31 Days of FMF Challenge

My FOREST timer was set today for 5 minutes and I wrote: INSPIRE





This is a word that comes up for me a lot. I know to pay attention.

I have been called an Accidental Inspire-er – I am not really sure that is a word really – or even a thing.

I am not inspired by sound today. It overwhelms my ears and my brain.

Today is Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Day – I hope to inspire at least one teacher with my post.

I was inspired by feedback from one of my critique group partners today.

I want to inspire students to be creative. I hope to do that through Genius Hour. I want to inspire kids to read and write. I do that through Writer Workshop.

To inspire

I have to start a fire

Let it burn

Hot and Bright

Teach tools so there is management and the fire doesn’t get out of control.

Don’t let the marshmallows burn!



Jason Reynolds

Do you know author Jason Reynolds? Not only is he an amazing writer, but an inspirational speaker as well. If you have not listened to his commencement speech for Lesley University,  take 10 minutes out of your day and click play.


If you only have a couple minutes start at 7:20. This timestamp is where Jason talks about how some of us cannot fly and change the world because our wings have been clipped. He talks about how instead of flying high above everyone beyond the common understanding, to look around and Share Your Feathers so everyone is lifted up to a new consciousness.




I am grateful to the teachers I was surrounded with at the end of July who were totally absorbed in this speech. Not only did we listen and watch the video but we had the text in front of us and used it as a reference to write a response in various forms. There are parts of this speech that are heartbreaking and that will stay with you.

For my writing that day, I wrote a poem that I was able to share with a partner as a read aloud. I am still revising it. I wrote it to be so specific for that day’s activities so it wouldn’t make much sense to anyone that didn’t attend the meeting right now!

Who can you share your feathers with today?


Rustic is Who I am Today

A poem:

snow nature sky night
Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

Rustic is who I am today

Follow Dry Fork Road to the healing water that runs cold and icy

The cabin next to little Laughery creek

Deep in the woods

You will find me comfortable in hunter green and khaki

Heavy boots

And a reflective smile

In front of a lion of a fire

Comfort drifts

From the kitchen:  bread and cinnamon

Crackling like breaking sticks echo against a brick containment

What would I talk about to an old me sitting next to the lake cottage?


Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

sols_6I am continuing the logging of some of my funny stories from my teaching career and am sharing one for Two Writing Teachers Blog Slice of Life.

Last month I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations is FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. Every teacher has funny stories of situations with students and I have decided to write some of them down.

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Poem in Your Pocket…Literally

I love poetry. I love writing poetry. I love teaching poetry. I love reading and displaying the poetry my students write.

When I was a reading specialist I introduced Poem In Your Pocket Day. I use poems with reluctant readers because they are fun and because they seem to be less intimidating to students. We use them for reading and writing.

I was lucky in this particular job at the elementary level to push in to do full classroom writing lessons but also have small groups.

My classroom was right by the front doors and the office, but also right across from the bathrooms. I learned early that it was important to have reading materials outside my door and in the hallway so students could read while they were waiting in line for their turn to use the facilities.

I was standing in the hallway having a brief conference with a 5th grade teacher and her students were lined up. I noticed one boy kept patting his jeans pocket. It was that movement we have when we have something important in our pocket that we do not want to lose. We keep checking to make sure it hasn’t magically disappeared without our knowledge.

I asked him what he had in his pocket. I was intrigued. He looked at me shyly and said, “My poem”.

This was a student that was a little on the harder side. He was very guarded and would be likely to have a weapon in his pocket rather than a poem.

The look of surprise was evident in my face and he continued.

“You talked to us about poem in your pocket day so I thought I should put my own poem I am working on should be in my pocket then I always have it with me.”

I smiled at him with tears in my eyes. “I love it,” I told him.

He smiled and patted his pocket again.

I saw him several times during the day and every time he would smile at me like we shared a secret and pat his pocket to let me know his poem was still there. He extended poem in your pocket day for at least a week.


The Black Notebook

20180707_103955.jpgI have a black leather notebook that I have gathered many notes, recipes, and starts of stories. There are lists and things that make me smile.

Take a peek:

Summer assignment based on an Italian teacher’s writing:

  1. Take a morning walk and think about the things you love most
  2. Use new words you learned
  3. Read as much as you can
  4. Avoid negative and empty people and things
  5. Feel how you feel
  6. Dance
  7. Watch the sunrise
  8. Play sports
  9. Find enchanting people and tell them
  10. Review notes from classes or learning or books
  11. Be happy as sunshine
  12. Don’t swear
  13. Watch films with powerful dialogue
  14. Dream about how your life could and should be
  15. Be good

I agree with almost everything on this list except #12. #15 is subject to interpretation! haha

These phrases are written down, but I don’t recall why.

Approach the year reading secretly

First grade is dead to us

Llama famous

I give myself permission – to what?


Chores I Actually Enjoy (inspired by Lydia Davis’s poem)



Cleaning out



The end.



The avocado salsa recipe is divine!!!

Poem In Your Pocket Day

original-1786514-1.jpgToday is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

I am carrying around Mary Oliver’s Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

By Mary Oliver
(Why I Wake Early, 2004)


What are you carrying around today?

Poetry Friday


by: Tammy L. Breitweiser

Pixies swirl and twitter

Conjuring memories

I do not want to remember

Pixies disguised as trolls

Is what they really are.


Do not shatter my dreams

I scream

To no one

And everyone

I have ever known

At the same time


They are precious

And mine

Let me hide behind

What is really true

Do not fracture my illusion


I am teased by the

Pixies empty promises

Do not torment me

Leave me be

To my own fantasy

In the trees


One ripple on the lake

Will remind me

Do not touch the water…

DO NOT touch the water.


A Poem for Poetry Month: 12 Lines

12 lines


Written on 12-12-12


For every happy moment there is a tear

For every soup make with love there is bread broken

For every trail run there is a breath for each footfall

For every poem there is a heartfelt emotion

For every dark moment there is light

For every rock there is a story and a plan

For every fear there is hope

For every uncertainty there is a glimmer of fear

For every question there is an answer

For every laugh there is a sigh and belly ache

For every angel there is a devil