An Afternoon of Self Care #SOL19

Self care is quite the buzz word or term these days, isn’t it. I’ll be honest that up until three months ago, I’ve ignored the cry for it. Wasn’t it just taking care of yourself? Shouldn’t we all be doing that anyway? Eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise whenever we can. Seems obvious, right?

But then February came, and the wheels fell off the bus that is my Kindergarten classroom. Well not exactly the whole bus or all the wheels. Just one of the 20 wheels. Out of respect to the parties involved, I won’t elaborate. But after 20 years of teaching, I thought I’d seen it all, and realized I hadn’t. It’s been a very stressful late winter/early spring. I’ve found myself in my classroom later than ever before, bringing home more work than ever before, and the upkeep of my classroom (stuff everywhere!) becoming more and more challenging than ever before. And it’s been raining daily since like forever. I’m done. Ask me how many days left and I’ll tell you — six weeks and two days!

I find myself feeling like I need some help, and maybe a bit of self care is in order after all. So yesterday, after teaching for six hours, attending a 30 minute IEP meeting, attending a 60 minute faculty meeting, and then driving next door to a contract negotiations update meeting, I decided it was time. The sun finally came out, it was in the 60s, so I drove home and went for a walk. I’m so glad I did, because look what I saw.

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The work was still waiting for me and the worries were still there, but taking some time for myself for just that one hour made a world of difference. I’ll be doing that more often.

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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?

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Day 30: Free Verse #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM #SOL19

 

This is it! It’s the last day of National Poetry Month. My #NaPoWriMo Poem-A-Day project has been Playing With Poetry. I tagged along with Margaret Simon, Jone MacCulloch, Molly Hogan, and Mary Lee Hahn. We played with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry (magnets and online), Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry.  I even threw in nail polish color names as inspiration, just for fun!

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A peek into my poem and process:

  • It’s been a long 61 straight days of writing and sharing. Sharing is the big piece. I write daily all year long, but for me. Not for anyone else.
  • My journal and notebook are brimming with ideas for future Slices on Tuesdays and Poetry Fridays. See you soon!
  • Thanks for reading and commenting for the last two months and beyond!

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And now for the final line of the …

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

On April 1, the Poetry Friday family launched the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. (Click here to learn more.) Many of us have signed up to provide a line for the 2019 poem. Author/poet Matt Forrest Esenwine kicked things off with some familiar “found” phrases merged to get us going. Today’s final line comes from Donna at Mainely WriteYou may find her line here on her blog and brilliant Donna set the whole poem to music, recorded it, and strums along on her ukelele. Amazing! Participants are having fun using song lyrics. I was excited to provide the 14th line on April 14th. You can read it here. Thanks for joining us on our sweet poem’s journey.

April

1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

2 Kat @Kathryn Apel

3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

4 Jone @DeoWriter

5 Linda @TeacherDance

6 Tara @Going to Walden

7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown

8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading

9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog

10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem

11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters

12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine @Dori Reads

14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering

15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink

17 Amy @The Poem Farm

18 Linda @A Word Edgewise

19 Heidi @my juicy little universe

20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog

21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan

22 Catherine @Reading to the Core

23 Penny @a penny and her jots

24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @Write Time

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Day 23: Magnetic Tanka #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM #tankatuesday #SOL19

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My #NaPoWriMo Poem-A-Day project is Playing With Poetry. I am tagging along with Margaret Simon, Jone MacCulloch, Molly Hogan, and Mary Lee Hahn. We will be playing with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry, Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry (I raided Home Depot).  I’m even throwing in nail polish color names as inspiration, just for fun! Play along, if you’d like! We are using the Twitter hashtag #playwithpoetryNPM to see what poetic mischief everyone is getting into.

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Red, tree, and magic magnets served as the spark for today’s tanka.
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A cardinal barely visible from my classroom window.

A peek into my poem and process:

  • I’m obsessed with cardinals. While they are common to our area of the northeast, I don’t see them every day. This makes my rare sightings that more magical.
  • Yesterday, after a very challenging day, one appeared outside my classroom as I sat picking up the pieces of the afternoon. His song (bright red, so I know it’s a he) drifting through my classroom window lifted my mood instantly.
  • Today’s poem is in the tanka form — haiku (5/7/5) with 2 bonus 7/7 lines referring back on the first three.
  • I have yet to take a really good photo of a cardinal, so for now I’ll rely on a great shot in Word Swag.

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And now for….

2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

On April 1, the Poetry Friday family launched the 7th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. (Click here to learn more.) Many of us have signed up to provide a line for the 2019 poem. Author/poet Matt Forrest Esenwine kicked things off with some familiar “found” phrases merged to get us going. Today’s fabulous line from “The Rainbow Connection” (love that song!) comes from Penny Klostermann. You may find her line here on her blog. Participants are having fun song lyrics. I was excited to provide the 14th line on April 14th. You can read it here. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens next! Here’s the itinerary for the rest of the poem.

April

1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

2 Kat @Kathryn Apel

3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

4 Jone @DeoWriter

5 Linda @TeacherDance

6 Tara @Going to Walden

7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown

8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading

9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog

10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem

11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters

12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine @Dori Reads

14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering

15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge

16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink

17 Amy @The Poem Farm

18 Linda @A Word Edgewise

19 Heidi @my juicy little universe

20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog

21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan

22 Catherine @Reading to the Core

23 Penny @a penny and her jots

24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @Write Time

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Neglected #SOL19

 

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I’m also playing around with poetry, writing and posting a poem daily for NPM. To see today’s paint chip-inspired tanka, click here.

PLAYING WITH POETRY (1)

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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?

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Hanging out with Thoreau #SOLC19

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photo credit: Walden.org website

Would I like to visit the historic 1906 Tudor-style headquarters of the Walden Woods Project at the Thoreau Institute? Sure!

Would I like to sit in front of a roaring fire in the massive walk-in fireplace that hasn’t been lit in over 20+ years? Um, OK!

Would I like to contribute to a project that will assist Thoreau scholars and environmentalists for years to come? Absolutely!

When the call went out a few weeks back for volunteers to help out with Walden Woods Project’s Animal Index Blitz, I couldn’t resist. While I have read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, I have not explored his extensive journals where he recorded everything — and I mean everything! — that he saw, heard, thought, experienced. I am a bit of a nature geek, fascinated with the world around me, so this sounded like a fun way to spend a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon/evening. And the fact that it took place just hours after our first significant snowfall of the season made it even better.

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photo credit: Christie Wyman

When I arrived at the Institute after school, the amazing fireplace in the former Higginson estate’s lobby greeted me. Don’t be fooled by the small size of the actual fire. The heat radiating out from this enormous hearth was intense! And our workspace for the Blitz? Massive leather club chairs gathered around in front of the fire. I actually worried that I might fall asleep because it was so relaxing. Fortunately I did not!

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The task given to volunteers was to scroll online through assigned 20-page sections of the journal and make note on a spreadsheet of any animals (including insects and birds) referred to in Thoreau’s text. This crowdsourced database will serve as a veritable goldmine of information for Thoreau scholars and environmentalists alike. After final collation, researchers will be able to search for any references to a particular creature rather than scanning thousands of pages for what they are looking for.

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Here’s a peek at a section of my spreadsheet entries.

For the next few hours I read, typed, laughed, puzzled, and learned alongside a handful of other engaged volunteers, all of which just happened to be educators, and helpful (and grateful) Institute staff. And the best news? The work isn’t finished, so we have the opportunity to return and do it all over again. Um, OK!

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. 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 during the month of March. Happy Slicing!

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Why not Slice some poetry? #SOLC19 #PoetryFriday

Happy first day of the 2019 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers AND Poetry Friday, all! How exciting that the planets are in alignment for these two fabulous events — a twofer!

For this inaugural post for the SOLC, I’m slicing up a bit of poetry. Linda Baie is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Teacher Dance.  Won’t you join us there as well? Slicing poetry on Friday’s during the SOLC is a great way to flex those writing muscles. If you are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

My poem today was actually inspired by an entry in my Morning Pages/Evening Pages notebook. (More on that here.) On Wednesday evening, during our weekly Teach Write writing accountability session, I wrote about the snow storm that was just about to begin, what I hoped it would be and what I hoped it would not be. The more I wrote, the more it felt like a poem nugget just waiting to be nurtured. I played around with it a bit, and it turned into the following.

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As it turns out, I got what I wished for. We had a two-hour delay, which was called the evening before. Love those! It was light fluffy stuff that you could easily push away with a shovel. And boy did we have fun at recess!

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Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. 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 during the month of March. And thanks to Linda Baie for hosting this week’s double celebration! Happy Friday, all!

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Evening Pages, anyone? #SOL19

I have finally found my ideal way to end the day — Evening Pages. Many of you are probably familiar with Morning Pages, a morning writing routine that Julia Cameron first introduced in her book, The Artist’s Way. In it she writes about writing “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.” These pages aren’t meant to be perfect, well-thought out, or elegant. To see Cameron speak briefly about them, you may watch here. I have read elsewhere that some writers don’t focus so much on the number of pages, but on the amount of time that they write — say 20-30 minutes each morning. Either is a wonderful way to start the day, an opportunity to shake the cobwebs out of the mind, and perhaps launch a greater writing project.

My problem is that Monday through Friday, I just don’t have any morning writing time. I rise at 5:10, walk out the door at 6:10, arrive at school at 6:40, and then it’s off to the races with photocopying, answering emails, setting up my Kindergarten classroom, meeting with colleagues, and all the other busy work that happens before my students arrive at 8:00. You know the drill.

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But living a writerly life is important to me. I have found that writing at the other end of the day works just as well for me, and so I give you…Evening Pages! It’s now officially a thing! Writing in the late afternoon or evening is one the happiest times of my day. I open up my notebook and write. It might end up being five words or five pages. It could last five minutes or 45 minutes. Who knows. Each day is different. But I am writing, and that’s all that matters. Perhaps Evening Pages would work for you. What time of day do you do your free writing? Do you have a favorite routine? I’d love to hear about it in a comment. Happy writing!

P.S. Many thanks to Teach Write’s Jennifer Laffin who during one of our Wednesday evening online writing sessions said, “You should write a Slice about that!”

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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?

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