Celebrate Poetry Friday: Kinders Meet Middle Graders!

For today’s #PoetryFriday, I am linking up with others with Tabatha Yeatts @ her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. Thank you for hosting our gathering today, Tabatha.

Today’s #PoetryFriday is hosted by Tabatha @ The Opposite of Indifference

I am also linking up with Ruth Ayres to #Celebrate a very exciting day of poetry writing in my class this week. Click here to read other celebration posts, or better yet, add your own. The more the merrier!

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

In my first year teaching kindergarten, I committed whole-heartedly to teaching my littles poetry during the month of April. We have read a lot of poetry over the months in anticipation for the time they would begin composing their own poems.

I am happy to report that we are making great progress! With the help of Regie Routman’s book, Kids Poems: Teaching Kindergartners to Love Poetry, I have found the process to be a great deal of fun. My kids arrive at the rug each day, eager to read poetry from other young writers, talk about what they notice, and then try it out for themselves. Most days before I send them off to write, I model writing a poem through a shared writing experience, and some days we write together.

This week our focus was food. I told them they were “foodie poets” for the day. I shared with them how much I love sweets, and that one of my favorite sweet treats is cupcake ice cream. We decided to interactively write a poem about this delicious treat together.

When we finished, we were so excited. In the moment, I suggested we share our piece with a teacher friend of mine (and maybe yours too..she’s pretty well-known in the #PoetryFriday world!) Margaret Simon. We practiced reading it several times, then I took a video of them as they read it aloud. I sent it off to her, hoping we would get her feedback before day’s end.

While my students were at lunch, I was thrilled to receive a response from not only Margaret, but two of her students. They had watched our video and decided they would write a poem in response to ours! They posted a picture of the poem along with a Voxer recording of them reading it aloud. I couldn’t wait to share this with my students!

Later that afternoon, we listened to their poem and celebrated the joy of poetry. I’m not sure they completely understood how amazing it was that technology made it possible for kids all the way across the country to see us read our poem and then send one right back to us. I tried sharing my When-I-was-in-kindergarten-we-didn’t-have-computers stories, but I’m not sure they really got it.

What I do know they got was joy in writing and sharing poetry! This experience fueled them for the next day of writing, and the next, and the next. They have yet to tire of coming back to the blank page each day and trying another poem. Sharing our pieces with each other spurs on more excitement, as our folders begin to bulge with growing anthologies. I am hoping each student will find one gem they want to take all the way to final publishing and reciting at graduation in June.

It’s right around the corner!

SOL: Don’t Get Too Close!

Now that spring has finally started its slow reveal, we are enjoying more frequent walks with our two dogs, Reece and Dug. Being cockapoos, they are naturally inquisitive and while a bit skittish as first, they can be quite social as well.

Saturday after dinner we set out down our block for an evening stroll. Just as we approached a neighbor’s fenced yard, their little dog ran to the fence, barking aggressively. Reece, in her inquisitive, hi-do-you-want-to-be-my-friend sort of way, put her snout up to the small gap between the gate and the fence for a sniff.

It was just enough room – but not for a shared sniffing each other out, but instead enough for the other dog to grab hold of Reeces lip with all the power he had – and he had a mighty grip. None of the adults saw this coming, so it was with great panic that we finally managed to break poor Reece free from his clamped down jaws.

Bloodied and a bit in shock, we walked a little further to allow her to gather her wits about her, but we could see the blood starting to drip from her beard, so we turned around and headed for home.

Upon a tentative peek inside her upper lip we could see a pretty good sized gash. The bleeding seemed manageable, but since all she wanted to do was rub her sore mouth on the rug, the couch, and anything else soft, we knew we needed to intervene. I was very worried about infection, and since it was Saturday night, (isn’t it always the weekends when these things happen?) we decided to make the trip to the emergency vet hospital.

She checked out ok, but the vet affirmed our decision to bring her in, and she prescribed an antibiotic and anti-inflammatories for the pain.

An emergency visit on a weekend comes with a cost, but we will do whatever it takes to keep our dogs healthy. This expense was manageable fortunately, and I am greatly relieved we had the option of having a place like this to take her.

And I think Reece is happy too – twice a day she gets cheese and bread wrapped around her pills, which is a total treat. And we can’t leave Dug out of the treat giving ritual – he joyfully accepts his cheese and bread right alongside Reece!

The Benefits of Being Prepared

As I was thinking about sitting down to write my slice for this week, I took a few minutes first to begin laying out my clothes for the morning. My eye caught my one-sentence journal next to the bed, so I pulled it out to see the quote for the day.

“Follow the ‘evening-tidy-up-rule’: take ten minutes before bed to do simple tidying. This calming nightly habit helps prepare you for sleep and makes mornings more serene and pleasant.”

Who knew?

I have always had a strict habit of having things ready for the next morning. I can’t handle making clothing decisions in the rush of my morning. It is so wonderful to just reach for the hangers that are all ready and waiting for me in the darkness of my bedroom in the morning as I make my way downstairs to the shower.

This “evening-tidy-up-rule” was a new one to me though. It makes a lot of sense, especially for me, a person who feels the calm when my surroundings are straightened out, piles are organized, unnecessary items are tossed, and chaos is subdued. I never considered how this might look or feel if I did it before bedtime, and that it might better prepare me for sleep.

This reminds me a little of how I try to leave my classroom each day before I go home. There are endless tidy-up routines I could spend far too long on, but the top priorities include leaving my small group table clear and ready for the morning, putting out student book boxes, and, on the best of days, the morning message is written and ready to go.

A few minutes, whether before bed, or before I leave my classroom are worth the calmer morning I gain. Do you have routines you live by at home and/or your classroom?

 

Oh, Procrastination!

“Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.”
~ Eric Hoffer

I am a procrastinator. I actually believe at times that I have it nearly perfected. What I haven’t mastered though, is procrastinating without consequence. When my to-do list that I am ignoring is looming about, whether there are 2 things to complete, or 20, I am not at peace. It nags at me, and often manages to get in the way of my enjoyment of whatever else I am trying to do instead of what I should do.

Over spring break last week I found plenty of side distractions that brought me far greater joy than the tasks I knew I needed to attend to. Yet while I was perusing the aisles at Target, or indulging in catching up on old blog posts from a favorite food blogger, dog-gone-it, those lesson plans and that closet full of winter clothes continued to be ignored.

What was frustrating through all of it was the weariness from procrastinating. As much as I enjoyed the distraction from doing the things I enjoyed, the reality that I had a list of other things I needed to do never left me. Such is the battle we face when we procrastinate.

By the last night of spring break, the closet of clothes was still as it was at the start of spring break. Lesson plans were done, along with a few other things on the to-do list, so overall, my battle with procrastination was a win. I just wish I hadn’t waited as long as I did. Next time, I think I’ll try writing a list to help keep me motivated.

What works for you in the procrastination battle?

#SOLC18 31/31: It’s a Wrap!

I honestly cannot believe I am posting my 31st blog post in the Slice of Life Challenge. When I started out, I questioned if I would be able to maintain the stamina to write every day for a month. Besides stamina, I had even greater concerns for what I would write about over the 31 days.

Happily I can say that both concerns, and many others I initially had, never caused a single roadblock in the journey. I had a few days when I experienced some writer’s block, but I managed to find a topic or unique post idea from others in the slicing community to keep me going.

I contemplated a few different ideas for this final post, but none really seemed to take flight. Before long, I realized the day completely got away from me, and after a late dinner with my husband, I realized I almost completely forgot to write my post!

Today was catch-up day in my classroom, since we have been on spring break this past week. It felt good to be back in my room, setting up the new April calendar, along with a few other beginning-of-the-month routines. I’m looking forward to the warmer days (goodbye, snowpants & boots!) and our month of poetry ahead. Fingers crossed for this new adventure with my kinders!

The rest of my afternoon was errand running. As I was entering Target, a little face caught my eye. It was a young girl, probably close to 18 months-old. She caught my eye because she reminded my so much of my 24 year-old daughter (whose birthday happens to be today). There was such a stark similarity I had to stop and take a second, and even third look. I was so struck  by it that the memory of that moment stayed with me for the remainder of the day. I have pictures of my daughter as a little girl, but there is something altogether different, and much more impactful, about an experience like this. For me, it was almost like being back in time, even if for just a moment. Part of me wanted to approach her and say hello, but I think that would have broken the spell. Just seeing her and having that memory for myself was enough.

 

 

#SOLC18 30/31: Moments in Time

Recently I have been watching documentaries on 9/11. That day, along with many others in my lifetime are etched in my memory forever. Some are more deeply seeded in my mind, while others are events that may not have been life-impacting, but carried enough significance to remain in my memory.

The day Elvis Presley died I was in grade school.

The day Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington, blowing enough ash into Montana that school was cancelled for a week. I was 12 years-old.

The day John Lennon was shot. This was the first assassination of a public figure I experienced.

The day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just after take-off. This was quite vivid, as I was living away from home for the first time in Washington, DC. I remember everyone was driving with their lights on in remembrance of the team who died.

The day of the Oklahoma City bombing. Little did I know this would not be the last such horrific bombing of a public building I would witness in my lifetime.

The day of the mass shooting at Columbine High School. This sort of horrific event was incomprehensible to me. Like the Oklahoma City bombing, I don’t think any of us could imagine this would not be the last of its kind.

The day Princess Diana died. So, so sad.

There were of course more historical events after this, many that carry great sadness. However, I can say that in my own life, the years after these tragic events occurred were filled with many of my happiest moments. Marriage, the birth of children, and all of life’s comings and goings while raising a family.

There is much to be celebrated in life, and much to be mourned. That is the balance of the life we live.

 

 

#SOLC18 29/31: I Would Rather…

I would rather…..                                                                     ….instead of 

drink white wine                                                                      red wine

get up early                                                                                stay up late

make piles                                                                                 put everything away

own a dog                                                                                  own a cat

vacccum                                                                                     dust

read a book                                                                               watch a movie

be alone                                                                                     be at a party

be the passenger                                                                    be the driver

bake cookies                                                                            make dinner

have a pedicure                                                                      have a manicure

walk                                                                                             run