Borrowing a Line from NSN #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday and Mary Lee Hahn is our hostess this week for the poetry roundup on A Year of Reading. Perhaps you’ll join us? She’s offered up the work of brilliant poet Naomi Shihab Nye as a possible theme for anyone interested. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Poetry Foundation named Ms. Nye their Young People’s Poet Laureate, the first Arab-American to receive this great honor. Huzzah!

After reading this article about Ms. Nye’s appointment in Texas Monthly, one line jumped out at me to be borrowed for a line in a poem — “there’s no place that poetry doesn’t live.” Now that I’m writing regularly in my writing notebook (thank you, Teach Write!), I find myself scribbling down so much that I see, hear, feel, notice, and wonder about. These bits and pieces of seemingly nothing odds and ends continue to amaze me at how they often become something.

There's no place that poetry doesn't live

Thanks for hosting this week, Mary Lee. Bring on the poetry!










Day 12: Haikubes #NaPoWriMo #playwithpoetryNPM #PoetryFriday


It’s Poetry Friday! The ever-gracious Irene Latham is hosting the round up this week. I do hope you will visit her and lots of other PF participants throughout the upcoming week.

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.

“April’s Meal” (title courtesy of Linda Baie!)

This is the state of my dining room table during National Poetry Month 12 days in. Oh my! I’m on spring break next week, so I can’t wait to see what it looks like after that. I don’t think we will be eating here until May 1!


The possibilities are seemingly endless and a tad quirky at times.  I’m having fun messing around with my new set of Haikubes. The fun thing is that they can be used to generate haiku and tanka, but sometimes words will jump up from the table at me and trigger an idea for free verse or some other form.

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A peek into my poem and process:

  • I originally penned the alliterative poem-ish part of this piece prior to the project beginning, planning to use it on opening day. It got pushed to the side in all the excitement and has finally resurfaced for Poetry Friday.
  • My idea for this post came from sharing with my Wednesday Night Teach Write writing accountability group the madness spreading across our dining room table. (Shout out to you, Jen, Michelle, Tracy, Daven, Andy, and Jennifer!)
  • The notebook image from Canva seemed perfect for conveying the playful work-in-progress nature of writing.


And introducing….

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 line comes from my fellow #playwithpoetry playmate, Margaret Simon. You can find her line here.  Participants are having fun combining two found phrases in favorite song lyrics. I’m excited to provide the 14th line on Sunday, April 14th. I hope you’ll join us to see what happens! Here’s the itinerary for the poem.


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

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!


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!



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!”


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?


Getting ready #SOL19

Hard to believe, but it’s that time again. Time to get ready for this years’ Slice of Life Challenge hosted by our colleagues at the Two Writing Teachers blog. This is the 3rd year I have spent time during my February Vacation week (it’s a New England thing, I guess!) doing a few tasks that help pave the way for a smoother, more sliceable March. Repeaters know the drill, but first timers might find some of these tips helpful.

Tip #1: I prepare 31 blog post drafts with the basics common to each Slice. It’s amazing what a timesaver this is. I picked this tip up from several experienced Slicers. 

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Tip #2: I prepare a Word document or Google Doc with Slicing dates and idea seeds. I also work on my drafts here. I don’t always use the seeds, but they are here in case I hit a patch of writer’s block. 31 days is a long time. You’ve got to be good to yourself. As much as I want my daily Slice to be inspired in the moment, weekdays are the most challenging for me simply because teacher days are busy, as we all know. I get ideas from lots of places, including my calendar. This year there are five Fridays in March, so I’m excited to Slice some poetry with the #PoetryFriday community, too. Like I said, these are just in-advance ideas and I often go with what comes to me the night before or the morning of. 

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Tip #3: I find a good source for writing prompts. My favorite is Teach Write’s #DWHabit Word of the Day. I often use these to prompt the daily writing in my Writer’s Notebook, “Evening Pages” during the week and “Morning Pages” on weekends and other days off. If you are not part of the Teach Write community, why not explore now before the SOLC? The Facebook group give you the opportunity to check in daily, which I find inspiring. 

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Tip 4: I save examples of Slicing formats and content that interest me. I created this Padlet to keep track of them and share with others. If you feel like adding something, please do! 

How do you or will you prepare for March’s Slice of Life Challenge? I’d love to hear from you in a comment. We’re in this together!


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?


Currently #SOL19

“Currently” is a great way to tell your “right now” story. Here’s mine.


  • (Binge) Watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Obsessed and feeling the urge to purge!
  • Reading Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings. Her passing last week was a loss to the world. She has always been a great inspiration to me, and a mentor for my nature-based poetry writing.  Also reading Simon Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles with #TeachWrite’s Wednesday night writing group. Chatting on Voxer about it is new for me!
  • Listening to the Bonobos episode of one of my new favorite podcasts, How I Built This with Guy Raz (NPR). Fascinating story about the origins of the company. Podcasts are a great companion when you have a chore to do around the house like cleaning or making lunch for tomorrow.
  • Making speedy chicken parm for dinner. (Ask me for the recipe in a comment!)
  • Feeling stressed about Thursday’s data team meeting. It’s only our second ever.
  • Planning our summer hiking trip to the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. Didn’t you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?
  • Loving using my Inkjoy gel pens again after trying Bic Gel-osity for a day or two. They weren’t doing it for me.


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?


Call the Cops! #SOL19


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“The Police were involved.” No teacher out of the building for a week-long PD institute wants to receive a text from their sub with those words in it. Especially when they are a Kindergarten teacher!

Here’s what went down.

  • Kindergarten boy asks to use hallway bathroom when classroom bathroom is occupied.
  • Said Kindergarten boy doesn’t return after reasonable amount of time.
  • Sub goes in search of said boy and can’t find anywhere.
  • When returning to classroom to tell co-teacher boy can’t be found, sub finds said boy hiding under coats in cubby area. Said boy find this hilarious. Sub does not.
  • Sub scolds boy and then hauls him to School Counselor’s office. Counselor is running the show while the Principal is with me at PD.
  • Counselor scolds boy. As she is sending sub and boy back to class, she spots School Safety Officer making his rounds and calls him over.
  • Safety Officer scolds boy and then sends him and sub back to class.
  • Mom and Dad aren’t amused when they learn of said child’s inappropriate and unsafe choice.
  • Said boy significantly scared within an inch of his not-quite-6-year-old self.

How was your Monday?

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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?