Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Eve Ditty Fun

Have you ever been faced by a writing challenge and did not really know how to proceed? This month at Today's Little Ditty, the challenge created by Calef Brown for Michelle Barnes' October Ditty Challenge had me perplexed. He challenged writers to Write a poem or a story about two anthropomorphized objects.” I sighed when I read this. I even had to look up the exact definition of anthropomorphized.  

Since it is Halloween week and I already created a fictional octopus for Irene Latham's #OctopusMonth, I thought I would extend the adventures of Ona Octopus to include a Halloween outing where she meets up with a large furry, stuffed cat. Halloween is a fun time of the year to let your imagination soar. 

While knowing that my idea would stretch the concept of anthropomorphized objects, I read some of the poems on Michelle Barnes' October Padlet and thought "Eek!, mine is so unlike the others." With a deep breath, I proceeded anyway with my idea to create a story poem. (I only had a few days left to complete a ditty). I then went to the Buncee digital platform and transformed the poem into an animated tale with the great graphic tools there. You can see my Happy Halloween Ditty Buncee here. 

I ask, "Is my poem worthy to sit on the October Padlet?" Then stop and reflect. Aren't I the one who says the fun of writing is being open enough to take risks and accept feedback? 

Thinking back on Halloween time when I was a reading specialist in an elementary school, I recall the fun I had transforming my classroom into a Harvest/Halloween House complete with decorations and a collection of seasonal books to be read aloud. Each classroom would pass through my decorated house for a festive treat. The teachers could choose from a menu of interactive activities to wow their students but the read aloud was the featured surprise. For teachers who are interested in a pairing of two texts, a poem and informational text, Wonder of the Day #743, What's Your Favorite Costume, would be an interesting reading to pair with my ditty. The goal is not only to have children celebrate Halloween in an appropriate environment but to whet their appetites for lifelong reading. 

Note: The link to my story poem has been placed on the Wonderopolis Wonder Ground under Resources and the Buncee is below.

Ghouls and goblins are milling about
for sweetened treats, there is no doubt. 
I watch them swing their candy pot
Hoping to catch the best what not.

They think me grand in my octosuit
with lots of moves that catch more loot.
But don't they know it's just me,
Ona O on a quick spree.

I wink, I sniff, I think you're grand
Your arms are lovely and expand
But take a look at my furry coat
It makes me look like quite a bloat.

Aren't we swell with fine demeanor?
We're genuine. Who could be keener?
Look! Children creep in "pretend" clothes
While we just strut under their nose.

Come, my pretties. Join the parade
for the best Halloween accolade!
©CVarsalona, 2018


It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers. I found another challenge there: end your slice with a written affirmation about yourself. Does your story show any perceived truths about yourself that can become more positive? 

My Affirmation
What I Do:                               I gingerly move beyond my comfort zone to try out a new move to 
                                                   see if it fits.
What Are My Next Steps:  If my move is not a good fit, I will rely on my one word hope to help 
                                                    me improve my craft.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Abundant Autumn: Invitation to Create

I woke early to autumnal bliss.
One tree, tipped in gold, embraced nature's kiss. 
Amber, sunset orange, asparagus,
Colors of nature's seasonal fuss,
Danced in sunlight, celebrating fall.
Yet, others clothed in bright green shawl 
Bowed in tribute to the glorious sun-
Waiting their turn, not to be undone.
©CV, 2018


Autumn's Sun Salutation


Have you celebrated the autumn season in your locale?

Watch this brief video, Abundant Autumn Awakens Life, created with digital inspirations from Camilla (student), Leia Cator, Janet Chow, and Molly Hogan who captured the glory of the season in Louisiana, North Carolina, British Columbia, and Maine.



Let the beauty of autumn days and the chill of autumn nights inspire you to create.

- Capture autumn digitally via a photograph, inspirational quote, poem, artwork, short 
   video, audio readings of original poetry, or any other form of digital expression.

Sign each digital offering with your name and locale.

- Size your digital offerings to fit the gallery. 450 pixels is the best sizing

- Send your jpeg offering to @cvarsalona at Gmail with the subject heading, Abundant  

Also, send your digital offering to Twitter with the hashtag #AbundantAutumn.

Who should join this creative challenge to give tribute to the richness of the autumn season?EVERYONE-I encourage adults and students from around the world to participate in this global gallery that will allow voice to soar across the world. 


While creating you may enjoy listening to peaceful music, Autumn Leaves by Tim Janis.


Let's showcase our talents via photographs, poetry, musical compositions, and artwork to create a digital collection of the abundant beauty of the autumn season.  

Deadline for the submission of all offerings: November 28, 2018.  


You can access previous Autumn Galleries of Artistic Expressions, 
Finding FallAutumn's Palette, Autumnventure, and Autumn Ablaze for samples of digital offerings.

Now take a stroll over to Kay McGriff's blog site. She is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup with a Sunrise Conversation. You will enjoy the poem she created.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Making with a Literacy Context

"Create Locally, Make Globally." 
This is the mantra for #GlobalMakerDay.

Today is the day to create, make, and share work globally. I commend the organizers of #GlobalMakerDay for their 21st Century initiative to focus on "starting a global flame to build innovative students who solve problems, push boundaries, and MAKE!"

All of my making/creating is connected to literacy. I have been designing and curating global galleries of artistic expressions for several years. In addition, I have encouraged adults and students around the globe to create digital compositions and let their voices rise to spread their perspectives on each season. My latest gallery, #TheArtofSummering applauding the wonder and beauty of summertime, was recently unveiled. 

Today, Fred Harwood, a colleague in British Columbia, asked if the Twitter group sharing book covers would be interested in writing a spine poem. I was staring at my stack of reading and realized that I could create a spine poem quite easily with the titles I had. All I needed to do was to rearrange the spines so that the titles would blend into a poem. The photo of the spine poem incorporated into a Buncee creation can be seen below. I had fun creating the spine poem and embedding it on my Buncee.

Students could create spine poems with the books in their classroom library that they are reading or intending to read, design their own Buncee, or create a digital inspiration for my next gallery, #AbundantAutumn. (The invitation will be advertised on social media by this weekend.)  

You may be interested in viewing the video of children "making" during Global Maker Day.  The video at the #GlobalMakerDay site illustrates the joy of "making" that fills the classroom's space with glee.

Last week's Buncee on Ona Octopus is also an example of making in my literacy style. 

Perhaps some of my friends at Two Writing Teachers would be interested in having their students create to make literacy come alive. 
Slice of Life Tuesday

Thursday, October 18, 2018

"Octopus Month" Poetic Fun

When poet Irene Latham wrote a post, Desperately Seeking Octopus Poems and Art #Octo NationI knew I had to find out what that was all about. I searched Twitter but did not see a #hashtag for #octopusmonth. As I scanned Irene's blog, I realized that Irene was celebrating her newest release from Millbrook Press/Lerner, Love, Agnes - Postcards from an Octopus. To honor Agnes, she christened October as "Octopus Month" and then, requested some octopus poems and art to post on her blog. That is how Ona Octopus came to be a digital creation.


Ona Octopus
came to school.
I tried to hide her
in layers of tulle.
My friends came close
to see the surprise.
Ona changed color
right before their eyes.
The class jumped back
at Ona's plight.
It's not Halloween,
so what's the fright?
Teacher said, "Lesson learned."

Ona is scared and concerned.
Octopus use camouflage.
Science class is now adjourned."
©CVarsalona, 2018

Thanks Irene, for creating such a fun challenge from the delightful Agnes. Image result for love agnes postcards from an octopus

My Back Story: 
Many people know that I have a grandbaby that I am over the moon about. I decided to write a children's poem to be read to my dear little toddler, Sierra, who is a wonderer at such a young age. Information came from Wonderopolis' Wonder of the Day #1404, How Do You Hide an Octopus?  I turned the details into a wonder poem, a poem that emerges from a Wonder of the Day. Because it is nearing Halloween, I decided to add that tiny detail and create my own octopus, Ona, with the Buncee platform. Ona excitedly sent Agnes and all of you a postcard from the deep. My next step will be to record the poem so Sierra can hear her family reading it to her even though we are hours away from her. 

Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by a very busy writer, Brenda Harsham, who celebrates autumn with a gorgeous nature photo and a haiku. Stroll over to her blog to take a peek. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Celebrate Summer Collapsing Into Fall

Time has passed since summer officially closed its seasonal celebration of a sunkissed life. I have held onto this season in my heart, recalling sand-swept beaches of Long Island with their heated breath seeping through gentle winds. The salty spray of the Atlantic Ocean taste is still on my lips. With this picture in my mind, I nostalgically longed for lazy, sun-chasing days and nights that were full of light and energy in the late evening UNTIL I recently passed over the Mario Cuomo Bridge. 

As I crossed the newly girded steel structure leading me to upstate New York, I noticed a hint of color here and there; leaves were different from the green ones of a Long Island summer. Moving further north, the preponderance of multi-colored sightings were evident. Mother Nature, the glorious artist, must have spent all weekend painting the land in warm hues. A newly-awakened landscape emerged before my eyes. 

It was in that moment of awareness that I knew summer collapsed into fall, ushering in a new season to savor. I was in awe of nature's breathtaking change in scenery. The colors emerging from each town's tree-lined highway appeared to be woven into a vast patchwork collage.

The sight was awe-inspiring, much more than the first scattered gathering of leaves upon my deck.

Other colleagues understood the magnitude of the changing of seasons
and so the collecting of autumn photos began.

From Maine came Molly Hogan's first sighting.
Brian Rosinzky sent the following from South Dakota.
Mark Weston captured an early fall scene while hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

Have you ever wondered about the why behind the color change?
Check out Wonderopolis' Wonder of the Day #1325 for information and 
enjoy watching the 30-second time lapse of summer turning into fall.

ln case you are still wondering about seasonal color change, please take a quick peek at last year's global gallery of artistic expressions while I continue to explore autumn. 
Thank you Two Writing Teachers for your Tuesday Slice of Life space.
Also, thank you, Ruth Ayres, for encouraging all writers to Celebrate This Week

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Art of Summering Mini-Gallery: Goodbye to Summer

After traveling to Central New York and admiring the beautifully painted autumn landscapes, I returned to a humid Long Island and asked, "Is it really time to say goodbye to summer?" The truth of the matter is as Oscar Wilde said, "And all at once, summer collapsed into fall." With that being said, I wish to send summer off in style now that "The Art of Summering" Gallery of Artistic Expressions has officially been unveiled on the following social media platforms: Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. 

In the introduction to the gallery, I wrote: "While the official end of the summer season drew to a close, my mind still 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 memories of summer and allow voice to rise, I would like to take you on a mini-gallery walk of The Art of Summering to see the many shades of summer from Poetry Friday poets' perspectives. There are 10 stops on the global tour so without further delay, let's begin. I have selected one digital artistic expression for each stop. 

First Stop - A Virtual Journey 
Travel Photos
"Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." - Ibn Battuta
Second Stop - Sunrises and Sunsets Around the Globe
"There are sunrises and sunsets every single day, and they're absolutely free. 
Don't miss so many of them." 
-Jo Walton Winter
Third Stop - Animals of Summer
"Again and again, the cicada's untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth." - Yukio Mishmima, Runaway Horses: The Sea of Fertility, 2
Fourth Stop - Summer Art
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
-Thomas Merton
Fifth Stop - Children's Corner
sweet summer life
lives in the spirit
of the child
©CV, 2018
Sixth Stop - Digital Art
Seventh Stop - Summer Florals
"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature." - Gerard De Nerval
Eighth Stop - Music
"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. 
You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body."
The above quote by Oliver Wendall Holmes was offered by Tabatha Yeatts. 

Click HERE to enjoy the "The Art of Summering" playlist of 29 songs that I gathered on YouTube.
Ninth Stop - Summer's Alluring Call
Tenth Stop - Time to Say Goodbye to Summer
"Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance." - Yoko Ono

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 
Moving On to Yet Another Season
The Art of Summering video, created by Carol Varsalona, can be accessed here.
Contributors to The Art of Summering Gallery
@HolisticSailorCuffe, LaurenceHoward, SpiriNesdoly, VioletWong, Janet
@Teach4spclneedsDay, SuziHughes, JustineNestor, JanetWyman, Christie
Alba, CherylDi Stefano, CarlHughes, StephanNorden, SharonYeatts, Tabatha
Alaska TracyFinley, ToddHutmacher, KimberlyPollard, DavidYun, Jackie
Ajmani, KumudFlowers, Lisa L.Jago, CarolQuinn, ChrisZabala, Maria
Akke, TerjeFlynn, CatherineKelley, SteveSalas, Laura Purdie
Alyssa H.Foley, KevinKogan, MichelleShepard, Kiesha
Atkins, JeannineForrest Esenwine, MattKristensen, KentSilverman, Buffy
Apel, KatGross, TeresaLake, LillianSimon, Margaret
Baie, LindaGuidoccio, JoanneLatham, IreneSmith, Donna
Barnes, Michelle H.Hancock, PattyMacCulloch, JoneSteinglass, Elizabeth
Behnke, RamonaHarsham, BrendaMacken, JoAnn EarlyTamez, Eugenia
Bigi, JessicaHartnett, DevinMayr, DianeThomas, Kathleen
Boynton, SandraHersey, RuthMcGriff, KayTilton, Valerie
Bradbury, ShawnHerzog, John & RebeccaMeller, FaigeTimparano, Laura Hill
Burtsfield, DaniHodgson, KevinMitchell, LindaVardell, Sylvia
Cator, LeiaHogan, JenniferMoran, PamVarsalona, Carol
Chow, JanetHogan, MollyMr. TerborgWeston, Mark E. Ph.D
Coombs, KatieHoward, Mary, Dr.Murphy, SallyWirtz, Rita
Leonie Bennett's Students
Callie E.
Leticia Citizen's Students
Neeve-#WymansWonders' Kinder
Olivia Van Ledtje (@thelivbits)

May the fond memories of summertime, fill your soul, and increase your vitality to find the 
abundance of autumn! May you continue to notice, observe the living world around you, wonder, and savor each life living moment. -Carol

This week's Poetry Friday Roundup is at the blog site of my friend, poet Laura Purdie Salas. Laura is excited about J. Patrick Lewis' newest anthology, the poetry of US, that holds four of her poems. Today, she shares a gorgeous image poem that she created for the new anthology.