limitless lines allow #SOL21

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.

Ode to Feathered Friends #AvianAllusions #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #Poetry Friday

Hello, and a very happy Poetry Friday and final day of National Poetry Month! Each day during April, I wrote a poem-ish piece inspired by the avian world. I left my challenge open so that the poems could take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knew which direction they’d go in. But go they did, and I even had help from my favorite collaborators — my remote Kindergarten poets.

So it’s the final Friday of National Poetry Month and Matt Forrest Esenwine has the honor of hosting this fifth and final roundup of the month on his blog, Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme. I hope you will stop by his site to not only hear an update on his crazy busy goings ons, but to see the collection of tricube poems he’s assembled. I can’t wait to give that form a go, and I think even my Kindergarten poets might be able to try, too!

NPM Day #30: Ode to Feathered Friends (irregular ode)

A peek at my process — My 30th (WOW!) and final #AvianAllusion entry is an irregular ode to birds — it does not have a specific rhyme scheme. I collaborated again, one final time, with my remote Kindergarten friends who have shared over the course of the month why they like birds and why they are important. With a wee bit of poetry midwifery, our ode has hatched. Enjoy!

And now for the grand finale of…

Throughout the month of April, participants in the Poetry Friday community lovingly created the 9th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche took over last year as the organizer. This years’ poem features a sweet blend of kindness, friendship, and adventure. The multi-talented Michelle Kogan takes over today, choosing one of the lines I gifted her with yesterday and adding her own flourish to wrap things up. She did a brilliant job, and even added lovely artwork that captures exactly the characters and spirit of the poem that have been living in my imagination all month long. Well done, Michelle! Here is our final poem, and don’t forget to visit her blog to see how she imagined our characters.

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.
I’ll spread my joy both far and wide
As a force of nature, I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!
We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.
Side by side, let’s walk through, there’s a world to explore.
We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees.
Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water
When you’re with friends, there’s no have to or oughter.
What could we make with leaves and litter
Let’s find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

We’ll lie on our backs and find shapes in the sky.
We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly!
Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.
Follow that humpback! Here, take an oar.

Ahh! Here comes a wave – let’s hold on tight,
splashing and laughing, let’s play until night!
When the Milky Way sparkles, and the moon’s overhead,
we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we’ve read.

Some stories are true and some myths of our time.
I love all of them, but my favorite ones rhyme!
With windows to see other lives, other places
We’ll find and treasure a rainbow of faces.

When you open your heart to a new friend
kindness for another kindles and ascends!

2021 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

1 Kat Apel at katswhiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

The Progressive Poem is here! #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! What poem are you carrying around today? I’ve got Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Every Day Birds” burning a hole in my pocket these days. You can see a sweet video of the poem made by students Amy worked with here.

Participants in the Poetry Friday community have launched the 9th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche took over last year as the organizer. This years’ poem is a lovely blend of kindness, friendship, and adventure.

I get to take the wheel today with white knuckles, choosing a line from two gifted to me by Catherine Flynn. I’ve also got the tricky job of providing Michelle Kogan with opening line options for the ending of what has become a most delightful of poems. I can not wait to share this with my remote Kindergarten poets!

The last stanza, with rhyming couplets, is currently…

Some stories are true and some myths of our time.
I love all of them, but my favorite ones rhyme!
With windows to see other lives, other places

Catherine gifted me with…


We’ll find and treasure a rainbow of faces.

OR

We’ll listen to voices each culture embraces

As a Kindergarten teacher, there was just something about “a rainbow of faces” that spoke to me, Catherine.

So here’s where things stand.

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.
I’ll spread my joy both far and wide
As a force of nature, I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!
We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.
Side by side, let’s walk through, there’s a world to explore.
We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees.
Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water
When you’re with friends, there’s no have to or oughter.
What could we make with leaves and litter
Let’s find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

We’ll lie on our backs and find shapes in the sky.
We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly!
Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.
Follow that humpback! Here, take an oar.

Ahh! Here comes a wave – let’s hold on tight,
splashing and laughing, let’s play until night!
When the Milky Way sparkles, and the moon’s overhead,
we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we’ve read.

Some stories are true and some myths of our time.
I love all of them, but my favorite ones rhyme!
With windows to see other lives, other places
We’ll find and treasure a rainbow of faces.

OK…There haven’t been too many surprises thus far, but I do love a good surprise! So… (cue the drumroll, please!)

I have decided to gift Michelle not two, but FOUR possible lines. Poem endings are very tricky indeed, so options are a beautiful thing. Friendship-themed and tied up with a big bow for you, Michelle are…

Adventures galore are ahead down the road

OR

A new friend may be waiting just ’round the bend

OR

New friends and adventures are very close by

OR

When you open your heart to a new friend

Time to work your closing magic, Michelle! And, let’s be honest. I can’t be the only one hoping at some point there might be a Michelle Kogan original painting to accompany our lovely poem. Just putting it out into the universe!

2021 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

1 Kat Apel at katswhiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

clear spring notes ring out #AvianAllusions #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by the avian world. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #28: clear spring notes ring out (haiku-ish)

— Mrs. Wyman and friend, 2021 (draft)

A peek at my process — Today a young remote Kindergarten poet and I collaborate together. We are getting to know our neighborhood birds and many of us hear the lovely notes of the song sparrow from dawn to dusk. We, again, wanted to included an interesting fact. In this case, it’s where song sparrows are most comfortable — bushes that are low to the ground or brush piles. It bothered my young collaborator that we hadn’t met the 7-syllable count in the second line. After we pushed and pulled and tweaked, we decided to leave it as is. I explained that many poets would do the same if they were happy with the word choice.

And now for…

Participants in the Poetry Friday community have launched the 9th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche took over last year as the organizer. This years poem is a lovely blend of kindness, friendship, and nature. Catherine Flynn takes over today, choosing a line from two gifted to her by Rebecca Newman. You may read her lines on her blog, Reading to. the Core. I’ve got the tricky job of providing opening line options for the closing stanza tomorrow. Yikes! Here’s where the poem stands today and the itinerary. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens!

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.
I’ll spread my joy both far and wide
As a force of nature, I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!
We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.
Side by side, let’s walk through, there’s a world to explore.
We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees.
Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

Pull off our shoes and socks, dip our toes in the icy spring water
When you’re with friends, there’s no have to or oughter.
What could we make with leaves and litter
Let’s find pine needles, turn into vine knitters.

We’ll lie on our backs and find shapes in the sky.
We giggle together: See the bird! Now we fly!
Inspired by nature, our imaginations soar.
Follow that humpback! Here, take an oar.

Ahh! Here comes a wave – let’s hold on tight,
splashing and laughing, let’s play until night!
When the Milky Way sparkles, and the moon’s overhead,
we make a pretend campfire and tell stories we’ve read.

Some stories are true and some myths of our time.
I love all of them, but my favorite ones rhyme!
With windows to see other lives, other places…

2021 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

1 Kat Apel at katswhiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

welcome new hatchling #AvianAllusions #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by the avian world. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knows which direction they will go in.

Day #27: welcome new hatchling (haiku)

A peek at my process — I collaborate with my remote Kindergarteners again today. One of my students discovered a robin’s nest during our week-long BioBlitz — home edition — two weeks ago. She’s keeping an eye on it from a safe distance and is anxiously awaiting an appearance of new life. In the meantime, we are learning about robins together in class. Our conversations lead to this collaborative haiku. We know that “poems are teachers,” to quote Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s wonderful homonymous book, so we included vocabulary and facts we’ve learned.

And now for…

Participants in the Poetry Friday community have launched the 9th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche took over last year as the organizer. This years poem is a lovely blend of kindness, friendship, and nature. Rebecca Newman takes over today, choosing a line from two gifted to her by Tim Gels. You may read her lines on her blog. I’m excited (stressed actually) that I chose the 29th and penultimate line and to provide options for the closer on Thursday, April 29th. (Seriously…what was I thinking!) I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

2021 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

1 Kat Apel at katswhiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method at https://timgels.com
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All