Tag Archives: gratitude

Haiku for Healing: NPM20 Day 23

My students and I are 23 days into our poem-a-day challenge.  While not all have stayed caught up…many have.  It’s such fun to watch their knowledge and skills with poetry and writing grow as they engage with written language  and ideas every day.

Yesterday I invited students to create some Haiku focused on gratitude–something I had experienced through #haikuforhealing a while back.  This seemed like a good time for some healing Haiku.

It was such fun to see what my student came up with.  They posted their Haiku along with a photo on our class padlet.  Here is a small collection of just the poetry–and notice how many students focused on family members as the subject of their poems.

And my own:

Neighborhood Nature
wind brushing my face
dappled light bouncing off trees
nature brings me peace

Collaboration: Learning from a Mentor Text

Have you ever written an etheree?  I hadn’t–and hadn’t even heard of this particular poetic form until I came across the book Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Miranda Paul.  As I read I came across a poem–an etheree-All This by Liz Garton Scanlon.  A poem that begins with one syllable and builds one syllable at a time until it reaches ten syllables in line ten.  In All This, Scanlon shows appreciation and gratitude for a small pleasure (or maybe a collection of small pleasures)…the snow, a book, a bubble bath, a cat…

Coming back from our winter break in early January, this seemed like a perfect alternative to resolution making and would ease us all back into writing and reading and thinking and planning.  So, in #collaboration with Liz Garton Scanlon, my students and I embarked on some etheree writing…and finally…today, I got their finished Postcards to Myself up on the classroom wall!

It feels like serendipity that this culmination coincided with the #clmooc poetry port invitation #collaboration!  I love that I can celebrate my students’ poetry and the power of a mentor text…and my own poem too.

postcard to myself

And here is a a closer view of a couple of student creations (8 and 9 year olds)…the first by H:






Bones in the ground

Brushing off the dust

Prehistoric fossils

Putting on the soft plaster

Breaking the hard rock to find bone

T-Rex has a small name but it’s huge

Fossils are everywhere in the world.


And another by B:

The Art of Folding Origami



sharp ends

crisp paper.


the art of folding

take your time, be precise

make sure you use square paper.

I can fold cranes, swords, hats, and more

fold until your run out of paper

origami is hard, so keep trying.


And my own:




with sand

bright sunshine

cool frothy waves

and perky sea birds.

I walk and watch and shoot

camera ready, focused

helping me see the world clearly.

I have so much to be grateful for

and I breathe in: inhaling sea’s bounty.



egret with reflection

Now it’s your turn to join in the collaboration!  Will you try an etheree?



Reflections on SOLC 2019: Day 31

Thirty out of thirty one days in March I wrote a blog post and made it public.  (I missed a day somewhere along the way because I was sick.)  Today is the day to think about just what writing a slice of life each day has meant.

I know that writing every day makes writing every day just a bit easier.  Early in the month it felt hard to come up with topics, each day felt like a stretch.  And then, just like I tell my students, I started to live more like a writer.  Each and every experience I have during the day becomes fodder for thinking and writing.  I like that writing makes me pay more attention.  I notice details, make word associations, connect seemingly disparate parts of my life as I write and reflect.

I know that photography helps me generate writing.  It is yet another tool for paying attention to the world around me.  With my camera around my neck, the world slows down allowing me to notice what I might otherwise overlook.  When I go back later to view the images I captured, new thinking floods my brain, filling in the stories between the shots.  I re-view the things I noticed that I wasn’t able to capture through my lens and I see my experiences anew.


I know that the Slice of Life Challenge community is a gift to me as a writer.  As I posted my permalink each day, I knew someone would read and comment on my writing. This community is accepting and generous.  Encouraging words keep a writer moving forward. As I read slices from others, I shared my thinking with them and learned from their words too.  I posted because I said I would, and because I knew that a community was there to listen.  That encouraged me to write, to revise, to push myself to continue to grow as a writer and as a responder.

And I love that writing each day creates a record of my thinking and my experiences.  I can return to my thinking later, reconsider those thoughts in light of new insights and experiences.  And as someone who tends to be an introvert, it invites others into my life in ways I don’t often make space for verbally or in casual in-person interactions.

March and my daily slices end today, but tomorrow I am taking on a new challenge.  My students and I will be taking a 30 day poem-a-day challenge for National Poetry Month. So look for a poem from me…and if things go well, poems from some of my students as well, each day of April!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Gratitude

Taking time to appreciate all the blessings in my life should be a daily practice…and in many ways it is.  But Thanksgiving is also a time to push that pause button and take time to express gratitude in more visible and public ways.

I am grateful for so many people…and at this time of year, particularly for my NWP colleagues who stimulate my thinking and push me out of my comfort zone.  This year I was lucky enough to wake up in Atlanta, GA and experience the sun rising (3 hours earlier than at home) from the window of my hotel room.  I’m still thinking about so much that was generated by sessions, conversations, and interactions at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting.


I am grateful that I live in a place where protest is a way to express your point of view, your displeasure, and a way to call others to action.  I love this art piece on display at the Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta made entirely of string, bringing attention to the Dakota Access Pipeline.


And later that same day, I also watched a moving mass of people chanting and marching to express their “love trumps hate” message.


I’m grateful for friends who are willing to spontaneously board a ferris wheel walking back from dinner, feeding my photography habit with beautiful views of the city punctuated with snippets of conversation that bring us closer together as we rotate high in the sky.


I’m grateful for the luxury of coffee and wandering my own city…just because we can.  I know that walking brings me peace and creates space for thinking and I’m grateful for my husband who willingly walks miles and miles with me, sometimes in complete silence.


I’m grateful for access to beautiful beaches to wander and wonder at nature’s masterpieces.  I love catching nuances in light, creating unexpected effects like this photo of three seagulls.


And the opportunity to get up close and personal with a great white egret as it fishes in the pools at low tide.


I’m grateful for local businesses and eateries that bring the quaintness and culture to our community.  We’ll probably have to head out again on #shopsmallsaturday–not that anything could keep us away from places like Juanitas Taco Shop in Leucadia!


I’m grateful for my expanding family–even when I don’t get to spend Thanksgiving with them!  I desperately missed my three baby grandsons on their first Thanksgiving (and their moms and dads too).  But I am grateful for the perfect hike in the Torrey Pines State Reserve…and later dinner with my husband, parents, sister, and nephew (even though we have yet to find a restaurant that serves anything close to the yumminess of my husband’s cooking).  I felt like finding this heart-shaped cactus fruit was a talisman of the love and bounty I experience.  I hope sharing it brings those same feelings to you too.


Gratitude…my heart is full.  Even when things feel hard, a quick flip though my photos reminds me of so much I have to be grateful for.  Why not take a few minutes and either flip through your photos or head out and take a few that express some of your gratitude during this season of reflection?

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 #gratitude for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Take a break from holiday shopping (is it that time already?) or from your everyday routines and take some time to express your gratitude through photos.  What are you grateful for?