Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2015

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

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

When you take the time to be truly still, how do you feel? Do you keep multiple tabs open so if one website is taking its time loading, you can be reading another one? Do you multi-task? While you are eating, do you read or watch TV?

More and more our society demands our constant activity. When I work out at the gym, I can plug my headphones in and watch TV or listen to my iPod. When I am driving, the radio plays. I have a little notebook in the console of my car to make lists on. I am rarely without my cell phone.

I crave quiet and stillness but in all honesty, rarely do I allow myself this luxury. What I need to understand is that God will not come in when it’s noisy. The Spirit wants my quiet time. The Holy One begs me to slow down and listen.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Writing poetry also requires my silence, my listening, my opened and uncluttered mind. I love to take a walk in the park and absorb the colors, the scents, the fresh air, and make it poetry. In the spirit of stillness, spring, and digital poetry, here is an original poem movie entitled, “Come Out, Green.”

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Read Full Post »

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Heading to school on Monday morning, I saw the warnings. I figured I had time to get to school before the storm hit, and I’d be safe at school. I was right. The storm didn’t hit until 8:45, a few moments after I had gotten students settled in for post-testing.

The rain came down so hard and fast that Jacob said, “It sounds like the ocean.” I told him he should write that down for a future poem. As soon as he opened his journal, the lights went black. And I mean black! No lights, inside or outside. The classes next to mine started filing out into the hallway directed by calm teachers holding their cell phones in flashlight mode.

While we sat in the hall and answered concerned questions, I noticed a colleague sit on the floor next to her student. She put her hand on her shoulder and talked to her quietly. This child was scared and crying. This teacher was calm and comforting.

My classroom phone rang. I answered it. A man made a joke and I told him he had the wrong number. (Later, I found out this was the secretary’s husband.) The calls kept coming. I eventually figured out that somehow my phone was the only working phone in the school and all incoming calls were coming to me. I began answering with kindness, taking on the soothing tone of our dear secretary. I was comforting panicked parents.

The storm passed quickly. We were left with no power. Teachers began making up games in the hallway. I continued to answer the phone. The security office called. I told them our power was out, but we were all safe. The superintendent’s office called. I explained the situation. Eventually the decision was made to dismiss school since a tree had knocked out power that wouldn’t be restored for hours.

The calls continued. “Yes, we are dismissing.”

“Your child is safe.”

“Be sure someone is home to meet the bus.”

“We are in emergency mode. Please call back tomorrow.”

This was not an extreme emergency, but it tested our system. It tested our teachers. It tested me. We all remained calm and placed the safety and comfort of our students first. I am confident we are prepared for any stormy weather.

Doppler Radar of storm over New Iberia.

Doppler Radar of storm over New Iberia.

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

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

My students are enjoying Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poetry month project, Sing that Poem, over at The Poem Farm. This week a group wrote their own verse to a popular tune. I posted the poem here. Here is the recording of them singing it.

I have challenged my students with a poetry project this month. For the assignment, they must read 3 poetry books, TPCASTT one poem from each book, write a reader response to each book, write an original poem using a form from one of the books, and create a video presentation of a poem. Only a few have gotten to the video presentation stage.

I talked to them about what I expected to see in the video. The design and the music would reflect the tone and theme of the poem. Design is where digital literacy comes in, to be able to evaluate the poem and represent it through image and sound is the highest level of critical thinking. It is important for me to push my gifted students to use their highest levels of thinking. Both Tyler and Tobie got it. Animoto provides enough choices that my students were able to find what they were looking for in design and music.

Tyler presents a haiku by Issa from Cool Melons Turn to Frogs. Tobie presents House by John Frank from Lend a Hand.

Link up your DigiLit Sunday posts.

Read Full Post »

Discover. Play. Build.

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

This morning, I’ve been cleaning and doing chores like kitty litter and laundry. My hands smell like bleach. I kinda like the smell, tingly clean, but I should’ve worn gloves. As I swept the kitchen floor, what else was there to do but reflect on my week. Do I really have anything to celebrate? The list got longer and longer.

scbwi logo
The logo for SCBWI is a kite. I set out my kite last weekend. I found out it needs a few repairs, but it may fly one day. I have hope. The Houston conference gave me hope, but I also connected with other writers on this journey and that is what I celebrate today: Connections. I wrote about the conference for Slice of Life Tuesday.

On Tuesday night my husband and I attended a fund raiser for a fairly new nonprofit called the Shining Light Foundation. The organization provides financial assistant to children who have a dream. The event offered a roundup of local Cajun and Zydeco bands. I was particularly taken by a young girl playing the washboard. She has such a natural rhythm and a sense of confidence. I celebrate young talent and passion for going for it.

Chubby Carrier and students

Chubby Carrier and students

This week our gifted sixth graders finished up their project on Wonders of Iberia Parish by painting sets for an original play. Their performance was held at our Gifted by Nature Day for all elementary students, and the three boys that I teach felt proud of the accomplishment. I can see how this experience changed them into confident leaders. I celebrate student leaders.

set painting at WOW

My students continue to enjoy singing poems with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater over at The Poem Farm. Some of them are going to the site on their own between class meetings. One of my groups created their own song this week. See if you can figure out the tune. Here is a matching form from Amy’s site. Like Amy, I will post the Soundcloud tomorrow for you to see if your guess was right.

Written by Matthew, Tyler, Noah, Jacob, and Vannisa

Tree Song

Apples fall from apple trees
Watch out! Watch out!
Syrup comes from maple trees,
Sweet, a sticky mess!

Acorns fall from old oak trees.
Squirrels eat them.
Squirrels and humans both alike
all depend on trees.

All depend on trees,
All depend on trees.
Squirrels and humans both alike
All depend on trees!

Read Full Post »

writing and art

Join the roundup with Renee at No Water River

Join the roundup with Renee at No Water River

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Every year we gather all the elementary gifted students at our local city park for a day of playing strategic games and combining nature, art, and poetry. This year our 6th grade students led the day. They’ve been working together once a month all year to plan a day of wonder for all our students. They performed a play about the Wonders of New Iberia. Written, designed, and performed by students, the play led the audience on a tour of the wonders of our area.

The 6th grade students led an art and poetry activity. Their instructions were to think of something you wonder about and write an I am poem about it. The form was simple. The students wrote and tore paper to create an art piece to accompany the poem. I participated because I wanted to sit next to students and be one of them. I thought about my diva cat, Mimi. One of the students helped me with my torn paper art.

Torn paper Mimi by Margaret Simon

Torn paper Mimi by Margaret Simon

Mimi I am poem

Galaxy by Kaiden

Galaxy by Kaiden

Air by Matthew

Air by Matthew

Nature by Vannisa

Nature by Vannisa

Lani writes

This post is my 600th post. I never would have thought I would get here when I started this amazing journey. Thank you, friends and readers!

Read Full Post »

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

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

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Holly Mueller leads us to spiritual reflection each week. This week the theme is family. I didn’t think I could write a poem about family without being trite or cliché. Sometimes cliché just happens, and this is one of those times.

Family is a full cup
overflowing
with nourishing water
a twist of lemon.

Family is a dog,
four cats,
an occasional frog.

Family is photo albums
in the antique armoire
saving the years.

Family is a favorite restaurant
where they know your name.

Family is a daily text,
Facetime, calling Bluetooth,
feeling close together
while far apart
knowing there is no place like home
and no friend like family.

–Margaret Simon

Last night I happened upon a Twitter chat for #TCRWP. Someone mentioned using PicLit, so in the spirit of digital poetry, I tried it out. The first picture that came up was the Bean in Chicago where we have posed a few family pictures. The word family was not listed, so I used people instead.

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

And here a family Bean photo with haiku using Picmonkey.

Bean family reflection

Read Full Post »

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

This weekend I attended my first ever SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) regional conference in Houston. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous. I thought maybe I was jumping into a place I would not belong, a pond made only for big fish. My fears were relieved almost immediately when I met Caroline walking across the street to the Westin. She told me how scared she was the first time, so she decided she would always find a new person and be welcoming. How great for me. We found a place at a table together, and everyone started chatting and exchanging cards.

I was asked, “Are you an author or an illustrator?”
“Uh, well…”
I said with confidence, “I am an author.”
Then I giggled. “Yes, this is my first time.”

Our first presenter was the illustrator Kelly Light. I fell in love with her. She put us all at ease with her humor and her very real story about her struggle to find herself and live her dream. I was moved to tears by the end. Her first book is adorable, Louise Loves Art.

LOUISEJACKET030

At her signing, she gave out stickers. I wore my favorite sticker on Sunday to have some courage to “Be Fierce…So Feline…So Fantastic!”

Fierce feline sticker on my journal with my fierce feline, Mimi.

Fierce feline sticker on my journal with my fierce feline, Mimi.

Amidst the inspiring speakers and the chatting with new friends, I had an editor’s critique of my middle grade work in progress. My palms were sweaty and my stomach was churning, but I walked in bravely. The editor was calm and respectful. She did not treat me as a total idiotic-what-do-you-think-you-are-doing writer. However, I have a lot of work to do. I have hard decisions to make. Revisions to write. But my work is viable. This work is doable. I will not be sending in a manuscript any time soon. I know I am not ready; however, I am a fish in the pond. I can swim freely alongside the other fish. I am one of them. I am an author.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »