Friday, August 31, 2012

Chalk-a-Bration 5

My chalk will have to wait. No computer. A new cast today on my broken foot. A to-do list the size of Everest. I think I may have to give myself a moment to get my final chalk of the season complete. I invite any of you to post your chalk today or any time this weekend if you have a moment to share. If not, I hope to see you display some chalk poetry in April of 2013!
Share your link in the comments and when I am able to add a Mr. Linky I will post your links there.

Have a great school year and chalk with your students!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Chapter

A slug,
a troll,
is what I've been.

A bit slow,
a bit small,
invisible I've been.

Not slimy
not hairy
but, I've been.

A bit sorry,
a bit pity,
a bit sad I've been.

So, I've been away from the blogosphere a bit. Not how I would have pictured my August to be. I had big plans to write everyday. Then, on a sunny August day, on my way outside to ask my husband a question snap, bam, boom, I broke my foot.
People...I teach kindergarten!
I looked at my husband after the realization and all he could say is, "I know."
I was in disbelief. It has changed everything about how I would normally prepare. It has changed my priorities. It has forced me to look at things differently. It is a small thing, really it is...but it has changed me. I can still do a lot of things and there are a lot of things I cannot do. It makes many things take twice as long, and again, there are some things I just can't do, so I save time! I can't go to my writing spot in my house, this changes me and my routines. I have had to give in and give up on some things, but it is really just a bump. A short chapter in the many of my life. I have always said, I hope to make my life a great read, everyone should.

Sometimes, I just wish I was the one writing it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

You Are Like Me But Somewhere Else

there is you
in a parallel place
you listen to my music
and dance on your driveway.

there is me
I live like you
I listen to your music
and dance on my driveway.

there is you
under a star lit sky
you see the same stars
and dream when you sleep.

there is me
in a parallel place
I see the same stars
and dream while I sleep.

I am finding myself immersed in school. Eating, sleeping and dreaming about it. But happily. However, it makes me realize that challenging myself in August to write everyday was a bit lofty. I will keep trying.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lines Through the Day

 Visits the poets of Poetry Friday and share in their lines at Violet Nesdoly/Poem.

Today has come and gone. A busy day, a day full of words and lines but unconnected in meaning. I have been working on words that connect in my notebook and they are, well, not ready. So...I come with lines, seeds of poems to come, maybe.

Moments of my day...

tree across the road
shall we move it?
exhilarating, as I hurl a limb
my part, I feel
my daughter's words, "way to go mommy and daddy,"
as we clear the road of worry.

the first glance
at the year
the room, still and alone
ready to be molded
filled with its purpose
a home

deer in the dark
I see you
as you cross shadows
disappearing into night

And, someday my driftwood poem will be here, some Friday it will be ready. Never have I felt so guarded about my words. But, I think it's okay to think harder about some and let some others go.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ten For Ten!

When I first began thinking about this task I was blocked. I could think of all kinds of books. I struggled to narrow it down once I began listing them all. I began asking, what books made me shudder at the thought of never reading them again? What are the books that when I read them I feel a certain emotional connection? A connection that is transferred to the listener's ears because as I read it I'm unable to hold back my feelings about the text. Then one book came to mind. A book that every time I read it I feel all welled up inside. I wish I were the characters. I wish I could see the setting. I wish I was experiencing the moments in the book. I knew that I would use that book as my anchor. A book that makes me feel that much emotion, whether it be a gasp, tears, or laughter would make my list. My anchor book is Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. The beauty that turns in these pages is unlike any other book I know. It is the simplest of stories that moment by moment force you to pause, think and wonder. It is a book that celebrates silence, patience and connection. It is a must have, must share, must read. The rest of my list follows, but of course they are in no particular order because I love them all!

2.  Swimmy by Leo Leonni
I always read this book the first week of school. I love the message of teamwork and community in this story. The illustrations are beautiful and unique; kids always love it. When I finish this book I feel optimistic about the year ahead.

3. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
This book was new to me this past school year. The perseverance of the main character truly communicated that one person can make a difference. When I finish this book I feel enormous amounts of hope.

4. Willaby by Rachel Isadora
The character of Willaby is an old favorite. I love reading it to students, but I also just love to sit down and read it to myself. It is a reminder to me how students show their true selves in different ways and that I always need to be ready to recognize them. When I finish this book I feel more inspired to reach students who are different from their peers.

5. Mo Willems is probably one of my favorite children's book authors. I could easily just pick ten of his books for my list. Trixie, Elephant and Piggie, Leonardo, and Pigeon are all such relatable characters. I love how they make me feel, how I read their words and the response I get from my students is always a treat. But, the first Mo book I ever read was Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. This book has so many great text elements that can be emulated by my students. The drawings are kid friendly, as almost all Mo books are. The feeling is shown in the text and the feelings and movements of the characters are also made very clear. I always see students writing like Mo after I read one of his books. When I finish this book I feel aches in my cheeks from laughing.

6. Another book that was new to me this year was Pete the Cat, I Wear My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin. I first heard about it from my son who was singing the song after school one day. We looked it up and it was in the shopping cart quickly. What a catchy message and story. Who doesn't love Pete. When I finish this book I feel like "it's all good."

7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I can only imagine my list complete when there is an Eric Carle book included. For me he has always been a mainstay in the classroom and on my own personal book shelf. Every time I read this story to students for the first time and turn to that last page I get that "whoosh" feeling from my toes to the top of my head. It is so magical. When I finish this book I feel inspired to evolve. 

8. Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman
Another book that was new to me and one day will be also be an old favorite. I will be using it over and over again, much like a spiral repeats itself. I discovered an interest in snails after reading this book and so did one of my students. However, there are many animals explored in this story. This book is poetry, non-fiction and picture book all rolled into one. When I finish this book I feel satisfied by all it has to offer through verse and information. 

9. When I Was Young In the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
Rylant has a way of writing a story that connects to every age group. Her words are timeless and tender. Her characters are as real as they come. Her stories will forever be on the book shelves of many. When I finish this book I feel a longing to be in the mountains among simpler times, a simpler setting and simply my family.

10. Bread and Jam For Frances by Russell Hoban
This is an old favorite of mine and I always love reading it to children. They relate so well to Frances, a picky eater. This story has been on my shelf for as long as I can remember because as a child I heard my sister tell it over and over again as a storyteller in her high school forensics group. I can still here her nasally take on Albert's voice, the friend with a more refined palate.When I finish this story I feel a song in my heart much like Frances always does.

Below are book covers to give a "face to a name." If you click on any of the book covers it should take you to the amazon link in case you would like more information about the book.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Find a Penny...

NaBloPoMo August 2012I have been working on curriculum since I got up this morning. I enjoy the finished product and even the process can be fun at times. It can be so frustrating though, the time it takes to do small things makes my eyes cross. Then, as I was leaving my school today, I came across a penny. It was on the ground and I walked past it. Then I decided to go back and pick it up. Into my pocket it went. Maybe I will feel like I have accomplished more when tomorrow rolls around! Until then, back to work.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Spider, Cicada and Water Play

I have an affinity for insect, bugs, arachnids...I can't help it...I like them. Maybe I should have been an entomologist. I find them absolutely fascinating and although I don't like being bitten or stung, I like to watch them. Several day ago I noticed that a spider had taken up residence on our window ledge in the bathroom. The spider was hiding behind a bit of decoration which it appeared was an anchor for the web. I watched the sweeping web a while. I decided to leave it alone and visit each day. If nothing else the web was great for gathering dust that would otherwise be landing on the window sill and I felt a little bit like I was rooting for the spider. A few days later it came time to clean the bathroom...hmm, what was I to do? I caught my little friend and sent her on some hydrangeas which I thought would be excellent web real estate and got to cleaning. I hadn't ever felt a web (on purpose) with my hand before. I had gotten plenty in the face, which is not as desirable, but I was curious. Here is my photo of my web exploration.

Then today my kids came running in, "mom, mom there's a cicada outside and it just came out of its skin, come look!"
I grabbed my camera and went out to see the cicada and was it ever a sight. We watched it for a while. He seemed a little bashful after I was finished photographing him as he went under the larger strands of grass and hid.

I know they are pests, destroy crops, create a mess, but they have a purpose too. If nothing else to fascinate people like me who are so entertained by six legs, huge eyes and veiny wings.

I had to share a couple pics of my kids on our last trip of the summer. That toe dipping starts out so innocent and then suddenly you are swimming fully clothed. For the whole story, you can read the end of a previous post here.

NaBloPoMo August 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Under the Stars

Last night I was under a northern Michigan sky. A clear sky that reflected its constellations on the still black water of the lake. I stood there looking, neck stiffening from the strain of trying to see it all at one time. I saw many formations of stars, some that I recognized and some that I did not. I did see the most popular though, the big dipper. It is always interesting to me how excited I get when I see it, I have to verbalize it out loud every time, "look, it's the big dipper," in my excited whisper. When it is that late and that peaceful you can't help but have a hush in your voice.
Tonight we are home, southern Michigan. It is late and we went outside for a moment to look up at the same sky. Sure enough, there it was again, the big dipper. There is comfort in knowing that the sky is the same sky, every night. Even when I can't see it, when it is covered in clouds, when it is filtered with light, it is all there, looking down at me.
NaBloPoMo August 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sighs and Sparkles

 NaBloPoMo August 2012

We take this drive every August. Miles of dirt road that leave a memory of dust clouds. Scraping tree limbs on my window as we enter a canopy of birch and pine. The final stretch, a grassy two track and then the glittering veil. We park. We sigh. The quiet lake in the middle of the woods with wind songs for entertainment and wildlife for companions. We listen, look and long.

you wail
calling our ears in your direction.
We see your wake
as the water sighs.
Once black and still
now rippling with sparkle
as the sun melts into night.

I didn’t get to post yesterday, but I found humor in moments of my day. We went into town and for some reason I took my children out of their bathing suits and put them into clothing. Is this my first rodeo…no, I know better. Even when you go into town, there is likely water nearby and you will find yourself toe dipping. This turns into wading. Then one big wave comes along and from eye brow to ankle you’re soaked. From there nothing is off limits. Sandcastles are started, swimming fully clothed ensues and you just wish you all had your bathing suit and a towel…and a lemonade (or in my case an ice tea)…and probably something else, like a sandwich. However, this just proves that you don’t really need anything to make a memory.

Friday, August 3, 2012

That Kind of Day...

Kinderblog 2012 Question:
My tips or trick for getting through a day I don't feel at my best?

I have to say that the culprit for me not feeling my best is usually feeling overwhelmed by my workload. Creativity is my prescription. If I put out a cosmic explosion of materials and say have at it, that usually loosens everyone up a bit. I am also able to get a little something done too, which lessens my likely overwhelmed feeling.

The colder months are always tough too because there are those days you can't go outside and then there are the days you can and you have all the boots, snow pants, blah, blah, blah and mittens (the worst)! So I dream about the day when it will be 60 degrees or warmer and we can ditch all that stuff and run outside with no coats on. I usually have chalk and bubbles at the ready to celebrate. It is bound to put a smile on your face.

If all else fails, I go across the hall to my teaching buddy and talk with her until we are both laughing so hard it hurts. That is always a winner.
Happy August school dreams everyone. Have yours started yet?

Sweet Challenges

 Share in some poetry fun this Friday with Rena at ON THE WAY TO SOMEWHERE...

Trying to blog on my phone while in the car, not sweet.
Blogging from my computer via my husband's phone tether while sitting in the car...sweet!

I am on my way to an up north family weekend to a quiet lake full of turtles, fish, sunsets and loons. It is always a peaceful celebration of the near end of summer and our kids look forward to this getaway every year. Last week we took a trip along the Thornapple River on kayaks. My first time kayaking was awesome and left me quite sore, but it was worth every muscle aching stroke even after three hours. We had a great time and this is the poem that came from that experience.

current slow
my eyes cast
and watch
snails netted in muskgrass
congregations of duck weed
water bugs in a whirl
swift fins below
break the tension in hunger
and I fly
across a watery sky.

I hope to have some photos and poetry to follow the next few days while we dip our toes in more serenity as I blog through August with a "sweet" theme.

 NaBloPoMo August 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NaBloPoMo and Hummingbird Moments

NaBloPoMo August 2012
I saw lots of "sweet" things today. However the sweetest was a perspective of a full moon that I have never noticed before. In my backyard we have several trees. One in particular is a stand out as the moon was framed beautifully by its limbs tonight. I tried to photograph it and couldn't. This has happened before...when something amazing is right in front of me and I can't capture it with a camera, and yet, I can with words. Amy Ludwig Vanderwater from The Poem Farm told me (@ Teachers Write) I would see a "hummingbird" today and the whirring was the moon. My hummingbird moment was a full moon lighting my night.
Here is my photo, in my mind of course.

Calling my eyes up.
Trapping you,
And yet you'll escape by morning.

I am going to try out NaBloPoMo this month. The theme is sweet. You can sign up through August 5th!