Thursday, August 16, 2018

Summer Calls

The heat of sunkissed August days
lures Long Islanders to water's edge
practicing the art of summering.

Lingering at lunch with friends-
Watching boats pass on by-
Basking in sunshine-
Watching children frolic-
Listening to seagulls' shrillness
As they swoop down to grab lunch.
At the beach, even the gulls
reflect on the art of summering.
Finding life's balance is easier
at water's edge.


Poetry Friday is hosted this week for the first time by my writing friend, fellow Wonder Lead Ambassador, and resident ornithophile, Christie Wyman. Christie offered a bird-related poem challenge for anyone who was willing to fly along with her. Since I am immersed in the collection of digital inspirations for my summer gallery, The Art of Summering, I wrote about the beach with its pensive seagulls who can be a raucous addition to the beach scene. You can see Christie's Padlet of fine feathered poetry here.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 6.15.18 PM

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Recently, I watched my grandbaby gingerly rise and take a few cautious steps across the deck. Then, she plopped down. She rose, tried again, and we all clapped. She was determined to triumph on her way to mastering walking.  We recognized and acknowledged her efforts as a life step in learning.

As we move into the new school year, I recall this event and am reminded that we, as educators, parents, and grandparents, need to be the champions of our children. 

We encouraged our little one despite her many false attempts at walking while guiding her on, and applauded her attempts to become a walker. She knew she was in a safe environment with people who cared for her well-being. So too, in the classroom, educators as positive role models and influencers, need to watchfully observe students' movements, encourage their attempts to succeed, and celebrate their milestones. In turn within a culture of trust, students must find their stride, aim for a goal, and move gingerly toward its completion. 

At the start of school each year, educators, guides on the journey of learning, bring their passions and dreams for a hopeful future. They steer the ship to cross endless waters with their students bringing them the joys of lifelong learning.

Are we ready for this journey? I see that many educators on social media are either already embarking on a new year of exploration and discovery or just about to start their school year. 

Let's navigate through clear and muddy waters to #StartStrong!
I'm Ready!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Celebrating The Art of Summering

Do you remember when you were little and the annual back-to-school question was "What did you do on summer vacation?" On #nt2t yesterday morning, Jeremy Bond, my Twitter friend, posed this as one of the questions for the global audience. In addition, he posted, "Would you have students answer the question? Why or why? Would you ask a different question?  

My reply to Question 5 was: 


Today, I am celebrating the art of summering in an authentic way, collecting and designing a gallery of artistic expressions. I am thrilled with the response I am receiving from colleagues around the globe. Here is a sampling of digital inspirations received this weekend. 


There are many more that will grace the walls of my summer gallery. Interested in depicting your concept of summering? My invitation to The Art of Summering Gallery can be found here. The repository for the digitals is on Twitter at the hashtag, #TheArtofSummering. 

Come celebrate summer 2018 with me by letting your creativity shine. In return, I will celebrate your creative spirit and send the voices of those who create digitals around the globe. 
Many thanks to Ruth Ayres for creating #celebratelu to reflect and celebrate the positives of each week. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Inspiration Behind the Poem

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's new publication, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud  has been published. 

As a blogger on the Great Morning Blog Tour, I would like to thank Sylvia and Janet for their amazing contributions to the field of contemporary poetry. Their zest for writing and gathering poetry is exemplified by the variety of Poetry Friday anthologies they have created. I am excited to promote their new creative endeavor, Great Morning!  This book is filled with poetry in various formats about the different aspects of school life and specifically for schools' morning announcements. This is an ingenious way to spread the power of poetry throughout a building and a must-read for school administrators and literacy leaders. 

I am honored to be one of the published poets in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's new publication, "Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud".

Being a member of the Poetry Friday family has enriched my artistic life and brought me full circle to one of the paths I chose as a young graduate student. Today, I present the inspiration behind the poem I wrote for Great Morning!

 Topic 22: Art
"Art Class"

While pondering the topic art class for a K-1 audience, I called upon my connected educator friend, Matt Grundler, who is an elementary art teacher in Plano, Texas. In addition to speaking with Matt for an hour, he sent me photos of his art studio and his students at work so I could gather my thoughts before drafting my poem for Great Morning! Below is a synopsis of the information I collected for my poetry writing task. 

Making ART with Little Hands
The Inspiration Behind the Poem, "Art Class"

Welcome to Mr. Grundler's Art Studio!
Little hands make art weekly.
Greeted at the door with enthusiasm, 
curious students find their place on the rug.
 Their adventure begins with morning meeting.

Then, off they go, 
ready to start creative play.
Sometimes, young artists collaborate to create.

Other times, they work solo.

There's always a new delight
waiting in the art room.
Green screen time 
fascinates creative minds
and stimulates new ideas.

iPads engage little ones.

Collage making connects art and literacy.

Each day, young artists
explore their creative side
with their innovative guide.

Meet Matt Grundler,  Art Educator

Matt Grundler breaks the stereotypic art teacher mold. For one, he is a male in a predominantly female world of art teachers. He is a minimalist with a bright, open-space design for his art room at Brinker Elementary School in the Plano Independent School District, Texas that has now transformed itself into an art studio for elementary children. 

Matt, being an empathetic and compassionate teacher, models for his young artists and guides them on their journeys to find the artist within. You can find this enthusiastic connected educator on Twitter as @ArtGuy76, the co-moderator of K-12ArtChat

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Degas

My Special Thanks to:

Matt Grundler for making me see the gifts you encourage your students to bring to life.
Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for inviting me to find my inner voice for this particular project.
Pomelo Books for creating such a wealth of poetry resources for the educational world.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by my writing colleague, Molly Hogan.
Please join me as I visit Molly's blog, Nix the Comfort Zone,  to read what she has in store for us.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


The beginning of August always seems to have a sense of busyness. School ads are everywhere and educators start thinking ahead to the opening of school. Routines become important but the heat from dog day afternoons reminds me to linger in the ease of summertime just a while longer.

"Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well."
-Judith Hanson Lasater

Finding this quote on such a hot day inspired me to bring friends together for a small dinner party. Afterall, what is summer without a barbecue? Spontaneous planning is a sure way to enjoy time together so my husband and I fired up the grill at the same time the heat was rising. Grilled vegetables took their turn alongside chicken wings. Thankfully, the air conditioner was working at optimum efficiency so quick runs into the kitchen became a way to beat the heat, even for a few minutes.

As dinnertime approached, the citronella candles were lit to shoo the mosquitoes away but just in case the candles were not enough, a can of Off was placed nearby. All was ready for the guests to arrive and this time even I was ready to greet my friends.  The appetizer table was filled with fresh guacamole, cheese, crackers, and charcuterie meats with beautiful bottles of rose wine.  

As my guests gathered together over a pitcher of sangria freshly prepared by Barbara, we reminisced about the years we spent watching our children grow into adults. The chicken wings that went through several preps and finally remixed with hot sauce came out next. Several statements were made about the heat index of the wings, their wonderful taste, and I commented on how my lips tingled after eating several wings. A surprise was added to the menu, grilled sausage, peppers, and onions over pasta. This was accompanied by a green salad with slivered almonds and mandarin oranges prepared by Judy. The meal culminated in a blueberry crisp from a famous pie bakery on the northeastern shore of Long Island brought by Jo Ann. We all waited eagerly for that dessert topped with French vanilla ice cream. Sparklers were lit as nighttime approached and glasses continued to tinkle until the end of the summer evening.

Taking time to relax and renew the summer barbecue tradition is an essential element of my sweet summer life. I am glad that I was able to share this experience with my family and friends. 

The above digital inspiration will be posted at #TheArtofSummering.  
Entertaining on summer evenings is one way that I celebrate summer.
What is your way to celebrate the art of summering?

I'm sharing my Slice of Life

I'm also sharing my post
with Ruth Ayres and the Celebrate This Week community.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Art of Summering Invitation

"There's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away." -Sarah Kay

There is an art to summering: 
Sun simmering,
Heat chasing,
Waves churning-
Iced tea sipping
Porch sitting,
Fan swaying-
Sparkler swooning,
Sky sizzling,
Sunsets blazing-
Friends visiting,
Quiet chatting,
Babies playing-
Family planning,
Trip taking,
Cameras shooting-
Endless choosing,
Daily relaxing,
Summer happening
©CVarsalona, 2018

Bring on summertime fun with gusto!



You Are Invited
to creatively depict "The Art of Summering"
for a global gallery showing

Join Me as I create a collection of summer memories from around the globe that will be collected at #TheArtof Summering on Twitter. Be inspired to capture the life living moments of summer 2018 that will be shared with social media's global community.

Challenge Requirements:
  • Create a digital inspiration in the form of an inspirational quote, image poem (photo or artwork with a poem embedded on it), original artwork, original photo, short video, collage, original song or instrumental composition, or any other form of artistic expression.
  • Sign the digital composition with your name and location.
  • Post your digital creation in jpeg form at 450 pixels (the best size for a gallery showing)
  • Upload your digital inspiration to Twitter using the hashtag, #TheArtofSummering. Also add my handle, @cvarsalona.
  • Send your jpeg offering to @cvarsalona at Gmail with the subject heading,  The Art of Summering, by the deadline, August 31, 2018.
  • You can view last summer's global gallery, Sunkissed Summer, here


Examples from Poetry Friday Poets:
Linda Baie, Linda Mitchell, and Kay McGriff

There is an art to summering.

May each of you find your own way to celebrate the summer season.

Join me at the Poetry Friday Roundup where poet Mary Lee Hahn is hosting. Mary Lee has a 50-line blitz poem of short phrases and images to dazzle us with today.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

In the Spirt of Returning

"Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go..." I used to sing that when traveling to see my Nonnie. Many years later, this song was sung when my husband drove my children to my mother's home in Syracuse. Last weekend, my grandbaby Sierra came to visit and I sang the song when she arrived. For three generations, my family has honored the tradition of coming back to the place where we grew up.

In the spirit of returning, we come HOME.
finding comfort where we as children roamed.
A spirit of love surrounds us here
as cherished memories reappear.

Families come together for many reasons. It is in the spirit of celebration that my family returned to the childhood home on Long Island, a place filled with memories. Reflecting upon that visit, I am reminded of the proverb, "Home is where the heart is." It takes hearts and hopes to create a home where our stories of strength, love, and even challenge evolve. There are many roads to cross in life but returning home offers families a place to sort and reaffirm the strength of family life where love is rooted and grows. 

This past weekend, I celebrated family coming together from Virginia and Syracuse. Even though our little grandbaby had a fever and was uncomfortable, we enjoyed each other's company and made new memories. I am grateful for the gathering of family to spend time together.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
-1Corinthians 13:7


This month's Spiritual Journey First Thursday is hosted by Patricia Weaver at Writer on a Horse. We gather together to respond to Pat's topic, "in the spirit of returning".

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Unexpected Surprise

Lovely summer day,
I behold your beauty.

Blue skies and sunshine-

Family around me-

Mussels and sangria-
Boats passing by.

And me recounting 42 years.

42 Years and County.

Summer day,
As you folded into evening
An unexpected surprise
Bobbed up and down
Waiting for me.

Summer day then-
Summer day now-
I will never forget.
Today, is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers