Story Walk #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

I have been working with the 4 year old kindergarten in my building this year. One class I visit weekly for a writing and reading lesson. These little ones are embracing their author and illustrator identities whole heartily. Today one of the first questions I got from students today is “Why is your hair black?”

I decided to dye my hair black from blonde again. It is October, it is almost Halloween, and it feels more like me right now.

In my town the library does a story walk in parks and other public outdoor spaces with a children’s book. Pages are printed and dotted along the path so kids can walk and read. I decided this was a perfect project to do with some classes in my school.

The 4K teaches with themes. Trees has been a great thread through the weeks. We have read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Caps for Sale. The students were learning about deciduous trees today!

When we did Chicka Chicka Boom Boom we talked about what else could be in the tree besides letters and coconuts. Lemons came up and then we called it a lemonade tree.

Today we talked about what silly things could go into trees and that is what they each wrote about.

Here are some the ideas:

Door tree

Macaroni tree

Pizza tree

Toy tree

The lost stuff tree

Shoe tree 

Sock tree

In order for the students to draw a tree they were advised to trace their hand which was a great way to have them do it.

The teachers wrote the sentence on the page and then they are going to be displayed on their lockers for everyone to read as a story walk.

It is exciting for everyone to see the great work these little ones are doing.

I cannot wait to see what they write next.

23 on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

23 Things I Did This Morning:

  1. Woke up at 4 a.m.
  2. Had coffee
  3. Wrote in my notebook
  4. Responded to writers in Slack
  5. Listened to the MFA Writers Podcast
  6. Showered
  7. Found my green pants
  8. Straightened my hair
  9. Drove to work
  10. Did door duty
  11. Made schedules for two reading coach visits next week including links to tools and documents needed
  12. Drank more coffee
  13. Answered email
  14. Updated my calendar
  15. Looked at reading reports
  16. Delivered a student book to a teacher
  17. Read The Very Lonely Firefly to a class
  18. Facilitated writing and illustrating for the class
  19. Picked up a 4 year old student who is reading
  20. Made log entries for the work I did yesterday
  21. Changed the schedule after hearing from one of the coaches
  22. Had a conversation with the EL teacher about reading assessment
  23. Went to a grade level team meeting

It is interesting to see what I do when I list it out…

Ten on Tuesday #SOL21

On most Tuesdays I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog . Teacher writers read and then comment on at least three others posts.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and I am thrilled.

Here are ten delights about AUTUMN:

  1. twinkle lights
  2. cozy blankets
  3. coffee, but sometimes hot cider
  4. crows
  5. candles
  6. thick stew with crusty bread
  7. thick Irish wool sweaters
  8. reading the book In November to my students
  9. layers of clothes
  10. the crisp breeze flowing through colorful leaves on my walks

I would love to hear what fall means to you in the comments.

#FMF City

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

City

Chicago is a city full of hidden gems that people are either trying to find or to keep secret. 

Chicago is a place I have run, visited, shopped, attended field trips and each time I discover something new. I have seen the Harry Potter exhibit at Science and Industry, Monet at the Art Institute, had dinner at fancy restaurants, been to Second City and the Chicago Symphony. 

I have ridden rented bikes on the streets, got lost and carried the bike up three flights of stairs from lower Wacker trying to get back to where I started. I felt like I would be wandering forever.

I ran the Chicago marathon during an anniversary year when I vowed I never would. I should have stuck to my guns in that case.  It was a terrible race for me. I had to walk so many miles just to get back to my car and my stuff. 

I have taken Ubers, driven my own car,  and walked the concerte. I have eaten at Ed Debavacs, which is no longer there in physical space; only memories. I ate at Beard Award winning chef restaurants with friends. I have shopped the magnificent mile and frequented the Hard Rock Cafe. 

In what feels like another life, I saw Wicked, Grease and several other productions. I have taken pictures with the Bean but never ice skated. I have eaten Giordannos pizza.

My first half marathon was in the city. It was the Rock and Roll Half and the pictures only show me having fun, not racing yet. I would take it more serious after that when I got the taste of the thrill.

There is more to explore with each visit. The last trip we ate outside, found a hidden Tiki bar and stayed at a hotel that used to be the Playboy Club.

There is more history to find there and sparks to inspire my writing.

#FMF Summer

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

Summer

There is an ease and magic to summer like no other season. Winter is my favorite with its cold and idea of being wrapped in blankets and the heat of the fire. The heat of summer blazes onto my skin as I walk through the trees and the fields logging the sounds of red winged blackbirds and horses as I pass. But summer is the time for iced drinks and watermelon too.

There is time in the summer for flow. The flow of writing and water. The flow of time. June went so quickly this year. It always does but now we are almost halfway through July and I am not ready. The two big trips happened already and there is a small excursion again next week. There are many things to still look forward to but I am trying to savor each moment and it feels like it is on fast forward.

The summer schedule is ideal for me. My writer’s agenda for the day starts with coffee and words in the morning, then a walk, good food plus inspiration. A simple existence which I crave. Scheduled meetings for talking to friends but minimal each week. Input of all types with reading, conversation, tv, and podcasts.

This summer is about work with my subconscious. The dreams and what I hide from myself. There are essays to write and notebooks to transcribe. There are stories to revise and workshops to plan. Morning pages have started again in preparation for The Artist’s Way group I am running in September. 

July is for hosting a 10 minute daily challenge. I inspire others to have a daily creative practice. It helps align me so I hope the same for others.

I am thankful for abundance and what is next. But mostly, I am savoring this moment.

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.

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

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.