Archive for the ‘Slice of Life’ Category

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge


I’ve had a poem accepted for publication in the journal, the Aurorean.  My poem is titled, “Aubade to a Tulip.” The journal is currently taking pre-orders at this link. 

Years ago I submitted to the Aurorean and was published in the Fall/ Winter 2009-2010 issue with the following poem.

December 27th: Putting the Old Dog Down

On this cloudy humid morning I watch
a great blue heron swoop toward the bayou.
He jumps in like a child in summer,
emerges with the catch of the day.
Standing on the bulkhead, he swallows
the fish whole, looks left then right,
rises–his blue wing-tips all the bluer.

Fog lifts over the road to the vet’s office.
Wrapped in a shred of flannel sheet,
I hold her close, look into eyes of trust
while the poison needles in.
I let her go.

The camellia’s first blossoms blanket
the lawn in pink, resurrection fern fans the air.

Margaret Simon (c) 2010

I am grateful to the Aurorean’s editor Cynthia Brackett-Vincent for placing her trust in me as a poet and once again giving wings to one of my poems.

Bayou Teche blue heron, photo by Margaret Simon


Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Years ago I took the Myers-Briggs test for personality analysis.  It did not tell me anything I didn’t already know internally.  I am an introvert.  I have fought against this part of myself all my life.  I’ve tried to attend the party, the parade, the picnic, but I never really understood why I would leave exhausted.

Now that I’m in my 50’s it’s time to realize that my basic personality is not going to change.  It’s time to embrace the introvert in me.  On Facebook this morning, someone posted this article.  The article explained that, as an introvert, I have different needs.  That I may feel like I have to hide those needs.  Nail on head! Duh!  How long have I been fighting against my own “needs”?

As the time gets nearer to spring break, my mind is revolting.  I am craving time alone.  Time alone is not only a luxury, however, it is one of my basic needs. I need to walk alone in the woods.  I need to sit with a book and read.  I need to watch the sunset.

Another of the 12 points listed that resonated with me was #8: A deeper purpose to their work.

I attended the regional SCBWI conference on Saturday.  This morning I am trying to process why the business of finding an agent and marketing your work is unsettling to me.  Why did that particular presentation leave me feeling defeated and hopeless?  Because I need a deeper purpose for my work.  That’s it.

When one of the presenters asked us to write down a purpose statement about why we write for children, I wrote, Children fill my world every day.  I love being with them. I love watching them grow into who they are meant to be.  I want to be a part of their world. I can be there with my words.

This post is one of those writing-to-discover-what-you-think posts.  Maybe that needs to be added to the list of needs for the introvert.  Writing is a way to clear the cobwebs to find the root of my thinking.  Today, that root is being an introvert.

Introverts are not wrong.

We are different.

Embrace this difference.

Be confident in who you are.

I am sending this message to myself today and any other introverts out there.

I’m OK.  You’re OK.


Azaleas blooming on St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Have you thought about found poetry lately?  This week my friend Linda Mitchell posted a found/ black out poem on Facebook.  A day or two later Janet Wong posted a found poem from an article about the Parkland shooting. These two posts inspired me to try my own.

I’ve been reading aloud Tuck Everlasting to a group of students.  Natalie Babbett’s writing is so descriptive and beautiful, so I copied a page from the book and made a black out poem to use as a model poem for my students.

When I shared this with my students as a writing choice, two of my girls chose favorite pages from favorite books to create their own black out poems.

The day was absolutely gorgeous.  Highs in the 60’s, sun shining, not a cloud in the sky.  Who wants to stay inside?

My science kids are doing projects about plants, so I printed an online article for each of them.  We took the articles and clipboards out to the garden to write.

Circling words to create poems, these students enjoyed “finding” poems in nonfiction text. Poetry can be found anywhere!

Jayden’s poem about camellias:

Prized beauty of
exquisite blooms,
splendid evergreen foliage
attractive shrubs
burst into flowers
rest little prodigious garden.

Where will you find a poem today?

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Wednesday was not going well.  Hump Day. Pi Day. Family Reading Picnic Day. National Walkout Day.

But that’s not what got me.  It was a bee…in my hair…that I grabbed…it stung…I said s*%#t…all the kids heard me…I cried for help…get the stinger out…Noah to the rescue…I left to get ice.

When I returned, the boys were perched at their computers typing like mad.  They were not just being good boys.  They were slicing!  Something exciting had happened, and the first thing that came to their minds was “This is something to slice about!”

Today in class Mrs. Simon got stung by an unidentified insect but when she got stung it sounded like she was sneezing but when you sneeze you don’t curse out loud on accident. When she got stung she said “I got stung someone come take the stinger out” and as soon as I heard her I was there like the flash. As soon as I saw where she got stung (which was pretty easy because that was the only place on her hand that she wasn’t covering at the moment) I yanked it out and the stinger came out pretty easily but the stinger was super long and at the end it had some of the end of the bee on it.

   It was super cool because as soon as I took it out Mrs. Simon went to the lounge and get some ice for it and when she came back she put loads of Germ-X on the cut and then she kept the ice pack on the cut for like ten to twenty minutes on her hand. We all suggested to Mrs. Simon to go to the doctor but she said that it would be alright. As soon as I put the stinger down instead of writing the post I was about to start I started this post about how Mrs. Simon got stung.

Noah, 6th grade

Because it was Pi Day, we were writing Pi-ku.  I used the 3.14159 syllable count. Here’s my silly one about the sting:

That bee stung
my ring finger.

Pull the stinger out!
Put ice on the red bump swelling fast.

At the time of this writing, my fingertip is sore but not too swollen.  I think I’ll live.

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

I was walking down the hall when he saw me. His eyes lit up and he directed me over to the wall to see his writing. He read, “I wish it would rain ice cream!”

He points to the words then the picture. “See all my ice cream? That’s my French fries. Rainbow pizza. A pancake,” he said with a giggle.

This new writer was so excited to share. I asked him what his second sentence said and he exclaimed “yum!” in a don’t-you-know-that-word voice.

Before I walked away, I said, “Keep writing!”

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

On Sunday I posted about using jeweler’s loupes with my students in science and writing poems.  I felt a little guilty writing poems in science class, like that was somehow not allowed.  But my friend and slicer Dani Burtsfield posted a link to a podcast in her comment.  The podcast from Heinemann featured Amy Ludwig VanDerwater talking with authors Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz about science and poetry.

Amy asks, “Is a poem a system?”

She continues, “”Do you feel if a poem is a system … is the reader’s intent and background, when a reader comes to a poem, is that energy that flows through that system?”

Later, Amy brings up genre study. “one of the things I see that happens with writing is that … sometimes writing is divided up into these little genres, and we do this for a few weeks, we do this for a few weeks, and we do this for a few weeks. But what gets lost, and what can get lost, is the bigger idea of how to notice these patterns. How to see how interlocking pieces of words work together in a text beyond genre, like transcending, flying over genre.”

Amy’s ideas led me to my lesson today with my science kids.  I wanted to use the patterns of poetry to notice the patterns in science, to fly over genre.

We were using jeweler’s loupes to look at plants, but today we were looking closely at mold.  Last week we set up mold terrariums using ziplock bags and a slice of bread and apple.  Following the weekend, guess what grew?  Yucky mold!

Mold on an apple

“What does the mold remind you of?”

“An old man’s beard.”

“Whipped cream!”

“Let’s write a poem about it.”

Moldy Poem

Mold is growing on our food.
We know it’s made of spores.
Now it looks like
an old man’s beard,
white and green like sour cream.

Mold is creeping like a fox
preying on a squirrel.
Decomposing apples and bread
like bacteria in my mouth.
A marshmallow made of spores.

Writing this poem helped solidify some science concepts through discussion and creativity, observation and discovery. I think we’ll write poems in science more often. Thanks, Amy, Valerie, and Mark for permission.

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

This weekend we welcomed strangers into our home.  They are artists from New Hampshire and Florida, two best friends who learned to paint together and now travel all over the U.S. to different Plein Air painting competitions.

The Shadows on the Teche, a local historical plantation home, has a competition going on this week.  Months ago we were asked to host two visiting artists, so Patricia and Deb arrived Saturday afternoon, total newbies to our area.

I am enjoying seeing the beauty of our home through their eyes.  Sunday afternoon we took them for a drive to scout out areas to paint in.

En Plein Air is a French term for painting in the wild, outdoors.  I have visions of creating an en plein air event for poets.  Poets could partner with painters and write while the artist paints.  Who’s game?

I told Patricia and Deb to watch out because I will be writing about them.  I look forward to seeing the art they produce and talking about art all week.  The final show and auction will be Friday night.  To learn more about the event, go to The Shadows on the Teche web page. 


En Plein Air painting of Grandmother oak in my backyard. (Patricia Sweet, artist.)

A peacock poses for his painting at Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens.

Shrimp boat in Delcambre may be a prime poser for traveling artists.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »