Tuesday, April 5, 2016


I decided to try out some poetry today. Feeling sadness at the loss of someone in our family.
I have tried to express the emptiness I feel. It's so hard to craft the words. But the act of writing is consoling....

The emptiness whispers
Of your presence
And for a moment I wonder
Where have you gone?

The emptiness shouts
Your name.
And I expect to see you
Step softly around the corner.

The emptiness roars
Of sadness.
And I realize the emptiness
Will not bring you back to me.

The emptiness 
Isn't speaking to me.
It's the break in my heart
That cries for you.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Month of Slicing

What a Slice of Life it has been! 
I was worried when I started that I wouldn't be able to post every day.... and I did!
I am proud of that!

I learned so much from the other Slicers this month. Each day, I looked forward to reading posts that inspired me and taught me about writing. I continue to grow as a writer and this Slice of Life challenge was just what I needed.

I appreciated the comments I received from other Slicers. They helped me develop a stronger sense of being a writer. I eagerly waited for comments to post each day and met so many wonderful people.

Thanks to the #sol16 community. Your willingness to share has been inspiring. I felt connected to so many people this month. My hope is that we stay connected.

Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for making this happen!

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 31 - A Month of Slicing

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Expected Books to Find Me

When I really need inspiration, I go back and reread my notebooks. They are sprinkled with my favorite quotes, notes I took at conferences, family stories, memories, quickly-jotted poems, and so much more. It doesn't take me long to find the seed of an idea and start writing. We used to talk to young writers in our workshops about using our notebooks to reach for volume and variety. We hoped they would write every day. We wanted them, over time, to collect entries that could become the seeds of future writing. We encouraged them to change the structure of their writing to include lists, poems, sketches, memories, descriptions, and more. It wasn't long before they discovered the treasure of ideas they had to expand upon.

So today when I began looking through my journal, I found a brief piece that captured my memories of going to the library when I was young. There was library within walking distance from my home. I went there often. The closer I got to the library the quicker my steps would take me. I knew I would come home with a stack of books that I couldn't wait to read.

I loved the smell of the library. It's familiar scent of books and bindings greeted me at the door. I would walk in the door knowing that I had arrived at a place that was sheer pleasure. I spent many quiet hours pulling books from the shelves to see if they were just what I was looking for. The library became a place that was familiar and comforting. I would leave with a stack of books in my bag that would fascinate me and inspire me until I returned to the library for more.

As I reread my journal entry, I noticed this line:

"When I went to the library, I expected books to find me."

So I was thinking about what expectations our children have when they come to school?
Do they expect to be inspired? 
Do they expect to have choices?
Do they expect to have time to wonder?
Do they expect to have time to wander?
Do they expect to have a voice? 
Do they expect to love learning?
I hope so.

We need to be watchful. 
Do our students walk into school with excitement and anticipation for a day of learning?
Do they sense a feeling of comfort because there are people there that really know them?
Do they smile and treat each other with kindness?
Do they love to learn?

I hope we can hear them say:

"When I go to school, I expect to love learning."

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 30 - I Expected Books to Find Me

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Please, Spring.

The bluest sky says spring.
The fresh, green grass shoots upward.
The flowers blossom with joy.

But the cold still plays with me
In the brisk wind
That blows my hair
And reminds me that our part of the earth
Is just not ready for warm breezes.

It saddens me and I shudder.
I am just not patient enough
For spring to come.
I want to abandon my sweater
And feel the warm sun on my skin.

Please spring.
Come to me now.
Bring me joy.

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 29 - Please, Spring.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Some Days Writing is Hard

I am finding it so hard to write today.
Emotions are heavy. So much on my mind.

I have started several posts. I get a few words down and realize I haven't really said anything and cannot concentrate enough to make sense of the words in my head.

I wonder now how often our students feel this way. They are not immune to the heaviest of emotions and the biggest worries. Our students carry them in much the same way we do. Emotions and worries cloud their mind and make it impossible to think clearly. They struggle to get words on the page.

I sit here today with a fresh perspective for writing workshop. Know students well enough to understand that there will be days when writing doesn't come easy. Days when only a few words stumble onto the page. Give them space. Give them time. Understand.

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 28 - Some Days Writing is Hard

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bookmarks From the Heart

I am fascinated with bookmarks. I have collected some interesting ones over the years. But some of my favorite bookmarks come from the heart. Let me explain.

My mother's generation always sent cards in the mail - birthday cards, anniversary cards, get well cards. Of course, that was when the cards and the postage were inexpensive. It seems like my Mom was either sending cards or getting cards. Once the cards were opened, Mom would stand them up on the shelves in our kitchen - always a nice reminder of the kindness of family and friends. It saddens me that the tradition has gone by the wayside. Cards have become expensive as well as the postage. It is a tradition that is losing ground. 

However, my Mom found a way to re-purpose those cards. She would cut out the prettiest images from the cards into small bookmark shapes. She was a voracious reader and she would always have one of her bookmarks moving along the pages of the book as she read. There was a little basket on the kitchen counter that was always full of her bookmarks. She would be quick to offer a bookmark to those who came to her house with a book in their hand.

And so I continue the tradition.

While fewer cards come in the mail, I always fashion a new bookmark from each card before I recycle it. The joy is two-fold. I have a lovely new book mark and I remember the kindness of the person who sent the card. My bookmarks are in a little basket on my desk.

So if you stop by my house with a book in your hand, I will be sure to offer you one of my bookmarks from the heart. 

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 27 - Bookmarks From the Heart

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Curating a School for Everyone

Children come to school each day as different as snowflakes. I think our responsbility is not to make them all the same when they leave. Our job is to create a learning space where they all can thrive. It's not about restricting their experiences. It's all about expanding their experiences by providing them with what they need to be successful learners and happy children.

I have always felt that school belongs to the children. I dream of school as a place where there are no big people and little people but a place where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner and where we accomplish more together than we could separately.

We try hard to create classroom environments that support a successful learning community. I want us to celebrate the differences among our students and to make sure we can change the environment when something isn't working for them. As curators of our schools, we need to monitor the environment and change it to meet the needs of each child.

We can't expect a child who has trouble sitting still to overcome what he cannot control. So we mold an environment that matches his needs.

We can't expect a child to read at grade level if she is still struggling to learn basic reading skills. So we alter our instructions as well as the books we make available for her to read.

When a child needs a bit more time to complete work, we give it to them.

When a child struggles with where to sit at lunch and who to sit with, we surround him with buddies who can help him navigate lunchtime.

Instead of trying to change a child to fit the environment, we should be willing and able to flex the environment to fit the child.  Only then, will we have schools where growth is encouraged and learning is fun.

I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 26 - Curating School for Everyone