Friday, November 11, 2022

Tucked In {Poetry Friday}

Tucked In

After viewing the exhibit 

face washed
teeth brushed

room picked up
day is done

questions asked
stories told

books read
prayers said

covers lifted
snuggled in

hanging on
sleep encouraged

@ Mandy Robek


Projects help me be accountable. I'm diving into Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's Poems are Teachers How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres again. This week Amy and Irene Latham guide readers with Let Art Inspire. I just happened to visit The Columbus Museum of Art last night for a workshop and snapped this picture of original art from Maurice Sendak's Little Bear series of books. I wish I had snapped a picture of the title. "Poetry after the art allows us to bring ourselves into the piece, not just as an observers, but as participants," Irene Latham. Irene's website has more ideas called Art Speak. Little Bear was part of my first daughter's "mom approved" VCR video collection and we rewatched this beloved series many times. Looking at this print and thinking outside the frame brought back memories of bedtime with her and her sisters.

Thank you Buffy Silverman for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Thank you, Amy LV! {Poetry Friday}

I know last week I restarted a poetry plan and I decided to pause that plan for an impromptu moment from my classroom. I saw a tweet this morning from @amylvpoemfarm where she was sharing her Friday post on her fabulous resource, The Poem Farm. I was intrigued with the idea of making an if list for poetry. My class has been reading poetry to start our Fridays. Just last week we started picking one to share with others and I felt an itch to help them write poetry. 

We started our day by reading poetry and a quick morning meeting. We paused our time together for music and shared poems we wanted others to hear when we got back. Then I shared with them one of our favorite authors Amy Ludwig Vanderwater had a blog and I saw an idea I thought we could try. We read Amy's post and listened to her recording. I wondered if we could write an If...poem together and then they could try one in their writer's notebooks. 

We collaborated using a shared writing format. A pattern emerged as students took turns. We had the ending before the third and fourth stanzas. We talked about short lines and slowing down as we reread our developing draft. This represents our community. It represents our us as learners and it represents our physical space.

We had to publish our writing and each child did an illustration. It was joyful to listen to the illustration conversations. They knew which lines they were specifically illustrating. We are going to put individual copies in our Poetry Folders we use for practicing all things fluency.

Thank you Amy LV for inspiring our writing thoughts and hearts. XO

Thank you Jone for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Compassion {Poetry Friday}



early morning walk
blue sky and sun
soaking in the quiet
hues of yellow
pausing to listen
greens transitioning
taking time
soaking and pausing 
offering myself
early in the day

@Mandy Robek

Projects help me be accountable. Sometimes I start a project and it takes me a few attempts to get it going and this is one of them. I'm diving into Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's Poems are Teachers How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres again. My writing standards do not technically start we are to learn how to write poetry and I love Amy's tagline for this book - "how studying poetry strengthens writing in all genres." I had parents share with me at the start of the year they had a reluctant writer. It was a slow start indeed and then one day - poof there was a magical poem about red. My heart and their hearts at parent teacher conferences were warmed. I'm hoping to share my own poem each Poetry Friday in my classroom as a mentor and a nudge for my students to consider writing poetry and we might sneak in a poetry unit this year. Today I used Amy's suggestion and Mary Lee Hahn's mentor text and jotted from a photograph.

Thank you Bridget at wee words for wee ones for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Learning with The Literacy Connection & John Schu

This past Saturday I had the pleasure to join a local group of educators;
The Literacy Connection as they launched their year long book study of The Gift of Story by John Schu. John is full of energy, insight, and inspiration. He is truly a book ambassador and brought many books to give away to the audience. As he shared a bit about the book and why he was recommending it he asked the participants who needed this story. A few books he already knew who needed this book by listening in earlier in the day. I can't wait to dive in to The Gift of Story and think about the affective side of our reading lives.

Here are some tidbits I'm taking with me into a new week.

"A book can become your best friend." 

John was a great mentor for knowing books and sharing stories about how he shares books with people when they need it. I think I have some close listening to do and reading to help find best friend books for my students.

"Do you finish the book or prolong the experience?"

We spend a lot of time talking about reader identity and growing it across our third grade year together. This isn't a question I have pondered before myself or with my students. I was also reminded of a reading conference I had a couple of weeks ago. A student had abandoned a book in the Chicken Squad series and I was surprised. He had been reading the others in our classroom library after I read the first one for a chapter book read aloud. When I asked him why, he told me this was the last book we had and he didn't want the series to end. My whole body took a deep sigh and my heart radiated. I suggested we look up if we owned all the books in the series and discovered there were two which were quickly ordered. This third grade reader prolongs the experience.

"Be open to stories"

As I think about being open to stories, I find myself thinking I need to slow down and pause building in moments for stories to emerge. I think being open to stories fosters matching books to readers, guiding writers, and ignites connections. 

I love spending time with our local group of educators each year. It not only grows my thinking and work as a teacher it nurtures my soul. The energy in the room is always positive and welcoming. There is time built in for connecting with old friends and making new ones. The day is relaxing and fun. I can't wait to spend another day with John in March and you can too, if you are near Columbus, Ohio - just visit The Literacy Connection website.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Engagement Thinking Highlights {Professional Learning}

Today was our first district professional learning day and our essential question the year is; How might increasing engagement impact student learning, behavior, and well being? 

A resource we used to help us think about developmentally appropriate needs for  engagement at each grade level was the Yardstick book from the Responsive Classroom organization. I got to work with colleagues to develop a rough draft for engagement for 8 and 9 year olds.

Some thinking I gathered and want to spend time with...

    Engagement by vs engagement with

    The disengaged gaze gives you permission to punt aka change course.


Some questions I have after thinking about engagement...

    How can we show engagement when students are not present and actively                    engaged?

    Is engagement about the process of learning?

    How is engagement observed and captured?

    Is engagement the story of learning?

Articles shared to support engagement with...

    Voice and Choice Article

    How Implementing Voice & Choice can Improve Student Engagement

    20 Student Engagement Strategies for a Captivating Classroom

    Strengthening Student Engagement: What do Students Want

A resource we used to help us think about developmentally appropriate needs for  engagement at each grade level was the Yardstick book from the Responsive Classroom organization. I got to work with colleagues to develop a rough draft for engagement for 8 and 9 year olds and I'm looking forward to exploring this topic more this year.

Monday, August 1, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading? {#IMWAYR}

I'm currently reading
 Creating Inclusive Writing Environments in the K-12 Classroom by Angela Stockman. I just finished her two previous books Make Writing and Hacking the Writing Workshop Redesign with Making in Mind. This current read is helping me think about being culturally responsive and how we can engage while decentering ourselves. I'm about half way through it.

You might be wondering if reading books by the same author was intentional. Yes! I'm currently spending my mornings this week working with and learning from Angela at her Make Writing Studio. 

These reading choices were made with two very intentional reasons. I wanted to learn more about multimodal composition in writing workshop and I wanted to be prepared for my work this week. 

When I think about reading nonfiction, I usually think about it as wanting to learn something new. I don't know if I've ever thought about my nonfiction reading as being prepared. I wanted to understand Angela's journey with writing workshop and how she got to this current work she's engaging with. 

I think this could easily transfer to the readers in my classroom. They read books about pets they would like to get; helping them to prepare for this new adventure. 

Each of these books are additional materials in insight digitally. 

Thank you Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for co-hosting this event 
with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.

Monday, July 18, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading? {IMWAYR}

 I'm currently reading The Road to After by Rebekah Lowell and first heard about it on the podcast Three huggable Middle Grade Novels on Get Lit(erate) with Stephanie Affinito. I bought this book at a local book store based on her rave reviews and summary on the podcast. I'm three fourths of the way through it and and amazed constantly. The story is told in verse which does not take away from the depth of the story. My emotions are all wrapped up and around the characters. I find myself cheering them on and right now I'm waiting for a "shoe" to drop.

Yesterday I had plans to finish the book and my day got away from me. I felt sad later in the evening and kept telling myself I have tomorrow and these thoughts reinforced why I have independent reading each day in my classroom. This thinking might also help me miss an interactive read aloud or mini lesson over the independent reading time. 

I have also found myself wishing I had a reader's notebook to capture some questions as I read. I have a few lines I want to record somewhere...

"Maybe Mama, Jenna, and I 

are like my sunflower,

full of changes going on inside

that others can't see,

good changes,

even if

they might feel prickly

at first."

 Thank you Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for co-hosting this event with Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.