Monday, June 30, 2014

Chalk-A-Bration June 2014

Check out the new image for Chalk-A-Bration! Hope you like it. Copy and paste to your post today if you like!

I did some camping this past week at my favorite state park near Lake Michigan. I love it there. It has everything. Bike trails, walking trails, beach for miles, a river, a smaller lake in the middle of the park and of course ice cream at every camp store. What could be better? I found myself feeling refreshed after a long school year and a busy summer ahead; it was a nice break. 
While on the beach I made a very organic display of the word Poetry. Loved it! It's hard to see on the sandy background but you can just make it out. 

But, now onto the chalk. I decided to do a throwback to one of my first chalked poems back before Chalk-A-Bration even existed. It is still a favorite. 

Link up your chalk in the comments! Here comes July!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Chalk-A-Bration May 2014

HI Chalkers! Hope you are having a great end to your school year. I still have a couple weeks to go but we are still chalking and having a great time together.
I recently discovered Prezi and put together a little presentation about Chalk-A-Bration. It is very simple but was fun to put together. Click to view and see the Chalk-A-Bration videos from yesterday's celebration!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chalk-A-Bration April 2014

Chalk-A-Bration snuck up on me this month. There has been so much poem love going on and poetry writing in all my corners of life that I wasn't realizing how quickly it would all end. But it doesn't have to! Join in each month right here for a poetry celebration with chalk.

Here is my contribution for the month. I wrote it in the rain. I am hoping to get my students out today to chalk our poems but rain may defeat us. Might need to get creative!

Water streams
thick dust
chalk puddles. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chalk-A-Bration March 2014

YAY! It is finally here. Spring has arrived and I cannot think of anything else, especially when I write. 
I hope you will join in with a piece of chalk and a chunk of sidewalk in your own neck of the woods to share with us here! Just write a poem or illustration, take a photo and link it up here from your blog!

My two shares and some of my children's work is below. I haven't seen my kids this excited about chalking in a LONG time. They were squealing when I told them it was time for chalk!

 I love 
the warm sun

 The neighbors even joined in a bit! 

 A road leading later to some hopscotch!

bike ride
sun chased
red faced
clear sky
happy sigh
"Spring's here,"
I cheer!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Know Your Higher Self

Earlier in the week I sliced about talking to Barry Lane on the phone. Since then I have begun to implement some of the ideas from his new book, Force Field for Good. I am so excited by this program and its message. Imagine if we all chose to be our higher selves, what a world it would be!

We scrapped our old rule chart and drew pictures of ourselves. I connected them in a circle writing our one and only classroom rule, Be Your Higher Self. It makes me a little teary every time I look at the chart. It reminds me what a group we have become and how connected we are, like a family. Here is our chart:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Am Your New Biggest Fan

I was in the hallway this afternoon talking with the preschool teacher down the hall. I had actually walked in from the playground with her class after seeking her out. We were chatting about preschool writers when I looked down. There, at his locker, was a little guy with a pen and a small notebook. He was intensely writing something down. Here was the conversation:
Me: Whisper, "Oh my goodness, I love this."
Her: "I know." Directed toward him, "Okay, I think snack is waiting for us in the classroom."
Him: "I know, I just have to get this in here."
Her: "What are you writing?'
Him: "I just saw an eagle and I have to get it in my notebook before I forget."
Her: "Oh, okay."
I watched for a moment, then I couldn't help myself.
Me: "What is your name?"
Him: "James." He doesn't look up, I am clearly interrupting important work. Really, what was I thinking? So I continued to watch a moment. He cleaned up his notebook.
I put my hand out, "James, I am your new biggest fan. Do you think when we see each other we could give each other a thumbs up since we are both in the super awesome writing club?"
He shakes my hand, a little stunned, "Well, I like animals. My book is all about animals. Like at least 100, or least."
Me: "Can you count to 20?"
Him: "Almost!"
Me: "Well, keep writing about those animals James."

I don't usually visit the afternoon preschool class, so James was new to me. His enthusiasm for writing is clear. He is a writer. I've been giddy ever since.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Tell Your Story. If You Don't, Who Will?" ~Colby Sharp

Here is a little take away from the MRA conference I attended yesterday. I went to a session with Colby Sharp, Linda Urban, Katherine Applegate and Lisa McMann. Their message was to write, take risks and not to be afraid of failing. Not everything you write will be or needs to be groundbreaking. Stop trying to be perfect and make a mistake right away so the writing stays real.

This made me think of one of my notebooks. When I got it and started writing in it I wanted it to stay perfect. Then I made a mistake on the first page. I decided at that moment it didn't matter. However, my initial feelings were this notebook will stay beautiful. Then I realized beauty wasn't going to mean flawless.

The session was very inspiring and on my drive home last night this is what swirled in my head:

"Writing notebooks are a playground and safe." Linda Urban
"Don't be discouraged, you're making a difference every single minute." Lisa McMann
"Everything you do matters." Katherine Applegate

The session ended with a statement from Colby Sharp that teachers are awesome. He encouraged teachers to, "Tell your story. If you don't, who will?" I couldn't agree more. Blogging and talking with others about what we are doing in our classrooms is the only way to shift the eyes of those looking down on teachers these days.

So, get yourself a notebook, make it a playground where you can kick dirt around and it's okay. Write about your frustrations in education these days and then write about what you are doing to change kids lives. Write about what you do to make a difference every single minute. Write what matters, because in the end it's the people. What we do to shape them matters more than any shifting eyes or judgmental glances. Your students matter, you matter and so does your story.