Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Making Your Mark


Part of the art of summering is listening to the ocean waves and wondering.

Why is it important to allow voice to rise?

How can we engage students each day so that they can make their mark?

Dot Day, based on Peter H. Reynolds' book, The Dot, celebrates creativity 
around the globe.

Help each child reach his/her potential to 
create with a brave spirit
and joyful heart.


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.


On December 17, 2018 Peter H. Reynolds, the author of The Dot, will guest moderate #NYEDChatwith Susan Verde. The special holiday Twitter chat, The Gift of Reading, will inspire educators, parents, families, and children to share the pleasures of reading. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Celebrating Communication with a Global Friend

I like to connect via Twitter with my global friends about teaching and learning either through chats or blogging. It is amazing to be virtual friends with so many like-minded people who are student-centered and creative. This weekend, Terje Akke, one of my educator friends from Estonia, created her celebration post about an idea that has been marinating for years. Excitedly, I read her post to see what photos Terje would include. She is a wonderful photographer and writer who has been giving her students the gift of writing in the great outdoors but her real desire for years has been to have her students experience how writers go to unexpected places for ideas. Recently, her dream was realized.

In Terje's blog, she described the unusual place she took the children to write. It was the Estonian Art Doll House.  I found Terje's photos of the doll museum to be quite engaging. I could picture the young writers milling about the house being greeted by an assortment of dolls. I especially liked the photo Terje included of a Victorian Queen of Hearts type doll. I started playing around with rhyme and decided to draft a short poem for the students to remember their experience. Who knows, maybe they will create their own person poems for each of the dolls they saw.


I am grateful for the connection I have made with Terje. You can see her photographic work in my recent gallery of artistic expressions.  Terje has given me a gift. She hasprovided me with insight into the teaching methods and lifestyle of Estonians and continues communication to share ideas. There are many other photographers and educators from across the world that I have met through Twitter. Being able to connect virtually with others across regions makes the world seem more accessible to me.

I celebrate with Terje this week to continue the commitment to celebrating life that Ruth Ayres started. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Anticipation

"Poetry reading is up in America while reading books for pleasure is down slightly. So says the National Endowment for the Arts, which has published the result of a study, 'U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literacy Reading: 2002-2017'... Poetry reading surged a remarkable 76 percent, to 28 million in 2017." 

I was excited to read the short article, Making Waves, Readers in America, in USA Today, 9.14.18, before heading out to the state education conference I was attending. After several days of cooler temperature and rain on Long Island, it was a pleasure to be greeted by the sun and warmer weather. I am still in summer mode and am enjoying reading poetry that has been sent to me for The Art of Summering Gallery.  After a short hiatus from   designing my summer gallery of artistic expressions, I am happy to return to the task.



ANTICIPATION

  Awaiting the arrival of the
  Newest addition to my global galleries,
  The Art of Summering. There will be
  Inspirational quotes,
  Photography blended with
  Artwork, and
  Technology. There will be digital art
  Image poems, a children's corner, and music.
  Open invitation to the
uNveiling.

Coming Soon!



For now, I am joining Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at The Poet Farm who is the host of Poetry Friday this week. Amy has a reflective post for students and teachers with a wonderful poem, a quiet boat. Please join me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering Fallen Heroes

We still remember
as the bell tolls
and names are read.
Remembering 911's fallen heroes,
numbered in the sky and
honored at the village green.
We still remember.
©CVarsalona, 2018, Rockville Centre, NY


I woke this morning to the broadcasting of the Ground Zero ceremony from New York City. As the ceremonial bell rang, the reading of the fallen heroes' names stopped. A stillness surrounded the structure. Tears were shed. The pause was deafening for so many remembered the day that many lives were lost, fathers, mothers, siblings, relatives, and friends. My NYC suburban village was hit hard. Some who perished on 9/11 worked on Wall Street. Others were fire fighters and police. All become our village's heroes.

The short poem above is a compilation of blog titles I have written over the years. Each one a painful memory. Each one a tribute to those who perished, so I ask, "What is needed in this world?" 

All of the words in red are blog posts, either at Beyond LiteracyLink or Wonderopolis' Wonder Ground, that I have written on the topic and gathered here to create a poem.

Besides being Patriot Day, it is the Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing TeachersI offer this solemn tribute to those who are remembering 9/11 and to those who are committed to sharing acts of kindness.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer Waves Goodby But Summering Lives On


I've traveled different paths each season, 
held onto treasured moments, lingering
in their memories, for they have been
nourishment for my soul. 
©CV, 2017 

As the summer season on Long Island comes to a close, my mind drifts back to the pristine beach where a gentle breeze brings relief from the persistent heat. I hear the roar of the foaming waves singing their summer song, and savor those cherished memories. To preserve the glorious rays of the summer season, I am deep in thought about the design of my summer gallery of artistic expressions, The Art of Summering. There will be a brilliant array of art, poetry, nature/travel photography, digital art, and music inside the gallery SO STAY TUNED for the upcoming unveiling.

A SNEAK PEEK
 of the Gallery Sections:

MUSIC / SCENIC VIDEO
Omar Akram's Dancing With The Wind video that includes dance, instrumental music, and beach scenes swept me away with its breathtaking approach to the art of summering. Since the video showcases global scenes, I added it to #TheArtofSummering Gallery's playlist.


POETRY
Being in a contemplative frame of mind, I captured a stanza from Ramona Behnke's post today and added it to my photo of a Long Island beach to create an #imagepoem / #digitalinspiration.


TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

CHILDREN'S CORNER

ART
By Thomas Cooper Gotch submitted by Tabatha Yeatts

DIGITAL ART/ADVERTISEMENT

Many thanks to all the poets, photographers, artists, bloggers, writers, teachers, and students who were interested in offering digital inspirations for The Art of Summering Global GalleryIf you have a digital offering (art, poetry, nature photography, digital art, or music), please send it to me by September 7th.


SPECIAL NOTE:
Poetry Friday friends, please add your links below. I am posting early because my family was invited to an after-Labor Day get-together tonight. I will add comments to my roundup guests' posts tomorrow and throughout the weekend. I wish everyone a joyful weekend!  Carol



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

My Path

Donna Smith, the host of Spiritual Journey first Thursday chose My Path as her topic for this month. She asked our writing community to ponder how the paths we've taken led us to where we are today. 

Looking back upon my life, I believe there has been an element of choice in the paths I have walked but I cannot say that every pathway has been of my choosing. In many instances, life has intersected my plans and wishes and forced me to take an alternate route. While patience is not my strong suit, I have leaned on faith and hope to guide me through the rocky roads onto a clearing. Within those clearings, I have found that "Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy." (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Walking on the road of learning
I reflect on a lesson: to
find time to live
mindfully in
the world, to uncover the
brilliance of the present,
the sparkle of a moment-
a single quest that is
accomplished in part
as I inhale the breath of
nature and the richness of the
seasons while traveling a path,
discovering the power of
one limitless word - joy!
©CV, 2017 

Did you notice that the ending word of each line of my poem led to Breathnach's words of wisdom?
***

Another inspirational quote I found to light my path:

"In the summer, the song sings itself."  - William Carlos Williams

I bask in nature's majesty
recalling the lull of ocean waves
roaring in harmony against
the dissonance of seagulls
shrieking across endless sky.
I listen in hushed silence for
summer to sing its waning song.
I linger awhile recalling whirling 
sounds spinning across pathways,
receding shorelines filled with the
echoes of frolicking children.
I listen to nature's sounds without regret.
Summer may pass on but there will be new
pathways of promise appearing ahead.

I've traveled different paths each season, 
held onto treasured moments, lingering
in their memories, for they have been
the nourishment my soul craves. 
©CV, 2017 

***

Writing is a journey similar to the pathways of life I cross. There are detours, revelations, and stops along the way. I often reach a destination and interact in ways not planned before finding a single moment in time to savor. Paths continue to curve; I meander, follow bends, and move beyond boundaries. With grace guiding me, I have learned to grow as a learner of life noticing, wondering, and recording.
***
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Proverbs 4:26
***
May all !our paths be filled with joy, even the rocky ones that we do not understand. 

***

Celebrate a Summer State of Mind

The day opened with a sky filled with bright sunshine. An intense warmth enveloped every living object so when my husband suggested, "Let's go to the beach," we quickly readied ourselves for the short jaunt. While the calendar read Labor Day, the official day the beaches close, we were not ready to say goodbye to summer. Off we went!


Others were not letting go of summer either as evidenced by the packed parking lot. Children were chatting away under the coolness of the outdoor showers and families were unloading their cars with beach paraphernalia. Rows of lifeguard chairs were stacked in the area in front of the dunes.


I paused for a moment to photograph the lifeguard chairs in need of an end-of-summer overhaul, thinking here in the sand lay the hope that summer continues on.


Like a group of pioneers crossing the desert with heavy possessions, beachgoers trudged through the expanse of sand leading to the shoreline. The sun's rays were heating the sand to the point that sandals were needed every inch of the way. I stopped to rest a bit before continuing the heated walk. As my feet sank into the sand, I remembered what a beach medic told me a few summers ago. "Be careful when walking in the sand on a hot day. You can easily get feet burns from the heated sand." 



Once happily situated near the shore, I edged my toes in the sand, enjoyed the breeze whipping past me, and continued to read my beach book, The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

Ah! What can be better than a summer state of mind?



I hope you enjoyed a summer state of mind as I did but like Charlie Brown, 
I say, "Sigh...there goes another summer, Snoopy!"
😎
 Slice of Life
Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers
Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day in Rockville Centre

Labor Day is always a festive holiday in my hometown. People celebrate with barbecues at the beach clubs or in their backyards. It is a time for families and friends to gather together, enjoy each other's company, and share remembrances of summer days. Since I live near the Long Island South Shore beaches, beaching is a topic of interest but the significance of Labor Day is usually not remarked upon so I decided to research the history. 

Each holiday or season I place antique postcards from my ephemera collection in the entranceway of my home as a decoration. Since I do not have a specific one for Labor Day, I searched the web and found the following image.

Vintage Labor Day
In 1894, Labor Day officially became a national holiday celebrating American workers and the labor movement. As the U.S. Department of Labor says, "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." My grandparents, mother, and my husband's father were part of the workforce. I honor and celebrate their efforts. 

"Labour will refresh itself with hope."  
(a line from a vintage card)

One of my poet friends, Diane Mayr, wrote a blog post, "What Work Is," for Poetry Friday this week. You may be interested in reading the poem by Philip Levine that can be accessed  here.

On the beach of Coney Island (1901)
Parades and picnics have marked the passage of time since the turn of the 20th century. Beachgoers flock to the shore for the last days of summer vacation whether it is sunny or not, as noted by the above antique photo card. Beside Coney Island, Jones Beach that opened in 1929 is a popular place for beaching. 

While I thought I would not be a beachgoer today, my husband woke to the thought, "Let's go to the beach." Soon we will head out for the ritual trip to Point Lookout beach and then return to Rockville Centre for the annual Labor Day barbecue at the Rockville Links Club. Each year of my children's lives, we attended the festivities there. This year, my friends invited us to the barbecue that will bring back fond memories of the cotton candy cart, grilled hot dogs, an array of different foods, and a table of rich desserts. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday. I know I will.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.
-Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Summer's Special Deliveries

I love special deliveries, whether they are a purchase, an invitation to a significant event, new books, thank yous, or the Summer Poem Swap. This summer, I received many special deliveries and greeted each one with excitement. 


In particular, I received amazing gifts from poetry friends. Three poem swaps from Linda Mitchell, Jone MacCulloch, and Margaret Simon came in the mail at various intervals. On two different occasions, I received packages of the book, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, with my poem, Art Class, included from. These special deliveries came from the fabulous poet/publisher team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

Just recently, I received my last poem swap from my poetry friend, Margaret Simon the author of Bayou Song, Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape. You can read my post on the Bayou Song Blog Tour hereMargaret's delivery was a special one indeed. It contained a gorgeous hand-made book with a beaded elastic tie featuring a nature-inspired pin. Accompanying the book was a vivid photograph of a summer sunset that will be included in my summer gallery, "The Art of Summering". Margaret took ideas from my Poetry Friday post of 8/17/18 to create a poem centering on the word linger.


In the photo below, look closely at all the details in Margaret's handmade gift.
Margaret's poetic and DIY talents are evident.
Margaret lifted my word linger that I used in my post and created a poem that captures the spirit of self-care during the summer months. 
The next poem Margaret created is one that I will cherish and recall
as I wander along the beach watching the seagulls soar.
There are different sections of the book with vintage paper, black and white images to color, and plenty of blank paper to write. The interesting part of this book is the variety of vintage pages that will be used as writing prompts.
I appreciate the many poetic gifts that I received this summer.

Special Note: I am collecting digital offerings for my summer gallery, The Art of Summering, this weekend.

Now I am heading over to another poetry friend, Robyn Hood Black's site, Life on the Deckle Edge, who is the host for the Poetry Friday Roundup today. She is sharing some wonderful children's poetry and giving a nod to the Pomelo Books' newest poetry book, Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Making Memories at the Shore

Memories-
snapshots in time
glistening like brilliant jewels
tucked away in hearts 
waiting to be polished

For years, I tucked away my memories in albums, then indexed them in boxes, and finally resorted to unsorted piles. This was not an efficient way to recall lifetime events. The iPhone, has made it much easier for me to capture and store memories. 

Remembering helping my 14-month-old grandbaby set up for this photo taken by my daughter

Years ago when my family went to Disney World, I heard a catchy song, Makin' Memories. As the song says, "Taking pictures is making memories, catching little pieces of time, making them yours, and making them mine...Celebrations we can forget in a year. When we're making memories happiness can reappear." 

Photos do make happiness reappear so last night after returning from my family and extended family trip to Cape May, I diligently edited my photos. Each time I added a new photo, another memory from the trip was recalled. I lingered in those memories that included many shots of my precious little grandbaby at the Jersey shore. 


What memories have you captured with your camera this summer? 
Does each one add to your concept of summering?

Here is my morning Instagram post with one of my memories that was digitized.


It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.
Join me to read what others are slicing about.