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.

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!

Share Four Somethings #SOL21 #day27

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting the March Blog challenge. Teacher writers post every day for the month and comment on at least 3 other posts.

Today’s structure comes from awkwardly graceful. Brooke references Heather’s blog which is where she got the idea. Thank you to both of you!

Here is Heather’s explanation of the format:

What is Share Four Somethings? It is a monthly link-up where you literally share four somethings. The first is Something Loved. What did you love this month?

The second category is Something Read or Said. You get to choose. Was it a book (or five),an e-book or a podcast you listened to? Please share!

The third category, and maybe my favorite, is Something Treasured. What happened in the past month that you are holding close and treasuring?

The last category is Something Ahead. This is where you share what is on the horizon. What do you have coming up, and is there any way we can support you, encourage you or pray for you? So please join us in sharing Something Loved, Something Read (or Said), Something Treasured, and Something Ahead.

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Something I Loved

This month, I loved many things. I loved that I started running again. I loved that I have posted every day all month on this blog. I have loved my PUSH meetings I host every Tuesday and the life giving conversation that comes out of that. I loved that I made some breakthroughs in my writing and am moving forward in a clear direction that makes sense for me. I loved how fulfilling and successful my #10min10days challenge ended up being!

Something I Read

I have read a lot of blogs this month and have been loving it! I have learned so much, and also learned some new structures. Here is a link to a post where I recommend a few of the blogs I have been reading this month. I am reading Lineage of Trees from Jane Brunette and Inner Work by Robert Johnson. I am waiting for my copy of Writing Open the Mind!

Something Treasured

There was a lot to treasure this month, but time with my friends has to be it for March. I spend great time with my friends in my PUSH group, writing groups and a drink out with a friend. It has been years since I have gone out with a friend!

Something Ahead

April is all about poetry for me. There is Poem in Your Pocket Day. I am taking a class about writing poetry with author Chris LaTray which I am THRILLED about! Concise beautiful words is my goal for the next month.

What are your Four Somethings?

Friday Writing #sol21 #day26

Fridays are all about writing!

Right now I am sitting in my bed, freshly showered from my walk, feeling like it does not feel like spring break.

Right now there are worry gremlins in the back of my mind eating away at me as I try to bash them with Whack-a-mole paddles…maybe I need a new tactic.

Right now I smell the chili warming that I am about to eat.

Right now I am happy I do not have to set an alarm.

Right now I wonder if it will feel like break tomorrow…or not til Monday.

Right now I am so tired.

Right now I am looking forward to writing in the morning and not having to get out of bed.

Right now I am enjoying watching The Real World London…again.

What are you doing or thinking about right now?

Thank you for reading and responding!

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!