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Archive for March, 2015

SOL #31

SOL #31

Here I am on the last day of March!  I wrote 31 slices of life and joined a community of teacher writers at Two Writing Teachers.  What a wonderful month of writing!

My students wrote daily, too.  Together we learned:

  • Writing daily connects you to your life.  You see things differently.
  • Writing daily can be fun!
  • Writing daily can be hard!
  • Writing daily leads to new understandings.
  • Writing daily means taking a deep breath and diving into the deep water.
  • Writing daily is a practice that will last your lifetime.
  • Writing daily gives life new meaning.
  • Writing daily makes a difference.

Some of us in the TWT community are not ready to stop writing daily.  We are committing (but not promising) to contribute in some way to National Poetry Month through digital poetry, personal poems, student poems, writing activities, reflections on poetry, etc.  We will use the hashtag #DigiPoetry on Twitter.  Please join us for more fun and fabulous poetry.

I will be posting on Laura Shovan’s site, Author Amok, on April 6th for her series “What are you Wearing?”  I will also add a line to Irene Latham’s Progressive Poem on April 12th.  Lots going on in the Kidlitosphere in April.

 

Taste life twice quote

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SOL #30

SOL #30

Inspired by Michelle at Literacy Learning Zone.

live happy

Take a walk with me

  • across the grass buried in oak pollen, where spring winds have sprinkled twirly birds.

Take a walk with me

  • past the grancy graybeard dressed in fuzzy blossoms that light up the sky.

grancy graybeard

Take a walk with me

  • to the bank of the bayou where spiderwort pops out purple.

spiderwort

Take a walk with me

  • under the canopy of red buckeye raising fiery red sparklers.

red buckeye

Take a walk with me

  • when dog’s meet with nose kisses and neighbors chat about fresh air and good grace, then walk on

Take a walk with me 

  • with a friend, our dogs (Lucy and Charlie), full of laughter and joy.

Take a walk with me.

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SOL #29

SOL #29

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Try the Nutshell app.

Try the Nutshell app.

I’ve been playing around with Nutshell now that I deleted all my texts and made room on my phone. One video was inspired by the place I live. It is spring in the deep south. In my yard, the satsuma tree is blooming, along with the wisteria bush. Flowers blooming, spring warmth inspire writing. Can you write a poem to go with this video?

This week we took our 6th grade students to an old oak tree to write. On Friday I posted this poem by Darian inspired by this field trip. Nature is a wonderful place to find inspiration for writing.

What is inspiring your writing these days? Please consider joining the Digital Literacy link up today.

Last night I got a Tweet from @teachr4, Leigh Anne Eck about plans for National Poetry Month. “Are you doing any type of April poetry challenge this year on your blog?” The consensus seems to be that many of us want to continue writing daily. The subject will be poetry, ideas, student activities, and our own writing. I invite you to join a new hashtag for NPM, #DigiPoetry. That way we can all keep up with each other, connect, and support. This is not a challenge. It is an invitation.

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SOL #28

SOL #28

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Tulips from the grocery store.  A gift for my mom.

Tulips from the grocery store. A gift for my mom.

I am at home. My parents are surrounding me and my friend, Cathy, with love, kindness, and laughter. I love seeing my parents through her eyes. We are eating breakfast this morning having lively conversation about personality types and stories. The stories! I hear stories again that I have heard before, but with my friend, the stories have new meaning. I am celebrating friendship and family.

Last night we ventured out to an oyster bar to hear my brother’s band play. What live music does for the heart and soul should be celebrated. One of his band members, Monty, has been playing with him for 36 years. I celebrate my brother, his music, and Monty.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

My brother Hunter, me, and Monty, his longtime friend and bass player.

Cathy and I are in Jackson for the Sweet Potato Queens weekend. The theme this year is Braveheart, so we wore plaid tutus to the Big Hat Brunch. Cathy made the skirts as well as our hats which reflect our own personal theme of “birds of a feather.” I celebrate Berry Queens, friendship, and Cathy’s creativity.

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

Me with Cathy in our Berry Queen finery and big hats

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

View of the lake from an upstairs window.

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SOL #27

SOL #27

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

With our 6th grade students in the parish (district), we have been doing an enrichment Wednesday each month that we call WOW for Way Out Wednesday. This year’s theme has been wonder. One of the wonders of our area is this huge old oak tree named Mr. Al. A few years ago, Mr. Al was in the way of a planned service road next to the highway. Protesters were instrumental in getting Mr. Al moved to a safer location. He now overlooks an intersection of the highway, Highway 90 at Weeks Island Road.

This past Wednesday was a gorgeous spring day. We took the 20 students out to Mr. Al for a picnic. They sketched and wrote poetry. I coached the poetry writing with a suggestion that they look outside and write description, then look inside for a memory or inner feelings, then go outside again. Darian came to me with an idea. She was caught up on the directions, though. She told me she saw the whole area as a kingdom and Mr. Al was the king. I loved this creative response and told her, “Yes, this idea is using your imagination that is inside you.” She crafted this poem.

What a wonderful way to honor Mr. Al with writing and drawing. The time was peaceful and productive. A true gift to the students and their teachers.

A tree in the middle of nowhere,
As lonely as can be.
But the tree is not as lonely,
As the eye can see.
Ferns and flowers, moss and thorns,
Give the tree some company.

The hill is a castle,
Its rightful ruler on top.
A king greater than all kings.
King Al is protected by his guards,
The ants and spiky plants.
His loyal citizens obey his commands,
For they are the flowers,
purple, yellow, white and green.
His advisers–the fern, magnolia and evergreen,
Work together in harmony.

Long branches reach out,
As if to be holding up the sky.
Leaves more numerous than stars.

Mr.Al is a wonder of nature,
Nature of wonder .​

–Darian, 6th grade

Mr. Al 2

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SOL #26

SOL #26

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me. I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.– ANNE FRANK

Exercise Faith, a poem reflection using words of Anne Frank

A grandiose idea
life after death
your own life continuing on
and on, like the cycle of nature,
seed, seedling, sprout, grow, die, rebirth.

This gift of words
life after death
your own life continuing on
and on, with words on paper
floating in clouds like rain
coming down, going up, coming down again.

Developing my most inner self
reflecting on events, ideas,
life after death
continuing on and on,
like monks in meditation, singing Om
breathing in, breathing out, breath of life.

Expressing all that is me
honors God in me
knowing life after death
continues on and on,
like a rainbow rising over the storm
shining its promise, eternally.

I shake it all off,
dust from the shelves,
throw compost on earth,
spread life after death
on and on, shaking off sorrows,
leaving only good soil, good growth,
good courage…reborn.

–Margaret Simon

bridal lace

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SOL #25

Jessie Wilcox Smith, Flickr, 1915 "The New Book"

Jessie Wilcox Smith, Flickr, 1915 “The New Book”

Reader response has been an integral part of my gifted classroom curriculum. Now that the first round of testing is done, I am wondering if there is a way I can continue using reader response while integrating testing style writing.

I hesitate to call this authentic writing because God knows I don’t write about every book I read. “Sometimes I just want to read for the pleasure of it,” one student said exasperated by yet another reader response assignment.

But sometimes it is helpful to write to process thinking, or to make that metacognition happen in the first place. I am doing that very kind of writing right this minute. Writing to discover. Could reader response be a discovery? Could we learn as we write?

In my class this morning, we had a discussion about theme. I was pushing my young writer to think deeper about his reader response. He said he thought the theme was stated in the title, “Walk Two Moons.” I grabbed this statement and held on.

“What is meant by the title?”

“Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”

“Are there examples from the story to prove this theme?”

He continued by recalling scenes from the book. “So, what is the most important thing about your claim that this is the theme?”

“Text evidence!”

I love when we make connections between what we are actually doing when we read with what the testers want us to do. You must support your claim with evidence from the book.

Linda Baie posted yesterday about reader response. Here are some take aways from that post that I want to build into my renewed reader response assignments:

  1. Think about the book as a whole.  What theme arises?
  2. What imprint does this book leave on your life right now?
  3. Talk about the author’s craft.  How did the author tell the story?
  4. Is the main character in your heart?  Why?  Did he/she teach you anything?

It is also important to have book discussions with your students individually.  I talked to Jacob this morning about his reader response.  He wrote that he would like to go to the moon.  I asked, “Can you tell me more about this?”

He said, “I really don’t want to go to the moon.  I am scared of how you would float out into space.”  He eventually wrote about the earth having an atmospheric bubble that helps you breathe.  So much more interesting than the patent answer.  I told him this.  He became proud and confident in his own personal response to reading.  It became about more than the facts in the book.  He became an authentic reader and writer, expressing his own fears and understanding about outer space.

I want reading to be freedom for my students, not a burden.  Freedom to fly into outer-space or to walk two moons.  Freedom to find their own way exploring the world in books.

walk two moons

 

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