Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2014

Discover. Play. Build.

I’m not sure if this is fair or not, today I am combining posts for Chalk-a-bration and Celebration. (I can’t help but love the alliteration!) I let my students (the three who attended) chalk the sidewalks on the last day of school a week ago and saved the pictures to post today. Betsy Hubbard leads this fun blogtivity at the end of each month. We wrote lunes, a short poetry form that uses a 5, 3, 5 syllable count. And the theme, of course, was summer.

Matthew writes about his passion for magic: Magic is my life life is magic do impossible

Matthew writes about his passion for magic:
Magic is my life
life is magic
do impossible

Go play on the beach Come with us We want you with us. by Tyler

Go play on the beach
Come with us
We want you with us.
by Tyler

Vannisa’s poem did not turn out well in the photograph.

In the sun we play
until night
takes the place of day.
–Vannisa

slow lazy days summer sun too hot to think --Margaret Simon

slow lazy days
summer sun
too hot to think
–Margaret Simon

This week has been a week of slow days. I’ve committed myself to three things this summer, exercise daily (I have the sore muscles to prove it!), writing (Thursday I spent hours writing this sestina for Maya Angelou), and reading (I’ve read or listened to 6 books for Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday challenge). I’m glad there wasn’t much else going on this week, so I could establish this routine. Happy Summer!

Read Full Post »

Join the Poetry Friday round-up with Diane over at Random Noodling.

Join the Poetry Friday round-up with Diane over at Random Noodling.

Photo from Maya Angelou visits YCP 2013 on Flickr

Photo from Maya Angelou visits YCP 2013 on Flickr

I suspect that Poetry Friday will be full of posts about Maya Angelou. She died this week at the age of 86. She was a gentle giant, a force in the world, an inspiration for us all. I spent the last few days absorbed in Maya’s wisdom, watching YouTube videos, reading articles, and reading her poetry. I was inspired to write a poem, an elegy. At first, I thought it would be created around her words, so I copied 13 quotes from USA Today. But when I started writing, the poem became my first sestina. Whoa, Maya, I didn’t think I had this in me. You are indeed an inspiration!

The Lessons of Maya
Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Her words touched many hearts,
this phenomenal woman
with volumes of work,
a head full of rhyming curls,
she made us feel
with her deep toned voice

speaking, “I will raise my voice!”
finger pointing to heaven’s heart,
she strived to thrive, feel
compassion of a passionate woman.
Her hand to my hand curls
around my calloused work

enveloped in her precious work.
She knew who heard her voice
above all others; her curls
were born to adorn our hearts.
Now with Him eternally, this woman
will always make us feel

that we have every right to feel
worthy in our daily work
living as a phenomenal woman
lifting this one and only voice
to touch as many hearts
as hairs on her head curl,

Like the contrail in the sky curls,
we are called to feel
no barriers in our hearts.
Our deep and strong voices
can make forces work
driven by this one woman.

Believe in your woman-
the specialness of your curls.
Believe you have a voice.
Don’t fear to feel.
Find your glorious work
and what feeds your soul and heart.

Find the voice of your heart.
Yes, God made woman his best work.
Make the time to feel
Alive.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Read Full Post »

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

For the last two years, I have made an altered book using poems I have written beside my students. An altered book is a hardback book that has outlived its time, been discarded from the library, or left behind at Goodwill. I usually try to find ones with fairly large pages that are sewn, not glued, to the binding. I take out some of the pages and glue a few together to thicken each page and create space. Then I use Gesso and paint to cover the pages. My students have the option to make an altered book for their poetry project.

Here are a few of my favorite pages from my book this year. Vannisa found the sign, “Keep Calm and Write Poetry” that became my front cover. The marbleized paper was made using a technique with chalk and water. I covered some of my pages with gelli-printed papers. When I work on my altered book, I enter Flow, a term Csikszentmihalyi used to describe that zone of creativity one enters when something is at the right level of challenge. Flow is energizing and motivating.

Altered book cover

Altered book cover

Page one begins with A for anaphora

Page one begins with A for anaphora

Making a collage of printed paper makes an interesting background.

Making a collage of printed paper makes an interesting background.


Images fuel my writing.

Images fuel my writing.

Read Full Post »

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Pay attention! This is our endless and proper work. ~Mary Oliver

snail

School is out, and the last thing my brain wants to do right now is think about digital literacy. When I opened the door to let Charlie out this morning, this snail was working its way slowly and deliberately along a leaf. So I took a picture. My one little word for 2014 is Open, but I think I’ll translate that word to mean “Pay Attention” as a summer goal. Be alert. Don’t let your brain fall asleep.

On the web this morning, I paid attention to two articles. The first was posted by Tara Smith at Two Writing Teachers. Tara writes about her students’ confidence in writing workshop and her release of control. They are using technology in ways she would not have predicted. She is able to take a back seat and watch. Sometimes I feel teachers are too focused on themselves and what they will do in front of the students. Tara’s expertise is in knowing that her best teaching comes from the back seat where she can support her student writers and allow them to discover on their own. Read her article here.

The second article that drew my attention was one a friend posted on Facebook about summer reading, Ready, Set, Read! In this article, research is cited that says reading fiction creates better human beings. We learn to be empathetic by reading. I knew that students needed to keep reading over the summer in order to maintain and grow their reading levels, but I never thought about how that reading makes them better people.

What are you paying attention to today? Please add your Digital Literacy link to Mr. Linky.

Read Full Post »

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us to celebrate each week. I have the opportunity to not only share my joys with you, but to reflect on them for myself, a good exercise in itself.

1. Easter Lilies are blooming in abundance this year. Perhaps they liked the extra cold winter and are letting us know all is new.

Easter Lilies

2. Summer Reading #Bookaday: Donalyn Miller challenges us to read a book a day in the summer. I am a slow reader, so I am hoping to read a book a week. Here is only part of the stack I brought home from my classroom to read.

summer reading

3. My husband had cataract surgery this week. He gave me his ring to hold because he couldn’t wear any jewelry. I only had to wear it for an hour. The surgery was a success. His eye bruised, so in his best Cajun accent, he likes to say, “It looks baad, but it sees good.”

two rings

4. Our students presented a big check for $3,711.00 to the West End Park Revitalization Project at the City Council meeting this week. We are so proud of their dedication.

kids and council

5. My friend and yoga instructor, Rachel, led a yoga class at our local plantation home, The Shadows. It was invigorating to stretch outside on the sculptured lawn, looking up into the oaks. If only there were no ants.

yoga at the Shadows

6. I forgot to take pictures of this, but three of my gifted students spent their last day with me. I pulled out a box of science kids, and they made hover crafts with balloons and CDs, and a catapult out of a staple remover and plastic spoon. They were focused, cooperative, and had fun.

It was a wonderful week and now on to the BIG WEEKEND! Happy Summer, y’all!

Read Full Post »

Join the Poetry Friday round-up at Violet's place.

Join the Poetry Friday round-up at Violet’s place.

For Mother’s Day, I spent the weekend in New Orleans with my daughters. Katherine and I went to church on Sunday morning on the campus of Tulane, The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, where the Reverend Minka Sprague, close friend of my parents, was preaching. I am a word collector, and in her sermon, Minka used the term anastasis to refer to the resurrection. I recorded a Soundcloud of the portion where she spoke of its Greek meaning.

Minka’s words, the beautiful day, and the resurrection feeling I get when I visit New Orleans came together in this poem.

crape-jasmine-284603_640

Anastasis

The storm cloud moves,
a hole of blue,
lined in shining white,
opens–
this is sky.

When you feel fear,
say your name.
To say your name,
breathe–
this is air.

On a Sunday in May,
flooded New Orleans streets,
blooming jasmine
reflect–
this is resurrection.

Hear the full sermon here.

Poetry news: Amy VanderWater has adopted a manatee over at The Poem Farm in honor of my students who wrote manatee poems. You can read them at our ongoing kidblog site. Today is our final day of school (report card hand-out), but I hope some of my students will continue to write and post over the summer.

Read Full Post »

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slide1

Magnolia, magnolia
Open
My one little word
finds me;
open your eyes
to your own heart;
listen
to what she loves.

I painted a magnolia
in cadmium blue and crimson red.
Do you see the red and blue?
To make good art,
first you must see.

I saw the perfect magnolia
hanging in my neighbor’s tree,
the one ravaged by a hurricane,
yet today,this tree sings
its magnolia hymn to heaven.

Now I see, magnolia to magnolia,
critical eye turned off,
yes, beauty, art.
Make this art.
Who cares about appreciation,
glorification, success (whatever that means),
just create.

I see magnolia to magnolia–happiness.
This is all I need.

–Margaret Simon, written at Acadiana Wordlab May 17, 2014

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »