Getting ready #SOL19

Hard to believe, but it’s that time again. Time to get ready for this years’ Slice of Life Challenge hosted by our colleagues at the Two Writing Teachers blog. This is the 3rd year I have spent time during my February Vacation week (it’s a New England thing, I guess!) doing a few tasks that help pave the way for a smoother, more sliceable March. Repeaters know the drill, but first timers might find some of these tips helpful.

Tip #1: I prepare 31 blog post drafts with the basics common to each Slice. It’s amazing what a timesaver this is. I picked this tip up from several experienced Slicers. 

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Tip #2: I prepare a Word document or Google Doc with Slicing dates and idea seeds. I also work on my drafts here. I don’t always use the seeds, but they are here in case I hit a patch of writer’s block. 31 days is a long time. You’ve got to be good to yourself. As much as I want my daily Slice to be inspired in the moment, weekdays are the most challenging for me simply because teacher days are busy, as we all know. I get ideas from lots of places, including my calendar. This year there are five Fridays in March, so I’m excited to Slice some poetry with the #PoetryFriday community, too. Like I said, these are just in-advance ideas and I often go with what comes to me the night before or the morning of. 

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Tip #3: I find a good source for writing prompts. My favorite is Teach Write’s #DWHabit Word of the Day. I often use these to prompt the daily writing in my Writer’s Notebook, “Evening Pages” during the week and “Morning Pages” on weekends and other days off. If you are not part of the Teach Write community, why not explore now before the SOLC? The Facebook group give you the opportunity to check in daily, which I find inspiring. 

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Tip 4: I save examples of Slicing formats and content that interest me. I created this Padlet to keep track of them and share with others. If you feel like adding something, please do! 

How do you or will you prepare for March’s Slice of Life Challenge? I’d love to hear from you in a comment. We’re in this together!

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Love Is, Part Deux #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Jone MacCulloch is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Check It Out. Won’t you join us there? Not only is she hosting the Roundup this week, but she’s also hosting a CYBILS Awards Party. Party on, Jone!

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Back on February 1, I shared poet/author Kwame Alexander’s latest poetic challenge to loyal teacher listeners on NPR’s Morning Edition. (Click here to read my post.) The challenge this time was to give the following prompt to your students: “Love is…” and see what they come up with. Participants could submit individual lines, an entire poem, or even an audio file.

After reading a book to my Kindergarteners about love, I posed the question to them. “What is love to you?” Here are some of their ideas. 

 

I submitted all of these wonderfully sweet ideas to Kwame’s challenge. I also included a poem I crafted (or midwifed, as my dear poetry mentor Amy Ludwig VanDerwater once taught me) using some of their ideas and some of mine. 

Love is...

Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, Kwame shared submissions and his crowdsourced poem with host, Rachel Martin. (Click here to listen.) Over 2,000 teachers sent in poetry. Amazing! Although we ended up on the editing room floor, I’m thrilled so many participated and that my students had a chance to be involved. That’s what it’s all about. All for the love of poetry. 

ADDENDUM ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Would you believe that at our February all school meeting yesterday it was announced that a 3rd Grade teacher’s class would share a “Love is…” poem they had written? I was astonished, as I thought I was a.) the only NPR listener on our faculty, and b.) the only teacher participating in the “Love is…” challenge. I’ve since shared my poem with the teacher and we now have plans for our classes to share together after vacation and possibly work on a Kindergarten-3rd Grade collaboration. 

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there.  Thanks for hosting, Jone! 

Global School Play Day #SOL19 #GSPD19

“Best day ever!” claimed one student. “Can we do this every day?” said another.

The reason for their excitement was Global School Play Day (GSPD). (Click here to learn more.) This was our first year participating, and I can’t wait until next year! Inspired by a TEDx talk by Peter Gray, GSPD’s organizers believe children in today’s world do not have enough time to play, and it’s time we return the gift of play to them. I couldn’t agree more! We committed to playing for one entire school day. We are lucky in our district because GSPD falls on the first Wednesday of February each year, and we have early release days at 11:30 AM the first Wednesday of every month. This made committing to play for the entire day of school a no-brainer.

My class split the time between indoor and outdoor play. We began with an extended outdoor recess, taking advantage of unseasonably mild weather. Another Kindergarten class joined us and it was fun to watch them get together and joyfully play without the usual time constraints. Next we moved indoors for snack and our regular 30-minute Art class. This left them with an hour+ of time in the classroom to pursue whatever struck their fancy. One rule about GSPD is that adults don’t make any choices for the children, so it’s truly authentic choice and play. Even our Art teacher got in on the act, setting up a variety of stations for children to work at — their choice! Back in the classroom, some chose to work in the Police Department set up in the Dramatic Play area of our classroom, others took out favorite board games, LEGOs, art materials, and books. All we adults had to do was join in!

This past Friday, poet/author Laura Purdie Salas issued an equation poem challenge to the Poetry Friday community in celebration of her new book, Snowman-Cold=Puddle: Spring Equations (Charlesbridge, 2019) This collage of photos from GSPD inspired my entry to the challenge, and pretty much summed up the day.

Equation Poem

We’ve already signed up for next years’ Global School Play Day on February 5, 2020. Perhaps you’ll join us?

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Rainbow and Equation Poem #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Poetess and author Laura Purdie Salas is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Writing the World for Kids.  Won’t you join us there?

Equation Poem

Related to her new book, Snowman – Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations, Laura has a fun, quick writing challenge for us this week: write an equation poem. What fun! She’s even set up a Padlet to collect them. My class’ participation in Global School Play Day 2019 on Wednesday inspired my offering.

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On Tuesday morning, the most magnificent rainbow appeared in the sky just as families in cars and buses filled with excited children were making their way to school. Cars pulled over, parents and staff snapped pictures as children squealed with joy. What a way to start another day of learning and growing together!

With this image still vivid in my memory, I scrambled for pen and paper when my students were safely delivered to PE class. I scribbled down words, thoughts, and feelings that came to mind, knowing that there was a poem amongst those faded pastel hues. Later that day, I curled up with a cup of tea and my scribbles. Wondering what more I might add to my ideas, I searched Wonderopolis (a great source for poetic inspiration) for a wonder about rainbows. I found Wonder of the Day #116: Why Do Rainbows Appear? and mined a few more descriptors and facts from the text. After some gentle nudges, a rainbow appeared. 

Rainbow (3)

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there. Thank you for hosting, Laura!

Love Is #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Tabatha Yeatts is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference.  

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On Monday, during his monthly-ish appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition, poet/author Kwame Alexander issued his latest poetic challenge to loyal teacher listeners. Listen up, teachers! Kwame’s talking to us!  The challenge this time is to give the following prompt to our students: “Love is…” and see what they come up with. Participants may submit individual lines, an entire poem, or even an audio file. On Valentine’s Day, Kwame will be back to share submissions with host, Rachel Martin. I can’t wait to get started with my Kindergarten poets next week. 

I’ll be honest. I wish Kwame’s visits with Rachel occurred weekly and not monthly-ish. Their rapport with one another is endearing, to say the least. What a way to start your morning! These segments usually air when my husband and I are just sitting down at our kitchen island to eat breakfast together before heading off to work. As soon as Rachel begins her intro, my husband says, “Here’s your Kwame! Poetry time!” We listen together. Together. I think that’s part of why I love these segments so much. It’s a small moment in the day that my husband and I share. He knows the role poetry — reading and writing — plays in my life, and appreciates that it’s a part of who I am, just as history is for him. 

To get caught up on some of these poetry segments, you can listen to:

For more information about Kwame’s current “Love is” challenge, or to submit your students’ poetic offerings, click here

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. I hope you’ll join us on this Poetry Friday by posting a bit of poetry — your’s or someone else’s — and leaving a comment here or there.

Why Is It So Hard? #SOL19

Today was not a good day in the wonderful world of Kindergarten Room 1. Wyman’s Wonders were not their best selves. Not by any stretch of the imagination. They are trying, but it is so hard some days.

Sometimes on challenging days like this, I open up my writer’s notebook to seek solace. I never know what will land on the pages. Today is was a skinny, a poem form I love. The rules are easy to follow.

  1. Eleven lines.
  2. Lines 1 and 2 must contain the same words, but not necessarily in the same order.
  3. Lines 2-10 must be one word each.
  4. Lines 2, 6, and 10 must be the same.

Why not give one a try?

why is it so hard_

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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