Friday, November 22, 2019

National Gingerbread Cookie Day

Did you know that today, November 21st, is National Gingerbread Cookie Day?  I did not but lucky for me that holiday baking is not only one of my favorite pastimes but provided the inspiration for me to create two poems for Rebecca Herzog's challenge. As the host of Poetry Friday this week, Rebecca asked the writing community to compose a poem about a food we feel deserves a special day of commemoration. I chose to honor the gingerbread cookie.

Gingerbread cookies are a delicious confection for the holidays but this year I switched it up and created miniature gingerbread people cookies for my granddaughter's June birthday party. 

Today, I am honoring National Gingerbread Cookie Day that celebrates a day of building memories with loved ones with two Buncee poems. I will share these doses of sweet poetry goodness with Sierra because she not only loves to read but enjoys Grandma's cookies. 

After reading the first Buncee, click to read the second Buncee poem.
You can click here to see larger versions on my Buncee dashboard.

Enjoy a bite of Poetry Friday now with our host, Rebecca Herzog at Sloth Reads.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Getting My Wonder On at NCTE 19

Image result for baltimore in autumn photos

NCTE is the red carpet gala
of the literacy world, set against
the beauty of Baltimore's inner harbor.

Time to gather with friends. Network with new colleagues.
Be inspired by literacy luminaries. Get your wonder on
and bring home a stack of books for spirited inquiry.
©CV, 2019
I am so excited about NCTE 19 and visiting Baltimore that I simply can't stop listening to the song, Good Morning Baltimore while packing. I have to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow enough time to travel to my professional development presentation. Of course, I can't forget to continue building my convention schedule.

Part of my excitement for the upcoming NCTE Convention centers on my meet-up with the NCFL and Wonderopolis Wonder Team of wonderologist friends. We are presenting an interactive roundtable,
Ignite a Spirit of Inquiry Through Wonder, Curiosity, & Creativity!, in a simulated literacy makerspace on Friday, November 22nd at 3:30 pm. If you are in Baltimore stop by to say hello.

I'm listening to one more song, "Baltimore Song", to get in the mood to pack.

But before that, I am offering this post for Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers, many of which I will see at NCTE 19.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Playing Around with Words

Have you ever been caught saying something that you think is funny or witty and it flops? As hard as I try, I just don't have the capacity to be funny so I turn to word play to bring a humorous touch to a poem. Since I try to live with a positive approach to life, I am well aware of what a toxic environment can do to the work environment. 

Meet my character who needs to unscrew her prunish facial expression.

Polly Pessimist found a home 
in a world of monochrome-
Colorless, faded jeans,
sour face, screaming teens.
Tried to step out for a spin.
Hit the ground, hurt her shin.
Whisked off to the hospital.
Doctor found bones so brittle.
Final thought: change your tune,
B-negative blood will be your ruin.

Doctor's Recommendation to Polly Pessimist: 
Turn your life around.
Drop the droopy frown.
Play your cards right.
It's an uphill battle fight.
©CV, 2019

   Words at Play Challenge for Today's Little Ditty Challenge

Thank you, Michelle H. Barnes, for bringing this challenge designed by poet Kate O'Neil to the poetry community. In the poetry playground, I can test my thoughts just for fun, bringing out the child inside.  In the DMC challenge, I tried out a pun (A pessimist's blood type is B-negative.), cliches, alliteration, and rhyme to compose a poem. I would love feedback on this poem. 

Thank you also, Michelle, for being the host of Poetry Friday at your blog site this week. 

As for nature, I saw my first snow of the season dusting the ground while traveling to the statewide ed conference this week. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

In Gratitude

Silence after a successful Twitter chat settles a racing mind and an energized spirit. When the November 4th's #NYEDChat with my talented guest moderator and friend, Rita Wirtz, officially finished, I was immersed in the quietude of a silent room. I reflected on the art and craft of teaching and what was accomplished as connected educators voiced their responses to beautifully crafted questions. What did it mean to me to walk the walk with learners who daily experience and understand the productive struggle? How do I encourage all teachers to passionately continue to hone their craft when faced with learners who are troubled by the unproductive, disquieted moments of classroom work? Being a reflective educator is an essential component of teaching and learning. I am thankful for walking the walk as a teacher and being blessed to have the opportunity to work with so many dedicated and passionate educators.

With this in mind, I collaborated with Rita Wirtz on a post-NYEDChat project to put our thoughts on the art and craft of teaching to paper. We diligently worked for days to research quotes and texts on celebrating the art and craft of teaching and were surprised by the scarcity of articles found. Taking a deep dive into writing from two different sides of the United States, we collaborated via Google Docs, FaceTime, and texting. Collaboration became a true interactive exchange of ideas. You can access our published post, Celebrating Art and Craft of Teaching, Thoughts to Inspire You! at Rita Wirtz's Bam Radio! blog site.
Because my mind often thinks in terms of poetic thoughts, you will find two modified forms of a golden shovel poem based simply on an inspirational quote and mantra on teaching, Below you will see the lines I chose to be inspired by, how I took each word and wove it as the ending line of a poem.

Inspirational Quote:
“Teaching is a work of heart, love, and passion!" (Rita Wirtz)
Educators celebrate artful teaching,
journeying along a path that is
filled with a myriad of practices, a
collection of collaborative work,
resources, and reflective tools of
quality. They fill their heart-
inspired teaching pathway with love,
joyfully deliberating, collaborating, and
following their innermost passion.
©CV, 2019

Inspirational Mantra:
"Time for Change"
Talking and walking the walk in real-time
breathes hope into a life plan for
renewal and a call to change.
©CV, 2019

Energized teachers unleash their creativity when designing joyful havens of learning. Each day, they interact with learners as the guides on the journey toward lifelong learning. In gratitude for what teachers do, I ask those who have chosen to follow this esteemed profession to keep on celebrating the art and craft of teaching with heart, love, and passion!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thankful & Blessed

Each year, autumn reigns supreme as a season of gratitude. Neighborhoods brighten with kaleidoscope colors that burnish and lacquer landscapes. (See my recent leaf-peeping through New England blog.) As October turns into November, shifting temperatures and early darkness ushers in nature's transition. I remain thankful, even with a forecast of snow and a nasty stomach bug. 

November enters in glorious style, nestling into nature's bed.

It tucks itself among lustrous colors of burnt orange, mahogany, and granny smith apple
soon to fade with each shifting wind.

Feral cat senses change, cozily finds a napping area,
and cuddles on my patio bench.
Winter's frozen touch nears.
©CV, 2019

 On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 
-Psalm 145:5
Give thanks for fall's seasonal gifts
coloring world
with love,
November comes
in peace.
wonder, explore.
Find rest.
©CV, 2019

Now with thanks, I share J. Patrick Lewis, a masterful poet, Nature's Art Gallery zeno poem. Pat created this 10-line verse form with a repeating syllable of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 and a rhyme scheme of abcdefgdghd. I humbly created a zeno above after many attempts.
"Gratitude is a practice, not a concept."

Practice being grateful this month. Notice, wonder, discover the joys of living.
Because I unsuspectedly got a stomach virus, I am combining my Spiritual Journey Thursday post  hosted by Margaret Simon and Poetry Friday hosted by Irene Latham.
Abundant Autumn Gallery

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Autumn Leaf Peeping, New England Style

"There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade
of autumn leaves." -Joe L. Wheeler

Autumn in New England always held a certain charm for me ever since I attended my first year and a half of college in Weston, Massachusetts. It has been many years since I saw a New England autumn so I was delighted when my husband and I received an invitation to attend his cousins' 30th wedding anniversary celebration. 
As we traveled from Long Island to Massachusetts, I wondered if we would be awed by changing foliage. The weather had a slight chill in the air and the sun shone brightly, just like you would expect to find for the first weekend of November. Driving along the highway, I spotted trees of different hues under a beautiful blue sky.
As my husband and I crossed over into the eastern part of Connecticut and into Massachusetts, we spotted a scenic stop and quickly pulled over. Disappointed by the limited array of multi-colored autumnal trees, I took a few nature photos to remember the not-as-significant scenic view as the one in Whitney Point, New York on the way to Syracuse. 
BUT while in North Hampton, Massachusetts for a family reunion of cousins on my husband's side of the family, I found the quaint New England town dressed for autumn. A highlight of the walking tour after a sumptuous brunch was the Academy of Music building that was the actual spot where Jenny Lind, the Swedish soprano sang in the summer of 1851. To enhance my experience, I digitized some of my photos to bring the spirit of abundant autumn in New England to life. 
Autumn walked in beauty
surrounded by nature's
lustrous hues one fall day.

Hearing soft whisperings
from awed travelers' thoughts,
she spread her leaves in thanks.
©CV, 2019

Walking through the historic town, was a magical experience. A sense of history, the quaintness of a time gone by, and autumn's beauty combined to leave me thinking of F. Scott Fitzgerald's thought: "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

Sending happy late autumn feelings during the month of November to all!
I will continue to work on my Abundant Autumn Gallery with November's artistic expressions. 
It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers and I am heading there.