made me think of Hermit Crab structures I use for flash fiction. This poem reads as a math problem and made me think of trains. I also put a line about trains in my own version in my notebook.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.

Who is Your Favorite Poet?

Welcome to Poetry Month!

I was introduced to Naomi Shihab Nye many years ago at a teacher writer conference. Laura Robb did a presentation I went to and she used the poem,”Secrets”. I still use this poem when I teach and read it often.

When I returned from the conference I found more poetry written by Nye. Here is one I use every year with students for annotation and quickwrites.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48597/burning-the-old-year

I am drawn to all the words that remind me of fire in this poem. I have written in response to this poem more times than I remember and something new always comes out of it.

I hope you enjoy reading this poem and/or writing in response to it.

The End? #sol21 #day31

Today is the last day of March

For those of you who read my post yesterday about truth and lies I must confess that I cannot juggle! The other 2 statements are absolutely true!

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have been doing this challenge for so many years I lost count. I do remember being in Hawaii doing the challenge in the hotel’s computer lab when my son was 4. He turned 18 at the beginning of the month. Maybe I was there from the beginning?

I have posted every day. I have read other posts and commented every day.

I know that there will be people that will cease to write until next March. I will miss them. Some will continue to write and share on Tuesdays moving forward.

But I will miss this bustle of community and knowing there were blogs I looked forward to reading every day. I have come to rely on this daily interaction.

The inspiration from others writing will continue to show up in my posts over the next couple of weeks. I have a list of structures for future writing.

For me, April is about poetry. I am not sure if I will post daily or not. It depends. I will write every day of course, but am not sure what I will proclaim publicly. I have considered sharing daily poetry prompts.

May will be about the Storyaday challenge. I plan to write about my process and how I approach the prompts – or not. If I veer from the prompt given I will talk about what I did write about!

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Sometimes, I look forward to the month ending and not HAVING to post daily. This year I do not have that feeling.

Thank you for reading and for commenting. Thank you for sharing my challenge and my post structures and making them your own. It has been a great month.

What will you miss?

Monday:Poetry On My Mind #sol21 #day29

Every March I write a blog post a day and share on the Two Writing Teachers blog. Teacher writers from around the world share and comment on each other’s writing. Throughout the year, we do this on Tuesdays!

What did you write in your notebook this morning?

April is poetry month and it has been on my mind.

Every day I receive many poems to my inbox. I read some of them quickly and some I savor.

Today, the poem I read was How Many Lives Have We Lived in Paris? by Cyrus Cassells

As I read the poem I thought about identities lived throughout your life.

There is a structure with the poem where the phrase “The life of…”, then a verb with -ing, and then there is description of the life. The end of the poem is mostly one liners with asterisks in between.

I used this poem as a mentor text and guide and wrote my own in my notebook.

I started with “The life of..” and then did a freewrite about whatever came up. I was transported back to college and the first residence hall room I lived in. The new to me clean space that was a sickening beige color. It was the perfect palette to create this new life and identity for myself.

One of the lines I was drawn to is, “On a raucous kids’ carousel:/Its red gold undignified Sundays-“

I noticed lots of objects in the poem as well and tried to think of the objects connected to the identities I was writing about.

I then started to make a list of all the identities I have had over my life.

It is still a draft of course but a practice I love to engage in often.

I do not always start my mornings with reading first. I often start with the dream recollection I have. Today I did both.

What did you write in your notebook today?

I would love for you to share a snippet in the comments!

Wednesday:What Am I Reading? #sol21 #day24

Wednesdays are all about reading!

One of the ways I became a better writer was to use Ray Bradbury’s advice of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay every day for 1,000 nights.

My general things you can do with the text:

  1. Just read.
  2. Write down lines that you are drawn to.
  3. Write out a whole section word for word to get the feel of the author’s words.
  4. Write and start with the sentence stem: This piece reminds me of…
  5. Read the piece out loud to hear the author’s voice and rhythm.

Poem: Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye

Laura Robb introduced me to Nye at a Writers At Work conference in Sun Valley, Idaho years and years ago. Ever since that day I have sought out and read her poetry. I have read it for pleasure and for teaching.

Short Story: The Stone by Louise Erdrich

This story has an object at its center which is a structure and craft move I love. This story has me wondering which is a good characteristic for my reading!

Essay: On Keeping a Notebok by Joan Dideon

How do you feel about vanishing things?

The Joan Dideon is a classic essay for writers. Nina LaCour talks about it on her podcast Keeping a Notebook which is where she got the name.  Most writers keep some sort of notebook. It is a longer essay, but worth the read.

What are your favorite recommendations?

What are your thoughts about these choices? I would love to know!

Monday:Energy Challenge #sol21 #day22

What Fueled Me:

  • Coffee
  • 10min10day challenge responses and community (sign up here)
  • Idea of edible spoons
  • Talking to my kids
  • New ideas
  • Reading a revision of a friend’s flash piece
  • Voxer
  • Talking with my friend
  • Giving a gift
  • Knowing PUSH group is tomorrow
  • Time alone
  • Writing

What drained me:

  • Worries
  • Busy weekend
  • Rain
  • Waiting

What I learned:

Things that are worrying me I have put on the calendar to take care of so it lessens the emotion surrounding it. Other things just have to work themselves out. The worry doesn’t help it along I know but the realization doesn’t make it go away either.

Having more time with my friend does make the day better.

I would love to hear what some of your answers are for today if you are willing to share in the comments.

Thursday:Questions #sol21 #day18

Thursdays are all about questions!

If you know me, then you usually only know one or two aspects of my life. I have writing groups, teacher groups, running groups, and a couple others. Rarely do the bubbles knock into each other.

Sometimes I forget when I reference a situation that is not “native” to that group.

This week while talking with some writer friends they said they kept forgetting that it was St Patrick’s Day this week. I told them it was Wednesday but I wouldn’t be doing anything because it is my school meeting day.

“How do you remember that it was this week?” they asked.

I laughed.

Kindergarten is its own world sometimes. I explained to my friend that in kindergarten we celebrate EVERYTHING.

Some celebrations are large with parties and things I have to buy!

Some are small celebrations in the classroom with cheers and songs and air high fives.

Every major holiday (and we have some sort of teacher apparel to go with it) is noted and celebrated. There is writing and reading, songs, and ,sometimes if we can get away with it, a craft of some sort.

We celebrate 100 days of school which requires items to be brought in, 100 crowns to be constructed, and centers that deal with all things 100 to be set up. We probably count to 100 more than 100 times that day.

We cheer for lost teeth and finally being able to count to 100 by 10’s.

We celebrate a wonderful sentence written and an amazing group story that we just wrote.

We celebrate our favorite books and their authors. We send them tweets and cheer when they tweet back.

Birthdays are special. If you don’t have a birthday during the school year then you get an UN-Birthday.

Why do I do UN-birthdays? I had a first grade teacher that assigned me an UN-birthday like in Alice in Wonderland because I had a June birthday. It was the only year my entire career of school that I was able to bring treats for the class. It made a huge difference to me. I never forgot it.

How can you not celebrate for all these things when there is a room full of 5 and 6 year olds who bring you magic every day?

What will you celebrate today?

I invite you to #10minfor10days already in progress!

Sign up here!

Monday:Energy Challenge #sol21 #day15

What Fueled Me:

  • coffee
  • Comfy clothes today
  • dreaming and remembering it
  • 10min10day challenge started (sign up here)
  • Snow falling
  • Learning facts about bees
  • Sharing writing
  • Many people shared with me what they wrote with the first prompt! This was thrilling for me!
  • Erica Johnson shared with me!
  • Here are some others:

What drained me:

  • Snow
  • Time change hangover
  • Busy weekend
  • not writing enough this morning before work
  • Being called “teacher” after 91 days…
  • Walking and slipping several times and hurting myself temporarily
  • All the traffic

What I learned:

There is a lot of great things that happened today that I need to focus on rather than what drained me. I need to appreciate those things for the simple fact that the highs wouldn’t be so high if it weren’t for the lows!

I would love to hear what some of your answers are for today if you are willing to share in the comments.