Friday, November 30, 2018

Student Voice

As fall settles in for hot cocoa, outerwear weather, and a winter nap, I breathe a deep sigh. It has been a glorious autumn of variegated, dancing leaves, scampering squirrels, and changing temperatures. Now, as I prepare to design another seasonal gallery, Abundant Autumn, I look back upon the nature photos, image poems, and artwork from across the globe that will be featured. 

As a fitting close to a month of gratitude, I would like to showcase some of the student additions to my upcoming fall gallery. I shared the following poetic offerings at NCTE 18 as a tribute to student voice for each young poet wondered about earth's seasonal beauty and expressed their thoughts poetically. 

Young Poets Showcased on Social Media at C. Varsalona's 
Past and Upcoming Fall Galleries

Kindergarten Students from Christie Wyman's Former Class in Massachusetts

Marin, Arlan, and Camilla from Kay Couvillon's Class in Louisiana

Madison from Margaret Simon's Former Class in Louisiana 

I recently received a beautiful fall treat for my upcoming Abundant Autumn Gallery from Christie Wyman and her amazing Kinders
who enjoyed an abundant autumn season. 
f you click here you will see the Spark Video that Christie made of the fall leaf watercolors from her Kindergarten class. This will be shared in the upcoming gallery. 

Included in my NCTE 18 presentation, "Imagine the Possibilities If All Voices Were Honored In Every Classroom Around the Globe," is a thought I believe in and foster during professional development sessions.


I am extending the deadline to accept offerings for Abundant Autumn Gallery for another week since I have not started to design the gallery. 


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol Wilcox's blog site this week. What she has to offer about novels in verse from K. A. Holt is very interesting (I attended a session at NCTE 18 where this author presented).
"One more thing... did you know that according to an NEA study in 2017, more people are reading poetry now than at any point in the 15 years the NEA has been conducting the survey? People seek out poetry in times of resistance and strife. We need it now, more than ever."

Friday, November 16, 2018

Autumn Gold

"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons."
- Jim Bishop 

While I am in Houston for NCTE18 still enjoying autumn, Long Island is sharing a new fall color, winter white.

Reminder: The submission deadline for the Abundant Autumn Gallery  is November 28, 2018.


Poetry Friday is being hosted this week by my poetry colleague and social media friend, Linda Baie.  I'm off to check in. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Celebrating An Autumn Week

Autumn celebrated nature's dazzling colors at the beginning of last week.

It was time for our annual, autumn nature walk to explore the wooded areas of Hempstead Lake Park. With my camera and a bag to collect fall artifacts, I prepared to capture the beauty of an autumn day while my husband led the way. 

Dressed in the finest fall fashion, Autumn waited for her applause. Assorted multi-colored leaves were strewn about the ground while the trees were dressed in vibrant colors. A picturesque, russet-colored scene greeted me. 

What if I transformed the scene into digital art?

Inching our way toward sunlight, my husband found a great site for a photo shoot.  It was a stop and stare moment-a  mirrored reflection. Although the trees were not all in high fashion color, they created a lovely backdrop for a quick haiku image poem.

While we were in awe of Autumn's beauty, my daughter was experiencing a similar feeling in the Virginia-Washington, D.C. area. One difference that I noticed was the movement of the water. The Hempstead Lake Park water body was still for the most part while the photo below of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC appeared to be full of movement. 

Photo below by Devin Hartnett for #AbundantAutumn Gallery.
Energized by 
Autumn's fashion parade, 
I tucked away the memories
to brighten a rainy day.

It's Slice of Life Tuesday so join me at Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Squirreling Away

For weeks I have watched the squirrels scampering in haste. Their energetic pace and fervent pursuit of the fruits of autumn have not been in vain. However, I am curious about where they hide their food. I have never seen where they "squirrel away" their food. 

To answer my inquiry, I checked out Wonderopolis and was delighted to find, Wonder of the Day #469, "What Do Animals Squirrel Away for Winter." The informational text notes that grey squirrels, the kind we have in my neighborhood, "hide their food by burying it in many different places underground. Scientists call their scatter hoarding."

Using the poem, For the Chipmunk in My Yard  by Robert Gibb as a mentor text, I drafted a poem about the scampering squirrels in my neighborhood.

For the Scurrying Squirrels

I think they know they are living amongst humans,
As they scamper across neighborhood lawns,
Making cars stop short not to harm their little feet.
I watch their antics, running here, there, and back again.
They gather fallen acorns, sometimes take a bite or two,
And secretly engage in scatter hoarding edible treasures,
While all about them, autumn prepares for its transition. 
They're lucky to have magnificent, old trees shed their
Autumn acorns, to be fast enough to forage, and when
Nighttime approaches snuggle in carpets of russet leaves,
Dreaming of hunkering down in months to come. 
I think they know they are living amongst humans.
Co-habitation is a non-issue to the scampering squirrels.
©CVarsalona, 2018 

You may enjoy watching a short video seen at WOD #469.  

Please share your digital offerings of autumn in your locale with me as I design the Abundant Autumn Gallery.


Now,I will join Michelle H. Barnes who is the host of this week's Poetry Friday Roundup. Michelle invites us to her blog, Today's Little Ditty, after a bear of a week.   

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Celebrating Autumn Colors

In early autumn, Mother Nature swept away the sands of a Long Island summer and started mixing colors of sunset orange, terracotta, mahogany brown, apple, russet, butter rum, and maroon. Her studio, the great outdoors, overflowed with visual images of luscious landscapes. Slowly, autumn colors emerged outside. 

I observed the dance of leaves swooning as nature dipped and stroked her canvas with a fresh coat of paint each morning. Autumn moved gently from one shade to the other until the winds tipped the palette. Mother Nature, enjoying the shifts of weather, whimsically skipped with the autumn leaves and smelled the fragrance of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. I continued to observe, write, and send out invitations to capture the colors of autumn for an upcoming fall gallery, #AbundantAutumn. 

My short video can be viewed here.

Halloween chose dark shades of indigo and licorice with a touch of neon carrot to color its sky night, providing me with inspiration to create a Happy Halloween Ditty. Through Google Hangout, I had the opportunity to read the story poem to my grandbaby on Halloween Eve.

As November arrived, I gathered in gratitude with the Spiritual Journey 1st Thursday community, remembering what transpired. "… the trees were dropping golden, amber, and scarlet leaves, while under the pale yellow ones which rustled beneath the chestnut-trees, there were brown, glossy nuts…." 

-Frances Hodgson Burnett, In Connection with the DeWilloughby Claim1889 

I come to this day, knowing that a rush-rush pace does not benefit living life and that "Everyone must take the time to sit and watch the leaves turn." 
-Elizabeth Lawrence

I'm off to celebrate autumn colors on Day 4 of #30daysofgratitude. 
Today, I'm grateful for Mother Nature's artistic talent that inspires me to create digital inspirations.

I celebrate with Ruth Ayres and the Celebrate This Week community. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Autumn Colors Emerge

Lately, Mother Nature is busy at work, painting poetic landscapes with pizazz!
Autumn's colors emerge!
Nature loves to splurge!
©CV, 2018
Photo by Cindy Tellekamp, Roosevelt, Long Island

autumn peaks
in brilliant russet tones-
soon to carpet earth
©CV, 2018

Leaves silently shed their color
and poetic voice rises
to praise nature's changing landscape.
©CV, 2018


Join me at Jama Rattigan's delicious, "Eclectic Feast of Food, Fiction, Folderol and Chewy Culinary Verse" for the Poetry Friday Roundup. 

Help me paint the world in the colors of autumn.

For those who savor the brilliant tones of autumn, please consider joining my creative challenge. The invitation to the Abundant Autumn Global Gallery can be accessed hereYou may be enticed to create a poem for the first breathtaking view of Long Island or seek autumn beauty in your locale.  
I am grateful to those who have offered digital inspirations for my upcoming gallery 
and for those who are considering doing so.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Gather in Gratitude - #SJ1stT

This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive. -Alice Waters

We gather together in faith today
a band of word warriors underway,
lifting our hearts to meditate
and let our thoughts resonate.


Today, I am thankful to gather and:

Greet Thursday with positivity!
Attend to what is needed in the moment!

Think of family far away!
Hear the call of autumn!
Autumn in New York song by Frank Sinatra

Showcase nature's painted portraits!
Respond and create via Abundant Autumn Gallery!
My short video can be accessed here.


In addition, I am thankful for the monthly gathering of Spiritual Journey first Thursday's community!


I am joining my faraway friend, Ramona Behnke in Washington, at her blog post to celebrate Spiritual Journey first Thursday. My hope is that autumn blessings fill your day with peace.