Archive for February, 2022

Poetry Friday is with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

Britt Decker wrote a prompt for Ethical ELA’s Open Write this week inspiring us to use a picture book quote to write a poem. At the school book fair, I bought “I am One” by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds. It made me think about our one wood duck hen who is nesting. We have a wood duck house with a Ring doorbell camera inside so we can watch the progress of our tenants. Each day the Ring goes off around 7 AM, and we look at the video to see her poking around the shavings and settling in to lay an egg. She will do this for a week or so, then she will sit on the clutch. After 28-30 days, the ducklings will hatch. That’s the most exciting part. Within 24 hours they jump from the box into the bayou.

Photo by Townsend Walton on Pexels.com

“Beautiful things start with just one.”

One wood duck hen
flies in the house each day
to lay a single egg
one by one
until her clutch becomes a dozen

Margaret Simon, (c) 2022

If you haven’t signed up to add a line to the KidLit Progressive Poem in April, go to this post.

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Welcome back to “This Photo Wants to be a Poem”. I took today’s photo on my morning walk. It was a quiet morning, but there was evidence that kids had been out playing with sidewalk chalk. Years ago I participated in a blog round-up with Betsy Hubbard of Two Writing Teachers. She called her idea “Chalkabration,” and every last Friday of the month, she encouraged teacher-bloggers to take their students outside to write chalk poems on the sidewalks. It was a favorite day for my students. I haven’t thought about it for a while, but I should definitely bring it back in the spring.

This photo qualifies as a Chalkabration. I love the simplicity of the sentence and how the child who drew it felt compelled to label the drawing. I hope you can find inspiration here, too. Write a small poem in the comments. Be sure to leave encouraging comments for other writers. Let’s have a Chalkabration!

photo by Margaret Simon

This is a rainbow
that you can see, touch and tap
hop-scotch to the sky. 

Margaret Simon, draft 2022

If you’d like to sign up for the Kidlit Progressive Poem happening in April, click here.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

This month of February has been rich for my writing life. I’m writing at least one poem a day along with other writers in Laura Shovan’s 10th Annual February Project on Facebook. The theme this year is Time. Susan Brisson posted a prompt that began like this: “Tiny moments in time, brief exchanges with nature, split seconds of seeing something so beautiful, as fast as the flash of your camera or the time it takes for your thoughts to travel from your eyes to your brain. Have you ever had such a moment? Not a life changing moment but a mood changing moment.”

I immediately thought of releasing monarchs. I’ve been raising monarchs in my kitchen since Christmas. We’ve had a few freezes, so I collected them from my own garden as well as a school garden. I had around 20 caterpillars that successfully made 11 chrysalises. Of those 11, 8 have eclosed into beautiful butterflies. They’ve all been males. They have to be released in temperatures above 50 degrees.

One afternoon last week I released two of them onto outdoor plants. When I checked the next morning, they were still there and completely still. One was even flat on the ground. I brought them back into the enclosure in my kitchen. After warming up, they actually revived, but getting them to let go and fly took a bit of coaxing.


The male monarch
emerged whole
and beautifully designed,
contrast of orange and black wings.

On the day of release
I gently placed my finger near his tiny legs.
He held me so tight my skin tingled.
We walked together.

I tried to coax him to fly,
but he clung, walking gingerly up my arm. Not ready
to let go.
Not ready
to fly.

I held him on my shoulder like a baby.
Then, as a mother knows best,
laid him down
and let him go.

He flew away.
I remember his touch.

Margaret Simon, draft

It’s time to sign up for the Kidlit Progressive Poem for National Poetry Month. The sign up post is here.

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Poetry Friday is with Laura at Small Reads for Better Days

Laura Purdie Salas is our Poetry Friday hostess and a favorite author in my gifted classroom. Her lyrical, poetic language sings. We love to read her words again and again. Laura graciously sent me an F&G of her latest book, We Belong.

Check out this video where Laura talks about how it came to be.

There are so many things to love about this book. I love that it’s full of literary elements that make writing stronger. When we read good writing, we become better writers. The theme is set up by the title, but inside, the book is full of surprises. You can be quiet or loud, short or tall, and still you belong.

Maybe you’re happy.
A fun magic trick.

A sprinkler rainbow.
A kitten’s rough lick.

Maybe you’re sad.
A cloud.
A small cave.

Maybe you’re trying
your best to be brave.

Laura Purdie Salas, We Belong

The illustrations by Carlos Vélez Aguilera introduce us to a group of kids who are not alike, but they join together to play and welcome new friends in. We Belong reminds us that we’re alike and different and that’s not good or bad, it’s just what is true. And concludes with my One Little Word “You are Good. You’re enough.

Laura’s rhyming verse refreshes the age-old message of I’m Ok. You’re OK. Let’s join hands and hearts and make what is true Sing!

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You may use the graphic for your Progressive Poem Post

Poetry Friday Peeps, it’s time to sign up for the National Poetry Month Progressive Poem. If you’d like to play along, you can commit to adding a line to a child-friendly progressive poem and posting it on your own blog. Copy and paste the poem into your post and add a line. You can also copy the following schedule (once complete) onto your blog site with the above graphic.

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainely Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

Leave your date choice, name, and blog address in the comments. I will update the calendar as often as I can.

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This post is an invitation to write from Sharing our Stories Magic.

I’m the kind of writer who…

plays in the sandbox of words,

invites others in,

builds a sand castle masterpiece,

doesn’t fear ocean waves,

is willing to build it again.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

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I follow teacher/writer/photographer Kim Douillard who lives in California. I envy her beach photos. Images of the beach take me away. They have the power to relax me. This photo brought me joy. One of my grandsons is particularly attracted to bubbles. If he is having a tough time, a single session of bubble time will soothe him. What is it about bubbles that is both fascinating and calming?

Bubble on the beach by Kim Douillard
on Instagram as @kd0602

You reach out to touch
knowing your touch will destroy
beauty in thin air.

Margaret Simon, haiku draft 2022

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

My mind has been on hearts and monarchs. For Valentine’s Day, I gave each of my students a small canvas to create a heart-inspired art piece. We looked at Pinterest images and got inspired. They enjoyed spending time focused on design and playing with paint.

Heart art by Jaden

In my email inbox, the Poetry Foundation Poem-of-the-Day was a concrete poem in the shape of half of a heart. I used the idea to create a poem for Laura Shovan’s poetry challenge. It was a challenge. I managed to make the shape, but I’m not sure if I managed a cohesive poem.

Margaret Simon, draft 2022

I came home to find four monarchs hanging out in my butterfly enclosure. Such beautiful creatures. I am worried, though, because we are still having cold temperatures. I released two of them in the afternoon 60 degrees. Today the temps will climb to 70, so I’ll release the other two.

Three monarchs
Released male monarch on fern

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Poetry Friday is with Linda at TeacherDance.

I am participating in Laura Shovan’s February Poetry Project over on Facebook. The prompts around Time are varied and interesting. Buffy Silverman posted photos of animal prints in snow. But my attention went somewhere else as soon as I drove to school and witnessed the phenomenon of a fog bow. I googled “White rainbow” to find out that a fog bow is similar to a rainbow, but the sun is shining through fog rather than rain. A cemetery is across the street from my morning school. I took some pictures of the fog bow over the cemetery and actually pointed it out to a parent in the parking lot. She obviously had somewhere else to be.

Fog bow by Margaret Simon

Fog Bow

Making excuses
for being late,
this morning a white rainbow
rising above white tombs.

Science tells me it’s the fog–
diffraction of small water droplets.

I shout to another driver
probably running late like me.

See! Look!

Amazement lost in the rev of an engine.

Nature’s marker of time doesn’t need
a watch or digital reminder
of what to do when.

This gift.
This sign.
I’ll take it as Mine.

Margaret Simon, draft 2/10/22

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Welcome to Wednesday again. Time to take a minute to observe, breathe, and write. This week’s photo is one I took of balancing stones I’ve placed in a front flower bed. I gathered the stones from a labyrinth at Solomon House, our church’s outreach mission. The labyrinth was not being used and there were some maintenance issues, so the board decided to dismantle it. I feel the stones still have spiritual significance, so I stacked them. The literal term is cairn.

Balancing Stones, by Margaret Simon

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

What are your gifts?
How do you balance gifts
and beauty
and time?
Will you ever find peace of mind?
Look to the stones.
Together they form
balanced structure.
It’s possible.

Margaret Simon

Please share a snippet of a poem/ thoughts in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments.

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