Frog Memories #SOL18 #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Happy National Poetry Month! This month I am tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!

Today’s writing technique chosen by Amy is be inspired by a memory. My subject is, and will be all month-long, vernal pools. A memory that returns to me at this time of year is saying goodbye to the wood frogs we head-start in my Kindergarten classroom. Under the watchful eye of a conservation biologist, we head-start these tiny creatures from our campus vernal pool. We first meet them in March or April when they are an egg mass, a raft floating on the surface of the water. Over the next two months or so, we marvel at their metamorphosis, knowing that they must be returned to their home soon. While we are sad, it is comforting to know that the head-starting program gives these gentle creatures, no bigger than a thumbprint, a better chance of survival. Our classroom tanks are a safer environment for them in many respects than their natural habitat. They have much to teach us.

Tiny frog (1)
Tiny frog
Still so small, fragile
The time has come for you to go
Released back into your native habitat
The vernal pool
The place of your birth
Room to grow
An abundance of food
Creatures to learn from, play with
Your brief time with us
Has given you a better chance
To survive and thrive 
Has taught us 
Conservation 
Wetland ecology
Landscape history
With gratitude
Tiny teacher

 

I also hope you will stop by Live Your Poem daily to follow along the journey of the 2018 KidLitosphere Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. The poem will magically, and quite literally this year, be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine, from a long line of poet’s jasmine, began has begun making her way in the world, and has at long last found her poetic voice! The process has been fascinating to follow and I was excited to dive in for the first time with line eighteen. I hope you will follow Jasmine’s journey for the remainder of our Progressive Poem month by clicking on the blogs in the list below. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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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? This post is also part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.

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On that log we sit together #SOL18 #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo

Happy National Poetry Month! This month I am tagging along with poet/author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during what has become her annual NPM Project. You can click here to learn more about this straight from Amy! This year she is writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique, but keeping the same subject. Her challenge, 1 Subject 30 Ways, is also a bit of an informal book study, as she’s using her fall 2017 release Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann) as her guide. Join us!

Today’s writing technique chosen by Amy is to start with setting. While this is a poetry challenge, starting with setting is certainly a wonderful way to begin many forms of writing. My subject is, and will be all month long, vernal pools. In between two sections of our magical vernal pool is a finger of land — a tiny cape, geographically speaking — with a perfectly placed log. I’m not sure if nature placed this downed limb there, a habitat unto itself, or if the Forest and Trail Association who maintain the trails leading to the pool did, but it’s perfect.

On that log we sit together (no photo)

That log is a favorite spot of mine and my students. When sitting on either side of it, we face water, have water behind us, and water to one side. It’s the perfect place to stop and rest for a while, to become part of the vernal pool habitat if only for a few brief moments.  We sit and listen, watch, wonder, and sometimes sketch in our field notebooks. Do you have a picture in your head of our special place?

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Does it look something like this? If only you could come with us and experience it for yourself.

I also hope you will stop by Live Your Poem daily to follow along the journey of the 2018 KidLit Progressive Poem, a fun annual collaborative project lovingly begun in 2012 by poet/author Irene Latham. The poem will magically, and quite literally this year, be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. This year we are following along the journey of Jasmine and her companions Moon and Owl. Jasmine has now safely landed, begun wrapping herself around a trellis, and is beginning to grow. The process is fascinating and this year I am diving in for the first time with a line right in the middle of the month — April 18th.  I’m up tomorrow and nervous as all get out!

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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? This post is also part of my personal National Poetry Month celebration. I hope you’ll join me in sharing your favorite poetic gems throughout the month of April whether they are written by you, your students, or another poet.

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I found it in the vernal pool! #SOLC18 #PoetryFriday

Time for one final Slice of Life and Poetry Friday mashup for 2018! This post also serves as a bit of a warmup for National Poetry Month, which launches on Sunday. The annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge is organized by Two Writing Teachers. And this week, Heidi Mordhurst is hosting Poetry Friday over at My Juicy Little Universe. I hope you’ll stop by there as well and learn about this year’s Progressive Poem, lovingly begun in 2012 by Irene Latham. It will magically be growing right before our eyes daily during the month of April. It’s fascinating and this year I’m diving in for the first time with a line right in the middle of the month — April 18th. Stay tuned and check in on Sunday to see how Elizabeth Steinglass kicks things off.

First up, a poem found in the text of an article about vernal pools in Mass Audubon’s spring issue of “Explore.” Vernal pools are very much on my mind today as it is 50 degrees early in the morning and raining just west of Boston. These are ideal conditions for amphibians to breed in local vernal pools. As some of you know, because I write about it frequently (sorry!), our science curriculum in Kindergarten in my district focuses on several natural communities abutting our school property — the vernal pool community and the organic farm community, with its farm stand and chicken coop. We begin teaching our Kindergarten scientists about the vernal pool community on the first day of school, but at that point, most of its inhabitants have moved on. In fact, the vernal pool is often no longer there when we take the first of our monthly walks. We patiently wait throughout the long New England winter for things to change, and they finally have. This magical forest community is coming to life once again.

Vernal Pools
Waiting for spring
Spectacular, natural
Vernal pool season
Symphony of calls
Temporary, isolated
Spring rain
Woodland hollows, low meadows
Breeding habitat
Warming spring days
First soaking rain
Big Night
Chorus of wood frogs quacking
Tiny fairy shrimp eggs survive
Spotted salamanders congress
Spring peepers sharp, peeping calls
Important
Protected

You can read the original text here. And to listen to a majestic chorus of wood frogs, click here.

And my second offering for the day is an acrostic tribute to the Slice of Life Challenge, which sadly wraps up tomorrow with our final posts. It’s tough going at times, but I wouldn’t give up participating in this community for anything.

Slice of Life Acrostic

To learn more about acrostic poems, and perhaps share with your students during National Poetry Month, check out Wonderopolis’ “Wonder of the Day” #169: What Is an Acrostic Poem?

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If you want to take a peek at the Padlet of writing ideas I’ve created, I’m happy to share. It grows every day.

 

 

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Cedar Waxwing Sit-In #SOLC18 #PoetryFriday

A little ornithological snow day alliterative humor for this SOLC and Poetry Friday mashup.

Cedar Waxwing Sit-In

I really did have a whole lot of fun watching these masked bandits of the bird world hanging out during the waning hours of our latest nor’easter.

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This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us! It’s my second year of Slicing in the challenge. And it’s Poetry Friday, too. Michelle Barnes is hosting over at Today’s Little Ditty. I hope you’ll stop by there as well. If you want to take a peek at the Padlet of writing ideas I’ve created, I’m happy to share. Click here! It grows every day.

 

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Happy Writing Anniversary! #SOL18

 

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Exactly one year ago today — February 20, 2017 — my writing life changed. Began, actually. I wrote my first blog post here on Wondering and Wandering. (Click here to see!) I remember surfing the net during February vacation week and stumbling upon a blog post mentioning Two Writing Teachers’ annual Slice of Life Challenge. I had never heard of it before. I dug around a little bit, read a few posts about participating, and was convinced it was a challenge I’d like to take. It seemed like just the gentle nudge I’d been waiting for to get writing, something I had been wanting to do for quite some time. Writer’s Workshop has always been my most favorite part of the school day, and I thoroughly enjoy sitting and writing alongside my Kindergarten writers. They get a kick out of watching me, too! That cold February day I heard the rallying cry loud and clear — that writing teachers need to write — and off I went! I honestly thought I’d be lucky to make it through the month. After March perhaps I’d post from time to time.

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So here I am. Still a humble, little blog with just 100 posts (SOLC Tuesdays and Poetry Fridays), 43 followers, 1,350 visits, but readers from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa, and India. Now that’s exciting! I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead over the next month. The next year.  I’m writing each and every day in my notebook thanks to Teach Write’s #DWHabit and I’m filling up my Writing Ideas Padlet to help get me through March and beyond. Feel free to join me there! Take an idea. Add an idea. Thanks for stopping by.

How did your life as a teacher writer begin? I’d love to hear your story!

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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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