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Archive for November, 2015

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

One of the highlights for me at NCTE is meeting all my favorite authors. Every one I meet is generous and kind. I love sharing stories of how my students connect to their books. The authors feel so proud when you talk to them about their books. They also reflect right back to me and appreciate the work I do in the classroom.

I can’t wait to share this video with my students. Some of them wrote letters that I delivered to their favorite author. Kate DiCamillo has already written back.

Making connections to authors enriches the experience of reading. Students learn that there is a real person behind the words. They realize the importance of writing. They aspire to be authors themselves.

If you are writing about digital literacy, please link up your blog post. Thanks.

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Discover. Play. Build.

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

Morning walk in the park, a great egret in Devil's Pond.

Morning walk in the park, a great egret in Devil’s Pond.

My house is full: three daughters, one fiancé, one sister, one brother-in-law, one niece, one nephew, two dogs, three cats.

My fridge is full: turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, Brussels sprouts, salad, pumpkin cake, and a big pot of gumbo.

My heart is full: card games, laughter, stories, tiny hats, satsuma rum, dog hugs, cooking, cleaning, Venti latte, “whose phone is this?”, laughing, hugs, smiles, photos, swinging on the rope, harvesting satsumas, canoeing on the bayou.

I celebrate this wonderful full house that fills my heart with health, love, and peace.

My nephew Jack climbs into the satsuma tree to harvest.

My nephew Jack climbs into the satsuma tree to harvest.

My son-in-law-to-be learns the way to my heart is with coffee from Starbucks.

My son-in-law-to-be learns the way to my heart is with coffee from Starbucks.

Sisters enjoy the feast.

Sisters enjoy the feast.

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Cat Whispers a Poem

Poetry Friday round-up with Carol at Carol's Corner.

Poetry Friday round-up with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

I signed up years ago for the Poem a Day email from Poets.org. But my inbox gets full of them. I feel like I need a stretch of time to read them all. And then sometimes when I open the poem-of-the-day, I am inspired to write. I get distracted from what needs to be done. I am like an artist in “flow.” Borrow a line. Steal a pattern.

My bumper sticker should read, “I’d rather be writing a poem.”

This one is patterned from Rebecca Lehmann’s poem Natural History using anaphora (repetition) of “Here comes” and “Tell me.”

Here comes light
streaming down the bayou
like a surfer riding the waves.
Here comes wind,
in a stream of its own
wiggling those chimes.
Tell me bent cypress branches,
how year after year
you shed and redress
in brighter green.

Here comes the sun
casting a shadow of the mother oak
I spread my arms wide
in tableau, statue of majesty.
Tell me the child swinging on your rope,
how she came to you when her mother cried,
finding another mother in your shade.

Here comes the land
softened by hard rain
answering our prayer.
Tell me about wet,
how all at once you feel fat
and full like resurrection.

Here comes grey cat
the one with no tail
flipping at my feet.
Tell me what you see
at night on the lonely road.
Whisper your wisdom.
Follow me home.

–Margaret Simon

Painted in Waterlogue

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

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

harvest list

I love that the word harvest is on my list for preparations for Thanksgiving. I have a brown thumb. I am no good at growing stuff. I tend to forget to water, prune, anything that a plant requires for survival. So I am filled with pleasure when I can harvest in my own backyard. God blessed citrus trees with resilience. They don’t need me. And yet they give back to me.

This is how God’s love is. Abundant. All we have to do is harvest it.

satsuma tree

I am wishing for you this holiday season an abundant harvest.

lemon tree

Like that tiny mustard seed. When planted it takes root and turns into a large tree with many branches.

Open up your arms to the world.
Glow like the lemon in the sunlight.
Be joy.
Be love.
Be the harvest.

A bowl of life from my own backyard!

A bowl of life from my own backyard!

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

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

“I write to know what I am thinking.” Someone said this. Someone wise. I can’t remember who because there are days and people and ideas between hearing these words and today. But this is exactly what I am doing. Trying to process my thinking from NCTE15 through writing.

My trip home from Minneapolis was long. My brain is full to overflowing with words, ideas, love, and hope. At NCTE, teachers are honored. Teachers are fed. Teachers are inspired.

At NCTE15, I discovered…

Teachers are rock stars to authors. The work we do in the classroom around books is why authors do the work they do. They love hearing the stories of what we are doing with their babies (books).

Allow students to explore what they are passionate about.  Real authors like Kate Messner, Laura Purdie Salas, Laurel Snyder, and more are driven by their endless curiosity.  We need to allow wondering and wandering to ignite passionate research for our students.

Kate DiCamillo says to give young writers the gift to be themselves. “Break the rules and find yourself.”

Sharon Draper says, “Words are Power!”  We need love–connections–peace, and books are how we do that.

The books authors write are their babies, and when you love their babies, you love them.  I watched author after author brighten up when I talked to them about how their books affected me and my students.

“Literature can empower young people. Books are like amusement parks.  Sometimes you have to let the kids choose the ride.” Kwame Alexander.

Schools should be scavenger hunts, places where students can feel safe to wonder, wander, and discover. Georgia Heard, Wonderopolis breakfast

When I look through my notes, I notice that most of what I heard affirmed my teaching philosophy: Open the door.  Be safe. Be curious.  Expand the horizon. Reach for the stars. 

At the Children's Literature Awards Lunch with Julianne Harmatz, me, Laura Purdie Salas, Catherine Flynn, and Heidi Mordhorst.

At the Children’s Literature Awards Lunch with Julianne Harmatz, me, Laura Purdie Salas, Catherine Flynn, and Heidi Mordhorst.

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Poetry Friday round-up with Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect.

Poetry Friday round-up with Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect.

Every once in a while a volume of poetry comes along that blows me away. The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry is an anthology that will keep my poetry self satisfied for a while. Edited by J. Patrick Lewis, the poems are illustrated by amazing images. This glossy book even smells good.

book of nature poetry

Laura Purdie Salas posted last week about her poem Brinicle which is included in the Book of Nature Poetry. This was a totally new subject for me, so I took the chance that it was new to my students. They were transfixed by the video she posted. Then we read and discussed her poem. Laura gave us lots to talk about. (free verse, imagery, personification, metaphor, and sounds)

The assignment: Turn your Wonder into Poetry Using Animoto. Since I am traveling to NCTE this week, I wasn’t sure how or if my students would write their poems and make a video. I’ve checked in on their kidblog site, and they have been posting some cool poem videos. I’ll share a few here.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

NCTE 2015 is only a few short days away, and I am beyond excited. This year I am participating in two presentations. I will be on a round table session on Friday at 4:00 #E20: Igniting Wonder in Students and Teachers: Fueling the Fires of Creativity and Independence in the Classroom. Here I will be talking about DigiLit Sunday and digital literacy. I created an Emaze to show. In it I show how my students present their various “Wonders” to the class. Last week I wrote about how I assign and assess these weekly research endeavors.

NCTE flyer

J.02 Write Beside Them (Donald GravesAwards Winners)101CSponsored by the Elementary SectionSteering CommitteeThe presentation will feature three recipientsof NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellencein the Teaching of Writing. This awa copy

The second session is a panel of Donald Graves Award winners from 2013, 2014, and 2015. I’m a little intimidated by this one because I am beside some amazing teachers as well as on of my all time favorite mentors, Katie Wood Ray. J02: Write Beside Them Saturday, 2:45.

For this panel, I have made a Google Slide Show about blogging with students. I made a card with the major reasons for student blogging.

Kidblog card

I would like to start a Voxer chat for NCTE 15. If you are going and would like to chat, let me know. Even if you are not going, and you would like to hear and comment on what we are learning and sharing, you can join in. Contact me by Voxer, email, Twitter, or in the comments.

And as always, if you are writing about digital literacy, please leave a link.

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