The Vortex #SOL20

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I look up from my work and there you are

Still

So many choices at the end of the day

Yet you choose to stay

To create

To explore

To write

You are only six

Have you already discovered Louisa May’s vortex?

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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 and every day in March. Won’t you join us? My #OLW for 2020 is CREATE. I’m looking forward to nudging myself to create new and different things this year. How about you?

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The “January Thaw” Has Begun #SOL20

Kindergarteners arrive at my door in September. Some know letters and sounds, and some don’t. Very few have written more than their name, mom, dad, cat, and dog.

They come to school day after day. Mini lessons happen. Mentor texts are shared. Mentor authors are discussed. They practice. We confer. They practice some more, and we confer some more. Little by little progress is made. The process reminds me of the classic Pete Seeger garden song, “Inch by Inch” — Inch by inch/Row by row/Gonna make this garden grow/Gonna mulch it deep and low/Gonna make it fertile ground.” (Click here to listen and watch.) Sometimes threads from the work we are doing outside of Writer’s Workshop slowly weave their way into their thoughts and out into their writing. We spend a lot of time outdoors learning about the animals that make their home here on our campus. We also watch birds and other creatures through our classroom window and on our school wildlife camera that captures their movements at night under our feeder station. (Click here to watch. It’s pretty cool to see who visits!) It’s not unusual for these animals to make an appearance in student writing from time to time, in addition to their science observation notebooks.

And then January rolls around, and something begins to happen. I call it the “January thaw.” It’s when all of a sudden things start to make sense and come together. It’s when magic happens, just like it did today for one of my Kindergarten boys.

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Once upon a time there was a fox in the forest.
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“Snow,” he said. “I love snow!”
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Fox ran to find his friends.
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“Hear it snowing?” Fox said. “It’s fun!”
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“Bear! Bird! It’s snowing. It’s fun!,” said Bear. (Fox)
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Then he went to sleep.

Magic. Pure magic.

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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 and every day in March. Won’t you join us? My #OLW for 2020 is CREATE. I’m looking forward to nudging myself to create new and different things this year. How about you?

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Love Note #SOL

Today was one of those days. Come to think of it, yesterday was one of those days, too. When I arrived home this afternoon and reached into my pockets, as I do at the end of the every day, I pulled out a magical slip of paper. I admit in all of the chaos of the day, I had forgotten all about it.

Love Note

Earlier this morning, a very special First Grader, who was in my class last year, had paid her daily visit for a hello and a hug on her way down the hall to class. She dropped her backpack on the floor and said, “I have something for you, Mrs. Wyman. Let me find it.” And find it she did. Reading her special message and thinking about this “tiny” act of kindness made all the troubles of the day slip away.

 

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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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I Know We’ll Get There #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! My dear, but feeling under the weather, friend Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm is our hostess for some poetry goodness this week.

Today we finished our first week of full day Kindergarten and I’m beat. The kids are beat. The parents are beat. I haven’t posted in a while, but it’s Amy’s turn, so I’m rallying. I’m not going to lie. This week was hard, but we’ll get there.

I Know But We'll Get There

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Thanks for visiting and join 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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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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Kindergarten Joy #SOL18

The sun is shining brightly.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Light breeze blowing.

Recess is happening.

What could be more joyful than the squeals of two Kindergarten girls as they chase a tiny white cabbage butterfly through the newly mown grass?

Bliss.

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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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Blue Jay: A first poem is born on #PoetryFriday

My Kindergarten poets are excited to share their first poem that hatched this year with the world! It was a fun adventure, combining our love of poetry with developing research skills and addressing science content knowledge.

IMG_7771The poem we were studying this week was Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Every Day Birds. In Kindergarten we love our poems short and sweet so we are able to memorize them or read them ourselves. For our study we focused in on just the first stanza.

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Blue jays are one of our every day birds in Room 1. Many of them visit the feeder outside our classroom window and they are certainly loud and bold!

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We wanted to learn more about Blue jays, other than the fact that they are loud, blue, and a bit intimidating to smaller birds that also like to visit us. We did a bit of research on PebbleGo, one of our favorite kid-friendly databases that our school subscribes to.

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First we came up with a list of body parts or key identifying features. Next we added words explaining their role or importance to Blue jays.

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Here’s where the poetry midwifery, as Amy herself once referred to it in a conversation, comes into play. The teachers pointed out a pattern that they noticed — identification, movement, eating. We proposed a few line swaps, and…

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TAH DAH! Kindergarten poetry magic. As you can imagine, our poets are proud as, well, Blue jays! They are looking forward to illustrating their personal copies of the poem which will go into their poetry folders. They can’t believe their work will be sitting right next to Amy’s!

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Violet, who is thinking about pumpkins today, is our host today for Poetry Friday. Won’t you join us? 

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