Friday, September 21, 2018

More Pandas {Poetry Friday}

in solitary
grunts and barks speak
leave me alone

recent discovery
mating season

1 call - come hither

once endangered
now vulnerable
may there be hope

keep on bleating
keep mating
keep growing

I'm re-continuing my study of the book Poems are Teachers How Studying Poetry Strengthen Writing in All Genres by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.   Each week I will let you know the technique of the week I've played with and a thought or two about the process.  

"Current news stories might make us angry or sad or joyful, and writing gives us a way to give our feelings and reactions form."  Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

This week was Respond to Current News and I knew right away I was going to have to read some news because it doesn't help my emotions so I often ignore it.  I opened up my NY Times app that Pam Allyn recommended as her favorite and began scrolling down the list of today's articles.  I keep scrolling until I found, Decoding Panda's Come Hither Calls.

As I read the article, I started jotting words used in the article.  I then used my dictionary app to find other words for that word meaning.  Then I began drafting my poem and found I needed to do a little research on the levels of extinction.  I did worry I was giving an account of the information and not sharing a reaction.  I tried to work in my reaction at the end.

      Thank you Erin at The Water's Edge for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley

Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley and illustrated by Tracy Subisak reminds me of many children I've had over the years obsessed with a topic.  They are truly experts about their passion.  Shawn is an expert on sharks and can't wait for the predator project selection day.  As you can guess, Shawn does not get sharks and gets really upset when another student in class does.  He gets seals and is quite distraught because sharks eat seals.  The shark and seal topic carries over to a game of chase on the playground even with roles reversed because Shawn use to chase everyone around being a shark.  I love that Shawn reads and as he learns he changes his mind about seals.  He learns how seals would get away from sharks and uses some of these tactics on the playground.  In the end, Shawn learns to love two things and sometimes we have students who need this too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Poor Louie by Tony Fucile

Poor Louie by Tony Fucile is another dog story I explored this weekend from my school library.  As I read the story I kept connecting in our yearly days of marriage with just us and one dog.  The three of us did everything together and then things started to change a bit when a baby was on the way.  As Louie watches new things arrive to his home he realizes he may not be quite prepared for this.  He begins to think there's going to be two new things coming home.  As a reader, I could feel Louie's uneasy feelings through the illustrations.  They are carefully crafted to support this story.  I so desperately want to share the ending of this story but it was a huge surprise to me and one I didn't predict.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I Wish I Had... {Slice of Life}

Thank goodness there's a break in my evening class.  I'm ready for short walk down the hallway/lobby area and my mind is preoccupied with a long day of teaching, to dos, daughter things, and telling myself to take a little breath.  As I enter the hallway/lobby area, a young teenage girl starts looking at me and is standing up while leaning against a chair.  I'm not even sure she is talking to me at first because I'm not very present.  Then I realize she is talking to me and I redirect my mind towards her as I keep walking.  "You are pretty."  "Oh, thank you."  "And so thin."  I just smile.  I continue walking and return to class at the end of the break. 

I reflect about this conversation on the drive home with random thoughts crashing together; Did she really say I was pretty?  I don't remember the last time someone said I was pretty.  I'm a few decades older than her.  I wish she hadn't said I was thin.  It was really kind of her to compliment me.  It did make me smile to think that someone else, a younger girl thought I was pretty when I'm old enough to be her mother.

I wish I had been more present.  I wish I had stopped and told her thank you, that was very kind of you.  I'd also tell her, I hope you have a good day because you made mine better.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Franki by Mary Sullivan

I love dog stories and I met Franki in my school library.  Franki is written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan.  The text is simple and arranged in a text bubble format.  I found myself wanting to find a class of kindergarteners to read this book to.  Kindergarteners will be so excited to read the word no frequently as Franki adjusts to his new home with another dog, Nico.  Nico doesn't really like to share and Franki thinks everything is his.  All ages will enjoy the ending where Franki finds a solution for claiming his own items and how Nico decides to be a bit like Franki.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I AM A WARRIOR GODDESS and how I used it in class

This public library book is overdue.  I must return it for others to enjoy and I must personally buy it.  I first shared this title on my 10 for 10 Picture Book Event - Books to Help with Worry.  After reading it with students and using it to foster thinking I wanted to share more about it here.  

I'M A WARRIOR GODDESS by Jennifer Adams and Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates is warm and soft and empowering!  The little girl greets different aspects of  nature each morning to start her day and reads to train her brain.  Next she fills her heart with kindness, "the most powerful weapon there is."  The following pages show scenarios where the little girl is demonstrating an affirmation in action.  She is grateful when she receives flowers and generous when she shares them with someone else.  I love the page when she's painting bold shapes with a paint brush and views herself as fierce.  At the end of her day, she says goodnight to different aspects of nature before going to sleep.  

After reading this text and illustrating our own self portraits, I had my students add their own affirmation.  I love this addition to a project I've done each year.  The students thoughts were sincere and I think they will be helpful on a sad or frustrate day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Well Wishes {Slice of Life}

It's Saturday morning and I make a trip to Target.  My list is very focused and I set a goal to remain focused.  Remaining focused at Target for me means no aisle wandering and no checking in on my favorite sections.  This particular day I met my goal and head to the checkout in hopes of a speedy cashier.  I unload my basket; Vics vapor rub, Sudafed, Ricola cough drop one, Ricola cough drop two, and Cold-eeze.  I look up and realize my cashier's hands are tied with the customer in front of me and I have to wait longer than I had intended.  The customer behind me and I start to chit chat about wishing this store had self check out and probably the hold up in front of us.  Finally, my checkout takes place and as I'm getting ready to walk away the customer behind me says, "I hope someone feels better soon".  She caught me off guard.  I never noticed she was looking at my checkout items.  I turned around and said, "thanks - they are for me."

As I walked to my car that day I started feeling better.  A stranger had noticed someone wasn't feeling well and sent wishes to whoever that was.  It was nice to be noticed.  It was nice to hear unsolicited kind words.  It was nice to smile while feeling down right miserable.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.