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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

On Wednesday in freezing temperatures (an unusual 28 degrees in the morning), I traveled with gifted colleagues and 4th-6th graders from our district to the Renaissance Festival in Hammond, LA. As the day wore on, the temperatures rose to a comfortable 50 degrees. With a number of parents attending, I ended up spending the day with just one student, Madison.

Madison loves all things Renaissance. We watched glassblowing and juggling and had a quick recorder lesson. I loved watching her absorb it all. When we ran into classmates, she pulled out the wooden dagger she had bought and challenged them to a dual.

Renaissance merchant with a wooden toy.

My students wrote about their experience and here are a few quotes:

 So at the renaissance fair we started at the Queen stage and watched a play which I didn’t watch all of. The next play we went to was Romeo and Juliet which was quite funny. Shakespeare himself directed Romeo and Juliet and the first thing he said was  dumb which we replied with no and which he replied well your watching a play directed by someone who calls himself Shakespeare. There was two families and the I was in was the Montagues the other people were Capulets. We will not talk about the rest and no I was not Romeo.

Jaden, 4th grade

 We saw this ride where you sit on a wooden horse and you in a way, joust. I think it was called “Sliding Joust.” Daniel told me he went on it. It looked daring to me.

        I learned that most of the swords weighed about two pounds. She even let me hold one of them. You would think that is not a lot, little do you know it really is. 

        We went to a shop and we asked why did they train with wooden swords. The man told us that they trained with wooden swords because if they did not train with wooden swords the real sword would hurt the other person.

Karson, 5th grade
Karson lifts a sword.

When it comes to field trips, this was a good one. The distance was not too far, 2 hour drive, and the experience was all in one safe, enclosed space. There are so many factors that can overshadow the educational experience of a field trip, weather, food, the bus and who you sit next to, etc. For a few hours, my students and I were transformed back in time. This experience will live on in their memory.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Vernal Equinox on the Bayou Teche.

Begin with the source,
Lore told again and again,
ancient words from native people–
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake

Water runs through it
brown bayou mud
bound by an ever-eroding shore
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake.

Sun sets on vernal equinox
sends rays of light across
cypress trees reflected in still water
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake.

–Margaret Simon

Reflections

The name of my blog originates with the bayou that runs behind my house.  Bayou Teche was so named for an ancient Native American legend that the warriors battled a huge snake for days, and in finally killing it, the giant serpent created a waterway through where it lay.  The Bayou Teche meanders back and forth for 125 miles.

We recently joined the T.E.C.H.E. Project, Teche Ecology, Culture and History Education, a nonprofit with a mission to improve the Bayou Teche for recreation as well as for ecosystem health.  One of the perks of membership is the gift of a mile marker.  Our house is at mile 69.4.  We plan to mount the marker on our wood duck house, but we will wait until Eve, our resident mother, finishes her nesting.

The name of my blog has significance to me. It reflects the place where I live along with my own internal reflections about teaching and writing.  Literal and figurative reflections on the Teche.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

In addition to the Slice of Life Challenge, I am writing a poem each day with a Facebook group for Laura Shovan’s annual birthday project.  This year we are writing about food.  The prompt yesterday from Laura herself was sourdough bread.  Not having much experience in sourdough bread, the baking or the eating of it, I took the option to write about any bread.

I am currently in New Orleans with my girls celebrating Mardi Gras.  A staple pastry during the Mardi Gras season is King cake.  King Cake is symbolic of Epiphany, the season of the church year following Christmas.  On Epiphany, the three kings arrived to worship Jesus.  The dough is baked in a circle symbolizing unity of faith.  The frosting is colored sugar in purple, gold, and green.  Gold represents power, green is associated with faith, and purple illustrates justice. (Southern Living)

Of the many Mardi Gras traditions, this is one of my favorite.  In our small town of New Iberia, there is a donut bakery that makes King Cakes like a donut.  My son-in-law brought one yesterday that he swears weighs more than his 2 month old.  It’s infused with cream cheese and strawberry jam.  There are two more on the kitchen counter each with its own flavoring and pastry recipe.  The tradition is that a plastic baby is placed inside the King Cake to symbolize the search for baby Jesus.  Whomever gets the baby in their piece is obligated to buy the next King Cake for the next celebration.

I’ve decided to forego my no carb diet just for this weekend.  Let the good times roll!

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

 

Spending some time in New Orleans filled me with inspiration, especially in the Syndey and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I took pictures and found a poem.  My friend, Dani Burtsfield from Montana, walked with me and found her own poem.  The two compliment each other like we do as friends.

 

 

 

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Louisiana booth in the Parade of States.

Bayou Song was featured at the Louisiana booth at the National Book Festival. This was a fun yet humbling experience. Kids crowded our table wanting Mardi Gras beads and a stamp from our state. I stood on the side like a protective mother to my book. Occasionally an adult would take interest and want to talk. I had a number of good conversations about teaching, poetry, and writing. One parent and child asked me to sign the bookmark. I felt like Vashti from The Dot. Really? Yes, sign it.

A man picked up Bayou Song and as I reached out to grab it back, I realized he was reading a poem aloud to his infant son while a taller, school-aged boy clung to him. So heartwarming to see this scene in the midst of the crowd.  He explained that he is a stay-at-home dad and he reads poetry to his children every day.

 

The National Book Festival is a huge free event that promotes literacy on all levels. On the kid level, there were activities and talks by authors like Kate DiCamillo, Dan Santat, and Jason Reynolds.  For grown-up readers, there were some big names like Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Tan, and Roxanne Gay.

Poetry Friday friends Heidi Mordhorst, immediate right of the sign, and Linda Mitchell next to her. Heidi said, “Poetry is the means by which a person knows her place.”

The highlight of my day was to see two of my writing critique friends face to face. We palled around to a talk with poets laureate Tracy K Smith and Robert Haas. We also heard from a new-to-us author Suzanne Slade who presented about her new book Countdown. It’s written in verse! With amazing photos and illustrations.

Later in the day as I waited for my husband who was listening to Jon Meacham, I saw Suzanne walking by. I waved her down and not only was able to get her to sign her book, but we also had a great chat about writing and publishing. Authors are just regular people who love to talk about their work.

On Sunday, my husband and I worshiped at the National Cathedral and toured the Holocaust Museum. I was moved by both experiences in different ways.  Our nation’s capital is an awe-inspiring place to visit.  My husband agreed and said he’d accompany me on any author trips.  He enjoyed being my “roadie.”

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

I spent a long weekend in Boston with my three daughters last weekend. We walked a lot. Boston is a great walking city. We’d stop to shop or have lunch or get coffee. Like my friend, Linda Mitchell, I took some pictures of signs to gather into a found poem.

Take a walk in

Footprints on the Freedom Trail.

Today is the last day of my fun and fabulous Bayou Song Blog Tour. Please check out Dani’s post today.

Friday, June 22:
Michelle Kogan

Tuesday, June 26:
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core

Friday, June 29:
Ruth Hersey at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town

Friday, July 6:
Kimberly Hutmacher at Kimberly Hutmacher Writes

Friday, July 13:
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise

Tuesday, July 17:
Laura Shovan 

Tuesday, July 24
Amanda Potts at Persistence and Pedagogy

Friday, July 27:
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink

Monday, July 30
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance

Friday, Aug. 3
Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

Jen loves to have visitors at her B&B farm property in Breaux Bridge, Bonne Terre.  Bonne Terre in French means good soil.  While I’m sure this is good earth, I can see that Jen dedicates lots of her time to making it good.  There are signs of her everywhere, in the mown lawns, the growing vegetables, and the attractive, rustic sculptures.  Even in the bathroom, she has selected special aromatic soaps and adorable decorations.  I have to admit I’ve had trouble settling down to write.  I’ve moved positions at least five times.

I asked Jen how many chickens she has.  She had to do the math because she has a variety of breeds, but she came up with 71 (or was it 79?).  Nevertheless, chickens are everywhere.  They are a humorous, noisy lot that make me feel like I am out in the country at grandmother’s house.

I’ve been meaning to treat myself to a full day of writing all summer long.  With only a few weeks left before school starts, I finally did it.  I worry that I will fill this day with things other than writing.  Jen told me, “It doesn’t matter if you write or not.  The point is you gave yourself this space to be present.”

I’ll likely spend the next few hours reading blogs, walking the grounds, and having coffee with Jen, but whatever I do is bon travail on this bonne terre, good work on this good earth.  And look at me!  For what it’s worth, I got a blog post written.

I think this dragonfly wants to be in a poem!

Please hop over to Amanda’s post on Persistence and Pedagogy.  She’s a stop on the Bayou Song blog tour, and I love what she did with her kiddos.

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