Cardinal Calls #SOL20

 

Slices behind the #PoemsOfPresence.

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For many years, our alarm clock has been set to the same station and the same time — our local NPR affiliate, WBUR, at 4:50 AM. I know that sounds boring and awfully early, but we are pretty routine-oriented in our home and are “early-to-bed-early-to-risers.” That’s just what happens when two writers live under one roof.

Lately, though, someone is beating the clock. It used to be a robin, but not anymore. This virtuoso — or I like to believe it is the same singer each morning —  starts his warm-up as early as 4:15 and really gets going around 4:30. We love his song, and when the alarm kicks in and the final segment of BBC programming begins, we hit the snooze button, so the concert may continue.

BRAVO!

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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.

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Checkerberry #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #ProgressivePoem #SOL20

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Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in. 

Today, because it is Tuesday, I also welcome Slice of Life visitors! My post is both poem-ish and a slice, as my inspiration from Thoreau’s journal today brings back a very specific memory.

Day #14: Checkerberry

Checkerberry

A peek at my process

On April 16, 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “As I turned round the corner of Hubbard’s Grove, saw a woodchuck, the first of the season…I squatted down and surveyed him at my leisure…I sat down by his side within a foot. I talked to him quasi forest lingo, baby-talk, at any rate in a conciliatory tone, and thought that I had some influence on him.
He gritted his teeth less…He had a rather mild look. I spoke kindly to him. I reached checkerberry leaves to his mouth. I stretched my hands over him, though he turned up his head and still gritted a little. I laid my hand on him, but immediately took it off again, instinct not being wholly overcome.
 (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal III: September 16, 1851 – April 30, 1852, Chapter VII. April, 1852, p. 420-422.)

I stray today from matching days with Thoreau’s journal. Checkerberry caught my eye, as it is a flavor from my childhood. When I hear its name, memories come flooding back to me. It’s a flavor that isn’t familiar to many, as it isn’t readily available. The best way to describe it is probably that it’s similar to wintergreen. For my memory poem, I used the “I remember…/I remember…/I remember…/But mostly I remember…” format.

And now for…

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Our Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Here’s our sweet poem thus far.

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake.
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song,
and night melts into a rose gold dawn.

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold.
Hints of sun lightly dapple the trees,
calling out the sleepy bees.

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.

The poem’s new hostess, Margaret Simon, has her turn today, again offering a line choice for the next host, Leigh Anne.  You can find Margaret’s line choices on her blog, Reflections on the Teche. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

In other news…I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering, Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring, is now live. And my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offers up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek!

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Woodchuck #ThoreaulyInspired #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #SOL20

ThoreaulyInspired Logo (1)

Each day during April, I will write a poem-ish piece inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout –and who knows which direction they will go in. 

Today, because it is Tuesday, I also welcome Slice of Life visitors! My post is both poem-ish and Slice-ish!

Day #7: Woodchuck

Animalia Chordata Mammalia (2)

A peek at my process

On April 7, 1859, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “I saw a hole (probably of a woodchuck) partly dug on the cast side of the hill, and three or four large stones lay on the fresh sand-heap thrown out, which the woodchuck had pushed tip from below. One was about six inches long by four or more wide and might weigh four pounds, and, looking into the hole, whose bottom I could not see, I saw another nearly as large about three feet down, on its way up. I have seen their holes dug in much worse places than this. (The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Journal XII: March 2, 1859 – November 30, 1859, Chapter II. April, 1859, p. 118)

We dread the return of the woodchucks, or groundhogs as we refer to them, every year. Their elaborate tunnel system makes its way through a slope between our uphill neighbors and our backyard. As my poem/Slice mentions, they tear their way through the garden every year, but this year we are going to fight back with coyote urine recommended by our local garden center and by choosing from a selection of flowers and vegetables they apparently resist. We will try anything! Click here to see the suggestions.

In other news

I am also excited to share that I have joined the Teach Write blogging team and will be writing a Poetry Ponderings blog post for them every month. My first offering is Finding Your Poetry Secret Decoder Ring. And last week my blogging teammate, Paula Bourque, offered up Quick Write Sparks to Kindle the Poet In All of Us for her first Teach Write Think & Ink post. I hope you will take a peek at our posts!

And now for…

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 3.57.16 PM

Last Wednesday, members of the Poetry Friday family launched the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is taking over this year as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2020 poem. Catherine Flynn takes a turn today, again offering a line choice (it’s now officially a thing) for the next host, Tara.  You can find Catherine’s line choices on her blog, Reading to the Core. I’m excited to provide the 24th line on Friday, April 24th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.

1 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
2 Irene Latham at 
Live Your Poem
3 Jone MacCulloch, 
deowriter
Liz Steinglass
Buffy Silverman
6 Kay McGriff at 
https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/
7 Catherine Flynn at 
Reading to the Core
8 Tara Smith at 
Going to Walden
9 Carol Varsalona at 
Beyond Literacy Link
10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at 
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
11 Janet Fagel hosted at 
Reflections on the Teche
12 Linda Mitchell at 
A Word Edgewise
13 Kat Apel at 
Kat Whiskers
14 Margaret at 
Reflections on the Teche
15 Leigh Anne Eck at 
A Day in the Life
16 Linda Baie at 
Teacher Dance
17 Heidi Mordhorst at 
My Juicy Little Universe
18 Mary Lee Hahn at
 A Year of Reading
19 Tabatha at 
Opposite of Indifference
20 Rose Cappelli at 
Imagine the Possibilities
21 Janice Scully at 
Salt City Verse
22 Julieanne Harmatz at 
To Read, To Write, To Be
23 Ruth, 
thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
24 Christie Wyman at 
Wondering and Wandering
25 Amy at 
The Poem Farm
26 Dani Burtsfield at 
Doing the Work That Matters
27 Robyn Hood Black at 
Life on the Deckle Edge
28
29 Fran Haley at 
lit bits and pieces
30 
Michelle Kogan

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Don’t go! #SOL20

When I glanced at incoming emails quickly yesterday during snack, I stumbled upon one I never expected and was heartbroken to receive. It was an email from the parent of a student in my Kindergarten class who was absent that day. I opened it expecting to read that he was sick again, or had a doctor’s appointment they had forgotten to tell me about. Instead, it was a message letting me know that they had enrolled their son in a private school beginning next week and that Wednesday would be his last day with us.

Don’t go!

I adore this young man. I love them all, but this one is special. Have you ever had one of those? He has an old soul, and we connected on day one when we first met. We’ve written books together, read books together, and more importantly, discovered birds together. He’s a city kid and arrived on my “doorstep” not knowing the name of a single bird. Now he climbs up into our bird window, snuggles into the pillows, and straps on a pair of binoculars. Not the lightweight plastic children’s play variety, but heavy professional grade binoculars. The real deal. He’ll flip through the pages of our Sibley’s all day, if I let him. He let’s me know when a cardinal is nearby, when a bluejay has scared the other birds away, or when Mr. Bushytail is up to his old tricks and stealing the bird seed. When I need help filling the multiple feeders at our classroom feeder station, he’s the first to volunteer. I even taught him how to pish, a technique birders use to attract small birds so you can get a better look. When we go on class woods walks, you’d often find him repeatedly making the pish pish pish sound to bring the chickadees  in closer.

Now my heart is broken, and I’m losing my bird buddy.

Good bye, sweet boy. I hope you’ll continue to love nature, birds, and become a rock star pisher.

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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, starting next week, every day in March. Won’t you join us?

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But we just changed the sheets! #SOL20

“Why are the sheets off the bed again? We just changed them!”

My reply? “Because the doctor told me that because I tested positive for the flu, it’s time to wash all the sheets and towels. I don’t want you to catch it again since you just got over it.”

My husband hates changing the sheets. I don’t know why, and he doesn’t either. He just does. Come to think of it, hate is probably an understatement. Let’s see.

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Yup. All of these.

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Ooo! And maybe a few of these, although they don’t seem strong enough.

You get the point. When it’s sheet changing day, he’s not a happy camper and has even been known to disappear when it’s time. Its a two-person job, after all. Who wants to do that by themselves? Have you ever tried? It’s not easy. Top right corner, bottom right corner, and then on the way to the bottom left corner the top right pops off. Then you start all over again. It’s like Whack-a-mole!

Sometimes bargaining happens. “I’ll cook dinner and do the dishes if you take care of it,” he says. Nope! “Need anything at the store? I’ll go get it, and by the time I get back, you’ll be done with it,” he says. Nice try!

The only tricky thing is I have to remember not to forget about it until bedtime. Then I’m really in trouble. Guess what we have to do tonight?

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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, coming soon, every day in March. Won’t you join us?

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Oops! Part Deux #SOL20

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That was the text message that came through from my Instructional Coach just after my first (completed) videotaped observation during Reading Workshop this morning. Quite different from the message I received one week ago and Sliced about here.

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I survived. And now to watch the tape. I might be more nervous to do that than the actual lesson!

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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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Oops! #SOL20

Today was a day I had not been looking forward to very much. It was video day, the day my Instructional Coach was to make a video of me teaching a Reading Workshop mini lesson. Having a coach is a newish thing for us, with the program just in its second year in our district. And this is the first year we are using the TCRWP Reading Workshop curriculum. Lots of new!

Last week my coach asked if she could record me and we’d go over it together, just the two of us. No pressure. I agreed and we met yesterday to plan out the lesson and talk logistics. I could do this, right?

So she came a few minutes early this morning, set up an iPad on a tripod, got settled, and off we went. Things were humming along, and I wasn’t really paying attention to anything but the kids and what I was doing. I didn’t even notice my coach pack up and leave before I wrapped up the mini lesson and sent them to their seats to read. I grabbed my phone to set the timer and noticed there was a text from my coach. Immediately I thought it would say something like, “Woo hoo! You did it! Can’t wait to process it with you.” or perhaps, “Sorry I had to run. Let’s catch up later.” Neither.

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Oh well. Looks like I’ll be trying it again next Tuesday!

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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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Dog Ear #SOL20

A dog ear! (2)Fun fact: Did you know that the term “dog ears” (for a book’s page corner to be folded over) dates back to at least 1799? Click here to learn more!

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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 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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