I need to get what? #SOL18

 

Just a sliver this week, as I finish up my last 8 days of school.

On Friday afternoon I heard three words I knew were inevitable — you need progressives. I’m not sure why I’ve been dreading them, but I have. For years, I’ve worn glasses for distance vision — driving, movies, and theater. But recently, I find myself sitting in the front row of meetings and presentations, so I can read the text on Powerpoints and other presentations. And I’ve found book print to appear smaller and smaller, so I picked up a pair of magnifiers at Target. This helps, but…

When you reach a certain age, this is bound to happen. But that doesn’t make it easier to accept. I guess I’ll embrace the news and an opportunity to go on a shopping spree for glasses and sunglasses at Warby Parker!

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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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Now that was unexpected! #SOL18

It was 7:00 Saturday morning on the porch. Our first real warm early morning. The birds were singing their little hearts out, the coffee in my mug steamed happily into the air, and my notebook was in play for the first time all week.

Suddenly, I heard rustling in the garden bed before me. The tall feathery ferns parted and made way for an unexpected visitor.

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While her appearance at that moment took me by surprise, this beauty of a snapping turtle had been spotted the day before searching for a safe spot to lay her eggs. Several neighbors had contacted me to let me know my rose bed across the street seemed to be on her list of options. My assumption was she had moved on.

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Apparently she spent the night well-hidden and comfortable in my front garden bed. We live just above the Assabet River that meanders its way through my small New England town, so it’s not unheard of for turtles to make the journey up the steep hill this time of year, but it hasn’t happened often in the 15 years we’ve lived here.

 

My husband and I sat and watched her in amazement as she sat and watched us in possibly in amazement.  Eventually she made her way out of the garden bed, across our brick walkway, and down the sidewalk. I hoped she would head towards the river to safety, but instead she returned to a second location she scouted out the day before. This time in our neighbors front yard. She climbed up and it appeared she was satisfied with this spot and ready to lay her eggs. We had to dash, but a neighbor began time-lapse filming what happened next. We haven’t had a chance to follow-up with him yet, but it doesn’t appear this spot was used either. I guess only she knows which spot will be just right. To us, it’s a mystery.

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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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Summer Reading #SOL18

Books

One of my favorite things about summer is having a lot more time to read. During the school year, I nod off in the evening after only 10-15 minutes of reading. On weekends, I feel conflicted about spending time curled up with a book when I know my “Honey-Do” list is a mile long.

During the summer, and Christmas and April vacation weeks, I go to bed early so I can rise with the sun and the birds and sink my teeth into a good book — after I’ve written my Morning Pages, of course!

I still have 18 days of school left, and my books are piling up. I better get cracking!

What’s on your summer reading list? I hope you’ll share!

  • The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (Lancelyn Green)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
  • A Wind in the Door (L’Engle)
  • Greenglass House (Milford)
  • Finding Perfect (Swartz)
  • The Playbook (Alexander)
  • The Crossover (Alexander)
  • Margaret Fuller (Marshall)
  • The Kingdom By The Sea (Theroux)
  • The Peabody Sisters (Marshall)
  • Code Girls (Mundy)
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Bivald)
  • A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (ed. Milosz)
  • H is for Haiku (Rosenberg)
  • Sandpiper: The Life and Letters of Celia Thaxter (Thaxter)
  • Poetry of the First World War (ed. Kendall)
  • Native Plants for New England Gardens (Richardson)
  • The Genius of Birds (Ackerman)
  • Oak and Ash and Thorn (Fiennes)
  • Walden (Thoreau, ed. Cramer)
  • Sharing Books, Talking Science (Bang-Jensen/Lubkowitz)
  • Joy Write (Fletcher)
  • It’s all about the Books (Mulligan/Landrigan)
  • Engaging Children (Keene)
  • Kids First from Day One (Hertz/Mraz)

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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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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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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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