Unexpected Amazed

As I knelt to plant my vegetable garden
the sown seeds, unexpectedly, had been mixed
At some point
by no one in particular
A loose box, open envelopes, perhaps

The vegetables were few and far between
But the flowers
The flowers
They were beautiful mixed with greens
Unexpected
Beautiful

When I stood to paint this mural
To reflect the sea and the sunset
The waves and the gulls
A sudden elbow slip, a few misstrokes
new-strokes
And the sea became a flowing river
All re-framed
With tall buildings reflecting the sky
Beautiful
Unexpected yet
Beautiful 

Sitting at the piano bench to write
The song of minor tones and sadness
Oops, a major third, hmmm, a new progression
With a walking bass line
And a piano solo
Jazzy
Classy
Unexpected and beautiful 

Lettings loose the best of creation
Rolling with the punches
Not knowing the end result
Why did the character sneeze?
Why did the colors blend?
Why did the music roll?

Ahh, the way of creation
Beautiful and unexpected
And beautiful
Accepted and beautiful
For if the end were pre conceived
Would it be art?
Would it be creation?
Would it be life?

Unexpected beauty happens
Be amazed!

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Sites for Spanish Literacy Games

I have been gathering websites for early literacy learning in Spanish; here they are… so far.  clearly I need to annotate the list and add more.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know; I am sure there are many, many more.

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Writer’s Workshop Ideas- Fun, Engaging

A colleague in my K- 5 school asked for a few ideas about making writer’s workshop fun and engaging.  I love those questions because it allows me to be creative and gather ideas.  Here are a few ideas to get started… (If you have more please add them!)

  • Be passionate- write in front of the students and let them see you write and talk out loud about your process, about spelling, …
  • Draw pictures to go with the writing
  • Write stories to go with the pictures
  • Make comic books
  • Re-write comic books (the one you just made or one that was professionally made) into story format with dialogue and description
  • Let students write what they want- lists, stories, opinions, how-to, all I know about…, non-fiction or fiction, poems, … play with words
  • Find a real audience- another classroom, the hallway, a classroom in another school or another city, country, a blog, …
  • Design/ diagram something invented and explain how it works
  • Read/ tell the beginning of a story and have the students continue/ finish it
  • Act out a story and then have the students write the script
  • Write a script and then have the students act it out, or with puppets, or as a podcast or …
  • Writing prompts
  • Connect writing closely with reading or science or social studies
  • Shared writing
  • Do you have a class mascot (stuffed animal, live animal, …)?  Write the stories of the mascot- where from, past adventures, include pictures,
  • Class blog on kidblog.org
  • Add podcasts of students reading their writing on your page of the school’s website
  • Check out blog posts such as: http://tunstalltimes.blogspot.com/2014/08/engaging-writing-activities.html
  • Stick with the standards but let your mind wander and your creativity soar
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Irish Soda Bread

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day I offer my mom’s Irish Soda Bread recipe… again.  Enjoy!
MomsIrishSodaBreadMmmmmm!

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Saturday’s Sun

Playing tag with me
Between the West Side houses
Springtime rising up

Playing hide and seek
As I drive through shutter slats
Found, hidden, found, hid…

Olly oxen free
Winter’s snow gives way to life
No-sleeve freedom play

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After Her Death

Following my mother’s death
We fought about the things.
We argued over furniture and
Heirloom diamond rings.

The Waterford from Ireland,
And oil-on-canvas art,
Madam Alexander Dolls,
Keepsakes of the heart.

Two lifetimes worth of Kodak prints,
The sweaters knit by hand,
Great grandma’s China gravy boat,
Old stories of the land.
____________

“My shelves are full!”
“My car’s too small!”
“Antique things’ll break!”
“I’ve got no room
On floor or wall
So nothing will I take!”

That’s the way we argued,
Voices almost at a wail.
So then and there we opted
For a discount two-day sale.

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The Tooth Fairy: a True Story

Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy.  His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).  Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:

Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No?  (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No.  It’s not real.
Me:  What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy.  It’s a ratoncito.

This is true!  In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.

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