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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.

Today is Celebration Saturday, and I am celebrating the first full week of summer and taking care of myself. I think we are all guilty of putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. This first week out of school I had time. I celebrate the gift of time to take care of myself.

  1. Cleaning out!  I hit the laundry room first.  The shelves are clean.  The junk is thrown out.  The useful, but no longer needed, things are bagged up for Goodwill.  Luckily today is a community household waste collection day, so my husband’s truck is ready to go with many cans of paint.
  2. Hosting Poetry Friday and having time to read all the posts!  See the round up here.
  3. Crochet time: I recently learned of a second grade student at one of my schools who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I am crocheting my first afghan as a prayer blanket for her.
  4. Eating right:  I’ve caught a few episodes of Dr. Oz.  He advised us to eat berries at breakfast.  I went blueberry picking this week and am enjoying these pops of fruity deliciousness with absolutely no guilt.

blueberry on branch

  1. Playing with photography: Last Sunday I put out a DigiLit Challenge.  Tomorrow I will post another one.  I also took Kim Douillard’s challenge of the week to try Black and White.
New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park

Grandmother Oak Morning

Grandmother Oak Morning

Candle sculpture

Candle sculpture

  1. Exercise:  I love walking my dog.  In the summer, you must get out before 8 AM to beat the heat.  My inner clock is still tuned to getting up for school, so I took advantage of early mornings to walk with Charlie.  He celebrates walking, too.
  2. Time to write:  This is last because I have a tinge of guilt that I didn’t spend more time writing.  I worked on a draft for a future blog post.  I revised my middle grade work in progress and wrote one poem.

 

Ideas Grow

Round up is here today!

Round up is here today!

Fly word cloud 2

Don’t you love how small ideas can grow into big ideas with the strength of social media? Some ideas you can hardly trace back to the original owner. Take Poetry Friday, for example. How did it get started? Does anyone know?

On Facebook this week, I was tagged in a post, “For the love of poetry, let’s scatter poems all over Facebook.” I jumped in and tagged a few more people and now they are posting and tagging. How long will this go on? Ideas grow.

Last Sunday, I didn’t know what to write about for DigiLit Sunday, a round up of digital literacy posts that I started. I was about to give up. The last week of school was over, and I was bone dry. On a whim, I posted a digital challenge. Check it out here. I feel it was a huge success because there were a few people who joined in that I didn’t know. I’ll be posting another challenge this Sunday. Tune in. Here’s the Pinterest board full of digital images and poems.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater was given a push by Kimberley Moran to have a Try This section on Sharing our Notebooks. Amy invited bloggers to send her ideas and her page is now full of 40+ Try This ideas. Wow!

Today Michelle Hendrick Barnes is posting her gallery of free verse word poems inspired by Nikki Grimes. I don’t always take part, but I did this month. There is something so satisfying about participating in a community. And sharing poetry.

In this digital world, poetry is available and accessible to anyone. Welcome to the Poetry Friday Parade. Jump in line anytime or just stand on the side and wave. It’s all good.

Leave the link to your post with inLinkZ. The button sends you to another page to post or read. Thanks for joining in!

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

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

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

― Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

Ah, the silence of summer. Days full of nothing. The older I get the more I appreciate silence. Sometimes silence is awkward, so we try to fill it up with sound. We turn on the TV or radio. We make a phone call. In the car, I rarely ride without the radio on. At home, I turn on the TV.

Over and over I am reminded that God comes in silence. When I take the time to turn off the devices and just listen, I hear joy in the songs of the birds. I hear the whisper of wind. I hear the quiet voice of God.

I took a walk to the park and did not take my phone. I walked alone. I was amazed at the noisiness of the birds, especially the mockingbird. I recorded one high in a tree. During the recording you can hear me say good morning to another walker. Listen and count the number of tunes the mockingbird sings.

When you are most at ease with another person, silence isn’t awkward. We stop trying to fill the open void with chatter. Notice this with your closest loved ones. With them, silence is golden. That’s how it is with God. Quiet moments given to prayer and meditation. Don’t chatter. Let your thoughts flit away like a moth. Ride the silent wave to an ultimate closeness with your creator.

Silence is a source of great strength

Silence is a source of great strength

DigiLit Challenge

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Summer has started for me.  I can sleep later (haven’t yet, but the opportunity is there). I can read or write whenever I want to.  My days are open to possibilities.

Today on the Two Writing Teachers blog, Betsy Hubbard reminds us to think about our One Little Word.  My word is Reach.  I would like to Reach for more teacher/bloggers to join DigiLit Sunday.  I have no idea how to do that.  So I am calling on my readers to help me.

I tend to be someone who rises to a challenge.  Last summer I joined in CLMOOC and plan to again this summer.  I will probably do Teachers Write  with Kate Messner and many other awesome authors again for the 4th year.

There are new challenges every day in this community.  Reaching out to create my own challenge is a bit scary.  What if no one comes?  I will stay true to my OLW and just do it.  For the next four weeks, I’ll post a challenge on DigiLit Sunday.  If you choose to do it, you can post it however you feel most comfortable, Twitter, Facebook, Blog, or GooglePlus.  I’ll collect the links and post them the following week on DigiLit Sunday.  Use #digilitchallenge. Be sure to tag me. (@MargaretGSimon on Twitter, @MargaretGibsonSimon on Facebook, and Margaret Simon on Google+)

Challenge this week: Turn an image of nature into a work of art: #photoart

For my photo, I used Waterlogue app on my phone.  Then uploaded it to PicMonkey to add the haiku.

Sunrise haiku

 

Reaching new challenges.  Playing with digital literacies.  Pass it on.

 

Link up your DigiLit Sunday posts or DigiLit Challenge here:

Discover. Play. Build.

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

prayer shawl

I heard from a colleague that her student’s mom was battling cancer. I made a prayer shawl and gave it to the little girl at school. Two days later I got this text.

tumor text

A miracle to Celebrate!

The end of the school year is such a bittersweet time. I receive notes from students and parents that lift me up and make me cry. I celebrate the connections in my lives with my students and their families.

Magic Matt is learning to make balloon animals for his act.  Love these!

Magic Matt is learning to make balloon animals for his act. Love these!

My letter from Matthew included this awesome line, “To say I’ll miss you would be like saying you kind of like poetry.”

And from his mom, “You are so much more than Matthew’s teacher. You are his mentor, his confidante, his cheerleader, and one of his biggest supporters!”

Some students, like Emily, I will teach again next year.  I am so lucky!

Some students, like Emily, I will teach again next year. I am so lucky!

Mimi is always waiting for me to come home.

Mimi is always waiting for me to come home.

Summer is here!  Those long-stretched-out-open days full of possibility.  I celebrate the possibilities.

Matt is hosting today at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme.

Matt is hosting today at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme.

chalkabration

chalk button 14

Yesterday was our last day of school.  I decided what better way to celebrate and send off the year than to write chalk poems.  I only could round up three of my students (all boys).  We started as usual by discussing a theme.  Here is where my students always surprise me.  I’m thinking the usual topics such as summer, end of school, May.  Well, not these guys.  They had outer space on their minds.  So outer space it was.  We each chose a topic out loud: black holes, Mars, galaxies, and stars.  I couldn’t find paper (all packed up), so I pulled out sticky notes and some pens from my purse.  We wrote, shared, then headed outside to chalk it up!

And to top it off, it was Betsy Hubbard’s birthday!  Do you know who she is?  She’s the inventor of Chalkabration.  So my students added a birthday wish.  Betsy usually posts a roundup of Chalkabration on the last day of the month.  We’re early, but it was the last day.  Check out her site on May 31st.

Galaxies by Tyler Never ending billions of stars lighting up the night different styles amaze mankind.

Galaxies by Tyler
Never ending
billions of stars
lighting up the night
different styles
amaze mankind.

Stars by Mrs. Simon

Stars by Mrs. Simon

Mars by Jacob Mars is red And the only red planet Red planet Super cold!

Why did God create this destructive force that eats galaxies? Why did God create black holes? by Matthew

Why did God create
this destructive force
that eats galaxies?
Why did God create
black holes?
by Matthew

Creating chalkabration We appreciate that a lot Happy B-day, Mrs. Betsy!

Creating chalkabration
We appreciate that a lot
Happy B-day,
Mrs. Betsy!

More Poetry Goodness:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is gathering notebook ideas for summer.  I sent in two, one from me here, and the other from my student Tyler here.

Michelle Hendrick Barnes put out a ditty challenge from Nikki Grimes.  My poem was featured here.

May: The End

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

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

Come to me all ye

December, May, and August are the most difficult months for me. December for the obvious reasons, end-of-the-year holiday madness. August is the month of my birthday as well as the beginning of school.

May is a tough month for us teachers. We are faced with so many things to get done, packing up the year, and moving students on. Saying goodbye is stressful. How do you do it? With just a hug? With a card? A letter? A video of the year? I am not a “regular” teacher. I am not showing videos. I am not organizing games. I am not having end-of-the-year parties. Some of these things I try to squeeze in to our last days, but attendance is not reliable. Of all the months and days of the school year, these last ones are when I am least comfortable. I am tired. I am sad. I eat a lot of chocolate.

Do you know the story by Sandra Cisneros, Eleven? “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you
are –underneath the year that makes you eleven.”

What they don’t understand about school years and what they never tell you is when you’re in 6th grade, you’re also a 5th grader, and a 4th grader, and a 3rd grader, and a 2nd grader, and a 1st grader. When you walk to class on the first day of 6th grade, you expect to feel different, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like last year, only it’s a new school. And you don’t feel like a sixth grader at all. You feel like you’re starting first grade all over again. And you are –underneath the year that makes you a 6th grader.

Like some days you may say something stupid, and that’s like you’re still in first grade, and you aren’t sure where the bathroom is yet. Or some days, you may look into your lunchbox and cry, thinking of your mother’s hands making your sandwich and how she’s waiting for you to tell her all about your day. And you want to make her happy and make her feel like you are growing up and ready to face the world of middle school, but you’re not. You wish you could curl up under your desk on a springy red mat with a towel that smells like home and take a nap. That is the part that makes you feel like you are still in kindergarten. Your teacher smiles at you and understands.  Because, inside, she’s a sixth grader, too.

Dedicated to Matthew who is leaving me to go on to middle school at a private school. I know he is ready. I know I have prepared him for this day, but I also know that inside he will still be 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

–Margaret Simon, after Sandra Cisneros

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