accomplishments · preschool · slice of life · writing

Last Day of Preschool Writing

Today was my final day volunteering in Isabelle’s preschool class’s writing center. While she still has another four weeks left of preschool, her class is studying pets. Parents are encouraged to bring their dogs, cats, birds, etc. into school. (NOTE: I have pet allergies and asthma. Not a good combo!) Therefore, I had to declare today as my last day, which disappointed my daughter. Isabelle knows how bad my allergies are so she understood as best as a five-year-old can understand that kind of thing.

I’m glad I have kept records (on this blog and in Evernote) about the times I volunteered in Isabelle’s classroom this year. Fortunately, I wrote about the first time I volunteered there in September so I’m able to see growth. Here are some things I noticed about Isabelle’s growth as a writer in the past eight months:

  • Her stamina has increased. In September, it was challenging for Isabelle to sit for more than five minutes without whining to produce a page. Today, she spent over a half-hour at the writing center working on her book.
  • Her drawings of people are more representational. In September, her people didn’t have bodies. Now, they all have bodies as well as other features!
  • Her volume has swelled. In September, she drew one page and told a simple story about it. Now, she’s “writing” six pages! (NOTE: She’s not writing strings of letters to represent her words. She’s still dictating to me and I’m writing. However, she’s drawing across pages.)
  • Her drawings contain details. Sometimes she needs help thinking about what kinds of things she should draw on a page to communicate the meaning of the scene, but she’s gotten stronger at embedding relevant details in her pictures. (For instance, in the dance studio picture, top right below, she wanted to draw tap shoes on the girls. She also felt it was important to draw their dance bags since they change out of their tap shoes into ballet shoes at the midpoint of each class.)

She has grown as a writer one Monday at a time. I’m sure she would’ve grown more had I not taken off time for my surgery, work-related commitments, and prenatal appointments. Despite me missing several Mondays, she has progressed this year. Here’s what she wrote today:

On the car ride to school, I asked Isabelle what kind of story she wanted to tell today. Nothing came to mind. (She didn’t want to write about anything that happened over the weekend.) Therefore, I suggested that she could write about her interests. I asked her, “What do you like to do when you’re not at school?” She had a LOT of responses. Therefore, I suggested she could write a book about things she does outside of school. Thankfully, she went with it!

 

While some of Isabelle’s drawings are a little sparse (e.g., the Hershey Story one), some include lots of detail. Truth be told, she was losing stamina, but still willing to work, by page six (Hersheypark). I encouraged her to add green dinosaurs to show her reader what kind of ride she was on since I told her writers add details to help their readers understand where their stories take place. Fortunately, she added the setting details to her picture without pushback.

Do we have more work to do at home this summer to make sure she feels more confident with writing as she approaches Kindergarten? Absolutely! For now, I’m enjoying the gains Isabelle made this year. As you’ll see (if you look at where she was in September or even where she was in January), she has grown by leaps and bounds!

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preschool · slice of life · writing

Six Pages

“Are you coming to help me and my friends write books this morning?” a little voice asked from the backseat.

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Oh good,” Isabelle said.

“Do you have a story in mind?” I inquired.

“Yes,” she said.

“Will you tell it to me?”

“Sure,” Isabelle replied. She told a detailed story about the day she went to Sky Zone & Wegman’s with her friends. Everything she rattled off was in chronological order. She even used transition words like firstnext, and then to frame her story. I was impressed!

I complimented Isabelle as I drove. I threw in a tip, which was to use specific words like “trampoline” and “foam pit” rather than saying “jumped on the thing.” She liked that idea.

I realized, as I continued to drive, that Isabelle’s story had more than three parts. “How many pages do you think your story will be?” I asked.

“I dunno,” she replied.

“Would you mind if I retell the story across my fingers when we get to the traffic light?”

“Sure!” she said.

Once I stopped at the light — which is almost three minutes long — I retold Isabelle’s story across my fingers. I had six fingers raised when I finished. “I think it’s six parts. Did I miss anything?”

“You got it all, Mommy.”

“Then I think you’ll need six pages to tell your story.”

“That’s a lot of paper. I only get three-page books.”

“You can write across as many pages as you need to, Isabelle. I’m the one who usually makes the books and it sounds like you need more pages. We’ll make a six-page book for your story, okay?”

“Okay,” she said.

And sure enough, she wrote a six-page story during writing time today. (And, in fact, I encouraged some of her peers, who told me longer stories when they told them aloud to me, to try writing longer books too. Most of them were excited to “write” longer.)

1 of 6
Page 1 of 6
2 of 6
Page 2 of 6
3 of 6
Page 3 of 6

 

Page 4 of 6
Page 4 of 6
Page 5 of 6
Page 5 of 6
Page 6 of 6
Page 6 of 6

Yep, I’m kvelling.

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preschool · slice of life · writing

Regrets: Heavy Lifting – #sol16

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For the next 31 days (Well, really 32 since I always start a day before the Challenge and then write the entire month of March.) my posts will be devoted to the Slice of Life Story Challenge, a challenge I co-host with seven other educators over at Two Writing Teachers. Some of my posts will be about raising a literate human (aka: my daughter), while some will be about small moments from my life.

If you haven’t committed to writing daily, but want to, I hope you’ll join us for the 9th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. Click here for more details.

* * * * *

I have regrets about the way writing time went in my daughter’s classroom today. I did too much heavy lifting. Not physically, of course. I didn’t lift more than a pint-sized chair to move it across the room to the meeting area. I’m talking about the level of support I provided my child. I think I prompted her too much.

Like previous visits to Isabelle’s classroom, I started talking with her about my upcoming visit over breakfast. I asked her if she knew what she’d write about today. She came up with an idea that wasn’t really a story. (It went like this: “Allegra and I watched the Maccabeats together at synagogue.”) There was no beginning, middle, and end (or b-m-e). Therefore, I told her to think of something that had a true b-m-e. She wasn’t sure what to write about so I told her how I was going to teach the class about writing about people we know, places we go, and things we do. I also told her I’d be reading Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee to help her and her friends think about things they do.

Of course, in true preschooler fashion, she jumped on the idea of writing about a roller coaster, specifically about the time she went on LaffTrakk at Hersheypark. (She went on once with my husband and hated it. However, she still talks about it because she “didn’t cry” even though she was scared.) I thought that was a great idea so we rehearsed it several times while we ate breakfast. She was able to able to sequence the story, but needed help adding details (e.g., where she made the silly faces, how she was feeling, how the ride moved). However, she seemed to have a good handle on it so we cleared the breakfast dishes and got ready to head to her school.

Isabelle didn’t come over to the writing center right away. In fact, she came over and I was working with three of her peers so I asked her to come back when one of them got up. She complied. However, by the time she returned, there was only 15 minutes left. I had her rehearse her writing, touching each page, as she retold her story aloud. Just two-and-a-half hours after we had initially practiced, a lot of the details were missing. I asked her questions and nudged her to add more details. She retold the story orally across pages again. Good enough. She was ready to draw.

Once her pictures were finished, we labeled them together. Things were going well until it was time for her to tell her story aloud to me one final time. She wasn’t elaborating. There was nothing about the fun house mirror on the first page of the story.

IMG_4783
Page 1

By the time we got to page two, I was feeling frustrated. All she said was “I went in the seats with Daddy.”

“Where were you?” I asked.

“Hersheypark,” she responded.

“But where?” I asked.

“The roller coaster,” she replied.

“Which one?” I asked. I really wanted her to name it.

IMG_4784
Page 2

“LaffTrakk!” she said in an exasperated voice.

“How did it move?” I asked.

“Then it went backwards,” she added on.

“How did you feel?” I asked.

“Scared,” she replied.

I pressed her. “Can you say it in a sentence?”

“I was feeling surprised because it was faster than the video,” she replied.

“What was faster?” I asked, wanting her to say LaffTrakk.

Isabelle looked at me — annoyed — and turned to the third page of her story.

“I walked out,” she said.

“Where did you go? I asked, knowing exactly where she went.

“Out,” she replied.

I kept going. “But where?”

“I walked out to see Mommy.”

“How did you feel?” I inquired.

“That’s it.”

IMG_4782
Page 3

I gave up. I felt frustrated she wouldn’t elaborate like she had during breakfast. And I found myself realizing I was becoming too invested in her story. She had said all she wanted to say. I wasn’t going to be able to pull any more out of her, nor should I.

But I am who I am. I said something more to her since I regretted doing too much of the heavy lifting today.

“Isabelle,” I paused and waited for eye contact. “I feel like I had to do a lot to get you to tell your story this week. I hope next week, when I come in, you’ll do more of the work. Okay?”

“Okay.”

We shall see what next Monday brings…

preschool · slice of life

Making Books

I’ve volunteered in the writing center of my daughter’s preschool classroom on as many Mondays as possible this school year. I hadn’t been there since January 11th, but I knew it was time to take it up a notch. After all, my daughter and most of her friends are able to tell true stories about their lives. I’ve been reading Engaging Young Writers: Preschool – Grade 1 by Matt Glover, which made me realize it was time I figured it was time to nudge them forward by having them tell a story across pages. In other words, I was going to have them start making books today.

Last night, Isabelle was not pleased when asked what I was doing with her and her classmates. First, she didn’t like that I was going to read a book aloud during circle time. Second, she didn’t like that she was going to have to tell a story across pages. “I don’t want to do it,” she declared.

“This is the kind of work that writers do, Isabelle. You’re going to give it a try tomorrow.”

“I don’t want to,” she said.

“Why?” I probed.

She looked at the three-page book I created. “It looks hard.”

“You can tell a story across pages. We’ve done it before at home. I’ll be there to help you.”

She didn’t look convinced.

* * * * *

  This morning, we talked about what might be a good topic for a story on the car ride to school. She came up with sledding in our neighbor’s backyard the weekend of the blizzard. Once we got to a long stoplight, I helped her rehearse the story by telling it to me across her fingers. She said, “First, I put on my gear. Next, we walked to Ms. Lori’s backyard. Finally, I went sledding with Daddy.” It was a little spare, but it was a great first attempt.

“Write it!” I declared.

* * * * *

 

This is the book I wrote about going to the Please Touch Museum with my family yesterday.
This is the book I wrote about going to the Please Touch Museum with my family yesterday.

I read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and talked with her peers about all of the great storytelling they’ve done in their journals this year. Then, I told them it was time to do what the authors of books in their classroom do: make books! We reviewed the thinking/drawing/writing chart. Once all of them thought of a story to tell, I had them go knee-to-knee and eye-to-eye with a partner to tell their story aloud. I listened into a couple of conversations. I noticed some of the kids were writing bed-to-bed stories in the air just to come up with a third thing to tell. When I brought the class back together, I reminded them that their books should have three parts that were related. I wasn’t convinced, after the minilesson, that today would be successful. Alas, I wanted to see what they could do with some gentle nudging once they came to the writing center.

When each child arrived, I had him/her retell the story to me across their fingers. Then, I had them touch each page of their stapled book to tell me what would go on each page. From there, I they drew their pictures. Finally, I either added the words for them (on sticky notes) as they told me the story aloud or they wrote their own words.

I made Isabelle go through the same process as her peers even though I knew the story (and knew she rehearsed it in the car). I was a little disappointed that she changed it around from her initial telling of it in the car. However, in an effort not to put words in her mouth, I scribed exactly what she said.

We've been working with Isabelle on drawing people with bodies. I didn't want to push her to do that today since I was concerned about her ability to tell a story across pages. While she continues to have body-less people, I was proud of her for telling a story across pages, which she didn't think she could do last night.
We’ve been working with Isabelle on drawing people with bodies. I didn’t want to push her to do that today since I was concerned about her ability to tell a story across pages. While she continues to have body-less people, I was proud of her for doing her own labeling on the first page of the story, which she didn’t want to do. However, I knew she could do it, so I nudged her to try.

The only thing I did do was have her go back and add more detail to the second page where she and my husband walked to the neighbor’s house. We looked back at Knuffle Bunny and noticed how Mo Willems had pictures of Trixie and her Daddy walking through their neighborhood so the reader could understand where they were. She had a tough time drawing a house, but with a little practice, she was able to make it look like a house. (BTW: Those dashses are hers. I drew a house with dashes that she had to trace over on scrap paper. For some reason, she thought she should draw the dashes prior to drawing the solid lines of the house.)

* * * * *

I’m thinking I’m going to do a few more weeks of telling stories across pages. By mid-March, I’m hoping to give the kids the option of telling stories in their books or writing books that tell a lot about something (Glover, 2009, 20). I think that choice will be interesting to see play out once the kids get more comfortable with writing across pages, rather than writing on one page, which is what they’ve been doing in their journals this year.

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preschool · writing · writing journal

Preschool Journals: Year Two

I asked Isabelle’s new teacher if she’d like me to volunteer on Mondays — except for weeks when I have consulting commitments — to work with the kids during journal time. (My desire to volunteer was prompted by my freak-out about Isabelle’s journal writing last spring.) Granted, most of my experience has been with kids in grades 1 – 5, but her preschool teacher said “yes.”

Today was my first day.

Let me be honest, I am exhausted. Do you know how hard it is to get three and four-year-olds to sit down and write while there are other centers happening in the classroom? Magnatiles were being erected into skyscrapers. Jungle puzzles were being pieced together.  There was something exciting inside of the sensory table. And there I was in the writing center. But somehow, I met with every single kid in the class in one hour. Well, except for one who walked away from me.  I guess the idea of writing a true story about something from her life wasn’t enough of an enticement.

Thankfully, Isabelle was willing to sit with me today. In the midst of our discussion about me coming in to work with her friends, we also talked about what she’d write about today. She had a story she wanted to tell, which made her willing to come right over to the writing center. The requirement was that she bring a friend. Thankfully, her friend Grace was not only willing to join us, but she had a great story to tell (about her brother’s birthday party over the weekend). Grace was highly independent while I worked with Isabelle, which allowed me to give Isabelle lean prompts to help her (e.g., turn your paper to the side to show someone laying on the ground; “Should you draw a smiley face or a sad face if someone is hurt?), without intruding too much on her writing process. After all, today was supposed to be a baseline of what the kids could do.

I worked with Isabelle to label the people in her drawing, which is the same thing I did for other kids. Even though I knew there was much more to her story (i.e., the fact that she ran to get help from our neighbor after my mom fell on the ground yesterday), I didn't prod her for more information since I wouldn't have known there was more if I hadn't personally known the story.
I worked with Isabelle to label the people in her drawing, which is the same thing I did for other kids. Even though I knew there was much more to her story (i.e., the fact that she ran to get help from our neighbor after my mom fell on the ground yesterday), I didn’t prod her for more information since I wouldn’t have known there was more if I hadn’t personally known the story.

I have no idea what the unlabeled parts of the picture are, but what I do know is that this is a marked improvement from where she was in the springtime. (And, yes, I have worked with her on storytelling — oral and through pictures — at home this summer.)

I noticed she started another page in her journal when I started working with one of her other friends. I didn’t have time to coach her at all, but she did have a story to tell about her picture:

I have no idea where she came up with this kitty cat story, but I wrote it down just as I would have for another child.
I have no idea where she came up with this kitty cat story, but I wrote it down just as I would have for another child.

The second picture is what I’d consider her default. This is the kind of picture Isabelle defaults to when left to her own devices. And that’s okay. It counts as writing and will live in her writing journal at school, just like the previous page will.

I’m looking forward to watching her grow this year — one Monday at a time.

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growing up · growth mindset · OT · preschool · slice of life · speech

A Letter to Isabelle

Isabelle and I attended her new preschool's open house this afternoon. It took awhile, but eventually she was comfortable enough to start playing alongside a friend.
Isabelle and I attended her new preschool’s open house this afternoon. It took awhile, but eventually she was comfortable enough to start playing alongside a friend.

I’ve been recuperating from the surgery I had on August 12th. I haven’t written since August 11th. Earlier today my father told me, “you’re back to reality now. Start writing again.” (Thanks for the tough love, Dad!) So here I am.

I’m taking some inspiration from a piece Dana Murphy shared on Facebook last weekend.  It was written by Glennon Doyle Melton. I read it as her way of preparing herself to have a conversation with her son about being compassionate to others.  And it reminded me of a conversation I want to have with Isabelle before she starts her second year of preschool this week.  In fact, this conversation has been on my mind ever since I overheard her say, “He holds his marker like a baby,” about one of her peers after she learned how to properly hold a writing utensil this past March.  She starts school on Thursday so here’s my letter to Isabelle (which I’ll use as fodder for the conversation I will have with her tomorrow).

Dear Isabelle,

You start preschool this week. Well, one of the two. The other one starts after Labor Day. I can’t believe you’re going to be out of the house, doing some type of school, every weekday this school year. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too much school for a four-and-a-half-year-old… But you love your first preschool so hopefully you’ll love the second one too.

But that’s not what I want to discuss. Instead, I want to talk to you about struggling and kindness.

Struggle is defined as proceeding with difficulty or with great effort. I hated to watch you struggle to crawl, to stand, to walk, and — most of all — to talk. Things haven’t come easily for you.  You’ve exerted great effort to attain every goal you have reached.  And while I could look at those struggles as weakness, I’ve reframed them in my mind. You have an excellent work ethic.  You’re tenacious.  You have grit.  And that’s why you’ve been able to overcome your struggles.

I know you will continue to struggle with things in school.  And that is okay.  Everything happens for you. However, things often happen later than they do for your peers.  And while you might have to work harder to attain things that come naturally to other kids, I’ve come to believe it will make you a stronger adult since you’ll know what it is like to work diligently to do something.

You’ve overcome so much in the past two and a half years since your CAS diagnosis.  I am so proud of everything you’ve accomplished in speech and in OT.  And while I know you’ll have to continue to work at things, I know some things may actually be easier for you (e.g., using scissors, imaginative play, following classroom rules) than they will be for some of your peers who haven’t had as much practice as you at doing some of those things.  And that is okay.  Just because someone cannot do something you can do doesn’t mean they are a “baby.”  All it means is they haven’t mastered that skill yet.

It is important to stay calm if someone’s actions, behaviors, or habits annoy you. Trust me, I know from experience, that’s really hard to do.  But part of being a good friend is being patient.  And part of being patient is being a kind person.  Instead of making someone feel bad if they cannot do something as well as you, you can show them how to do it (if they want your help).  And if they don’t want your help, you can play together or do something together both can do.  We want to make our friends feel good.  Being sweet towards others usually makes people happy.

When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.

I hope you’ll be the kind of person who chooses to be kind, especially when you see a friend struggling.  That’s what I’d want for you if you were struggling.  I hope you’ll choose kind, again and again and again.

I hope this year is filled with happiness and growth. I look forward to watching you develop into a confident five-year-old this school year.  I hope life hands you an easier path — one that’s not riddled with struggles — in the years to come.  But if it doesn’t, I will be your biggest supporter — always.

Love,

Mommy

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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.

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pre-writing · preschool · slice of life · writing

Preschool Journal

I’ve been thinking a lot about preschool writing ever since my TWT colleague, Dana Murphy, shared her daughter’s writing on TWT last week.  Maddie, Dana’s older daughter, is about 14 months older than Isabelle. Maddie starts Kindergarten this fall.  Isabelle has another year of preschool to go. Developmentally, these girls are in different places.

I know better than to compare Isabelle’s writing to Maddie’s.

But I’ve been coming back to Maddie’s writing quite a few times since Dana posted it. (I even shared it with my husband, who was impressed and amazed by the words Maddie wrote on the page.  I was impressed by that and the level of detail in her illustrations.) And every time I do, I wonder, will Isabelle be able to write like that by this time next year?

Now here’s where I’m going to stop to talk directly to my parents, in-laws, and husband who I know will be reading this in the next 24 hours.  I am not comparing Isabelle to Maddie.  If I’ve learned anything about parenting in the past 4+ years, it’s that I should never compare my child to anyone else’s. Isabelle learns at her own pace. She always gets there — in her own time.  My purpose for posting this in a public forum, not on the family-only blog, is to get some feedback from other early childhood educators I know. I’m hoping to get some suggestions from them about how I can work with Isabelle at home. Anyway, back to my post.

Back in October, Isabelle received her journal in school.  We had the pleasure of inscribing the first page.  Here’s what one of her early entries looked like:

Click on the image to enlarge.
Click on the image to enlarge.

YIKES!

I went into her classroom in November and February to work with her on her notebook.  November’s trip was a semi-disaster since she didn’t want to work with me. February’s work was better.  Take a look:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Better, right?  She drew the picture and talked with me.  I wrote what she said and labeled the faces.

Here’s a small sampling of her work from February – present:

Let me say, before you open this, that my kid hates cauliflower. I have no idea what this page means. Nonetheless, this must've been one of the days she didn't want to sit down to write in school.
Let me say, before you open this, that my kid hates cauliflower. I have no idea what this page means. Nonetheless, this must’ve been a day in March she didn’t want to sit down to write, but had to.
Click on the image to enlarge this entry about Isabelle playing blocks at school.
Click on the image to enlarge this entry about Isabelle playing blocks at school.
Even once you enlarge this one, I don't know how well you'll see the figure of Isabelle, in peach, on the right. Casey is her cousin.
Even once you enlarge this one, I don’t know how well you’ll see the figure of Isabelle, in peach, on the right. Casey is her cousin. This is from late April.
Apparently this is me. Also done in late April.
Apparently this is me.
This was written last Friday. I have no idea what it is *really* about. Click on the image to enlarge.
This was written last Friday. I have no idea what it is *really* about. Click on the image to enlarge.

We had Isabelle’s parent-teacher conference with her teacher today.  She made note of some things that show progress in the area of writing:

  • Isabelle has developed a more positive attitude to non-preferred tasks, which includes anything that requires her to sit at a table — like writing.
  • Isabelle is becoming more confident and in control of writing utensils.
  • Isabelle has become more interested in writing. She has been creating illustrations that are more representational and often tells about events of experiences from her own life.

These are all FANTASTIC things, some of which I’ve noticed progress with at home. But I’m worried.

  • I’m worried because Isabelle had no interest in starting an at-home story journal with me a few months ago. (I’ll try again once school is out this summer.)
    • We’ve been practicing oral storytelling at home since I know talk is the step before drawing and writing.
  • I’m worried the journal work she’s doing now isn’t showing a clear trajectory of growth (as evidenced by the 5/29/15 piece, which feels like a step backwards).  While I see growth from November, I’m still concerned.
    • My personal goal for Isabelle is to be able to tell a story across three pages in the early part of Kindergarten.  (I realize that’s over a year away.  A lot can change in a year.  This video represents what my expectations are of Kindergarten students.)
  • I’m worried that she isn’t using what she knows about stories (and we read a lot of books!) and bringing that forth in her writing.

And I know she’s only four.  And I know she has another year of preschool.  And I know she needs to play and socialize and learn how to ‘do school.’  And I know she may grow up to be more like my husband (a math and science person) than like me (the ELA/SS person).  And I know I don’t want to force her to sit down and write because that would kill the joy of writing she may find on her own in a year or two.

I know all of these things, but, yet, I worry.

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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:

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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.

preschool · slice of life

Music to My Educator Ears

It snowed a whopping two inches overnight from Sunday into Monday. I assumed my daughter’s school would have a delayed opening when my husband came in from shoveling, rather than snow blowing our driveway. But then, I got an e-mail from my daughter’s school. Like so many other schools in the local area, they had gone from a delay to a closure.

Isabelle was already dressed from head to toe. She was wearing her woolies so she could play outside at recess and even had her bow in her coiffed curls. I knew she wouldn’t take it well when I broke the news about the cancelation to her. What I didn’t know is that she would cry.

That’s right. My kid, daughter and granddaughter of educators, cried when she heard school was canceled. Her exact words were:

Why is preschool closed? I wanna go to school. I’m disappointed!

Tears sprang from her eyes, her cheeks turned red, and a pout stayed on her face for awhile as she repeated herself over and over. I promised her a fun day. I promised her she’d go outside. I promised her she’d play with the neighborhood kids. It seemed she didn’t want to hear my promises… she just wanted to go to school!

There was lots of playing yesterday. We even made valentines for her little friends. (And, I got a head-start on the heart crayons I plan to attach to the valentines.) But all day I couldn’t shake the fact that she wanted to go to school rather than stay home. I hope her enthusiasm for learning and seeing her peers is always as strong as it was yesterday.