motherhood · poetry · slice of life

Awaiting Our Forever Home

I wrote a post for SOL Tuesday. I was in the midst of revising and editing it when I attempted to save the post, I was met with this:

A screenshot of the post I attempted to post today.

Then I tried to publish. I could go back and fix it up after it went live. That didn’t work.

So here I am. I’m frustrated. So I’m pushing myself to write something new, as opposed to retyping.

How many more days will it be
Once the siding and shake are up?
My daughter is impatient because she is
Eager to move in so we can start the rest of our lives.

poetry · slice of life · writing

Poetry Mission, Part Deux

Last week, I declared my intent to help Isabelle like poetry. But, on Thursday night, Ari spent most of the night crying. He required soothing by his one-and-only mommy. By noon, he was diagnosed with double-ear infections. Then, on Saturday, I came down with something and have felt crummy ever since. But despite all of that, I managed to place poems in Isabelle’s snack bag every day and chat a little bit about poetry with her at night.

Despite feeling miserable all day yesterday, I went in search of amusement park poems to share with Isabelle since her teacher informed me Isabelle expressed interest in writing poems about Hersheypark. After an internet search that left me wanting for more, I went to Amy LV’s Poem Farm blog. Unfortunately, I came up empty-handed. So I emailed Amy to ask her if she knew of any amusement park poems I could use for inspiration with Isabelle. Not being an avid ride fan, Amy didn’t know of any (which explains why she hasn’t written any!). However, Amy suggested looking at Marla Frazee’s Rollercoaster, which happens to be one of Isabelle’s books since it’s poem-like. Therefore, Isabelle and I studied it together yesterday afternoon. We talked about line breaks and the many reason poets might choose to break lines. Then, we spent about a half-hour looking through various poems on Amy’s Poem Farm website before Mommy needed to lay down.

Even though I still felt awful today, I ventured into Isabelle’s classroom since the next two weeks are filled with consulting commitments and manuscript work. There’s something about being amongst children — in writing workshop — that helps me forget my misery. I find I journey far away from my ailments when I’m sitting on the floor, beside a child, talking about writing.

I conferred with one of Isabelle’s friends first since my daughter was taking awhile to settle in. Therefore, I taught her friend about line breaks and coached her through revising an existing poem by adding line breaks. Next, I went to Isabelle. I discovered she’d written a poem about a ride, Helicopters, she’d taken with Ari over the weekend. The poem read:

I went

on the

helicopters

with Ari.

We went

up.

I think there was one more line, but I don’t remember it. Whatever it was, wasn’t memorable. I asked Isabelle about why she ended the poem when she did. “I ran out of room on the paper,” she replied.

That’s when I taught her a paper trick she could use anytime so she wouldn’t feel constrained. We visited the paper center and grabbed more paper. I showed her how to tape on a piece so she could write more. Once we made that quick fix, I asked some questions about what she was trying to show. She said it was important for her reader to know that Ari was saying hi to everyone as the ride went in a circle and that she held Ari. I encouraged her — now that she had more paper — to write about those things with precision. (While I wanted to encourage her to start anew, I knew I was skating a thin line between mommy and literacy coach, so I opted to stay a little bit on the side of the mommy role.) I told her to come back to me once she had shown her reader what she was really trying to say.

Towards the end of the workshop, Isabelle found me while I was conferring with another friend. I asked her to wait — and she did. Once I was finished, I found this:

I complemented her on writing longer and reminded her she could do that any time in writing workshop. Then, I noticed what she did by writing about the important parts of the ride: Ari saying hi and holding onto him.

At the end of the workshop, I pulled Isabelle aside and gave her a charge for tomorrow. I talked to her about trying to make the reader feel they’re alongside her at Hersheypark, riding rides with her brother. I encouraged her to pay more attention to the feeling she has when she’s holding her brother on their rides rather than the describing the rides themselves.

I won’t be in next week, but I am hoping her teacher will send home Isabelle’s next attempt so I can see what kinds of poems she writes going forward.

poetry · slice of life

A Poetry Mission

Per Isabelle’s request, I came into her class for writing workshop today. She insisted I come in since “that’s what you do.” I emailed her teacher, found some mutally-convenient dates, and went to Isabelle’s writing workshop for the first time today.

Today was the first day Isabelle’s class began a poetry unit of study. While Isabelle loved rhyming board books as a child, she’s never taken to poetry. Believe me, I’ve tried many different poetry picture books — rhyming and non-rhyming! I even spent April 2015 placing poems, instead of my regular notes, in her preschool lunchbox in honor of National Poetry Month! However, the poetry bug never bit Isabelle and I had bigger fish to fry. (Enough idioms for you?)

IMG_0485
Tomorrow’s snack bag poem is “Pinwheels” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

I noticed Isabelle seemed a bit disengaged while I worked with her and two of her friends as they recorded observations about objects during independent writing time. Despite me providing her — and her peers — with a strategy (i.e., What does the object look like, feel like, sound like?) for recording their observations, Isabelle didn’t have much to write. Her observations were surface-level descriptions about color and texture.

A few hours later, I picked Isabelle up from her after-school art class. I chatted with her about writing workshop on the car ride home.

  • I asked her if she was interested in the objects in the bins. (She said she wasn’t.)
  • I asked her if she felt like she had heard enough poems to inspire her own writing. (She said she hadn’t.)
  • I asked her if she’d like me to place a poem in her snack bag every day for the next few weeks while her class studies poetry. (She initially said no, but changed her mind 10 seconds later.)

So now I’m on a mission. A poetry mission, to be exact. My goal is to share some short poems with Isabelle I think she’ll enjoy. I’m not sure if they’ll inspire her to write her own observational poems, but — if nothing else — she’ll have a poetry gift in her snack bag every day for the foreseeable future.

I will return to her classroom next Monday. I’m not sure if she’ll have evolved into a budding poet by then, but I’m on a mission to find out.

slice of life_individual
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

poetry · slice of life

Wiped-off Kisses

She knows it gets me

When she wipes off my kisses.

But she still loves me!

For now, my kisses only get wiped off in private when she's feeling silly.
For now, my kisses only get wiped off in private when she’s feeling silly.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

poetry · preschool · slice of life

On the Last Day of Preschool

On the last day of preschool

I forgot to take your picture.

But it’s okay

since you swiped my phone

and took 31 selfies

when I went upstairs

to brush my teeth.

 

On the last day of preschool

I drove myself to Starbucks

ordered an iced white mocha

and read a professional teaching book

for over two hours.

 

On the last day of preschool

I exercised in the middle of the day

because my hand

and wrist

and shoulder

hurt too much

for me to sit and write.

And I don’t know when

I’ll have the chance

to do that for a LONG time.

 

On the last day of preschool

I ate my lunch

and devoured popcorn

for dessert

because you weren’t watching.

 

On the last day of preschool

I gathered your rest mat

and change of clothes

and bathing suit

and wet towel

and loaded them in the car.

And even though everything

needs to be washed

it can wait ’till tomorrow.

 

On the last day of preschool

I held your hand

when we ambled to the car.

I wondered if

you will hold my hand

on the next

last-day-of-preschool

a year from now.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

 

Chalkabration · poetry

The Case for Poetry All Year Long

I don’t like chalk (because it’s messy), but I adore Betsy Hubbard (because she’s artistic, brilliant, and caring) so I went outside to chalk with my daughter this afternoon.  Unlike me, Isabelle likes to use chalk!  See:

IMG_3500

Now, on to my poetic masterpiece (or not) in honor of April’s Chalk-A-Bration.

The Case for Poetry All Year Long/Imagine a world.../Where chocolate is eaten only in February/And turkey is just consumed in November./That's horrible --/ Dreadful even!/Now imagine a world/With a daily doet of poetry./Tastier,/right? (Click on the image to enlarge.)
The Case for Poetry All Year Long/Imagine a world…/Where chocolate is eaten only in February/And turkey is just consumed in November./That’s horrible –/Dreadful even!/Now imagine a world/With a daily diet of poetry./Tastier,/right?
(Click on the image to enlarge.)

I was one of those classroom teachers who infused poetry into my classroom all year long.  I couldn’t imagine teaching without poetry all year long thanks to my first literacy coach, Pat Werner, who opened the door of poetry to me during my first year of teaching.

Betsy hosts Chalkabration on the final day of each month at http://teachingyoungwriters.blogspot.com.
Betsy hosts Chalkabration on the final day of each month at http://teachingyoungwriters.blogspot.com.

confidence · poetry · slice of life

Reshaping a Year

Created with 59 Paper App.

Our next year

was reshaped

in 12 short hours and

in 3 little words.
We have love

because we have each other.

We have faith

because we have a strong plan.

We have hope

because we have fought tough battles

and have won

before.

Our next year

will be different

from the one we envisioned–

but we have

love

and faith

and hope.

The only other thing we need

is some chocolate

to hide in the cabinets

to perk us up

on days when

love and faith and hope

don’t feel like enough.

poetry

A Few More Reasons to Write a Poem

digipoetry-buttonI was inspired to create my own poem after reading Catherine & Margaret‘s blog poems (inspired by Bob Raczka‘s “Some Reasons to Write a Poem”) last week.

A Few More Reasons to Write a Poem

Because a tiny bird nibbles seed from her hand-painted birdhouse

 

Because you delight in her questions

even the ones that start with “why”

 

Because you witness her pedaling her trike straight

 

Because she requests a ponytail instead of a side-bow

 

Because she wants “just one more hug”

at preschool drop-off

 

Because you see yourself in her

when she smiles

 

Do you know how hard it is to wrangle curly hair into a ponytail? I'm surprised she stood still while I did it!
Do you know how hard it is to wrangle curly hair into a ponytail? I’m surprised she stood still while I did it!

 

food · poetry · preschool

Lunchbox Poems for National Poetry Month

I’m one of those moms who puts a note in my child’s lunchbox every day.  This month, I decided Isabelle was not going to get regular notes. Instead, she’d get a poem every day of the month, in honor of National Poetry Month, that she brings lunch to school.

I pulled out a variety of poetry books and combed the web for cute kids’ poems.  Next, I opened up the Vanilla Pen app and got to work.  Here’s a look at what I created (some are prettier than others):

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE.  My personal favorite is located on the bottom right.  It's includes a reminder that she has to leave early from school for a dental appointment. Ha!
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE. My personal favorite is located on the bottom right. It’s includes a reminder that she has to leave early from school for a dental appointment. Ha!

In honor of the first day of National Poetry Month AND the lunchbox poem series I’m hosting for Isabelle, here’s a peek at a favorite Eve Merriam poem that seemed perfect for Isabelle’s lunch today:

IMG_0651 (1)
Click on the image to enlarge.

 

I’m not sure what Isabelle will think of her month of poems. I hope her teachers won’t mind reading something a bit longer than my usual notes every day this month.

I’ve long had the idea of putting together a book (I envision it as the kind of book a publisher like Workman would take on.) of 180 Lunchbox Poems (for every day of the school year).  I’m not sure if a publisher would ever want to produce a book like this, which would include kid-friendly poems on sheets that parents could tare-out on a perforation and easily stick in their child’s lunch.  All I know is that the permissions process would be enormous!  For now, I’ll just stick with lunchbox poems for my own child.

family · poetry · slice of life

The Birthday Girl Sleeps

Casey

Warm Snuggly

Resting Breathing Sleeping

Sweet First Birthday Girl 

Niece