Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Morning

Looking out
my eyes scan the panoramic views.

I see you holding up the tree tops
creating islands in your mist.
The streaming yellow glow
as the light cuts you and crinkles my temples.
Burning your cottony color
you churn as I wind down the road
through the clouds of fall mornings.
Leaf puddles splatter and swirl.
I watch the waves of you roll by
as my day begins and you wisp away.

I hope everyone has a peaceful Poetry Friday.
Read more poetry with Marjorie from Paper Tigers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Resonating Leo

We are reading everything Leo Lionni in my classroom of kindergartners. I love starting the year with Leo. He feels like an old friend every time I open one of his books. When I began intentionally doing author studies I started with his work. I always feel like his stories resonate with every student. One of my favorites is The Alphabet Tree. It covers so many bases in the kindergarten classroom. Letter leaves are blown off their tree and a wise old bug tells them to come together and make words. If they stick together they won't blow around as much. Then an even wiser caterpillar tells them they can really say something if they come together and create a message. Their message is one of peace. 
After reading the story we always make our own alphabet tree and I use "Post-it Note" leaves that can make words. The words then evolve into a message that goes along with our classroom rules.
I have a unique class this year that require students to be very tolerant of each others differences. I am constantly asking myself, "How do I get them to choose kindness this soon? Oh, I make it a rule!"
We have talked about the meaning of fairness and that friendship is about thinking of others. It has been great watching students mature in this necessary format of a classroom. They are still 4, 5, and 6 but they seem to get it better than some adults do at times, and I am proud of each of them. 
Here is our  "Post-It Note" leaf tree. 
Each student places the leaves for me and I magically blow them into words. Together we figure out what "our message" will be. They are always so surprised and excited that the letters suddenly come together to mean something. I think I always am too!
 (We choose to be kind.)

 Here is our rules chart we made last week that has helped us focus on what is most important. 
Choose Kind! (Thanks Auggie).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Frederick's Words

 Come share other poets or your own words at Random Noodling on this Poetry Friday.

I have been immersing myself and my students in Leo Lionni's works. I love his stories, their message, the illustrations. One of my favorites is Frederick. He is a poetic mouse, one of five in a family. His purpose is different from his other family members. He offers words. Here are some of Frederick's (Leo's) words...

"Who scatters snowflakes? Who melts the ice?
Who spoils the weather? Who makes it nice?
Who grows the four-leaf clovers in June?
Who dims the daylight? Who lights the moon?

Four little field mice who live in the sky.
Four little field mice . . . like you and I.

One is the Springmouse who turns on the showers.
Then comes the Summer who paints in the flowers.
The Fallmouse is next with walnuts and wheat.
And Winter is last . . . with little cold feet.

Aren't we lucky the seasons are four?
Think of a year with one less . . . or one more!"

Leo Lionni has many other stories. You can check out books, videos and biographical information told by Leo himself at Random House.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Options? Hope!

Be a slicer. 
Join in at Two Writing Teacher with Stacey, Ruth and many others who are inspired by each others stories. 

I sit here wordless with so much to say. I want to tell you about all their challenges. I want to tell you about my fears. How will I do will I? Needs that go beyond my bounds of knowledge. Needs that I am tackling one at a time. Files thick with accommodations and gaps for me to fill. Feeling strapped for energy and changing plans moment by moment. Playing instruments for 20 minutes instead of reading because that's what one student wanted to do, so we did it with her, she was a part of us for a moment. Interpreting hand gestures from another who is determined to speak. Cradling the tired one, hugging the criers and singing all day because the indescribable ones don't look at me otherwise. Intervening before the hitting. Showing tolerance toward anger. Smiling. Cheering for the triumphs even when they seem small. Moving past the failures. Encouraging pride. And telling myself over and over again that each day is better and my only option is hope, there is no alternative.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Brave New Year

 Today came and I conquered.

Which basically means:
I survived.
I got everyone home.

I am still awake and it is after 8:00 p.m.
I am asking, "How will I do this?"
I am answering, "Any way possible."

Onward to tomorrow.