Tag Archives: egret

This is Just to Say…

Today’s poetry inspiration came from Williams’ poem of apology, This is Just to Say.  In addition to studying the original, we also read some of the poems written by 6th graders in the book also titled This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman.

Students had fun playing around with their own poems of apology.  Here’s a couple composed by the third graders in my class to give you a taste:

Dear Romeo,

I’m sorry I have to whip you sometimes

Also, I might tire you out sometimes,

but you’re always a handsome horse

lovable, huggable, gentle, and soft

Oh how I love your long mane

drifting in the sky

when we canter across the field



I gave them a whole 7 minutes of writing time!  It’s conference week, so students are on a minimum day schedule…and time is short!

I’m sorry Kai for poking you.

Sorry, I really didn’t think it through.

Although we had fun doing it, I’m sorry Kai for poking you.


And one more student poem, this one inspired by yesterday’s Red Wheelbarrow.

The Thread


So much depends on

a brand new jacket

and a loose thread



into bits and pieces


until it is

one loose

and wiggly line



I found myself returning to the topic I explore in my first two poems.  Today’s was written to that same egret I featured before–but from a slightly different angle.

This is Just to Say, My Friend


I have stalked you

my lens focused close

waiting for your head to turn

your neck to arch.


You seem so peaceful

and focused as you

stare out at the blue horizon

scanning for danger

or maybe appreciating the view.


I’m sorry for any disturbance

I cause with my close looking

and the click of the shutter.


I just can’t resist your elegant neck

and charming yellow feet!


Douillard 2018


Maybe, dear reader, you’ll try your own poem of apology today!

Let the Poetry Begin!

My students and I decided to take a 30-day challenge to celebrate National Poetry Month. We have committed to writing a poem each day of the month–in spite of the fact that our spring break begins when school is out on Friday!  Hopefully, a poetry-filled launch this week will keep the poetry spirit alive and well during our time off.

To add to the motivation–for myself and my students–I plan to blog my poem-a-day…and feature poems written by my students on my blog as well.

To get started, I will include my poems one and two here today.  Look for some student poems starting tomorrow–they needed time to refine their early efforts.

Yesterday’s poem was inspired by the snowy egret I watched and photographed on the beach on Friday.

snowy egret

Snowy Egret

Tuned to channel nature

where the constant whoosh and roar of waves

matches the rhythm of my heart


I scan the distant horizon

for the alabaster of my low-tide friend

As I come close

I notice the porcelain statue

with yellow feet

that unexpectedly

stomp and stir the shallows.


He’s rewarded for patience and persistence

with a briny treat.


My reward is the glimpse

of those charming yellow feet.

Today we learned about William Carlos Williams through the book, A River of Words.  After reading a bit about his life and interests, we studied The Red Wheelbarrow to pay attention to how Williams put this iconic poem together.  We then did some writing of our own under the influence of The Red Wheelbarrow.  

Here’s my version, again related to the egret I am so drawn to.

The Tidepools

So much depends


a low tide

on the beach

uncovering shallow pools

filled with fish and crustaceans

nearby the snowy egret

wades and waits.

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month?


Water. There is something about the sound of a splash, waves curling with foam before crashing onto the shore, the white noise of the ebb and flow of tides that brings a calm and focus to my brain, causing connections to build, ideas to generate, understandings to emerge.

Maybe it is the smell, briny molecules that tickle my nostrils.  Cool, damp. Particles searching for their polar opposites, sticking together, forming droplets that create a film on my skin, a chemical change that soothes not only the body but also the soul.

Could it be the walking that makes the difference? Putting one foot in front of the other, the bipedal motion integrating the hemispheres of the brain, breathing in and out, swinging arms in rhythm. Or is it the combination of water, walking, and fresh air that energize the mind, replenish the spirit, and allow for creative thinking and problem solving?

As I walk the shore my eyes search the horizon, taking in the blues and greens and all the shades of white.  I notice the ripples in the sand under my feet, the tiny bean clams sitting up on end partially buried, the uneven terrain of pools and islands revealed as the tides pull the water back.  Seagulls squawk, shouting directions and warning to their kin,  Sandpipers whistle their concerns.  Pelicans dive and float, soar and scan, only to dive again.  Children scream and squeal as they race into and out of the water.

In all of this commotion, there is stillness and space.  I breathe deeply, taking it all in.


egret silhouette


One Little Word 2018: Stretch

The past few weeks have passed in a blur…just where did 2017 go? School was in session right up through December 22nd, leaving only the weekend to finish last minute preparations for Christmas and the whirlwind that was about to ensue.  And once family left on Sunday, I had time for a bit of celebrating before waking up yesterday to a new year.

In spite of the time warp, I have been thinking about a word to guide 2018 as well as reflecting on last year’s word.  For 2017, I chose the word possibilityPossibility is a great word, and as I read last year’s post I could still feel the reasons I chose this word.  But what I have learned about a word as a talisman is that I need a word that requires action, a word that reminds me to do something when the going get rough or stagnant and I need that proverbial kick in the butt,

So for some weeks now I’ve been trying on words.  Even this morning I thought I had settled on my word, but found myself reconsidering as I pulled out my computer to begin writing.  I thought reach would be that perfect word, encouragement to go beyond my comfort zone, to look past the edges of my sightline.  But suddenly, reach seemed too stagnant, too grabby, too self-serving.  I needed a word with more layers, something to encourage me to go beyond, but also to be flexible, introspective, and compassionate.

Stretch…somehow it feels right.  I need to make space in my life for more stretching, allow this body to bend, to regain the flexibility that I’ve allowed to erode as yoga has faded from my regular routines.  I want to stretch my mind and my thinking, remember to listen carefully to others and to consider perspectives different from my own.

I want to stretch time, gathering up minutes that turn into hours that I waste doing things that don’t matter and return to more writing, reading, and photography.  While I still always fit those activities into my life, I know I can be more mindful and deliberate about making them a priority.  I want to grow my skills, stretching to learn something new each day.

I intend to stretch my legs, walking and hiking into new places and seeing familiar places in new ways.  And I want to stretch out my passport and travel, exploring some new venues–those places we’ve talked about visiting but haven’t quite gotten to.  I will also keep stretching low, picking up those little boys who are almost not babies anymore!  Stretch to reach those small hands that are so eager to explore the world, offering me new insights on teaching and learning.

I can already feel the muscles in my back and shoulders unknot and relax, knowing that each stretch will result in flexibility and strength–a combination that seems perfect for 2018.

And as a reminder, a photo from my New Year’s Eve beach walk of an egret stretching into flight.  Like the egret, I will stretch my wings, pay attention to my surroundings, and even stir up the waters to uncover the tasty tidbits beneath.  (Have you ever watched an egret hunt?  I love the way they stomp and rustle the waters to get the fish to come into view as they search for food.)


What will you choose as your One Little Word for 2018?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Do you speak in images? Enjoy taking photos to document your experiences or just to express what you notice in the world? Love to share them with others? Welcome to the weekly photo challenge! I post a new challenge each week…check in regularly and join the fun!

Summer officially arrived last week, with the longest day of our year.  Coincidentally, it is also the same day as my wedding anniversary…and this year we celebrated by heading off to a “secret” speakeasy downtown.  It was fun to dress up and spend time exploring my own city–and slip into this hidden specialty bar tucked in behind a wall of kegs that is actually a door to another world.  Inside, glass topped tables reflected the interesting photos on the ceiling and bartenders created magical libations that I might not otherwise try.

light on the table

Summer also means time on the beach.  Living close to the coast, I spend time on the beach all year round, but the summer brings out different dimensions.  There are lots more people on our beaches in the summer…last week, when the tide was low, we came across this group of people enjoying the tidepools.  And it seems that someone created a still life arrangement…with the green bucket carefully arranged atop the pile of kelp.  A little app magic turned it into a beautiful painting.

still life on beach

Summer also means a lot more activity.  More walks and more runs, playing in the water and on the sand.  It seems that the same holds true for the egrets too.  I caught this guy in midstride as he played in the surf.

tiptoeing egret

And the beginning of summer also announces the start of our SDAWP Invitational Summer Institute.  We spend 4 weeks together on the UCSD campus…writing and reading and thinking and talking…with some making and playing thrown in too!  With only 3 days under our belts we are already making connections and taking risks, sharing and learning with each other. There’s no better way to spend a chunk of the summer!  The Geisel library is an iconic image of UCSD and always conjures the intense days of writing and learning with a community of dedicated educators.UCSD-summer

So this week’s challenge is all about summer.  What evokes summer for you?  How will you represent the carefree days, the warm weather fun, or even your summer learning and work? It can be travel, staying at home, time with family and friends…start capturing those images of summer in your world!  I know that summer is a busy time for me…but there’s always time for a photo or two or three…

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!)

I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #summer for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Let’s see summer in all its glory…through your lens!