You Never Know Where Wonder Will Lead You! #SOL18

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Sunday’s #DWHabit writing prompt, wondering, brought back a flood of memories. Exactly six years ago this week (with the Patriots heading to the Super Bowl then, too!), a dream came true for me. I was awarded a teacher travel fellowship to pursue some of my wonders. The fellowship afforded me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to nurture my curiosity about scientific and historical inquiry and deepen my understanding of object-based teaching. The month-long trip to England made it possible for me to uncover, collect, and research artifacts–central to object-based teaching–and visit important historical sites in a country where they are unearthed almost daily.

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During the first two weeks of the trip, I participated in an Earthwatch-sponsored archaeological dig, unearthing artifacts at the Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum in South Shields. The two-week expedition, “Fort Arbeia and the Roman Empire in Britain,” provided me, untrained in the science of archaeology, with the rare opportunity to use authentic processes alongside Tyne & Wear Museums’ archaeological team. Arbeia, an excavation site at the time, lies within the UNESCO Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, and is the location of a Roman military and civilian settlement that guarded the mouth of the River Tyne, which opens to the North Sea. I assisted with mapping the site, excavating, recording site data, and processing finds, including jewelry, armor, and ceramics. All of this, of course, left me with more wonders about the owners of the objects and what stories they had to tell. If only they could talk!

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The dig, while providing a short introduction to scientific methods as applied to archeology, made me one of the few, as well as very fortunate, teachers in my district to have such an experience and positioned me to bring it into the classroom and apply what I have learned to my teaching. Asked what a scientist does, Kindergarten students typically answer, “They mix potions in a laboratory and they look for dinosaur bones in the desert.” I regularly use my dig experience to broaden my students’ understanding of who a scientist is, what she does, and how she goes about her work.

The second half of my trip allowed for me to establish relationships with educators in the UK who utilize object-based teaching and learning on a regular basis and who have created observation protocols and curriculum to backstop their work. I visited historical sites and meet with museum education staff at Arbeia, the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, the Verulamium Museum in the Roman city of St. Alban’s, and the British Museum in London.

In writing this Slice, I realize this unique learning opportunity also launched my life as a writer. To document my experiences, I began my first blog, Wondering and Wandering with Artifact and Site. (Click here to take a peek.) It marked the first time I wrote on a fairly regular basis and shared my thoughts with the world.

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Ekphrastic Inspiration #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday, my favorite day of the week. Although, to be honest, we enjoy poetry every day of the week in my Kindergarten classroom. Many thanks to our lovely hostess, Carol, for her kind words about my young poet/naturalists. We have fun blending our love of nature with poetry quite often.

We created the animated Buncee Carol referred to when we discovered a snow tunnel under our classroom bird feeder. A sneaky squirrel was caught red-handed stockpiling sunflower seeds and dove down into his hideaway to safety. This lead us to exploring the subnivean world below, which inspired last week’s Poetry Friday entry. (You can read that here.) Using this fun image, we dabbled with a little ekphrastic poetry (poetry inspired by an image) and created the following. We smashed Buncee with Canva for the final product.

two birds sharing a nutty snacksquirrel diving down the underground trackfrom the sky now comes the snowwinter animals on the go (1)

You’ll be hearing a lot more about ekphrastic poetry soon, as Laura Shovan‘s daily poem challenge will be starting soon in February, and her theme this year is ekphrastic poetry. I’m excited to participate in this challenge for the first time.

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My poetry pal and fellow Wonderopolis Lead Ambassador Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link is our hostess on this Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us there?

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It’s Working! #SOL18

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Target. I love Target. Don’t you? That Dollar Spot is just the bomb diggity. (Did I really just say that?) On a recent foray to Tar-jay I spotted this planner. It caught my eye — the colors, the flowers, the shiny gold writing. For a mere $3.00 I had to have it! The first twelve spreads are month-at-a-glance calendars and the remaining pages are lined. The possibilities seem endless!

Planner

When I sat down to look at the planner at home I didn’t have, well, a plan for it. But then it came to me. Why not use it exclusively for keeping track of writing stuff? I started recording #SOL18 on Tuesdays and #PoetryFriday on Fridays. Then I remembered I had signed up to participate in the Daily Poem Project in February, but there is a warm-up of sorts beginning later this week. And I can keep track of the TeachWrite’s #DWHabit words for future quick inspiration. If I’ve written about them that day, they get checked off. The notes column on the right captures ideas that pop into my head. I can expand upon those in my writing notebook.

Forgive me. I’m relatively new to a daily writing habit and this is all very exciting. I can hardly wait to see where it goes! How do you keep track of your ideas? I’d love to hear!

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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Subnivean Zone #PoetryFriday

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I have a new favorite word. Just weeks ago it was bombogenesis. (You can read about that here.) But now I’ve moved on. I’m fickle like that. Onto…SUBNIVEAN! Pretty cool, huh? Obviously sub- means under. Nives refers to snow. So if you put it all together you have the zone in and under snow pack — the subnivean zone. While filling our classroom bird feeder, we witnessed a squirrel diving down into the snow under the feeder. (See above) It made us wonder where he was going.

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My Kindergarten naturalists are fascinated that there is a whole world beneath that snow, but not necessarily in the ground. We virtually explored this magical world  with the help of Melissa Stewart’s Under the Snow and Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Snow.  We couldn’t wait to go snowshoeing so we could hunt for these mysterious tunnels. Guess what?

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We found this one and…

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…this one! So exciting!

The blog post that prompted our new obsession is Life under the snow. I used the text to uncover a found poem.

final labyrinth

 

labyrinth of tunnels

and chambers

a hidden world below

crystalline community

beneath our feet

BEWARE, subnivean dwellers!

— Christie Wyman, 2018

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Kay at A Journey Through the Pages is our hostess on this Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us there?

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Eek! A… #SOL18

…mouse! There I was, sitting quietly writing on the couch in the den when I heard the dreaded noise. An ever-so-quiet scratch, scratch, scratch. But where was it coming from? I glanced up and across the adjoining dining room. My eyes were immediately drawn to the long curtains just gracing the floor. Halfway up, something was moving. A fly? Bigger. A beetle or June Bug? This time of year? Not likely. As I moved closer it became clear. The tiniest mouse was clinging to the floral print. How? Why? Just then it dropped to the floor and scurried under the wine rack. Under the side board. “HELP!” I cried out to my husband in the next room. “I need your help!” When he arrived to keep watch, I dashed to the kitchen and opened a cabinet with baking dishes. A colander! That will allow it to breath. “He’s so cute and so scared,” my husband said, as he corralled him in the lid of a cardboard box nearby. With box underneath and colander on top, he escorted him to the porch off the kitchen. As he gently placed the box lid down and he made his exit, the mouse turned and looked back in the direction of the house, but then scampered over the side of the porch and into the frigid, dark abyss. Our hope is that he snuck into the house that afternoon, seeking warmth from the arctic temps that have returned to the Northeast after a 72-hour reprieve. When I returned from the grocery store I left the porch door slightly ajar while making several trips between the car and the house. Our hope is that he isn’t one of approximately 10, the average size of a mouse litter, possibly wintering in our house somewhere. Where there’s one…

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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 each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?

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New Year’s Haiku #PoetryFriday

I took advantage of our two snow days off from school last week (thanks, winter storm Grayson!), to paint my postcards for my first postcard exchange organized by Jone Rush MacCulloch. (Click here to learn more.) The exchange is based on Nengajo, the Japanese custom on sending New Years postcards. I hemmed and hawed about what theme to use and what instantly came to mind was pine needles or pine boughs. To me, they symbolize winter, but not the holidays. I’ve always loved seeing homes decorated for the holidays leave pine boughs up just a little bit longer. While they have been removed from the tree, they are still so full of life. Upon further exploration, I discovered that pine is the official symbol of the new year in Japan. Imagine that!

For inspiration before writing my own haiku, I did a scan of poetry featuring pine and came up with these lovely examples.

I hear you call, pine tree

I hear you call, pine tree, I hear you upon the hill, by the silent pond
where the lotus flowers bloom, I hear you call, pine tree.
What is it you call, pine tree, when the rain falls, when the winds
blow, and when the stars appear, what is it you call, pine tree?
I hear you call, pine tree, but I am blind, and do not know how to
reach you, pine tree. Who will take me to you, pine tree?

Yone Noguchi1875 – 1947

the pine tree of Shiogoshi

The pine tree of Shiogoshi
Trickles all night long
Shiny drops of moonlight.

Matsuo Bashō 1644 – 1694

Well, moon
now you have young pines!
young bamboo!

Issa 1763 – 1828, translated by D.G. Lanoue

And now for my haiku, written for this years’ postcard exchange. Matsu is the Japanese word for pine.

pine new year haiku

matsu leaves of green

longevity, virtue, youth

blessing your new year

Christie Wyman, 2018

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Jan at Bookseedstudio is our hostess on this Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us there?

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Ignoring #SOL

I’m slicing for the first time since the hectic first semester of school. Yesterday’s #DWHabit “ignore” inspired the following.

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I’m ignoring

the snow banks — they aren’t going anywhere soon.

the frigid temps — my coffee mug keeps my hands warm.

I’m ignoring

the dust bunnies — shouldn’t they be hibernating?

the dishes in the sink — what kind of bird is that at the feeder?

I’m ignoring

the laundry — the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has me hooked.

the pile of bills — I have daydreaming to do!

I’m ignoring

the phone — my book is too good.

the ping of emails — my writer’s notebook beckons.

I’m ignoring

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