Changeover Delayed #PoetryFriday

My “Playing with Poetry” workshop participants are playing around with ekphrastic poetry this week. We shared images with one another for inspiration — paintings, photographs, wood block prints, etc… Some of you here know me well enough to know that I leapt (bad pun intended) at the chance to write to the vernal pool photograph taken and shared by participant Marilyn Miner.

Pondering where to go with it, several influences came into play. The first was that we have had record amounts of rain here in New England this summer, giving vernal pools a much longer active season that usual. The second was that I’ve been reading Natalie Goldberg’s Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku. I love knowing that the haiku masters often ignored what we now consider the standard 5/7/5 format and were pithy and humorous. And lastly, we will soon begin a week in a vacation rental, which has me pondering the busyness of changeover day process.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Molly, for hosting this week and keeping the glass half full in regards to the progression of summer. (Anyone else live with someone who proclaims “Summer’s over!” each and every Fourth of July? Honestly!) Add porch rocker to the list for me, Molly! That’s where you’ll find me morning, noon, and night, reading, dozing, writing, and listening to my “every day birds” and the Assabet River rolling by. You can find Molly’s roundup on her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone. Thanks for hosting, Molly.

Summer Dreams #PoetryFriday

Summer break, all 72 days of it, goes by in the blink of an eye. Every year, within days of school finishing up, I try to make a list of all I wish to accomplish. The list is usually made up of a combination of chores and tasks as well as fun to-dos. This year I’m adding some of each to my Summer Bingo card, inspired by my notebooking buddy, Michelle Haseltine.

I used the squares on my personal Summer Bingo card to inspire this list poem, a form teacher-writer participants in my “Playing with Poetry” workshop for Teach Write dabbled with this week. Some of our lists were of a powerful and serious nature, while others were more light-hearted and playful. This time around, mine fell into the latter category.

Summer Dreams

Picnics packed

Hikes taken

Blueberries picked 

Kayaks paddled

Life List birds found

Garden beds planted

Junk purged

Ice cream flavors tried

Books read

Poems written

Friends visited

Family aided

Whoosh!

Summer’s gone

— Christie Wyman, 2021 (draft)

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Margaret, for inviting us to join her on the banks of her beloved bayou for this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her brilliant blog, Reflections on the Teche Thanks for hosting, Margaret, and congratulations to all teacher-poet participants who contributed to Bridge the Distance. I’m looking forward to reading your work when my copy arrives.

Miracle on the Shelf #SOL21

A miracle sat on a shelf

waiting

for the right moment

waiting

for the right soul

to walk through the door

confused

sad

angry

fearful

and (re)claim

her joy

her dignity

her life.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Chasing my tail #SOL21

It takes me a good week or so to settle into a teacher summer routine. You’re never really done on the last day are you? At least I never am. (If you are, I’d rather not know about that!) There are always loose ends to tie up in the classroom, PD for a day or two, and shifts to the general rhythm of the days and weeks to come.

But still, there I am on the first day off, wide awake at 5:00 AM. And then it hits me. I don’t have to have a “Manic Monday!” Phew! I can take my time and ease into the day.

Then I get excited! Which books will I read? Which new hikes will we try? Which plants shall I choose to finally finish off that garden bed? 72 days are waiting for something or nothing. Until then, I chase my tail. But at day 11, I’m beginning to slow down. Have you?

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

#PoetryFriday #PoemsforMaryLee #MarvelousMaryLee

Gosh! I’ve never had to keep a surprise this long! Now it’s finally time.

(A little early for our friends across the globe to join in the fun!)

SURPRISE, MARY LEE!

Are you ready? Because we are definitely going to be doing some celebrating this Poetry Friday. I’m beyond thrilled to be playing host to this special gathering, with hugs and support from Irene Latham. And it’s my birthday today, so let’s have some cake!

True confession! I’ve been a Mary Lee fangirl for a while. Yup! I have! And we can thank Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for bringing us “together” through their Poetry Friday Anthologies. We’ve never met in person — missed my chance at my one and only NCTE in Baltimore 2019 — but as an educator who believes poetry can and should be incorporated into every school day of the year and across the curriculum, Mary Lee is someone I have looked up to for quite some time. Her poems reveal so much to me about her, her interests, teaching style, and much more. Here are two of my teaching favorites.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology For Celebrations, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2015.

My Kindergarten poets have enjoyed using Earth, You Are as a mentor text to inspire their own poems, swapping in and out what they love about mighty Mother Earth.

From The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science: Poems for the School Year Integrating Science, Reading, and Language Arts, compiled by Vardell and Wong, Pomelo Books, 2014.

Pumpkin Experiment is fun AND informative and so me! You had me at “land lab,” Mary Lee. Be still my science geeky heart! And that repeating line, “in the land lab–,” again is a perfect mentor text. SWOON! Over decomposing pumpkins! Every October, after celebrating pumpkin math and science, my Kindergarteners and I process out to our equivalent land lab to deposit our pumpkins and Mary Lee’s poem comes along for the ride.

I could go on and on all day with more adoration for Mary Lee and her craft, but I can’t wait to hear what everyone else has for Mary Lee Show and Tell!

So………

Heartfelt congratulations on 37 amazing years in education, Mary Lee. What lucky, lucky students you have nurtured, and how lucky we are to know you — in person or on the page. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Just click HERE to add your link and we’ll get this party started!

And lastly, some fun news…I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives throughout the year (or if you are!), I’d love to have them (or you) join me! To learn more, click here.

brilliant blazes flash #PoetryFriday

I know! I know! NPM is over and I can’t help myself! New birds keep showing up!

I have never had Baltimore Orioles before, so I am BEYOND thrilled that this handsome devil has been hanging around my apple tree and front garden since at least last Saturday. I heard they were in my neck of the woods — MetroWest of Boston — a few weeks back, so when I put out my hummingbird nectar feeder at the end of April, I figured I’d chance it with orange halves and grape jelly. BINGO! And the Mrs. made an appearance mid-week, too. I hope they stick around for a while. I love hearing their unique squeak from wherever I am, indoors or out.

And some fun news…I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives (or if you are!), I’d love to have them join me! To learn more, click here.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Irene, for inviting us to join her on this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her blog, Live Your Poem Thanks for hosting, Irene! I am hosting next week and I am looking forward to seeing everyone!

Soleil #SOL21

The remains of the day’s sun stream through the west-facing window of my home classroom/office onto the pages of my notebook as I write this evening with my Teach Write friends. My background music? Carolina Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Baltimore Oriole, and Chimney Swift. The breeze gently blows the white balloon shade with a puff, puff, puff, making it dance across the window like cumulus clouds.

The vibe in my room is different than it used to be. Color makes all the difference. Yesterday’s cool lilac (not my choice), has given way to warm and buttery Soleil. I never used to enjoy being in this space, and nothing much was accomplished here. Things have changed. Let the sun shine in!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Tricube Challenge #PoetryFriday

While April and National Poetry Month have ended, along with my #AvianAllusions project, I find myself still writing about my feathered friends. This may be in part because my remote Kindergarten poet/naturalists have embarked on an eight-week-long study of our backyard birds, guided by our mentor text, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Every Day Birds.

We are learning Amy’s book-length poem one stanza at a time, and doing a deep dive into the “every day” birds mentioned in that week’s stanza. This week we are all about Chickadees, Blue Jays, Nuthatches, and Goldfinch. Here are a few of their poem responses.

I also decided to take up Matt Forrest Esenwine’s tricube challenge. You can read all about that here, but essentially it’s a poem with 3 stanzas, each with 3 lines, and each line having 3 syllables. Here’s our tricube crafted out of the observations my young ornithologists made as we observed Cornell Lab’s FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods, which we do each and every morning all year long. With a little poetic midwifery magic, here it is.

Image: Cornell Lab of Ornithology FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods

And lastly, I am very excited to be leading the month-long “Playing with Poetry” course this July for Teach Write. If you know of any teachers who are interested in learning how to incorporate more poetry into their classroom lives (or if you are!), I’d love to have them join us! To learn more, click here.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Bridget, for inviting us to join her on this Poetry Friday. You can find the roundup on her blog, Wee Words for Wee Ones. Thanks for hosting, Bridget!

Heads bowed #SOL21

Heads bowed, pencils dancing.

Through Gallery View

I see a community of remote Kindergarteners

making

creating

thinking

reading

editing

sketching

stapling

coloring

pondering

writing.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.