Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Letter to My Grandson on the Occasion of His First Birthday

It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers and I'm posting along.  Won't you consider joining this community of writers?

A Letter to My Grandson on the Occasion of His First Birthday

Dear George,
Happy 1st Birthday!

I can not believe that you are 1 year old today! I recall that hot August day last year waiting for that call to say you have arrived.  And finally you did: All 8 pounds and 15 ounces of you! You were a true bundle of joy that loved to be rocked and rocked and rocked.  You needed to keep on moving, and still do!

How delighted I was to hear your name for the first time: George David.  Named after two very important men in our lives: your great grandfather and your grandfather.  Both of these men have the same twinkle in their eyes. Both of these men love adventure and travel.  And both of these men are looking down on you and smiling at the love and joy you are bringing to this family!

George, you are quick with a smile and a hug.  Your chunky cheeks beg to be kissed over and over again.  And apparently you love these kisses too, as when I stop you always lean in for more.  Don't stop being a love bug!

And you are so friendly too: saying hi to everyone that passes your way, especially your own reflection in a mirror or window! Don't stop being so friendly!

You are a mover and an explorer, frequently wondering what's behind that chair or around that corner.  Your curiosity keeps us running and laughing.  You are indeed a Curious George!  Don't stop wondering!

Happy First Birthday George!  I love you more and more each day.

Love, Bebe

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#cyberpd - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: week 4

Week 4 - The final week of the #cyberpd book study on Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton

I am once again amazed at how social learning is!  If I had to read this book on my own this summer I would have been overwhelmed with the contents of this book.  I would have taken notes, highlighted text, and stickied page upon page.  My learning would have been immense, but it would have been my thoughts on this idea or that.  And I probably would never even consider how to bring this to life in a classroom.  

Because of this wonderful #cyberpd group, I had to wanted to go deeper.  I needed to synthesize and reflect on my reading before creating my post.  My learning grew by leaps and bounds because of the time I spent dwelling on what I read.  But more importantly I was "privy" to the deep-thinking of so many wonderful professionals.  Reading through the posts each week made the learning even more profound.  I now have access to a classroom of deep thinkers at all times and forever.

I am so grateful for this #cyberpd group.  You have shown me the meaning of real reading and given me the opportunity to participate in a wonderful learning community! Thank you!

Below are my thoughts for this final week.  I am sorry for the light colors!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#cyberpd - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: week 3

It's week 3 of the #cyberpd book study on Vicki Vinton's book: Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading.  I am once again synthesizing my take aways and quotes using a sketch note technique and in the process I am learning how to simplify my thinking in a visual format that will be easy to recall the big gleanings from this text come fall.
This week I am also adding a few lingering questions to my notes. I welcome any help or ideas to guide me in answering these questions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

#cyberPD 2017 - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading - Week 2

It's week 2 of the #cyberPD reading of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton.  I once again challenged myself to sketchnote my thoughts and ideas from chapters 5 and 6 and was amazed at how much time I spent synthesizing and re-reading.  I do judge I was "diving deeper for meaning" in the process.  I am not certain if the sketching is slowing me down or the deep thinking that sketching requires is more time consuming.  Regardless I am doing extra heavy thinking about this book - more so than I have in a long time. Skimming a professional book is fine sometimes, but I am enjoying this deep read.  More importantly I am relishing this community of thought-provoking individuals.  Thank you #cyberPD!

My thoughts in visual format

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 6, 2013

It's Slice of Life Tuesday!  I am honored to be part of a community that supports and celebrates writing.  Want to join in the fun?  Go to: Two Writing Teachers to learn more.

July 6, 2013

I felt alone
4 years ago
Single in a minute
A widow
I worried about being

But really?

3 children
2 + more grandchildren
Endless family 
Generous friends
Unlimited hugs


I am blessed
With a legacy
Many memories
Great hope
Unfailing friendship

I am surrounded 
With Faith
With Peace
With Joy

I am Blessed 
I am Thankful
I am...

Friday, July 7, 2017

#Cyberpd 2017 - Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading - Week 1

I am excited to read the book Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading by Vicki Vinton this summer and be part of a collaborative discussion on the contents of the book with the wonderful participants through #cyberpd. 
This week we focused on thoughts from the introduction through chapter 4.  My book is chockful of yellow highlighting so now I am tasked with synthesizing the most important points from these 53+ pages.
I was intrigued by the various methods other participants were using to jot their thoughts down, but sketch-noting hit a chord with me.  I am not certain if there is a right or wrong way to sketch-note, but I thought I'd use my new set of colorful markers and jot down a few quotes and key words.  I am embracing the diving in and trying something new - it may be messy but it helped me synthesize my key thoughts for this section of the book.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Peonies and Thank Yous

It's Slice of Life Tuesday sponsored by the wonderful team at Two Writing Teachers.  Won't you join us?
Peonies and Thank Yous

I stooped down to take a whiff of a bouquet of peonies the other day and an image instantly popped into my mind...
It was the last day of school and I was dressed in a cool summer dress. I was holding a bouquet of peonies for my favorite teacher, a gift for helping me learn and grow that year. The blossoms were fragrant and sweet smelling. My mom had cut them from her garden that morning so they were still dripping wet with dew.  She wrapped the bouquet in a damp paper towel and then covered the paper towel with foil so the stems would stay cool until I got to school. The foil was rough against my hands as I rode the bus to school, but it was all worth it when I saw the smile on my teachers face as I handed her my peonies and whispering a soft thank you.  It was the only gift we could afford, but it was from the heart.  And with her smile I knew it was worth more than gold.

This week I must find a way to say thank you to a colleague that I admire more than gold. She mentored me in a gentle and caring manner and was there for me in my darkest of days.  How do I thank her?  I recall the warm smile I received from the few stems of peonies and the whispered words of thanks.  Maybe a stem or two from my garden will do, but I think I will add my whispering words of thank you by way of a letter, telling her of all my appreciation and admiration. 

I am sure this community will agree - words from the heart are worth more than any gift. Words are gold.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#joy #blessings

It's Slice of Life Tuesday at The Two Writing Teachers blog and I post along with a community of other writers desiring to share the craft of writing.  Join us!

#joy #blessings

Multicolored tubes splayed across the yard
Damp bathing suits hanging willy-nilly from the rack
Boat waiting to be covered
Cushions to be put away before it rains
Empty water bottles and seltzer cans laying on the table
Glasses in the sink filled with melted ice cubes
Dirty dishes on the counter
Full dishwasher waiting to be emptied
Towels on the bathroom floor

So many things screaming at me for attention...

But it's all worth it after a weekend of fun surrounded by children and grandbabies.
#joy #blessed

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Learning a New Language

It's Tuesday and I am joining the Two Writing Teachers for their weekly Slice of Life post.

"Hey Chris, want a boat?'  asked my brother-in-law Joe.  "Now that I closed on my house in Maine I don't need it any more.  Would you like to use it for the summer and see what you think?"  

Living on a lake usually means you get a boat, but my idea of boating is a quiet ride on a kayak.  I really never saw myself owning a boat... with a motor... that needs gas... that requires maintenance...that means $$$. So when Joe asked me to take his boat I certainly had a lot to think about.  
With the gentle encouragement of my kids I decided to try it out for the summer.  Last weekend Joe took me out for a spin on the lake and to get my first lesson.  He spoke about watching the trim, taking care not to cover the vents from the fumes of the out-board motor, and making sure that I turn on the fan prior to starting the engine.  He shared that I might have to add another cleat to the dock and that on sunny or even rainy days I could put up the Bimini top. Many of these words I had heard before but not in terms of marine craft. It was like he was speaking a new language to me.  I just smiled and went along for the ride. 
When I got off the boat I realized that I had so much to learn. While my kids were calling me Captain Bebe (my name for grandma) I judged I was Captain Flounder, struggling to take it all in and beginning to feel overwhelmed.  It took some effort on my part not to drown (pun intended) in all the new information but rather remember that I needed to slow down and take the learning step by step. I take consolation in knowing that I am fortunate to have so many people around me that can teach me the ropes and I need to look to them to gently guide me to success because I can't do it on my own.  All of this new information required me to be patient and allow myself some scheduled time to practice with my teachers at the ready.  I can't do this on my own, I need the help of the experienced boaters by my side until I have mastered driving the boat, or at least feel confident enough to have a go at it on my own.  I am not there yet by any means, but I am charting the course with the help of my great teaching friends.

I couldn't help but think of the parallels to my students and how they learn.  I wonder: Do I sound as if I am talking in another language when I am teaching a new skill or strategy?  Do I drown them in vocabulary?  Do I leave them to sink or swim? Do I patiently let go or hang on too tight? My experience learning to drive a boat reminded me that I will be more cautious when I release the independence over to my students.  I think about the need for more check-ins, either through observations or questioning to ensure that they are ready to take the next steps.  I need to make sure I explain the new strategies and skills in a way that makes sense to them, and break down the steps into manageable pieces so as not to overwhelm them.  All this while carefully thinking about the balance of letting the students do the work so they can experience the success and not me. 

Like me, most children want to feel successful.  They want to speed through the waters and reach their goal. Sometimes this will take some hand holding and small steps and other times our students will simply take off quickly and surprise us all. Each of us are individuals with differing needs and backgrounds.  Knowing those needs is part of the challenge of teaching.  For me, when it comes to boating it will be slow and steady wins the race! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lily of the Valley

Each Tuesday I write a slice of life story and join my writing friends and my writing community created by Two Writing Teachers.

When I chose joy for my one little word for 2017, I promised to write a slice a month about my word. I didn't expect it would be easy to stick with this goal but I knew that making this promise I would more readily see the joy that is in my life. I know joy is all around me, I just need to slow down and look a little closer to see it.  I didn't however expect to find it in a small vase of flowers.
The other day as I was walking into the house my eye caught a small patch of lily of the valley flowers in a side garden. They had just bloomed so I went over to take in their aroma. Instant joy filled my nose and travelled right to my memory bank with thoughts of my grandmother. I could picture that yard so vividly, with her in the gazebo surrounded by the little pips of lily of the valley flowers filling the air with their sweet scent.
I walked over to my patch and pulled out a few stems to place in a small vase for my coffee table. I chose an old bottle and filled it with water in preparation of holding the flowers. I sat and watched the tiny bubbles on the inside edge of the glass. The air bubbles caught the sunlight streaming in the windows and shone like diamonds in the bottle. 
I sat back and smiled a joy-filled smile at the sight and aroma that filled my senses. It was a joy that traveled right to the depths of my soul.  A sweet and pure joy. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


It's Slice of Life Tuesday!  Thank you Two Writing Teachers for providing a forum and a community for writers!

This weekend I finally found the dedicated time to work in my garden. I had waited an entire year to get accustomed to my yard and finally I was ready to dig in and make the changes to create the yard of my dreams. The first area I wanted to make over was my pathway to my neighbor's house. My vision for this area was clear: add shade plants such as hostas and ferns to surround and soften the old pink wrought-iron chair that graced the garden walkway. I grabbed my tools and gloves and started separating the hostas in the yard. I added a few daylilies to the mix and  voila, instant garden path with a pizazz. I stepped back after a few hours of hard work to admire my handiwork. I realized then and there that having a clear vision and the available resources to accomplish that vision made everything happen.

I think that is true for many areas of life - vision and resources make most things a reality!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cooking Lessons

I hosted 12 guests for a Mother's Day brunch this past weekend.  I chose making brunch because the menu can be so varied with sweet french toasts, to savory quiches, to just right eggs, all delectable choices to cook.  The down side is the lack of oven space usually keeps me from going too wild with new dishes.  That is why I chose to use the crock pot to cook an overnight bread pudding on Saturday night. I have made these easy bread puddings before so it's simple to be creative by changing out the flavors and literally dumping new combinations of seasonings and fruits in at whim.  For this weekend's brunch I thought I'd try a bread pudding of raspberries and cream cheese. I was dreaming of the flavors as I quickly added the ingredients rather willy nilly into the pot.  I hit the "cook on low" button and went to bed, knowing that sometime in the early morning hours I would awake to the smell of sweet goodness! 

Six-thirty in the morning and I awake to smell something cooking, but not the usual sweet smell. I made my way downstairs and opened the lid to find a brown ugly mess with a smell to match.  The raspberries looked pale and mushy, the cream cheese was curdled and the bread looked overcooked with burned edges.  I unplugged the unit, tucked it aside and turned to plan B, oven french toast with some Irish soda bread I had stashed away in the freezer. This time I chose to follow a recipe. 

I felt fortunate that I had other ingredients available to save the day.  Just like in my classroom, I had to make due with what I had to make the best of the situation.  I am happy to say everything turned out fine thanks in part to being open and to being flexible!

Thank you to the authors of the Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Tuesday Slice of Life. I love this community of writers that can freely write and grow together.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Writing Engagement and Book Spine Poetry

I discovered book spine poetry during the March Slice of Life Challenge and immediately fell in love with the simplicity and whimsical nature of this format.  As I described in my slice, I shared my stack with a colleague and she wanted to have a go at this poetry writing format with her class, but she wanted to wait until later in the year.
Yesterday was the "later in the year" date. The classroom teacher had told me the students had earned a reward and they wanted to write all day long, so she thought this was a perfect time to break from their realistic fiction series books for a day and dive in with poetry.  
I introduced the lesson by asking students to turn and talk, sharing what they recall about writing poetry.  I leaned in so I could judge what I needed to reinforce before letting them compose their own poems. Today I reminded students that poems do not have to rhyme and that poems can be silly or serious.  After clarifying these basic concepts we explored a few of the books pine poems that I found searching through google images. The students were hooked!  I placed a tall stack of hard cover books (easier to see the spine) on each of the tables and said our celebratory "Off you go!"  

The buzz in the room was exciting as they walked back to their tables to work with their new writing partner. Some students quickly stacked the books and made a poem.  Others read over each title with care.  I was very aware of how each student's personality rose quickly to the top for this project, with some children creating wildly and others being very strategic and concrete. Many of the children approached this writing activity by simply stacking books and thinking they were done. When asked what they thought the poem was about, they eagerly went back to work arranging and rearranging.  Others pushed themselves to think about creating a poem that made some sort of sense. 

Once their poems were built, students were instructed to either take a photo or video of their stack to upload into their class SeeSaw account.  Many of the students chose to record themselves reading their poem.  They were so delighted that when it came time to stop to go to music class, they moaned, signaling their high level of engagement.  

Book spine poetry was a great break for this group of students and charged them up to continue writing in new and fun formats.

How do you foster writing engagement?




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Cinquain Celebrating a New Bicycle

April is National Poetry month and I have been trying my hand at writing a few new and different (for me) formats of poems.  I do this because I believe that you can't teach it if you haven't tried writing it yourself.  This week I attempt a cinquain.  If you search for directions on how to write a cinquain, you will find many different variations, but the common thread seen was using fives lines of text with no rhyming words.

Today I write a poem to honor the new bicycle that I picked out last week.  My children surprised me at Christmas with a gift card for a new bicycle and so with last week being vacation, I finally took the time to pick it out! I just love the fact that the tides are turning and they are now buying ME a bicycle! 

Shiny, Purple
Pedaling, Shifting, Whizzing
Flying down the path

Arriving home from the bike shop with my new bicycle.
Yes, I do have a helmet!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for sponsoring Slice of LIfe Tuesday.  Each week I am afforded an opportunity to practice living a writerly life.

Last night I awoke to find the moon shining through my window and onto the water.  The moonlight captured the choppy late night waters, making the lake shine like expensive diamonds.   I heard my friend's famous saying: If you don't get a picture, it never happened. And I always say: A picture paints a thousand words.  Either way I decided to get out of bed to get a better look and attempt to take a picture on my phone to capture the beauty of the early morning view. 


Oh No! I forgot to turn off the automatic flash.  The neighbors probably thought there was a lightning storm at 3am.  I adjusted the settings and tried again.  Too tired to check my photos, I crawled back into bed until it was really morning.  At breakfast I turned on my phone to check out my pictures.  Nothing there but a black screen and a small white light in the center.  Disappointment settled in.  Where was that beautiful scene?  My friend's words came back to me.  Oh well, maybe it never happened.  Maybe it was just a dream. Either way, in my mind's eye that moonlit scene was worth a thousand words, or possibly 212 words.  At the very least this scene was worth a small moment story!   

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Haiku to the Lake

April is National Poetry month so I am once again trying my hand at new to me poetry format, the haiku.  I think the last haiku I wrote was when I was in elementary school.  I recall the 5-7-5 syllable count but I needed to google the format to see if there were any other parameters and found many variations.  Most of my searching found reminded me that haikus typically focus on nature themes and that when displaying the letters should all be centered. 
Coincidentally I received an invite from my brother in law to climb aboard their boat for the maiden voyage of the year!  Inspired by my impromptu experience, I wrote a haiku for my weekly slice.

Windows open wide
Sunshine warm against the skin
Time for sunset cruise

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this establishing and fostering a wonderful writing community.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

An Ode to a Cupcake

Last month I challenged myself to the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers.  Writing for 31 days straight was a huge time commitment but the growth was great.  I am proud to display my badge of courage.

On my last post for the March Slice of Life challenge I noted that I wanted to continue with my commitment to writing by posting a slice of life each Tuesday.  I also reflected that I enjoyed writing poetry and I wanted to try new formats.  With April marking National Poetry Month I thought I would dive right in by attempting to write an ode.  Thanks to a recent blog post on A Day in the Life for inspiring and teaching me to write an ode - or my interpretation of one!
I am writing this ode from the point of view of my granddaughter who ate her first slice of cake at her 1st birthday party this weekend.

                  Ode to a Cupcake and the First Taste of Sweetness

                     Pink and shiny treat spotted on my tray
                    Gooey goodness cover my hands
                    Squeals of the crowd, laughing with delight
                    Sweetness fills my nose
                    Sugary topping reaches my tongue...
                    Oh yum!
                    Will I ever taste anything so scrumptious again?

Friday, March 31, 2017

When You Think You're Done You've Just Begun

Today is day 31 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  Hip! Hip! Hooray!  I sliced every day for the entire month of March for the second year in a row!

When You Think You're Done You've Just Begun!

Here it is day 31 of the March Slice of Life Challenge and I am still writing with energy and stamina!  The first thing that comes into my mind is that writers workshop phrase we all know and love so well: When you think you're done you've just begun!  Why do I say that?  I say that because I know that I am a writer and I have much writing left to do and more importantly I have much more growing to happen!  

But first, I want to celebrate all that I have accomplished.  

Here is my list of my March SOL 2017 accomplishments:

  • Writing for 31 consecutive days
  • Digging deep into places I don't like to write about
  • Trying my hand at some of the craft moves that I ask my kindergarten and 1st grade students to use: dialogue, catchy beginnings, tying up the story with a bow so you don't leave the reader hanging...
  • Attempting new formats of poetry: ABC, Phone number, and book spine, to name a few
  • Infusing my writing with a touch of my OLW (one little word - JOY) as much as possible 
  • Commenting on many more posts than last year
  • Growing from other mentor writers that participated in the SOL Challenge - I can't thank this community enough!
  • Discovering many new educational ideas and thoughts
  • Learning how to schedule my posts and cross-post to Twitter

And here is how I think I can continue to grow as a writer:
  • Commit to contributing each week to the Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge
  • Recruit colleagues to join in the writing fun
  • Consider volunteering to be a welcome wagon team member next year (Time to give back!)
  • Learn more about writing poetry
  • Continue to add to my google doc listing slice ideas
  • Copy the links to posts that generate slice of life ideas so that I can better acknowledge the original author
  • Buy a small, pretty writing journal to place in my purse so I can capture my new ideas while out and about
With this great list I must say that I am looking forward to the journey!  For when you think you're done,you've just begun!  

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Today is day 30 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  This is my second year participating and I am in awe over the growth!


I had my post all written, ready to push the schedule button when my daughter screamed. 
What's wrong?  The weather channel is predicting 5 inches of snow Friday night.  What?  No way.  Yes!  I'll pick you up right from work so you can get your car from the garage and we'll go right home.  I mumbled: More snow? Yuk!  Another scream came from the livingroom.  What's wrong now?  Mom, the weather channel just upped the forecast. Now we are getting 8-12 inches Friday night into Saturday!  
That's it!  I'm fed up.  I promised myself no more posts about the weather but how can I not write about this seemingly endless winter?  
I've had it!  
Go home Old Man Winter! 
I want spring and flowers and green grass.  
I know April Fool's is Saturday but enough!  

ENOUGH - I say!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Letter to My Granddaughter on her 1st Birthday

Today is day 29 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. This is my second year participating in the month long challenge. 

A letter to my granddaughter on the occasion of her first birthday

Dear Maddie,
I love you. 

I can't believe that one year ago today you came into our world and changed our lives forever.  Your warmth radiated into my soul as your tiny pink fingers wrapped around my finger and my heart.  In one short year you have shown us so much as you learn and grow into your own little being. You remind us that each day is new and fresh and full of learning and potential.

The first time I saw your daddy holding you in his arms I cried. I saw my baby holding his baby, my first grandchild. I also felt proud and knew right then and there that all was right and good.  I saw your dad instantly become a dad and I felt confident knowing he had the best role model possible.  My only regret is that you couldn't meet your Papa Dave. He would have hogged you and never let anyone else hold you because he was such a lover of babies.  I dream that he still holds you and watches over you day and night.  I know he is here to guide our way and remind us of all the things he knew were important in life: family, love, laughter and faith. 

Maddie, already we see you as extremely curious and determined. You are crawling everywhere now, and are enjoying the freedom of exploring every nook and cranny no matter where you go!  You love going on adventures near and far with your mom and dad.

You are a lover of dogs too!  Especially with Tucker when he wants to cover your sweet cheeks with kisses.  But then again, who wouldn't want to kiss your rosy cheeks!

You love to sing and to move. I love to watch your long legs wiggle in delight to the songs your mom and dad sing to you. Music is so important to our family and it makes me happy to see that you love music too. It is so much fun to watch you giggle in delight as we sing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song with you and you try to mimic our every hand movements. And I can't help but feel joy when I sing you a lullaby and you snuggle in my arms to drift off to sleep.  I am filled with such love at these times.

Maddie, you are happiness and light and all that is good.  You brought joy into my life in a place that was joyless.  I love you! Happy Birthday!

Love, Bebe

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Phone Number Poetry - Please Come Spring

Today is day 28 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  This is my second year participating in the month long challenge.

Phone Number Poetry: Please Come Spring!

I have enjoyed reading a variety of poetry slices posted this month during the March Slice of Life Challenge.  So far I have tried two new formats: the ABC poem, and the book spine poem.  Today I take on the challenge of writing a phone number poem. In 59 Reasons to Write;  Minilessons, Prompts, and Inspiration for TeachersKate Messner explains that in order to write this type of poem, first you need to think of a theme and then write your phone number down the side of the page (For privacy purposes, I deleted my numbers.  Note: There are some zeroes in my number).  Begin writing the poem, adding the same number of words as represented by that part of your telephone number. 0 is a wild card so you can write as many words on that line as you'd like.

I am in serious need of some spring, so I decided to write on my longing for the season of winter to be over with!

Please Come Spring!

Please come spring.  Please come!

Photo of daffodils taken exactly one year ago!  
Where are they?
I miss you.

The shoots are stuck underground, buried in snow.

Waiting to defrost...

Waiting, waiting.

I need you.

I crave your warmth and sunshine.

I dream of sweet green grass.

I yearn for forsythia blossoms.

Oh spring, please return!

Monday, March 27, 2017

KAHBAHBLOOOM - Ed Emberley on Display

Today is day 27 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  This is my second year participating in this challenge!  What fun and growth!

KAHBAHBLOOOM - Ed Emberley on Display

What fun!
Ed Emberley was a familiar name to our children as they were growing up.  His books were always out on rainy Saturdays guiding our children to draw virtually anything. Our kids appreciated the simplistic step by step instructions that helped them become instant artists. The well worn books then made an appearance in my classroom and my students relished the times during indoor recess and writers workshop when they could feel accomplished at using simple shapes to generate a complete illustration for fun or for their stories.  So when I read there was an exhibit showcasing his work at the local art museum I knew I had to go.

The exhibit was delightful and full of joy.  The museum made every effort to allow children to touch and experience Ed's art. The "do not touch the drawings" signs were replaced with "please touch" plaques.  Murals replicating his work were painted across the walls and a giant Paul Bunyan's house, that echoed the illustration in one of his books, was constructed in the middle of the room.  Drawing paper was placed in a corner along with a collection of the Ed Emberley Drawing series.  Colorful tiles were placed in a light box for attendees to manipulate and play with light and color. The exhibit was all so very kid-friendly, welcoming, and uplifting. One couldn't help but smile as they walked out of the little room.  I know I was smiling, but I also left with a powerful message: Everyone can be an artist - thanks to Ed Emberley!  

Want to learn more?  Watch here 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lakefront Worries

Today is day 26 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers

Lakefront Worries

The swans gracefully swam by my lakefront window as I was cleaning on Saturday morning. I stopped my scrubbing to pause and admire their beauty on the grey cloudy day. There were only three swan today.  Knowing that swans mate for life and usually swim in pairs, I began to wonder.  Where was the fourth swan? What happened?  

My wondering turns to worry.  

It's not the first time I have worried about these swans.  A few weeks ago I woke up to find a swan sitting on the ice.  He appeared frozen to the spot.  The ice had turned rather slushy the day before but now with the temperatures hovering below freezing I wondered whether he was now frozen to the ice.  It was only 6am but I decided to text my early rising neighbor / sister-in-law.  

I had to leave for work but I continued in my worries over the frozen swan dilemma.  The one swan had not moved from that same spot.  I decided to text my daughter once I arrived at work to see if she could keep an eye on them through the day:

And finally, I get relief at 10:23 am:

Silly worries?  Yes, it is a silly worry, but it's odd how it brings me a much needed sense of peace.