Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Set Free By Demands?!



I am realizing that the March Challenge is freeing.

What?! Kristi, are you crazy? How can having to write, and post, every day be freeing?

So glad you asked. Let me explain my recent revelation. 


In March, because you have to write and post every day, you are forced to really pay attention to life with a writer's eye. You are observing the world in which you live for something to write about. Some days you are struggling to notice anything that might begin to spark the words. Other days there are so many ideas you have to choose the moment you want to spend your words on. There is freedom in the notion that what you write one day might be 'bleh' because in the midst of life most of us aren't going to find/make the time to truly craft our slice every single day. There will be days that the writing comes close to being something special and maybe even occasions of writing of which you are proud, but the necessity of getting something on the blog each and every day allows for the freedom of 'first draft writing' (as Stacey once called it).

In the non-March times I have an entire week to observe. With an entire week I should be able to come up with something profound for each Slice. I should have grand inspirations. My writing should be elevated to a higher level than what I post in March, and yet...

And yet life still happens at a rapid pace. I do not live with the same writing discipline that I thrust myself into during March. Sure, I have moments that I think, "Wow! This is a sliver of life that should be explored." With more days there is more time. I should spend some of that time to see how I can share this moment in words. I could write it like this, or perhaps this way, or throw it all out and look at it from another viewpoint.

But I don't. I find Tuesdays coming to a close and I have nothing on the page. I remember that Tuesdays are my longest, most demanding days and that they are also the day for SOLSC. I berate myself for not taking time on Monday, my least crazy day, to plan for Tuesday - to spend some time putting words down and then revisiting those words to try and craft something worthy of sharing with the world. And the moments slip away and I choose sleep over posting and another week has gone by without a Slice.

Yes, it is May and I am ready for the freedom of March and having to post every day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Email Free Tuesday - Is It For Me?


Our district has taken up the idea that people should talk with another more. The idea is being implemented by having two "Email Free Tuesdays" per month. Putting an automated reply on our email accounts can alert people to the initiative and simultaneously let them know why we won't be replying.

In a previous life I worked in corporate America. I understand that there are times that an email is sent to the person 26 feet from your desk and that you could have walked over there instead of sending the message. Having a day or two set aside that you are not chained to your computer would be refreshing.

Picking up the phone has also been listed as an alternative. While these ideas make sense in an office environment, they don't seem to make as much sense in a classroom.

There are 24 other people in my room, whom I am responsible for. I can't simply walk out the door and down the hall when I am looking for feedback, confirmation, or support. (Even if the person I wanted to talk to didn't also have a room full of people for whom they are responsible for.) 

So what about communicating with people in the front office? When I have a prep period I can walk to their office. My room is two feet closer than than the farthest room. The walking is good for me! 

What about when I do have students? The suggestion is that you phone instead of email. Well, having 48 ears listening to what I am saying doesn't do much for privacy or learning. I can unobtrusively let the office know if there is a challenge without announcing it audibly and calling everyone's attention to whatever it may be. I can quickly reply to a parent email without disrupting student learning on the infrequent occasion something needs to be addressed in a timely manner. I do not feel that the computer is an extension of my job as a teacher, but it is the best tool for some tasks.

Conundrum! Go against the initiative or become a recluse. Other ideas?

Monday, May 2, 2016

What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Here are my April books...


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Few Poems



For Poetry Month I've been trying to get some of my own work down using the strategies my class has been trying. One thing we have done is to take four nouns (ocean, fire, tree, night) and use them as inspiration with different things. The four words have been fun to work with and have brought a huge amount of diversity in poems. Here are a few of mine.

NIGHT

Indigo turning to ebony

and the stars pop out
one by one

Light fades
Darkness engulfs everything
Night doesn't care if you are
big or little
rich or poor
brilliant or not-so-much
It wraps you up and holds you - 
for hours and hours and hours




FIRE

Carrot and saffron tipped
with rubies
Dance and crackle
I lean closer, trying
to keep warm

Strike of a wood match
Flame creeps slowly taking o'er
The fire dance begins

Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Monday - What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Monday I was on Spring Break, without a laptop (yippee!) Here are my March books:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

SOLSC - Another March. Check!

I can't believe the month has come to an end. My writing muscles felt good during this year's challenge. I feel that all of my posts both said something and had me thinking about the craft of writing rather than simply trying to put words down and get them published. (Thanks Stacey for the permission that slices can be first draft writing!)

Spring Break almost always falls so that I am doing part of the challenge on the road. When you are traveling light and in third world countries there are extra layers to the challenge; blogging, posting, and commenting from mobile devices as well as power cuts and unreliable and often sluggish connections. It's a good thing vacation time has extra hours in the day!

Thank you, once again, Two Writing Teachers Team for giving us this opportunity to come together as a writing community. "See" you all Tuesdays. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLSC - I Was Not Expecting To See

I was not expecting to see
the train change directions
twenty minutes into our seven hour ride.
That's a lot of backwards.

I was not expecting to see
pine forests
and more pine forests
stretching to the sky
in the Sri Lankan hills.