Best Day Ever! #SOL22

“Can we sing our new song while we walk, Mrs. Wyman?”

“Sure. Let’s do it!”

“Come with me to the vernal pool. In the spring when the water’s cool. Lots of critters need these ponds, like fairy shrimp, salamanders, frogs.”

And off we went to meet our Kindergarten Biologist in Residence at our vernal pool in the woods. We’ve been waiting for this day for so long, and it didn’t disappoint! Emilie had lots of exciting things to share with us including, frog eggs, which we got to touch, a yellow-spotted salamander, and a wood frog. We’ve been learning about these “critters” from the song, and to meet them in person was amazing!

And on our way back…

“Mrs. Wyman. You know what?”

“I don’t. Tell me!”

“It sure was cold out there, but this was the best day ever!”

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.

Advertisement

Sometimes you’ve got to move on #SOL22

“Christie. I hate to disturb your lunch, but can you come across and talk to T? He’s sobbing again, and he says he doesn’t know why.”

Again? I wonder what’s going on with this little guy. And today’s his sixth birthday. We can’t have tears on our birthday. He’s had such a good day, too! Dad came in and surprised him first thing and read to the class. He got a new reading partner that he’s super excited about. He was busting some serious moves during our dance break. I wonder what going on.

“Hey, bud. What’s up? Why are you so sad again? This is a couple of times now that you’ve had a great morning, and then at lunch, you feel sad. Is anything bothering you?”

“I don’t know. I just hate school.”

“What? Are you sure?”

“Well maybe just writing.”

“Oh! Now I know why you’ve been getting upset at lunch. Writing Workshop comes not long after lunch. But you’re a great writer! Look at all the amazing how-to books you’ve been writing.”

“But I just can’t think of any more how-to books to write.”

“Well here’s the thing. I think we are just about done with writing how-to books. This is our fourth week and you guys have been cranking them out. I’m running out of ideas, too. Here’s a thought. We’ve got just two more weeks until vacation. How about for those two weeks the kids could have a choice about what kinds of books they want to write?”

“Really? That sound amazing! Anything we want?”

“Sure! We’ve learned how to write made-up stories, true stories, teaching books, and now how-to books. You could choose whatever you want.”

“Yeah! Thanks, Mrs. Wyman.”

“You got it. And Happy Birthday. Now finish your lunch, before I steal that Nestle Crunch Bar!”

The writing teacher in me knows nurturing a love of writing in a Kindergartener is far more important than sticking with the plan. Sometimes you’ve got to move on.

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.

Poetry Month Project, Anyone? #SOL22

Guess what? Friday is April 1st! As the 2022 SOLC comes to an end, National Poetry Month begins and that means the opportunity for another daily writing and sharing challenge.

But something feels different about this year. For the last two years, I was teaching from home. While that was a new challenge for me, I had a bit more time on my hands at this point in both of those years. Now I am back teaching in person, but still adapting to teaching in a pandemic-influenced way. It feels like a lot to commit to another daily writing commitment, but as a teacher of writers and lover of poetry, I’m feeling a tug.

What might my theme be this year? In 2018, my first year participating, I tagged along with poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater for 1 Subject 30 Ways. My subject? Vernal pools. Then, in 2019, I teamed up with several Poetry Friday pals and we used Playing with Poetry as our theme, using tools such as Haiku and Metaphor Dice, magnetic poetry, paint color names, and nail polish colors for inspiration. In 2020, during some of the darkest early days of the pandemic, I dug deep into the journals of Henry David Thoreau and was Thoreauly Inspired, writing a poem inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. Finally, in 2021, my love of birds took flight with Avian Inspirations.

For weeks nothing has inspired me. Where was my Muse? Had she abandoned me? (Channeling Elizabeth Gilbert there!) And then, while walking with my husband yesterday afternoon on one of our favorite trails, she finally spoke to me. (Big Magic!)

A trail marker on a tree and a boardwalk-covered path, two of my most favorite things in the world, revealed themselves in a new light — inspiration. And then today, in case I’d missed them…

…there they were again. I think I’m onto something. Stay tuned!

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.

5,4,3,2,1 #SOL22

One of my Saturday morning rituals, after a few sips of coffee and the caffeine begins to sink in, is to think. Sitting quietly on the couch, a bird or two beginning to make their presence known, I think about the week past, my goals for the weekend, and then shifting gears to the week ahead. I enjoy this soft start to the day, now in the dark, but soon with the first rays of dawn’s light.

This morning, I captured these thoughts in my notebook, as usual. But several fellow Slicers have inspired me to share them in the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 format, such as my writing buddy Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life and Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum.

5 things that made me smile — having parents join us in-person during Library and Mystery Reader times again, eating with my grade-level colleagues in the faculty room for the first time in two years, crocus in bloom in my garden, joyful dancing in PE class (kids and teachers, myself included!), and a text from my sister telling me our mother’s latest cancer scans show that the chemo is working.

4 words to describe my week — long, exhausting, rewarding, and joyful.

3 plans for the weekend — make headway in The Transcendentalists and Their World by Robert Gross, relax during today’s hair appointment, and explore a new-to-us Mass Audubon sanctuary’s trails before we become slaves to spring yard work in a few short weeks.

2 things I learned this week — that you never know what might be behind a student’s behavior and that frogs don’t lay their eggs according to your curriculum schedule!

1 goal for the weekend — write as many Slice comments as I can!

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.

It happened #SOL22

It wasn’t planned, but was completely spontaneous. I returned from delivering my students to recess at lunchtime today, handing them over to my Instructional Aide. I turned the corner and there they were. My three Kindergarten colleagues were walking towards me, lunch bags in hand.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

One of them replied, “To the Teacher’s Room.”

“No way. Are we really doing it?” I asked.

“Sure. Why not.”

“Woo hoo!” I squealed. “Wait for me!”

And off we went. Colleagues having lunch together, in the Teacher’s Room, for the first time in just over two years. We’re the first to give it a go, and it’s time.

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.

Relief #SOL22

Sometimes a simple text message, bringing relief, is the most important moment of the day.

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.

Life #SOL22

Every day of the school year, our Librarian displays books along with facts or suggestions related to an author’s birthday or a special day of some sort. Yesterday was World Water Day.

Her display reminded me just how precious water is. I rejoice in the spring when the melting snow and showers fill up our campus vernal pool, bringing it back to life. (A book I would add to this display is Rain Brings Frogs by Maryanne Cocca-Leffler.) The Water Princess cover always reminds me of watching young children in Uganda walk barefoot to and from school carrying their family water jug — typically a reused oil jug. After school, they would refill it and carry it home, often walking some great distance. In both cases, water truly is life.

Today’s “Be Inspired” tip from Two Writing Teachers was to try out online magnetic poetry, just as Slicer Abigail Lund had. I decided to give it a go, using the “Nature Poet” offerings, and remaining inspired by the gift of water.

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.

The Tree #SOL22

I see the tree out the bedroom window

This time each year it begins to stand out from the rest

It is the first to bud

But by the time the others begin to display

It blends in and becomes lost

Lost in the shuffle of rebirth from the earth

From late fall until early spring

The tree is just like the others

Waiting for its turn

But it likes to go first

The tree is a green so special

Its yellowy-green hue is full of life

It calls out, “Notice me!”

The tree is an old friend who has been away

But wants me to know it is back in town

The tree makes me smile

The tree gives me hope

Hope that familiar things are returning

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.

Rambling Autobiography #SOL22

Here’s my take on the Rambling Autobiography form inspired by Elisabeth Ellington and many others.

I was born the same year that At Bertram’s Hotel, my favorite Agatha Christie mystery, was published. I have an insatiable appetite for carbs and all things salty. This is not good. My collection of bird-related books is embarrassing, and I probably could have gone to Hawaii (a dream!) with the money I’ve spent on them. I spent my upper elementary years listening to the Bay City Rollers and plastering my bedroom with posters of them from Tiger Beat magazine. I am horrendous at returning books to the library. The stack next to my bedside is piled high and deep with the transcendentalists, Jenny Colgan, and Robin Kimmerer. When I was 10, I fell in love with England, after traveling there for the first time with my family. Our love affair has lasted 46 years, and, after 10 visits, shows no sign of stopping. I like to daydream about teaching preschoolers at my local Audubon sanctuary. Oh, to spend the better part of the day outdoors with them looking for critters in and near a vernal pool. I can still smell the salty air from idyllic summers on Peaks Island, searching for treasures on the beach at low tide. I have 805 emails in my inbox. I’m not proud of it, but I’m working on it.  

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.