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Archive for March, 2016

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

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

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

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

Today is the last day of March.  I find it hard to believe that I have actually written a blog post every day in March.  The Slice of Life Challenge is just that, a challenge.  Thank you for reading and responding.

Appropriately for this day, Spiritual Thursday’s one little word is Donna Smith’s word BOLD.   Being bold is what it takes to put yourself and your life out there for the world to see.

So here I am thinking about continuing a bold move toward the month of April.  April is National Poetry Month.  What should I do but write a poem a day?  I’ve posted my blog here at NaPoWriMo and committed to the challenge.   I will be writing poems to images.  #imagepoems

Would you consider joining me?  No pressure.  No rules.  Just drafting and playing with words inspired by images.  You can use your own images or write about mine.  If I get my act together, I may post the next day’s image in the post.

I draw inspiration from other brave writers like Elisabeth Ellington.  She wrote a two word poem about her son yesterday.  Read the post here.

This is my bold statement about the Slice of Life Challenge in a two word list poem.

I’m here
this page
torn out
left open
for you
a slice
of life
nothing special
ordinary days
my story
your story
we connect
ideas flow
ideas stop
one moment
in time
leads to
friends talking
laughing with
crying with
loving with
each other
Slices done
bold words
left here
for you
and me.

Image for April Fool’s Day:

I was shopping in Ann Taylor Loft. This is what I found in the bathroom.

I was shopping in Ann Taylor Loft. This is what I found in the bathroom.

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

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

For Easter weekend I visited my parents in Mississippi.  I am so grateful that they are doing so well.  My father still draws upstairs in his studio every day.  My father’s art is pointillism.  The images are created by dots on the page.  Last year he was on a medication that kept him from being able to hold his pen steady.  He didn’t know if he’d ever be able to draw again.

Now he is preparing a set of drawings for a gallery show in May.  Each one takes at least a month to complete.  I admire his perseverance and his talent.

 

Pop in studio

Focus, patience, and a steady hand are necessary for this style of drawing.

In 2013 in honor of my father’s 80th birthday, I published a book of his Christmas card drawings alongside my original poems.  The book is Illuminate and is still available on Amazon. 

Pop Studio view

My father’s studio looks out at this view of the lake.  He is currently drawing the tree that hovers near this window.  Trees are his favorite subject.  “Beautiful and complicated and challenging.”

 

Pop drawing

This drawing hangs in the hallway near the studio.  The chiaroscuro (play of dark and light) is prevalent in this drawing.

My father is not a famous artist.  He doesn’t sell many of his drawings and when he does, they are modestly priced.  That is not why he draws.  His art is as necessary to him as air, an intimate part of his being in this world.  Drawing dots is his meditation and his communication. I am blessed to be a witness to its beauty.

 

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

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

Porch sitting

Porch sitting

Porch sitting
alone or with family
refreshes a tired mind.

Listen to the trickle of water
from the fountain,
the calls of fishermen in the distance.

Turtles on the bank
sunbathe, while Pop
tells us they are gathering oxygen.

I gather oxygen here, too,
and find the questions of
life easier to bear.
–Margaret Simon

Spring on the lake

Spring on the lake.

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

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

buttercups

 

Bad things continue to happen.  Bad things always happen.  Last week, my friend’s home was destroyed in a fire.  When I stopped by her hair salon to take her a bag of clothes and to offer some comfort, she said, “We’re going to be OK.”

I know she’s right.  We are all OK.

One Good Friday 37 years ago when I was a senior in high school, our house flooded.  I didn’t know it would be OK.  We left everything in haste to escape the rising waters.  The car stalled halfway down the street.  My family was rescued and, in the aftermath, well cared for by friends.  But we lost our home and many of our belongings.  We went back in a boat to rescue our pets.  There were sad moments during those days.  Many times I asked if we would be OK.

Weeks later when the flood waters had receded, 21 people from our church showed up to clean out our house.  Things were sorted.  Things were thrown away.  As I walked around my house to the window by my bedroom, something caught my eye.  It was a stick.  It was my stick.

As a teenager, I attended youth retreats with our church’s youth group. At one of these retreats I had picked up a branch and stripped it of its bark.  I carried it around like a talisman.  The stick came to symbolize finding my way in the world.  But lying on the soggy ground outside among the muddy debris, the stick meant that everything was going to be OK.

On Easter Sunday, the priest’s message was this: Everything is going to be OK.  And even in the tragedies, the times when things do not seem OK, the resurrection assures us that it will be.

 

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

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

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Happy Easter, friends!

I considered taking today off from writing a post; however, an issue concerning digital literacy occurred in my classroom this week that needed to be addressed. There are two ways that I process things, by talking and by writing. In fact, today on the Two Writing Teachers call for Slices, there is this quote, “Writing floats on a sea of talk.” Britton. This weekend my sea of talk was with my father and with my Voxer writing group. Both helped me think in a deeper and more logical way about what happened.

My students use Kidblogs daily. They have since the first day of school. As a teacher of multi-grade gifted students, blogging is the way I encourage individuality and independence. One of the many advantages is that students can continue to work on their writing projects outside of class and when I am not at school. Last week I had an inservice, so I wasn’t at school. When I checked the blogs, I discovered that one student had “hacked” another student’s blog and wrote a post about it. I know she was just being playful, but I took it seriously. I commented to this student personally and removed the post. I also had a conversation with the whole class about trust.

When we read posts, we assume that the person who owns the blog wrote the post. I explained that I get an email whenever there is any activity on our Kidblog. I am watching, but more importantly, hacking is wrong. It breaks our trust and messes with the community we have built.

Another more serious incident occurred. As I have mentioned, I teach different grade levels, so my students have social lives with their grade level peers that our class is not a part of. There is safety in our community to talk about and write about things outside of our class. One student wrote a post about a conflict she was having with friends. Fairly typical sixth grade social issue; however, a 5th grader decided to take the matter into her own hands. She printed the post and gave it to one of the sixth grade girls. This post made the rounds all the way to the assistant principal. Not the intended audience of the original post.

When we write on a blog, the world can take our work and use it for any purpose, whether or not it is our intent. This is the reality of digital writing. This reality hit home this week. No real harm was done, but trust was compromised. Our classroom community was broken.

My father (wise as he is) pointed out that my students were able to fail in the safety of my care. Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Breaking trust is part of life. We will all do it at some point. What better way for my students to learn the dangers of digital writing than in the safe environment of school and class blogging?

I could make new rules: no hacking, no printing, but rules will not keep kids form being kids. My friend Julianne talked about the reins of control, how we let them go and then tighten them up. Push and pull. This digital world is amazing and wild and wonderful. We need to be able to fail and pick up the pieces, move on, and be wiser.

Trust is a powerful word. Trust is fragile. Trust is difficult to build and easy to shatter. Luckily, my students were not harmed by their breaches of trust, and they learned an important lesson. These are not the kinds of lessons teachers can design or plan on. My first reaction was disappointment. How could they do this? In reflection and conversation, I realize that all will be well as my little ones maneuver their way through this digital world.

Continue the conversation about digital literacy and trust by leaving a link to your blog post and reading other posts here. Click the linky below.

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

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

White Castle Lake sunset

I came to the lake
weary, ready for rest.
The sun made its final
bow below the horizon
while Mom served bean soup,
warm bread, red wine.

Home finds me
and wraps me in its welcoming embrace.

In the morning, fresh coffee,
mallard couple in the front yard.
“Are they lost?” Dad asks.
Mom recalls they cleared the wooded space
where they must’ve nested last year.

“Pancakes?” Mom asks
with a grin in her voice.
She knows how I love them.

I am a mother of grown daughters,
well in my 50’s and yet,
I am still a daughter,
nurtured and loved.
I am home.

Discover. Play. Build.

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

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

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

roses 3

Today is Good Friday.  For me, it’s always a day to be quiet.  We don’t have school today, so I can take my time waking up (I still wake in the dark.), sip my coffee slowly, and sit with these roses.  Our local grocer sells roses for $10.99 a dozen.  Every once in a while, I buy them for myself.  I bought these over a week ago, and they are still bright and blooming.  Flowers can make the saddest of days seem brighter.  So in the glow of roses, I contemplate a poem.

 The yarn is a tangled mess.

I could have taken the time
to prepare, rolled patiently
this thread into a ball
the needle would glide
smoothly through.
But I left out this step.
Now I am struggling with knots.

How in our daily haste to get started,
to make something new,
we make the process harder.

Yet, as I sit and detangle,
my mind unravels, too.
I release the struggle
into my fingers
let go of the tangles,
knit a prayer.

–Margaret Simon

 

Poetry Friday round-up with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Poetry Friday round-up with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

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