Author Archives: kd0602

Summer Rainless Song

I like the way the syllable count forces language, creates opportunity for new thinking. Today’s prompt from Ethical ELA asked writers to come up with a line of a poem and continue with poem using the same number of syllables in each line. As I walked the beach this morning, I kept thinking about the monsoonal moisture promised by the weather forecasters–and the fact that I know it won’t result in the rain we need so much. I found myself obsessed with rain as I walked, counting syllables in my head. Here’s the resulting draft and the beautiful sky last night that fueled today’s obsessive thinking.

Summer Rainless Song

A pitty pat pat

the sound I don’t hear

except in my dreams

water all around

but not on the ground

Monsoonal moisture

parched earth, cloud-filled skies

precipitation

promised rainfall – gone!

no pitty pat pat

Tinderbox of fear

drought-dried brush, fire fuel

inferno rages

in my brain, waiting

wishing for the sound

And the smell of rain

pitter patter pat

living in dryness

monsoonal moisture

waiting for rain

@kd0602

Fountain of Youth

Word association, make a list…it all seems too simple. But it’s not. It’s actually genius! Many thanks to the folks over at Ethical ELA and the Open Write for yet another day of inspiration. Today’s prompt took me to a favorite ice cream place in Ventura…and then back in time.

Fountain of Youth

My tongue tingles as we drive by

McConnells might just be

The best ice cream ever

Pick your treat

Creamy, cool

Flavors:

Santa Barbara strawberry

Eureka lemon and marionberry

Jostles memories

And I become a child again

Time stops

And I’m in the Thrifty

On tippy toes

Picking my scoop

5 cents for a single

Dare I splurge

Spending 15 cents for a triple?

@kd0602

Morning Treasure

A treasure hunt is the perfect way to start a day! That’s how I felt when I read the Open Write prompt today on Ethical ELA. I took a little different pathway on my treasure hunt and let my walk this morning uncover the treasure.

Morning Treasure

Morning light slanting

to warm my shoulder

making a mirror of wet sand

reflections in full color

Water pulls back

revealing rocky flower fields

anemones clustered

nature’s jewels

Blue upon blue upon blue

color like breath

oxygenating my blood

morning treasure

@kd0602

Things you can do with a wave

After my experience with #verselove in April, I have been looking forward to the Ethical ELA open write (5 days in June with writing invitations like those in April). I eagerly opened my email this morning and followed the link to the blog post where the invitation offered Things you can do with an orange as a mentor text provided by Allison Berryhill.

I spent my morning at the beach–first with a gorgeous low-tide walk and then staying to watch the Switchfoot Bro Am surf contest. As I watched the surfers play on nature’s waves, a poem began to form. While this is certainly still a first draft, it was fun to play around with the idea of things you can do with a wave.

Things you can do with a wave

Ride it like a pony

up white-topped salt water mountains

and down into

deep cerulean valleys

Swim like a dolphin

holding your breath

exploring the depths

noticing another world

under the water

until you rise into

the matching blue sky

and breathe deeply once again

Hear its music

whoosh and patter

with the thunder of pebbles

rolling with the bass

Tumble and turn

feelings earth’s energy

in the cool saltiness

Imitate the shore birds

as they stomp and splash

Let the pinks and oranges and red

crown you each evening

as day gives way to darkness

paint the world with hope

and start anew tomorrow

@kd0602

Primed for Summer Writing

Weirdly enough, this school year ended with 2 minimum days–on a Monday and Tuesday. With the class party dealt with on Friday, what do you plan for those last days of school with first graders?

Inspired by a post I saw on Two Writing Teachers, we began our last two days of school by creating a character–a puppet of sorts–to feature in our writing and to prime the pump for some possible summer writing.

Yesterday morning armed with cardstock, construction paper, scissors, glue, markers, and colored pencils we began creating our characters. Students knew I would make an egret. (They know I love egrets and often feature them in my writing) I demonstrated one way to put a character together…and also started talking through a story featuring the character that was brewing in my head. And then they were off…

As they crafted and created they were also having conversations about their characters. They talked about where the characters lived, their special features and coloring. All the perfect pre-writing you always wish for (and sometimes doesn’t happen). I love this time in the school year when students are comfortable and confident, allowing the creative juices to flow. Once completed, we left the character puppets to dry on the counter.

Today we began with our sketch pads, setting our characters in their places, giving them action and a problem to solve. And again, as students sketched and colored they also talked about their stories.

At this point students were eager to write. We talked about adding dialogue and thoughts, sound words, and setting. And on this very last day of first grade, these students wrote and wrote. They loved that they were filling the page (or more) with their writing. They were excited to read their stories out loud and they were willing to add even more details.

The added bonus is that they also created a list of other stories featuring this character that they may write in the next hours or days or weeks. They left with their notebooks and sketchbooks and their character in hand…and their brains primed and ready for some summer writing (I hope)! I leave the school year knowing that my students left on this last day of first grade as writers, knowing they can put their stories on the page for themselves and others to enjoy.

Would I have students write on the last day of school again…the answer is a resounding YES! It was a wonderful way to spend our last days together, immersed in this community of writers developed over the course of the school year. There were so many things that were hard about this year of teaching, which makes me even happier that these last two days were a joy…for me and for them. They and I left the school year wanting more…that wonderful bittersweet feeling of being happy and sad all at the same time.