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.

playful poetry prompts (1)

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.

Waiting for snow to fall  (1).png

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.

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 7.57.55 AM

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. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.08.37 PM

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. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 2.15.21 PM.png

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. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 7.04.18 AM.png

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


screen shot 2019-01-08 at 7.39.10 am

“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?

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 7.49.57 am



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?


#OneLittleWord #SOL19


Happy New Year! The first day of the new year seems to be the perfect time to share my One Little Word (OLW) for 2019 and reflect on 2018’s word — write. (Click here to see a brief video of how a OLW can be a thread that weaves its way through life’s tapestry.)


Write I did! As much as I would have liked? No, but does anyone ever accomplish as much as they would hope? Enough to feel good about? Yes! A few highlights included:

  • keeping a daily writing notebook, special projects mini note books, and launching my first bullet journal specifically to capture and nurture ideas for future (or not!) use
  • participating in my first month-long February Daily Poem Project on Facebook, an ekphrastic poetry challenge spearheaded by author/poet Laura Shovan throughout the month
  • slicing daily in my second Slice of Life (SOL) Challenge hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog, writing 31 straight daily posts
  • writing alongside (albeit virtually) author/poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater during her National Poetry Month Project in April, writing and sharing a new poem every day, each highlighting a different poetic technique discussed in her brilliant Poems Are Teachers (Heinemann, 2017)

That was three straight months of daily writing, creating, and publishing. By May, I was exhausted, but strangely energized, so I also:

Now onto 2019’s word!


2019 is going to be all about moving and moving forward, both body and mind. My husband and I have lots of fun walks and hikes planned, including a special trip in July. Santa brought us snowshoes, so we are just waiting for snow. And those InkJoy Gel pens (0.7mm, please) will keep moving forward, too, scribbling across notebook pages even more than in 2018. Promise!

Onto 2019! Let’s get a move on!


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?


“Some may wonder why,” a golden shovel, and a challenge reminder #PoetryFriday

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone is our lovely hostess this week. I had the great good fortune to meet Molly IRL, as they say, a couple of weeks ago at Heinemann’s annual teacher tour in Portsmouth, NH. Molly and I have been chatting through comments here on PF, on our Tuesday Slices, and in the TeachWrite Facebook community for some time. It was fun to finally meet face to face, albeit for just a short time…this time!

Molly has been crafting the most gorgeous sonnet for some time now, and it’s finally ready for it’s debut. Don’t miss it! You’ll be swept away by The Solace of the Ocean.

One of my goals for the summer was to try different types of writing (tipping my hat to you, Jennifer Laffin!), including new poetry forms. A golden shovel was on my hit list — taking a line from someone else’s poem and then using each word in that line as the last word of each line of the new poem. But which poem to borrow a line from?

I’ve been talking a lot about notebooks this summer with the goddess of writing notebooks, Michelle Haseltine, the TeachWrite community, and on other social media venues, so notebooks it is! Who better to borrow from then Ralph Fletcher, one of the pied pipers of the students-using-writing-notebooks community. His poem, It’s a Place, was the perfect fit. (Click the link to read his original text.)

So here it is, my first golden shovel, borrowing from Ralph’s first line, “Why am I keeping this notebook.”

Some may wonder why (Golden Shovel)
Some may wonder why
But its who I am
Whiling away the hours, my pen and I
Words sounds, feelings, oddities, life, stored away for safe keeping
Ready and waiting for a time such as this
To be quarried like gemstones from my notebook

Poetry challenge reminder: I’m hosting Poetry Friday next week, on August 17. I threw a bird-related poem challenge out last week to anyone willing to fly along. Your poem can be about any bird you like, or birds in general. It can be in any form you like. Just wing it! If you are stumped, take a look at all the bird-related wonders on Choose one and create a “found” poem by highlighting key words, or why not try a “blackout poem,” crossing out/covering up unused words.


Thanks for visiting and join us for some Poetry Friday fun!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM



Trying Out Morning Pages #SOLC18

Many in our growing tribe of writers have referred to Morning Pages. This term was new for me, so I followed their lead, read Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write, and here we go. This morning was my first morning to try the pages. I wrote all three longhand, as you do, and then, after reflecting on the process, decided to type, edit just a bit, and slice. You don’t usually share your Morning Pages, but I’m relatively new to writing daily and I think the process and journey are fascinating enough to share just this once. Please forgive me, purists. 


Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 9.43.49 AM

I’m tired on this Saturday morning. It’s 7:00 AM and I’m just sitting down to begin my weekend routine. This is late for me because my husband and I were out later than usual last night at a celebration in the school district where I teach. We arrived home at 9:30 PM and were tucked in by 10:00 PM, but read until 10:30 PM. While in theory this isn’t THAT late, when you are used to getting home by 6:00 PM and having time to settle in and wind down after a long week, it’s late.

So here I sit on the blue couch in the living room next to my husband. He has already dived into his Saturday morning routine of reading and writing. He’s got a book, laptop, and a notepad all going at the same time. He’s writing a book in his spare (hah!) time, and today got started at 6:30 AM. That’s late for him. He is usually up and reading — just reading — by 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM at the latest, but he was a terrifically supportive husband and came to the school celebration with me last night. In the summer months, when the weather is warm, you can find him as early as 4:00 AM on the porch reading. He loves 4:00 AM, and was actually just telling the husband of a colleague we met at the party last night (who is also writing a book in his spare time) about the virtues of 4:00 AM. 3:00 AM is still nighttime, and 5:00 AM brings the sounds of the world beginning to get going — cars, trucks, etc. At 4:00 AM all you hear is the dawn chorus growing gradually and a few other nocturnal creatures stirring. I never join him at 4:00 AM, but occasionally at 5:00 AM, if we’ve had an early night. But it’s usually closer to 6:00 AM. I try to start with reading and then a bit of writing, usually with Teach Write’s wonderfully prompts that arrive dutifully in my email in-box every morning. I am trying very hard not to start with my laptop or tablet. I know there are emails in my in-box, blog posts to read and comment on, and social media feeds to scroll through — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and always in that order. It’s my routine and I’m not sure why I stick with that order, other than that’s the order in which they came into my life — email, then Facebook, then Twitter, and finally Instagram. I find if I start with technology-based activities, I easily fall down the internet’s seductive rabbit hole, and before I know it, the clock says I’ve run out of “me time” and I’ve got to get going with errands, chores, and life. So for now here I sit with notebook, pen, mug of coffee, and blank pages waiting to be filled.


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. (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.)



Happy Writing Anniversary! #SOL18


Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 9.25.49 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 9.26.03 AM

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!


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?