Tag Archives: lizard

Sidewalk Beach: NPM22 Day 21

Today’s poem emerged from a mishmash of prompts and experiences. Leilya over at #verselove and Ethical ELA shared her poem about a walk and then Mitch at our National Writing Project Connecting the Network call offered two other mentor poems about seeing ordinary things in new ways, and today’s lizard skittered right into my notebook.

Sidewalk Beach

“Hey friend”

where? I wonder as I search my surroundings

expecting the skitter of reptilian feet


Today was not-so-usual

in a far-from-familiar place

killing time with an every-single-day practice:

a walk

Sidewalk warmed under robin-blue skies

looked like spring break beaches

bodies lined up, rumps to the sun

crisping, browning

in perfect synchronization

Instead of sketchy skitters

as I come close, it looks at me

a question like a speech bubble

crowning its head

“Why are you here casting shade

on my sidewalk beach?”

I snap a portrait

and it skitters into the bushes


Just Walk: NPM20 Day 19

A couple of days ago, one of our team members posted an invitation to write a “waterfall” poem on our SDAWPoetry padlet.  And then I read a piece written by a fellow blogger, Margaret Simon, about writing a poem using only one syllable words.  Somehow those two different approaches merged in my brain as I thought about the many, many walks I have taken around my neighborhood.  I thought about how those walks do not flow. I thought about the staccato steps taken over and over again.  For my eyes and brain, it is like watching an endless loop with the same view repeated over and over again.


So I tried to capture my walks in a single syllable waterfall poem…the waterfall, I fear, has slowed to a trickle…dripping over the edge, syllable by syllable.

Just Walk


one foot

in front

of the next


the street


the street



don’t stop

just step






stay there

six feet


too close

don’t cough



mask up

just walk



and out

find joy

in the small

live small

stay close

stay safe








I do try to mix things up from time to time, walk my route in reverse, try a new street, walk on the other side of the street…and of course search for new photography possibilities.  If only these lizards would stay still and pose!

With My Head in the Clouds: SOLC 2019 Day 18

Some days I find myself with my head in the clouds, my mind floating on thoughts of projects to be done, problems to solve, reflections on what happened before.  Like a helium balloon, I float on the air currents, directed by my inner monologue.  When my head is in the clouds I risk missing what is right in front of me.

Like most Mondays, today was a day for laying groundwork for the rest of the week.  The hours pass like minutes, the minutes like seconds and time rushes through my fingers like a waterfall…not stopping to pool at my feet as it disappears, just out of reach.  I get into the hurry up mode, chasing time ideals set in my plan book.  I get impatient with my students, wanting more from them as I feel the pinch of time.  Trying to find the perfect ratio of time to learning.

When the bell rang ending our afternoon recess, I headed out the classroom door to pick up my students from the playground.  My head was already running through all we would accomplish while still leaving time to clean up, pack up, and gather before dispersing at the dismissal bell.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a lizard, sitting on the sidewalk, soaking up the energy and warmth of this amazing almost-spring day.  I almost rushed by–feeling the tug of time.  But instead, I stopped.  I watched and noticed.  I crept closer, wondering if I would capture an image of this grounded creature.  I snapped from afar, then crept closer.  The lizard seemed to keep an eye on me, unwilling to relinquish the warmth coming up from the sidewalk and down from the sun.


That lizard reminded me to take a breath and appreciate the moment.  And also to remember to appreciate all those moments that students need…to tell the seemingly unrelated story in the middle of my lesson, to ask question after question–and then the same question again, to need directions…again…and my patience and encouragement, even when I feel like my own well has been emptied.  I need to spread my toes and grip the ground, feel the earth beneath me grounding me, giving energy and reminding me to use those roots to connect and grow and to support my students as they connect and grow too.

I guess I have another ratio to work out…the ratio of head in the clouds to feet on the ground!