Giving Thanks For Young Poets #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Our hostess this week is Irene Latham and her blog, Live Your Poem, has had a gorgeous makeover. I hope you’ll visit her there!

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Last week I shared my poem, Brave Writer, which was inspired by my sweet Kindergarten writers. This week I’m serving up a sampler of bite-sized list poems I know you’ll have room for. These are my young writers’ first attempts at poetry — WOOT WOOT! We’ve been reading Georgia Heard’s Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems as well lots of list poems on Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Poem Farm website. These mentor texts inspired us to put pen to paper and carve up thankful list poems. Bon appetit! (Click the link below to watch a Spark video of everyone’s poem.)

https://spark.adobe.com/video/3XO2B0eMB5DdV/embed

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me and I hope you’ll join us on this lovely Poetry Friday!

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Thanksgiving Table Traditions #SOL

It’s been a few years since we actually hosted Thanksgiving at our house, but every year my husband insists on cooking the turkey for my family — and the roast at Christmas, and the lamb at Easter. He’s fussy like that. Wants it cooked just so! I can’t complain. He gets up at the crack of dawn and does his thing while I sleep in. It works and boy does the house smell amazing!

When it comes to side dishes, there are two that are always on our family’s Thanksgiving table — my brussels sprouts and my Aunt Cindy’s fruit compote. I’ve been making the same Stout and Orange-Glazed Brussels Sprouts recipe since I first discovered it in Bon Appetit back in 1994. It sounds a little unusual, but is delicious. The combination of broth, Guinness, orange juice, butter, brown sugar, and pepper boils down to a delicious glaze that you saute the sprouts in. So good, you’ve got to try it! If you are not a fan of sprouts, try this and it’ll win you over. Promise!

Now onto the fruit compote. My Aunt Cindy has been gone for while now. We lost her –my dad’s kid sister — far too early from a brain aneurism when she was in the prime of life with two young boys. They are grown now, with children of their own, but every year we honor her legacy by enjoying her “famous” fruit compote, a concoction of canned pineapple, peaches, and pears swirled around in a bowl with cranberry sauce. It’s divine served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, the perfect complement to the Thanksgiving bird.

What’s on your table, that you couldn’t live without?

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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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Brave Writer #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Linda at TeacherDance is our hostess this week. She has a review of the adorable new Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells and a giveaway opportunity. Don’t miss it!

While my 20 Kindergarten writers were the original inspiration for Brave Writer, as I pondered, poked, and prodded my poem in place, I realized all writers and poets will identify with the emotions one goes through when staring at a blank page.

Brave writer

I intentionally excluded a joyous eureka moment at its conclusion. Every time I open my notebook, I wonder where to begin. Don’t you?

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Thanks for visiting and join us on this Poetry Friday!

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First Ever Data Meeting #SOL

“Data meetings? We’re doing data meetings?” “What’s a data meeting?” Yes, that was pretty much the range of responses from colleagues when our district announced late this past summer that we’d be embarking on a new journey — data meetings. One more thing. Ugh!

Last week I attended my first data meeting…ever. I know for some of you this is a regular routine, but in our district it’s something new. Sure, we’ve always assessed kids (have we ever!), discussed results in grade level meetings, and the odd Child Study Team meeting. We’ve implemented interventions here and there, but what’s different this time is that everyone is coming to the table. And I mean everyone. It’s no longer just the grade level teachers, an administrator or two, and a service provider that happens to be available after school. In these meetings we are looking at the whole child, not just one area of need. Our team consists of:

  • Principal (meeting convener)
  • School Adjustment Counselor
  • Team Chair/SPED Coordinator
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Math Curriculum Specialist
  • ELA Curriculum Specialist
  • Science/Social Studies Curriculum Specialist
  • Instructional Coach
  • Math Interventionists
  • ELA Interventionists
  • Grade Level Team Members

The team is enormous I know! Everyone on the team, apart from the grade level teachers, attended for the entire day — from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM. Grade level teams attended for 90-minute blocks, a team of substitutes moving from grade to grade providing classroom coverage. It really was quite something.

Prior to the meeting, each classroom teacher filled out a Google Sheet with required assessment data and additional information for each child we had concerns about. By the end of our team’s 90-minute block, we left with a plan for each child we had concerns about. In January, we’ll return to share updates and make new plans. The cycle will continue two more times as the school year progresses. Fingers crossed, we can make a difference and support students better than we have in the past.

Does your school conduct regular data meetings? I’d love to learn about your process!

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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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Watercolor Cakes #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty is our hostess this week. As she notes, it’s been a challenging week for so many. I found solace in focusing on my joyful Kindergarten students, parent conferences, my writing, and creating this week.

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The stunning trees bursting with color that brighten our school grounds and my drive home each afternoon inspire me. While sitting at our classroom art table with a tray of fresh watercolors the other day — fun for my students, therapeutic for me — an image of a new watercolor palette brimming with gorgeous fall hues came to mind.

autumnal watercolor cakes

I’ll be sharing this poetic seasonal postcard with Carol Varsalona for her #AbundantAutumn digital gallery. Might you have something to offer? To find out more, click here.

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Thanks for visiting and join us on this Poetry Friday!

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It Matters #SOL

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Please vote. Need I say more? What a privilege it is to have an opportunity to make a difference. So many are robbed of or denied this very same privilege the world over. I’ll never take this for granted.

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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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Teachers as Writers: An EdCamp Story #SOL #EdCampSeacoast

 

EdCamp

I stood up and made my way to the session board. The hot pink stickies were calling to me. What shall I call it? Teacher Writers? Being a Teacher Writer? How about Teacher Writers: From Blogs to Books. That’s pretty catchy, right? But will anyone come.

For those of you who have attended an EdCamp somewhere, you’ll recognize the familiar set-up of the session board. Attendees post topics of interest and hope someone turns up to join in the conversation. I couldn’t possibly be the only teacher there at EdCamp Seacoast in Portsmouth, NH that was interested in talking about being a teacher writer. After another big deep mindfulness-trained breath, I headed for the assigned room, settled in and waited.

One person came. And then another. And then another two. And, well after five minutes or so, there were eleven of us ready to talk writing. You never know where an EdCamp conversation will go. It all depends on who turns up and what everyone brings to the table. How do we fit writing into our busy lives? Who do we share our writing with, if at all? What should we write about? What are our writing goals? Why do we write at all?

Sixty minutes flew by, and we were still talking, laughing, following each other on Twitter, and sharing our blog urls when it was time to move on. I didn’t see that coming. Eleven educators — classroom teachers, a librarian or two, and even a principal — working in public and private schools, elementary through high school, from three New England states. All interested in one thing — moving forward with a life that includes writing.  Now that’s something to be excited about.

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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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