Now that was unexpected! #SOL18

It was 7:00 Saturday morning on the porch. Our first real warm early morning. The birds were singing their little hearts out, the coffee in my mug steamed happily into the air, and my notebook was in play for the first time all week.

Suddenly, I heard rustling in the garden bed before me. The tall feathery ferns parted and made way for an unexpected visitor.

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While her appearance at that moment took me by surprise, this beauty of a snapping turtle had been spotted the day before searching for a safe spot to lay her eggs. Several neighbors had contacted me to let me know my rose bed across the street seemed to be on her list of options. My assumption was she had moved on.

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Apparently she spent the night well-hidden and comfortable in my front garden bed. We live just above the Assabet River that meanders its way through my small New England town, so it’s not unheard of for turtles to make the journey up the steep hill this time of year, but it hasn’t happened often in the 15 years we’ve lived here.

 

My husband and I sat and watched her in amazement as she sat and watched us in possibly in amazement.  Eventually she made her way out of the garden bed, across our brick walkway, and down the sidewalk. I hoped she would head towards the river to safety, but instead she returned to a second location she scouted out the day before. This time in our neighbors front yard. She climbed up and it appeared she was satisfied with this spot and ready to lay her eggs. We had to dash, but a neighbor began time-lapse filming what happened next. We haven’t had a chance to follow-up with him yet, but it doesn’t appear this spot was used either. I guess only she knows which spot will be just right. To us, it’s a mystery.

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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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Spring is Here! #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog is our hostess this week serving up some springtime poetry goodness.

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My Kindergarten poets are back to share this Poetry Friday post with me. They’ve been busily writing spring poetry and it’s amazing for me to see how independent they’ve become as writers this year. It just goes to show if you give them time, space, and inspiration, anything is possible! Our officially adopted writing curriculum doesn’t include poetry, but that doesn’t stop us from writing outside the boundaries of Writer’s Workshop. We write whenever we can — Literacy Workshop, Science Workshop, Genius Hour, you name it!

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My writers are so independent at this point that I was able to sit down for a few minutes and scribble a bit myself. They love watching me and the other adults who might happen to be in the classroom at the time sitting and putting pen to paper. They watch for a while, smile, and then return to their work.

Today I am sharing just a few samples of what we will be submitting to Carol Varsalona for her Sense-sational Spring Gallery. Here’s the invitation she shared with all of us. Won’t you join in with us?

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I hope you’ll join Buffy and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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Summer Reading #SOL18

Books

One of my favorite things about summer is having a lot more time to read. During the school year, I nod off in the evening after only 10-15 minutes of reading. On weekends, I feel conflicted about spending time curled up with a book when I know my “Honey-Do” list is a mile long.

During the summer, and Christmas and April vacation weeks, I go to bed early so I can rise with the sun and the birds and sink my teeth into a good book — after I’ve written my Morning Pages, of course!

I still have 18 days of school left, and my books are piling up. I better get cracking!

What’s on your summer reading list? I hope you’ll share!

  • The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Lancelyn Green)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
  • A Wind in the Door (L’Engle)
  • Greenglass House (Milford)
  • Finding Perfect (Swartz)
  • The Playbook (Alexander)
  • The Crossover (Alexander)
  • Margaret Fuller (Marshall)
  • The Kingdom By The Sea (Theroux)
  • The Peabody Sisters (Marshall)
  • Code Girls (Mundy)
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Bivald)
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (ed. Milosz)
  • H is for Haiku (Rosenberg)
  • Sandpiper: The Life and Letters of Celia Thaxter (Thaxter)
  • Poetry of the First World War (ed. Kendall)
  • Native Plants for New England Gardens (Richardson)
  • The Genius of Birds (Ackerman)
  • Oak and Ash and Thorn (Fiennes)
  • Walden (Thoreau, ed. Cramer)
  • Sharing Books, Talking Science (Bang-Jensen/Lubkowitz)
  • Joy Write (Fletcher)
  • It’s all about the Books (Mulligan/Landrigan)
  • Engaging Children (Keene)
  • Kids First from Day One (Hertz/Mraz)

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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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Photo and Poetry Exchange #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Margaret at Reflections on the Teche is our hostess this week. Last month she invited us to participate in her “More than Meets the Eye” photo exchange. Participants were asked to send a photograph from their own geographic area to their exchange partner and in return their partner would write a poem about it.  Today’s the day! (Click here to read her call for participants.)

Glacier

I was partnered up with my Kindergarten soul mate, Dani Burtsfield. She sent me a stunning photo taken in Glacier National Park. Here’s the message that accompanied it. “After perusing many of my photos, I have found one I think will be fun for you. It was taken in Glacier National Park in the heart of a very cold winter. What looks like a pile of dirt there alongside the riverbank is a beaver lodge. I have been going to Glacier Park for many years, and often took students there in the winter for a day of snowshoeing. Ever since 2006 when I started, the beaver lodge has remained there. We have yet to witness the busy beavers coming in and out of their lodge, but the rangers assure us it is a busy home to many!”

So much catches my eye in this photo. Those majestic mountain peaks! The striking colors. The contrast of the brown of the deciduous trees against the evergreens’ steady green hue. I feel a chill from the snow and icy-cold water, yet the bright blue sky warms my heart. And I can only imagine the activity in the beaver lodge nestled under its blanket of snow. I have never been to Glacier, but it is on my Bucket List, along with many of our glorious national parks. It was fun researching online a bit to learn which flora and fauna make their home in the park, and I wondered if any Native American tribes still had a presence in the area, or if they had all been relocated to reservations nearby.

There is a place

I love the suggested symmetry of the reflection in the water below of what rises above. That was the inspiration for my shape poem. In addition, I wanted to include a cautionary closing. In the mid-19th century, 150 glaciers existed in the park. By 2010, only 25 active glaciers remained. Sadly, climate scientists have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist. There’s a message there for all of us.

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In return, I sent Dani a photo I took at nearby Walden Pond last summer. I love walking in Thoreau’s footsteps and am always inspired to scribble in my writer’s notebook while I am there. I can not wait to see her poem! I hope you’ll visit her at Doing the Work That Matters.

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I hope you’ll join Margaret and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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Best Day Ever #SOL18

(School bus filled with 50+ preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders returning from an all-school field trip to Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm nature sanctuary in Lincoln, Massachusetts.)

“We will, we will ROCK YOU! We will, we will ROCK YOU!” sang the students on the bus.

“I love that song,” said Liam. “Do you love that song, too, Mrs. Wyman?”

“I do like that song, Liam,” I replied.

“Cool. Do you know Under Pressure? I REALLY love that song!”

“Yes, Liam. I know Under Pressure. That’s a great song. I didn’t know you liked Queen so much!”

“Are you kidding? I LOVE Queen! We have a CD and I love to listen to it at home,” Liam said.

“Me, too,” I said. “Queen is one of my most favorite bands!”

“Wow,” said Liam. “We have so much in common, Mrs. Wyman.”

“We sure do, buddy. My favorite song is Don’t Stop Me Now. Do you know that one? I’ll teach it to you!”

“Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all…”
“This is best day ever, Mrs. Wyman,” he says snuggling in close for the remainder of the ride.
“It sure is, pal,” I replied as I snuggled back.

 

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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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Gifts in the Mail #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, all! Rebecca at Sloth Reads is our hostess this week. She’s got a super review of I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: and Other Nonsense For mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith. I’ve been meaning to get a look at this book, and I’m grateful to Rebecca for lighting a fire under me. It looks terrific!

I’m sure you’ve seen lovely poetry postcards here and there from Jone MacCulloch’s students at Silver Star School in Washington state over the last month or so.  Each year her students lovingly create and send out these works of art during National Poetry Month. April was such a crazy month that I completely forget about signing up. And then these lovely gifts arrived in the mail.

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Having just participated in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s National Poetry Month informal study of her wonderful Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann, 2017), it was only fitting that I receive a poem that does just that — teach! Alexis does a lovely job here of teaching me about the importance of the Mandan people’s permanent villages made from individual earthen homes. Alexis whet my appetite for learning more about the Mandan people!

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And Sarah D’s fun, amphibious poem was particularly appropriate for me as my focus for Amy’s challenge was vernal pools, which found me writing a poem every day for 30 days about vernal pools and their inhabitants. How fun that this particular poem hopped into my mailbox! Well done, Sarah!

I Love Frogs! (1)

Frogs are fun to write about, aren’t they, Sarah D? This is one of my 30 poems that my Kindergarten scientists have been enjoying. Ribbit!

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I hope you’ll join Rebecca and the rest of us for some Poetry Friday fun!

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I’m Persuaded #SOL18

I had my doubts. Could they do it? Would they get it? My Kindergarten writers have written amazing poetry, how-to-books, imaginative stories, even information books all year. But persuasive writing? How would my writers do tackling problems, real problems?

Perhaps my doubts were really in myself. Could I teach this type of writing unit? It is unfamiliar territory to me. Way out of my comfort zone. It’s not a genre that I have written myself, and writing teachers need to write.

Yesterday we launched. I was ready for the mini lesson. My chart was ready. The paper store was stocked up with poster, letter, poem, petition, and book-making paper, ready for writers to make their choices. And then this happened.

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Now I feel guilty that I had my doubts and questioned their abilities, my abilities. Now I know better. Now I know to trust. Trust in them and trust in myself.

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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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