Slice of Life Travels

26 April 2022 Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org

In the last week I’ve traveled through nine states. California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota. Here’s my route:

We weren’t on a tour of the beauty of our country as we were on transporting ourselves across the country, but here are a few photos I’ve taken along the way.

California Desert
Utah Desert
Dinner in the park in Beaver, Utah
Beaver, Utah (I wish every park had a Musical Park)

What adults asked “Generation V”
if it was ok if they invented
something so deadly for them?

After two hot and humid days and a bit of green growth, we then had snow in Iowa. Will the tulips make it for the tulip festival in three weeks?

 

Slice of Life – Poetry Opportunities

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 2 February 2022

It has not been easy to write during the past two months, since I moved back to the U.S. from Bahrain. Why? I don’t know.

Here I am trying again. I have committed to the month-long Slice of Life in March, and then to some poetry projects in April, like the Kid Lit Progressive Poem that Margaret Simon hosts. (There are still openings for you to join!) Another poetry opportunity can be found at Ethical ELA, writing a #verselove poem a day in April. (Click to sign up.)

With so many wonderful opportunities, I hope I can build up my writing consistency again.

Today is Twosday, 2-22-22. Or as they write the date in most of the world: 22-2-22. I saw that Twosday was a day for Wordle in two guesses, which happened to be what I did it in today too. That was a weirdness.

Wordle 248 2/6

⬜🟨🟩🟩⬜
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

This week was also the time for the February Open Write at Ethical ELA, so below I’m sharing the poems we wrote this week. Check out the links below for some great prompts and mentor texts to use in your classroom.

Saturday, 19 February 2022
Pedagogy Poetry with Glenda Funk

I call myself the
chief learner, but how is it
I can’t stop stumbling?

Sunday, 20 February 2022
Kitchen Ghosts with Glenda Funk

Sometimes in this desert
where my grandpa and grandma lived
in separate houses
and Aunt Thelma fed the road runners
little pills of raw hamburger
and Uncle Arthur and his donkey
mined for gold
and Uncle Guy and Uncle Andrew
watched sports and drank beer
and my cousins made houses of art
and my sister still puts puzzles together
juggling eight houses
decorated and equipped
for weekend hikers
I wonder what I will do and become
and what memories I will leave
for the young ones
who watch me

Monday, 21 February 2022
Dear____ Poem with Susan Ahlbrand

Dear Body,

You have served me well.
There were days I thought I
needed to look different,
better, more like society’s ideal.
But then I learned you are all mine,
and you are a glorious gift.
A glorious gift that was knitted together
by the creator of the universe,
kissed by an angel, and set
on this earth to love and be loved.

I abused you at times–
too much food, too little exercise.
But you have held up quite well
for me,
in spite of me.

You have proven versatile–
you’ve hit and caught thousands of softballs,
you’ve swum and run and walked in beautiful places,
you’ve birthed two babies,
you’ve given me kidneys enough to share,
you’ve helped me love to eat legumes and veggies,
and just today you let me
dismantle an abandoned pack rat’s nest,
pull down and set the ramp on a U-Haul truck,
and ride my fat tire bike in the sand.

I’ve entered my seventh decade with
a few bumps and bruises,
sore joints, excess cholesterol,
new artificial lenses in my eyes,
and other weaknesses,
but I love you,
and I just wanted to tell you so.

With gratitude,
Denise

Tuesday, 22 February 2022
Palindrome Poem with Susan Ahlbrand

icy cold
wintry mix
wind blows
cracks and caverns
in this old house

in this old house
cracks and caverns
wind blows
summery heat
icy lemonade

Tomorrow there is one more day for writing in the February Quick Write series at Ethical ELA. Tomorrow’s prompt will be by Britt Decker.

Slice of Life – Guessing Game

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 30 November 2021

It is fun for me to see the students, now in grades 7 and 8. I first taught them when they were in Kindergarten, and then I got to again in grade 5.

After a year and a half of the pandemic, I am starting to lose track of them. They have grown in stature and maturity and for the guys, depth of voice and facial hair.  Now with our busy and conflicting schedules in different departments at school, I don’t see them often.

Today I did, though. They were at recess. They always play the guessing game with me.

“Do you remember me?”

“Of course, how could I forget you, Nawar.”

“Who am I?” one asks with her mask covering most of her face.

“Hmmm, give me a sec. I need to figure out by your eyes. Oh, yes, Noor.”

“How about me? Do you remember me?”

“Yes,” I say, tentatively, racking my brain, trying to figure out how she has changed and then to remember her name.

“Ah, I’m new! So you don’t know me!”

Oops.

Slice of Life – What is My One Word for 2022?

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 23 November 2021

Resourceful, inventive, unwasteful, prudent?

Careful, judicious, protective, astute?

Simplicity or stewardship?

What is my goal and focus for 2022? I am in the process of considering what the right word is for my one little word for next year.

It is becoming clearer, but I need a word for it. If there is one.

These past weeks I’ve been sorting through accumulated possessions–too many that we have gathered over eight years. I’m giving things away daily, whenever someone is nearby I hand them an empty bag to fill. We came to this country with nine suitcases, and we are going home with eight. Most of our possessions won’t be traveling to California with us.

So, this process has reminded me that it would have been better to have not accumulated in the first place. I want to be careful, mindful, wise in my next chapter when I will be setting up another home.

Not only that, I want to be resourceful and frugal for the sake of the planet. Instead of buying a new thing, I want to use up, make do, do without, and wear out or repurpose what I already have.

I work hard to do this with food in my kitchen. For instance, when I went to some friends house for breakfast the other day, I ended up with dried pita bread leftovers. I cut them into triangles, baked them and served them yesterday to guests with homemade hummus. It saves money and the planet to eat without wasting and without buying processed foods. I want to continue to get even better. (Have you seen Carleigh Bodrug do this @plantyou?)

Another example…I had saved a new canvas for my 2022 word painting. However, what if, instead of opening another plastic-wrapped package, I use Nawaf’s Dot Day painting from years ago as my canvas? I can write my one word onto the red dot, perhaps? Is it disrespectful of the original artist? Or is it a legit art form?

Anyway, any ideas for a suitable word for 2022 for me?
A new canvas or a revitalized dot painting one of my students made for Dot Day years ago.

I Learned, Didn’t I?

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 9 November 2021.

You knew a few letters last year; the only one you said with loud confidence was the initial letter of your first name. I wondered what had prevented you from learning your English sounds and letters during your first two and a half years of school. How clever and smart you were, noticing patterns in the words on the test, and sharing your interest in life and all the little happenings around you. However, you weren’t able to do the activities I asked you to read and respond to. You were distracted and took a bathroom break during the screening.

Today I saw you again, and you have made such prodigious progress. You know your letters now, spouted the sounds in the phonemic awareness screening, read nonsense words, and even a few sight words.  I told you how proud I was of the progress you have made in the last few months. “I learned, didn’t I?” you said.

marvel of learning
your hard work is paying off
yes, indeed, you did

Thankful For This Time

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 2 November 2021.

We now have nine weeks before we leave Bahrain, and I’m realizing how very fast the days fly by. By day, DIBELS screening at school and cleaning out cupboards and closets are two tasks that are keeping me busy. I’m so thankful I am not teaching this year, so I have time to do what needs to be done to make this a good move. I remember one move we made when my children were in middle school, I was teaching full time, and we moved to another state the week after school was out. Fortunately, we had professional movers, but when we got to our new home and I had to look through and sort the boxes that should have been done before. There was one junk drawer that had just been poured into a box and shipped across country, complete with the sticky gum sticks, broken rubber bands, random staples and paper clips, bits of Blue Tack. Yuck!

This time of course it’s a different kind of move. There are no professional movers with semi-trucks picking up the houseful of furniture and belongings for four people. We hope to get our eight years worth of Bahrain belongings into eight suitcases; that means we have a lot to give away. I’m trying to sort things to make them handy to look through. Now, I’m starting to invite people over to go through and pick things they would like to have.

Thankfully as we close this chapter, Covid numbers are low and the country is open for gathering. A few times a week, we have fun in the evenings and weekends being with people. I’m starting to feel like the goodbye is really coming, and it’s not going to be easy.

Filling up boxes
Expanding to the living room now

Slice of Life – Can We Change Now?

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 26 October 2021.

I’ve been writing a small poem each day in October using the Inktober prompt for the day. For yesterday’s word, splat, I went to a favorite inspiration post: “141 Ways to Play, Process, Stretch, Express, Disrupt Words and Form”. I randomly chose one from Andy Schoenborn. It was to write a story in 100 one-syllable words, and then add line breaks and enjambment to make a poem to help the reader pause.

Instead of a 100-word story, I wrote a prayer. It breaks my heart each day to see such effort to get school back to “normal”, when some parts of normal weren’t all that great.

A Prayer for School Change

How can things change
so much? We were just fine,
and then we weren’t. Splat,
like a moth that hit
a fast car, school stopped. Now,
we try to pick up
the cracked and rent
bits
and put them back
as they were.
But,
can we just stop
and find a new way?
A fine way to be
in this world.
Please,
Lord, help us give voice
to kids who do not yet
have one. Help us make
rules that just give
life. May the kids be free
to catch a glimpse of
who they can be.
So be it.

On another note, Blooket came through and added Hoor’s name to their computer system:

Slice of Life – Blooket

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 12 October 2021.

Today while observing a computer class, I learned about a new review game called Blooket.com. As the children started logging in to Blooket for the review of the lesson, I began to help some of the children get to the page and join the game the teacher had prepared.

One little girl got an error message when she tried to write her Nickname, which our teachers always encourage the students to write their real names. She got the message “That name doesn’t seem to be appropriate.”

Someone said, “Oh, you didn’t use a capital letter.” I wish. We tried again with a capital. That wasn’t it. Then, so she could play, we just used her first initial and second name.

I found my cheeks getting red with embarrassment and anger that she had to get that message saying her NAME wasn’t appropriate. It was a name unnecessarily censored. It stayed with me, and I got more indignant.

When I got home, I signed up for Blooket so I could send a message to the contact email asking them to do something about it, so she wouldn’t have to get that message again.

Within thirty minutes I received this humble and helpful response:

Hey Denise,
We are super sorry about this! We will add that name so it is not flagged. We aim for users of every age group to be able to play! Unfortunately sometimes the computer picks up the wrong thing to censor.
Apologies for the inconvenience,
S.
I am thankful that I spoke up. As of now, though, her name remains inappropriate, according to Blooket. I will check again until it’s fixed.