Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chalk-A-Bration 3

While I was at the All Write Conference last week I bought a book by Carole Boston Weatherford, Sidewalk Chalk: Poems of the City. I couldn't believe my luck; this was a great find. Fun poems of city life and one titled Sidewalk Chalk. It didn't take long for me to buy this one! 
Here is an excerpt from the poem:

Sidewalk Chalk

Big and bold now, write your name.
Draw an arrow, then take aim
at a puff heart: "Kim loves Kyle."
Doodling's sure to bring a smile.

(Find the rest here).

My poetic celebration is about summer and popsicles. Two things we have been loving at my house a whole lot recently.

We will be taking a trip to West Virginia soon for some camping and family time. We can't wait to see some mountains, lakes, waterfalls and all that nature has to offer, as well as bask in the downtime that camping offers. I hope if you don't get a chance to chalk today you find some time soon to write your words for the world to see. We recently saw some of our chalk on Google Earth. Pretty neat!
Link below and check out the other chalkers!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kinderchat Summer Blogging Challenge

Stumbled onto this today and felt like, "why not another challenge?!" Teachers Write,  #kinderchat‘s Summer Blogging Challenge, reading and writing goals, hey, this is all good!

At Kinderchat, every Friday a question or topic is posted to offer a prompt for reflection on the previous school year. 
The question for today is:
What did you learn this past (or, for our southern hemisphere friends, what ARE you learning this current) school year that you couldn’t have learned any other year, from any other students or colleagues or administrators or parents? What lessons did this particular year, this particular setting, these particular children bring into your life?

I can easily say that this year was my best. The most learning I have ever done came from this year because I see myself as a writer and that has been the best professional development (and free at that). I have been pushed to read more because I have wanted to write more and through all of this has come much learning. I have connected to other educators like me who want to write, read and learn. I've been welcomed into their communities through blogging and twitter. I feel more connected to the kind of teacher I have wanted to be.
I have always felt that relationships are the core of good teaching but this year I went further with those relationships. My patience was tested and it paid off. I connected more deeply to this class because I invested more individual time with them through conferencing for both writing and reading. This one on one time made a tremendous difference in my relationships with students. From there, I was able to make whole group teaching more connected for all students, pulling them in as mentors and always having time for sharing what we were reading and writing. They got more of me and I learned more from them. It was the kind of year that makes a great springboard into the next. I feel ready to tackle new things, new challenges and to continue the work that I have started--developing young writers--my biggest challenge and goal.

Things that have helped me along the way:
Best professional book I read this past school year: Talking, Drawing, Writing by Giacobbe and Horn
Best personal reading I did: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Most supportive blogs that have guided me through: Two Writing Teachers, Teacherdance, A Year of Reading, Teach Mentor Texts, The Poem Farm
Best conference I went to this year: All Write in Warsaw, Indiana
Best bud to cheer me on: R-dog (you can find her here, and her real name is even revealed)!

Wordle Inspires Poetry--Thanks Mary Lee

Fill your poetic well with poems today at PaperTigers.

I start with a thank you to Mary Lee! I too am participating in the Teachers Write camp this summer and saw yesterday's prompt--pasting some of your own text into Wordle to discover common themes. I never thought to use poetry but Mary Lee did!  Today, I am taking her suggestion to paste some original poems into Wordle and then create a new poem using the words presented. If you haven't already, go see her's here, (brilliant)!

First Wordle
I love the words that were bolded. Clearly I love them since they apparently appear the most frequently in the writing I pasted together. (That is what Wordle does, takes your most used words and makes them stand out).

Second Wordle: Sames words but a different arrangement.

For extra fun, I picked apart a few sets of words that clumped themselves together, I love these.




So, this was fun, tricky and took a bit of back and forth writing for me. Here is the poem I discovered waiting in the word piles.

Though carefully
I watch


made brave.

Delicate eyes fall

Never alone
miles hope

I watch
though carefully


I had several images swirling as I tried to write this. First it was my daughter during her tonsillectomy recently, where I watched  a very little girl approach uncertainty in a very brave exterior. Then I thought of it as the way I scaffold young writers, the uncertainty there, the waiting and waiting and wonder that circulates in a school year. Then I thought of seedlings growing, probably because the word grow was staring at me and I couldn't find a way to use it, (ironic I thought). And so, it could probably mean many things, and will probably mean something else tomorrow.

Hey...still here? If you have some chalk and a little extra time on your hands tomorrow, or even if you don't, find a moment or two and chalk some poetry! Come back here and check out what others powder up on the driveways and sidewalks of our world. Want to know what the heck I'm talking about, click here!