The World Just Exhaled #PoetryFriday #micropoetry #eightwords

The moment I uttered these words to my husband as we sat watching the grand finale on inauguration night, they hung in the air. I captured them in my notebook feeling they might be a seed to grow into something bigger. But, after thinking and scribbling and scribbling and thinking, I remembered that sometimes less is more. A wee bit of micropoetry inspired by a favorite moment of the week.

Many thanks to this week’s hostess, Laura Shovan, for inviting us to join her on this Poetry Friday. You can find her on her blog that today is filled with some well-deserved admiration for Amanda Gorman and her moving poem, “The Hill We Climb.” I get goosebumps just thinking about her reciting it the other day.

Sweet Thanks #SOL21

When I returned to school today after four days away, the returned book bags were piled high and deep in my return bin. I was so glad I had asked a colleague to bring the bin in on Friday afternoon before she left for the weekend. Material drop off and pick up days for our Remote Learning students is always hectic, and I had forgotten a major detail — that I was attending PD from home on Friday and home for the MLK Birthday holiday on Monday. Thank goodness for helpful colleagues to shelter these essentials from the weekend’s elements!

As I sorted through the 18 bags during a ZOOM break this morning, an unexpected treasure tumbled out of one of the bags — a chocolate bar. A literal and figurative sweet gesture from one grateful family. While I expressed my thanks immediately with a DM through Seesaw, they have no idea how much this random act of kindness meant to me. This year is hard in more ways than I can count, and receiving a token of gratitude such as this every now and then keeps me going.

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.

Just write Karen over and over again #SOL21

We have a long-running joke in our Tuesday night Teach Write “Time to Write” accountability ZOOM group that whenever we don’t know what to write, we can just write “Karen” over and over again until something else comes. I can’t remember how long ago it happened, but one of our writing buddies, when asked what she was going to write about that evening, replied, “I’m just going to write my name over and over again until something comes,” or words to that effect. It’s been a catch phrase for all group members, and source of giggles, ever since.

Flash forward to last week. We just returned from vacation and asked all Kindergarten writers to write a book about their vacation. Our team will use all writing samples in a “Looking at Student Work” session to not only celebrate the journey our young writers have already taken, but to plan our next teaching moves. One young writer handed in his booklet with nothing but his name written on every page. During a conferring session, when prompted with “Tell me more!” he replied, “Well…whenever I don’t know what to write, I just write my name. So that’s what I did!”

I think he’d fit in with our group just fine. Don’t 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.

Time to Revisit #SOL21

January 2021 is a time to revisit — teaching practices, writing projects and habits, friendships, favorite books, and trails. Even opinions and attitudes can be revisited. How about the practice of selecting a One Little Word for the year? That, too! I’m giving One Little Word-of-the-month a try, along with some of my writing accountability buddies from Teach Write. And my word for January is…REVISIT!

After reviewing all I hope to accomplish this new year, much of it seemed to involve revisiting. What better place to start! Revisit a word that really could last the whole year, but I’d like to give the word-of-the-month thing a try and see how it goes. At the top of my list to be revisited is the picture book manuscript I drafted this summer. It’s a story that’s been in my head and notebook scribbles for some time, and it finally came out on paper in July. I put it away as soon as I learned I would be teaching Kindergarten remotely for the entire year. Now that we are nearly four months in, and the dust has settled, it’s time to pull it out again and revisit the story and characters.

I’m thinking that knowing my OLW will “expire” at the end of the month will be just the nudge I need to make things happen. If that doesn’t work out, I can always revisit my plan. Right?

#Ponyhenge #PoetryFriday

Raising a glass of Prosecco this New Year’s Day to Ruth, our celebratory hostess. Her post from Haiti shares so much goodness — poetry, pumpkin soup, and Palmchats. Cheers to all!

Here’s a playful sestain mystery to kick off Poetry Friday 2021, my first PF visit in six months. 2020 moved in mysterious ways. For some, it provided the space for creativity. For others, the room for creativity was crowded out by so many things. I fell into the second category. But here we are, ready to begin again.

Ponyhenge

Round and round the ponies go.

Who cares for them? No one knows.

Trotting in circles, day after day,

Changing directions before break of day.

The great equine mystery stops passersby.

How can this be? No one’s sure why!

— Christie Wyman, 2021 (draft)

“Ponyhenge” is a local oddity and minor tourist attraction. If you Google it, you’ll fall down a rabbit hole filled with all sorts of strange photos and blog posts. Located not far from my home, and across the road from the entrance to a new-to-me hiking trail, I couldn’t help but take a peek. An afternoon filled with old and new — exactly my hope for 2021.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, and good riddance to 2020!

Trees Aren’t Cancelled #SOL20 #JoysOf2020

So much about the 2020 holiday season was cancelled. Concerts were cancelled. Cookie swaps were cancelled. Our small town’s Christmas parade was cancelled. Christmas eve church services cancelled. Even Christmas dinner with family in-person was cancelled — or at least moved safely to ZOOM.

But there was one event that was not cancelled, a local tradition celebrating its 25th year. The Concord Museum’s annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature was on! As a Kindergarten teacher, I look forward to this event every year. It is fun to see how local volunteer groups reimagine a favorite children’s picture book on a tree or wreath. It was quieter than past years with timed visits required and an abundance of social distancing. It wasn’t feeling quite the same. And then…

My favorite wintery book appeared, No Two Alike (Baker)! I love to read this book to my students. In fact, my teaching assistant just read it to us a week or so ago. It’s filled with wintery beauty, red birds reminiscent of my beloved cardinals, and a certain sign that always brings great excitement when spotted by my students.

The “Wonderville” sign was on the tree! My students get very excited when they spot the sign in the book. We call our class “Wyman’s Wonders” and they’ve decided that should be the name of our town. I look forward to sharing this book each year, and it makes me feel like all is well.

So this year Family Trees holds new significance. It’s virtually all that remains of what is usually a busy month of holiday activity. Visiting gave me a little bit of hope, on a very chilly afternoon, that not everything was cancelled, and that all will be well.

Helping isn’t easy #SOL20 #joysof2020

“Mrs. Wyman? Can you help me? I ran out of paper, and my book isn’t done yet.”

It’s a simple request in a not-so-simple time. You see, I’m teaching Kindergarten in our district’s remote program, so I can’t help the way I usually can. I can’t help when the last sheet of paper has been used or the marker has run out of ink. I can, however, help my students to realize they are writers. I attempt to do this during our daily 45-minute writing sessions on ZOOM. We have grown, in three short months, into a community of writers that, amongst other things, shares, encourages one another, and celebrates small victories that happen daily. And they do happen.

I’m going to add to the victory column that this young writer — the one who ran out of paper — felt like she was really at school with me right by her side to help in that moment. That’s the goal, after all, isn’t it? For school this year to feel, as much as it can, like school.

“Hurry up! Your boyfriend’s on!” #SOL20 #joysof2020 #teachwrite

“Hurry up! Your boyfriend’s on!” my husband called out to me last evening? I had stepped away from the TV to get something to nibble on, so I hurried back in. Who is he referring to you ask? Why the adorable and insanely talented Will Kirk on Netflix’s The Repair Shop, that’s who!

Late last spring we ZOOMed with some good friends and one of the things we talked about was what we had discovered on TV that we hadn’t known about before. We have a mutual love of antiques, so The Repair Shop is now a fan fave in our house. Filmed in the UK, and staffed with the most charming and ridiculously talented master craftspeople, the show features three treasures each episode that are in desperate need of some TLC and have a wonderful story connected to them. (Grab the hankies!) There are restorers of porcelain, paintings, clocks, furniture, and even teddy bears!

Will, or “my boyfriend,” as my husband refers to him, is a furniture restorer-extraordinaire with talent beyond his years. The magic and miracles that he — and yes, all the others — makes happen in that workshop is beyond belief. A new season was just released last week, so don’t miss it. It’s vacation week binge-worthy!

What have you been binging on TV?