SOL17 DoodleaDay 25 Triumph


How does a person shake out of a slump?

In January, I set goals which I didn’t meet, although I tried. I had challenges and ideas, but they did not inspire me as I’d hoped. Too much going on in the news, too much to consider and worry about. 

Then, DoodleaDay by Royan Lee started in March.  Listen to a song, and doodle. Wow. I could do that. And, the March Slice of Life challenge started — a doodle with a song and a slice from life: a refocus that starts with art.

I’m not an artist, my lines are never straight, and what’s perspective? But doodling? I could doodle. And the first few doodle prompts provided some tips. And in researching [of course, I had to research…], I discovered zentangle doodling. 

It also reminded me of my classroom.  The last fifteen years has seen an emphasis on one standardized test and its scores, which refocused all work by teachers and students to reading, writing, and math. So much was eliminated: art, music, even social studies and science. But kids can’t focus on just those– learning isn’t just skills. Learning is thinking and doing and connections and reflections. So one thing I did was to bring in art, and to take art breaks. Just simple things, like draw five dots, then create an action figure from those five dots:


Or Scribble Art: draw a line, and make some thing of it:


Or small art: Give everyone a one inch square and a topic. Mount the results on black paper and hang. [I have a picture somewhere…]


These didn’t take much time, but ah the sound of joy and relief in the classroom. The sound of sharing and chuckles and success. Art is the human story in shapes; art centers us; art gives expression to our feelings and hopes.

So, in the classroom, our schedules and impromptu art sessions helped build our relationships with each other and improve our classroom climate; art rounded out the mandates and made us whole. 

And that’s what Royan Lee’s DoodleaDay did for me!  Thank you, Royan Lee!

Shake out the slump with art!

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Resource on Art in Education: Commensense: Art in ELL Classroom

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If you’re down, and your smile can’t be 

Found;

If you’re sad, and your mind needs some

Glad;

Give a sigh, and grab a pen, close your

Eyes;

Make a squiggle, add some spark ’til you

Giggle.

Make a start, find yourself, find your glad in

Art.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: triumph and failure

Doodle Prompts March 21-31

Doodling Song: Bellamy Brothers: Let Your Love Flow

SOL17 DoodleaDay 23 Simple Shapes

DoodleaDay_simple_shapes

Do you remember KISS?  Not the band, the idea: Keep It Simple, Straightforward.

Our lives are so busy, so flooded with information, and for those not in the president’s world, so disheartening.

So stop a minute. Take a deep breath.

Look at who is around you, and listen. Really look at them– who they are and think how what you say and do has a ripple effect on them.

Now, make their day.

Kindly look around.

Invest in the people:

Say something kind,

Support their day.

Imagine if we did that whenever the world seems crowded and crashing?

Imagine if we started our classrooms in a circle of kindnesses shared, a talking circle reflection of kindnesses remembered and acknowledged from the previous day. Just a few minutes, but so powerful to calm the classroom climate.

I used to start each day with a talking circle, passing around a friendship rock so each person could pass or present a gratitude from the day before or a hope for this day. It was an honor to  the culture in the community, and a positive way to start the day.

Today’s doodle of simple shapes and shading was inspired by Pam Markell, who’s tweeted doodle yesterday of an “icon she wished for“felt like a much needed one:

Zen Quiet.

Thank you Pam, for  the calm, the quiet suggestion.

I wish to everyone, a quiet time to settle your self, your life.

 

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Simple Shapes/Shading

Doodling Songs:

Beatles: All You Need Is Love

SOL17 DoodleaDay 22 Emoji


Did you know that one in eleven people in the United States is diabetic? And that it is the seventh leading cause of death? Find out more here, an American Diabetes Association info graphic based on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].

That’s a lot of people, and you can protect yourself if you are prediabetic with regular excercise and by eating a diet filled with green vegetables and protein, with a limit on complex carbohydrates while cutting out simple carbohydrates. Of course, it’s more complex than that, but it is a lifestyle that would benefit almost everyone. Here’s the info from the CDC to follow to help learn more to help yourself.

I found myself in the hospital emergency room last April, and found the diagnosis of diabetes 2.  My new lifestyle began based on this information from the CDC. It’s actually pretty easy for me: I haven’t had a soda or diet soda since that day! I quit simple carbohydrates and began eating nuts, especially walnuts. And broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, which I still love. I’ve learned how to balance my meals with this type of plate:

I listened to and followed the directions of my doctor and nutritionist, and I subscribe to a newsletter at Everyday Health, which I found in one of the pamphlets from the hospital. Here’s a great article on sugar and inflammation, an important read– and why cutting that junk food and simple carbohydrates is important.

Fortunately, I have health insurance– but how long will that last, and how affordable will it be now that the GOP plan to gut health care? While I am not a recipient of ACA health care due to my former employment as teacher, anything that changes the health care system and Medicare will affect my coverage — and yours.

So we’ve been eating and exercising to keep my A1C score at 6%. If I’m eating at other people’s houses or an event, I eat something first — just in case what is served is filled with carbohydrates that would set my system wacky. And I’ve found that most restaurants serve chicken Caesar salads, which is my standby. If I must eat fast food — I eat chicken without the white bread and fries. I’ve found Applebees to be a diabetic friendly menu [but they do change up their menu]. I love the pork chop, sweet potato, broccoli meal. It’s delicious. I also carry walnuts and carrots in the car for traveling.

Which brings me to the Doodle for #DoodleaDay today: an emoji I wish for:

I searched for Diabetes emojis, and there are some — but for my phone and for menus, I’d like one that points to diabetes friendly meals– no simple carbohydrates, but green vegetables and protein. I could add it to a map with diabetes friendly meals.  Hmmm. That’s an idea. With twenty-five percent of seniors being diabetic, I think the emoji and the map is a good idea. 🙂

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Stay happy,

Laugh;

Eat healthy,

Live;

Hug always,

Love.

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Now, a word about emojis in general. I find them confusing because they are open to interpretation — I’d rather hear or see the words. And my students laughed so hard when I thought the pile of poop was chocolate ice cream.  And parents, they’ve got to know, as this article shows exactly what teens are saying through emojis– or what adults think they might be saying, but don’t: Time: emoji-meaning.

So, here I go with carrots and walnuts and “Sky Between the Branches” tea.


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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Draw an emoji you want for you phone

Doodling Song by BREAD, David Gates: If

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SOL17 DoodleaDay 22 Wonder



Wonder

In the distances

Of the universe

In the between

Of what is,

Our mind

Plucks from it

To intuit

Thoughts

Of our own

Through our

Wonder

……………….Sheri Edwards @grammasheri

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Wonder is one of my favorite words: it keeps us learning.

Reflect Curiosity and Wonder…

Is one of my phrases to live by.

I walk, I wander, I wonder.

Why does the meadowlark sing from that wire each spring? Is it the same meadowlark?

Why does the water flow that way?

How do they do that dance?

How are the plants and animals changing due to climate change?

What plants and animals will move into our area now because of climate change? What bugs will bug us?

How can I create my backyard to help wildlife?

How can I build an herb garden?

But these days, I’m always asking: What will the president do next? Why? How is that reasoning an American value? Why do rich people get to take from the poor, when we’ve already said as Americans that we want to help? Why? I wonder daily. 

It’s especially difficult when my second favorite motto to live by is:

Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.

I thought we were a kind nation, helpful to all. I must now go boldly and continue to have an active voice to speak up.

Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually understand this is all for the better…

Hmmm. I wonder… will I ever believe that?

No.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Word Doodle: Contrasting Colors
Doodling Song: Let the Circle Be Unbroken written by Johnny Cash, sung here by Nitty, Gritty Dirt Band

SOL17 DoodleaDay 16 -Hopeful To Dos

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What do you do when the world seems to be falling apart in hate, the opposite of the god of love?

Why is the world falling apart? See Bill Moyers on Fascism and What can we do? See the Guardian’s How to Survive Gaslighting Manipulation

What do you do?

Keep your self grounded and connected!

Know that you do know the facts! 

Today’s DoodleaDay by Royan Lee suggested that we create four bulleted lists– with doodled bullets.

What better list than one that grounds me to daily options that encourage connections and creativity?

On the left are things I usually do every day in some way. On the right, are evening doings with my best friend and husband of thirty years. We also start the day with coffee, cats, and breakfast, and I didn’t get that into my list– but that evening time helps us to understand our world and our place in it – together.

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Scott and Sheri at “Clover” 2017

In the center of my DoodleaDay are two lists which are also very important to me:

  • Discover, my version of “stop and smell the roses”
  • Protect the Earth, especially since it’s now up to us

An exciting thing happened today on my walk; the usual dry or  trickling Fiddle Creek was flowing free again. The wind through the trees and the rushing of the water mean spring is here.

IMG_3811_fiddlecreek.JPG

And while grounding myself in my Twitter PLN, I ran across this BookCreator tweet:

I have BookCreator on my iPad, but had never used it. What a great opportunity to be creative and join others in creating a book in a one hour Twitter Chat. What an awesome idea, Mark Anderson!

So step by step, people followed the tasks to create a book that will be collated by Mark and placed in iTunes!  And now I know how to create both a pdf and an ePub using Book Creator. Here’s a pdf you can view of my part: Sheri’s BookCreator PDF. Thanks again,  Mark Anderson!

I connected with others to collaborate on a project as part of my “Daily” list of hope.

How about making your own lists to follow for Daily, Evening, Discover, Protect to help you stay grounded? Or perhaps you support all the changes? You could make four lists too. Maybe, we’d find some commonalities. Maybe.

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Feet firm,

Head high, not too;

Hands open, outstretched.

 

Facts firm,

Heart welcoming;

Mind ready, confident.

 

Home loved,

Family too;

Grounded, spirit sound.

 

Evil stopped,

Hope now renewed;

Force strong, it is.

Love lifts

One another;

Together, we stand.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Bulleted Lists

Doodling song we need, and another favorite:

Here Comes the Sun by George Harrison / Beatles

SOL17 DoodleaDay 15 Blowin’ In The Wind

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I spend time each day to learn from others by reading their ideas linked to in tweets on Twitter. Before November 8th, this daily activity inspired me and my work; the twitter feed offered the opportunity to share, learn, grow, reciprocate, and remix to make the world a better place.

After November 8th, I took some time off. I found the world had shifted off the humane course of a world seeking peace– seeking liberty and justice for all. It careened of a cliff and away from but a call to:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

~Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson

I don’t know if you felt it, that tremble under your feet that knocks you off balance; a feeling of dread that the world beneath your feet is crumbling away. Before November 8th, our country opened up that joyous word: freedom — it acknowledged and upheld differences; it celebrated a world that includes everyone. Yes, places in the world were still horrific, and the world was trying to help that. Yes, sometimes the opportunities were not available as easily for some than others. Yet, we were as a country working on those. We were not perfect, but we were open; we had avenues to take to promote freedom and justice for all.

Then we elected oligarchs, white supremacists, anarchists, illiterates whose sole purpose is to disrupt and control.

I thought that the Republicans were American patriots — that they would see the evil in the actions and the power negating freedoms, but now they are complicit.

I am a fool; I thought our government of the people, by the people, and for the people through our elected representatives would govern for all the people.

I am a fool.

Today, I looked at the blogs of people I follow on Twitter. One post, My Un-Representative by Alan Levine [@cogdog] really hit my heart- the ideas touched exactly how I’m feeling.

Look at the graphic at the top of the post — this is a Wikimedia Commons public domain image representing the House of Representatives, 2017.

houseofrepresentatives2017_publicdomain.jpg

There are, indeed, more Republicans [red] than Democrats and others [blue].

Yes, we elected them, but how did we elect them? In fact, the Republicans selected us, the voters by rigging the voting districts. It’s called gerrymandering, and this January, 2016 Washington Post article explains this concept and this fact [bold, mine]:

The GOP scored 33 more seats in the House this election even though Democrats earned a million more votes in House races. Professor Jeremy Mayer says gerrymandering distorts democracy. (The Fold/The Washington Post)

I knew gerrymandering existed, but did not think it was that bad, and in fact, I thought my state [Washington] was fair with a bi-partisan system. It turns out I’m wrong: Read the DailyKos article on why this doesn’t work either.

Some resources to correct the effects of gerrymandering:

End Gerrymandering

The Fold/The Washington Post

Brennan Center for Justice

FairVote

Still, despite knowing about gerrymandering, I’m still a fool. Because although there are more red than blue representatives and senators, I believed they represented ALL the people, not just their party.

Yes, I thought the people elected still had to be Americans and consider all Americans in their elected responsibility as my representative in the House or Senate.

freedom_iconsre Yes, I believe in our freedoms, our rights, and the freedom to live one’s life in one’s own way.

That means that our representatives need to consider all the people, to hold up those rights for all Americans. In the past, we have expected our rights to extend to anyone in our country. But that was then, now we have the inhumane, unAmerican travel ban.

Since we all live with others, freedom comes with responsibilities. One of those is to respect the freedoms and ideas of others, which I certainly expect my congresspersons to do.

respect_iconsre

Respect means listening to and accepting other ideas, tolerating that which is different, and acknowledging ways to allow those differing ideas a voice and a life in our complex and dynamic communities. I expect this of our elected officials in Congress.

In my classroom, it means we have a talking stick, a Native American way to hand off a time to share and give one’s voice [and everyone has a  voice to solve an issue].

compromise_iconsre

Another responsibility key to our democracy is compromise. We find common ground so that our country of diverse ideas and cultures can live together in peace and respect. I expect that elected officials work together to compromise so all people are represented, not just the elected person’s party.

And in my classroom, sometimes we compromise on how we spend our  time– some students want more time with the teacher and others want to work in their own small groups. I shorten up my part, and then students set their goals and work in the areas and ways that best help them succeed in their projects.

cooperation_iconsre

In order to compromise, listening and understanding respectfully is a must and so is cooperation. I expect that when a law is created, that bi-partisan cooperation takes precedence over party political manipulation.

In my classroom, students and I cooperate– giving each other ideas and feedback on our writing or videos or blogposts. We help each other be successful.

collaboration_iconsre

Sometimes issues are so complicated, that we need to collaborate to get things done — the people we elect need to research and present different ideas to each other in order to analyze what would work best to solve the issue in cooperation and compromise.

In the classroom, sometimes students have different jobs [researcher, interviewer, composer] and sometimes they have parts of topics for which they are responsible for so when their team meets, everyone has part of the information needed to complete a project. That’s collaboration, which then requires cooperation and compromise respectfully to consider and solve the big picture issue.

doodleaday_iconssre_freedomI know these concepts: freedom, respect, compromise, cooperation, and collaboration work together — and I know that they work because that’s how things happen in  the real world.

So I’m expecting the elected officials, Democrat, Republican, Independents, work together for all Americans, and not just for their party.

How about you?

Look for and support those officials who seek each other out and begin the listening process to uphold the Constitution and our American values which are now under siege by the current and very lost administration. Help them find the way back to the great America, the one that fought for and created laws — not for order — but for liberty and justice for all.

The answer is blowing’ in the wind — and we must listen in freedom for all to find the answers together.

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Maybe just you can,

Maybe you say,

Maybe you shut me up,

Maybe you pray your way.

Maybe you slam the door

Maybe you build a border

Maybe you block me out

Maybe you hear my shouts.

Maybe I stand louder

Maybe you can’t ignore

Maybe in the crying

Maybe you’ll feel your heart.

Maybe you’ll open up,

Maybe you’ll listen,

Maybe you’ll see the person

Maybe you’ll step up.

Maybe you’ll open a window,

Maybe you’ll open a door,

Maybe you’ll take my hand,

Maybe together we stand.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: icons: metaphors for concepts

Doodling Song: Peter, Paul, and Mary Blowin’ in the Wind

House of Representatives 2017 Image: “United States House of Representatives 2017” is a Wikimedia Commons image place in the public domain.

DigiLit Sunday


Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge, I have a way to meet my new blogging goals, as I’ve explained here. Margaret also writes for Kidblog, and in her post, “Author’s Comments offer Fame to Students,” she shared some of her reasons for starting to blog:

“When I started writing on a blog, I wanted to share my writing with a wider audience. I wanted to feel like an expert. I was probably looking for fame. I admit it. But as I began connecting with other bloggers, mostly teachers, I actually received much more than fame. I received a connection. These connections fed my confidence more than superficial fame could.”

Writing does build our confidence, and when shared with others who reciprocate with their ideas on similar topics, we all gain confidence and expertise. I remember when I started blogging, it was not because I was an expert, but because I could share how strategies in education, which others had shared, worked for me and those may help others, thereby extending the reach of those ideas. I was but a part of a larger idea.

Margaret’s experiences shared on her blog help other teachers and students learn. The same blog post explains how her students’ blogs about their reading and when tweeted to authors brought them comments and therefore connections to the authors and their stories. Talk about confidence building! And the experience of learning from and becoming experts on their topics. Please read her post about this and other posts to see how blogging with students enhances learning that will live on throughout a student’s life.

Blogging, because it’s writing, has served to guide me when I was a teacher, and now continues to guide my thoughts and ideas as I slip into the elder years in my life. This blog will now serve for many kinds of thoughts: from cooking to art to politics to education. I’m moving on from a focus on education after two sad moments in my life. My son passed on suddenly and I miss him as do his children. And of course the loss of a great country, which once accepted diversity and supported liberty for all. Those things still exist, and part of my role in these senior years will be to support those ideals. The blogging challenges will help me get started. That’s my plan: to be inspired by those challenges to meet the challenges I need to overcome and support. Not as an expert, but as one with experience and knowledge, which together, when shared, can build those ideals again. It’s like the veteran in The Postman, “I know stuff.” I don’t know everything, but I do know stuff, or have the wherewithal to find out. 

And bloggers connect with each other. Like Margaret says in her post, “Cherishing Celebrations,”

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

The tweets and blogging newsletters brought me back to keep going, grounded me in what is important. Margaret’s blog led me to Julianne’s “Celebrating: My Social Media Bubble.” Her words express exactly how I feel about those I follow and connect with on Twitter, in blogs, on Google Plus: they uplift the world.  Julianne says, 

Social media can be many things. Perhaps it’s a function of where you look. I’ve managed, unwittingly, to craft a social media bubble around people who nurture. Around those who celebrate simple things, who notice and wonder; around poets and teachers; around readers and writers. Around people who spend their energies engaged in lifting up the world, looking closely, and caring. And because of this we continue and grow, even in the darkest times. My wish for 2017 is that we hold tight to each other and our beliefs through the storms and joys.

So you can see why these are “dark times.” When the entire country and the newly elected government has so many examples of the opposite of nurturing and lifting of opportunities, then Julianne is right, we must “hold tight to each other and our beliefs.” We’ve got to share them.

But the ideas must be both online and face2face. We’ve got to have conversations. We’ve got to listen.  Michael Buist in his post “Have you #Eduheard” suggests that in education, we should

Let’s start our own movement. A movement of listening, of truly hearing and reflecting on what happens around us every day.

I think we need to do this for the ideas that matter to us — share yours, share those of others and how you understand them. Get a conversation started to lift us towards acceptance and understanding of our human condition, of our dreams and hopes. For education, it’s #eduheard.  For America, it’s #usaheard. I’m really not suggesting a hashtag, because these ideas are bigger than that. The educational ideas of anti-bullying, of opportunity, of equity, of tolerance and acceptance– these are ideas of the great America. So, for me, I’ve got to talk about them, and understand them in my neighbor’s terms, whether that neighbor is next door or on the next blog or tweet. One connection at a time; one share, one conversation. It’s a way to keep the ideas and ideals alive.

Drew Frank, who started BlogaMonth, wrote a post “Good Trouble” about a presentation from his family friend, Congressman John Lewis, who said in his presentation at Drew’s school:

  1. We all have an obligation to leave this little piece of real estate a little cleaner, a little greener and a little more peaceful!
  2. Get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble!

That’s what is important. That’s a plan. For my grandchildren, it’s a necessary plan. I hope to see you in the conversation for the great America that strives for those  ideals. 

Are you in the conversation

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Image: Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge