One Day MAYbe… #SOL21

Every Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers Blog teacher writers share a blog post and a slice of their life. We comment on at least 3 others after we post our own. I do this every Llama Tuesday and the entire month of March.

Yesterday was the first day of May with my students. For more years than I can count my tradition is to give the sentence stem: One day MAYbe…as the writing assignment. It does not matter what grade level I am working with that year. It is universal and always applies.

My students wrote with this prompt and we discussed if they would travel somewhere or what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had answers like becoming a doctor, a princess, a witch , becoming a Pinocchio carver, and going to DisneyWorld.

Teaching online and in person at the same time makes me feel inadequate some days. There is magic that is lost between the two. I am trying to bridge it. My students come to school til the middle of next month so I will keep trying.

How would you finish the sentence stem?

One day MAYbe…

I would love to hear in the comments.

Poem in Your Pocket Day #SOL21

Every Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers Blog teacher writers share a blog post and a slice of their life. We comment on at least 3 others after we post our own. I do this every Llama Tuesday and the entire month of March.

Poem in your Pocket day is Thursday this year. It is always a day I have handed out little poems. Many years ago [many schools ago] I handed out my favorite poem, “Secrets” by Naomi Shihab Nye. A friend sent me a picture weeks ago in response to my newsletter showing me she still had it.

With all the hustle this month I almost forgot. I have been writing and reading poems all month. I have been focused on poems because of all the posts and shared poetry but honestly poetry is a part of my writing practice. I learned a long time ago poems were a way to bring students to text who were reluctant. I think it is the white space!

Poem in Your Pocket day was initiated in New York.

I haven’t decided which poem to carry around this year. I have come to know so many amazing poets this year. Ada Limon, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jim Harrision, Ross Gay, Kaveh Akbar. Some were new to me and some I delved in deeper to their words and images.

I think I might use Ross Gay’s Thank You Poem. Or Ada Limon’s poem about planting and harvesting carrots, “I Remember the Carrots.”

I love that some poems are small, like an appetizer. The anticipation before a larger reading session. Something you can read and reflect on in the cracks of your day. Something to reread and find something new in each time.

I Remember the Carrots:

Will you join me in sharing a poem this year? Or carry one in your pocket?

I would love to know which one.

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?

Two Truths and A Lie Tuesday #sol21 #day30

Two Truths and A Lie

Can you tell which is which?

  1. I can juggle and used to entertain at children’s parties.
  2. I have run races from 5K to 50 miles and won an ultramarathon.
  3. I hate left turns and will avoid them when I can.

Do you have a guess?

How is it Day 30 of the month and this challenge already? The months are once again whizzing by for me. I sorta enjoyed the slow living of the lockdown/pandemic year. Every day for the month of March I post on my blog and then comment on three other blogs at twowritingteachers.org.

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!

Thursday:Questions #sol21 #day26

Do you have a desk?

Thursdays are all about questions and this is mine to you today.

Throughout my teaching career the subject of teacher desks has always been a controversy. Some people are in the camp that they should not be in the classroom at all and others are ok with it.

I have wavered back and forth through the years.

Do you have a desk you work at in your home space?

I do not typically sit at the desk at school and work with students. Usually it is at a table or within the student’s space.

In my classroom now, I have no desk and I will admit…it is driving me crazy.

I have come to learn that I like having the deep drawer to my left that has the files for each of my students. I can take assessments or writing or notes and plop them right in there. Safely organized for when I need the information.

The surface is honestly the grounding place for all important papers [which the amount of always seems to grow even still in the era of teaching under COVID].

I have requested a desk so I hope it comes soon…I need drawers to fill.

How do you feel about desks? Do you have one at home?

Which camp are you in? Pro or Con Desk? I would love to know 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!

Ten on Tuesday #sol21 #day23

A Ten on Tuesday List

This is a prompt I have given often to students in the past.

It lends itself to ideas for more writing later. You can give a topic or leave it open.

Here is my list for today:

10 Things I Have To Get From The Store

  1. Ice
  2. Blueberries
  3. Lettuce
  4. Mushrooms
  5. Garlic Herb Tenderloin
  6. tortilla shells
  7. DayQuill
  8. Sparkle wine in a can
  9. Eggs
  10. Trident

What list of ten would you make today?

Every day for the month of March I post on my blog and then comment on three other blogs at twowritingteachers.org.

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.

Currently.. #sol21 #day20

Every day in the month of March I post to my blog and then share on The Two Writing Teachers. I comment on at least 3 other posts.

I’m currently…

Listening to the fan.

Loving my coffee and the fact I am not pressed for time today.

Drinking water and coffee.

Thinking about plans for the spring and summer.

Wanting to not leave the house.

Procrastinating about cars and taxes.

Needing some rest and some way to recover. I am so tired.

Reading poems and other blog posts.

Worrying about money and coordination of events. Also trying to anticipate all the needs of my in person cohort students that are starting next month.

Wondering how I can get my brain to let go and not overanalyze.

Anticipating the beautiful weather.

What are you currently up to?