Slice of Life: Road Trip


The day was rainy. 
Cloudy. 

Dark. 

Cold. 

And it was Sunday. 

It’s supposed to be sunny on a Sunday in spring.

The only thing to do is to hop in the car and find that sunshine.

Amazingly, we discovered some sun a few miles down the road with a waterfall blown backwards by the wind.


The many rainstorms this spring resulted in flooding in fields and roads and flowing off the edge of the grand coulee. We found some of those flooded roads:


This is the creek flowing by a small town, where some if it is drying up now:


In the small towns dotting State Highway 21, we discovered a hidden sculpture:


A unique hotel


a truck museum

A view of the big sky over sagebrush, a lake, the forest, and wheat fields— all in one view:


And the sun!


Hurray!  The sun!

Slice of Life Nutty Nerds

1280px-Cashew_apples

Have you any idea what the dangling fruit here is?

Can you believe that the largest of these trees covers  8,400 square metres (2.1 acres)!

Maior_Cajueiro_do_Mundo_2011

Is that amazing? It’s huge!

Last Thursday, my husband and I ventured out on the highway to visit our grandchildren who live over the Cascade Mountains on the west side of Washington State. It’s about a four hour drive, depending on weather and traffic patterns.

It is a beautiful drive over the mountains, and we spend the time talking or listening to music, podcasts, or books — sometimes listening and discussing the audio ideas together, and sometimes sharing what each has learned.

As I enjoyed the passing blooming orchards around Wenatchee, I opened a can of mixed nuts to munch on. I shook the can so the brazil nuts and almonds sorted themselves out onto the top. I’m lucky; those are my favorite. Thank physics for that sorting by shaking:

The primary mechanisms at work in the Brazil Nut Effect are percolation—in which small grains migrate down to the bottom of the pile between larger grains—and convection, in which larger grains push up toward the top of the pile.

The Brazil Nut Effect Is More Complicated Than You Think

But as I stared into that can of nuts, I asked Scott, “Have you ever cracked a cashew nut?”

We both thought about that– we’ve purchased nuts in the shell many times– almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts. We could picture the many types of shells for these nuts, but not cashews.

Why not? Well, as nutty nerds who often stop an historical movie to Google the history of the era we’re watching, we googled, cashew.

And that top photo is the fruit of the cashew tree. You see the cashew nut dangling from the bottom of and outside the cashew apple. The yellow apple part has such delicate skin that it can’t be transported. And the dark shell of the nut causes some people to break out with dermatitis.  That’s why we never see cashews in the shell!

Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree caju (Portuguese pronunciation: [kaˈʒu]), which itself is derived from the Tupian word acajú, literally meaning “nut that produces itself”.[1] The generic name Anacardium, originally from the Greek, refers to the unusual location of the seed outside the core or heart of the fruit (ana- means “again” or “backward” and -cardium means “heart”).

Cashew in Wikipedia

View more of the largest cashew tree here, at Wikipedia; it is found in Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil). Brazil is the native origin of the cashew nut.

So, for fun, share the picture of the cashew apple in your family chat. Ask them, “What is this?” My favorite guess from our family is “poisonous apples from the Evil Queen with enchanted magic mushrooms in them.”

No one knew, but now they do!

Next time you crunch a cashew, you’ll be able to share your new knowledge.

Enjoy!

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Cashew Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Abhishek JacobOwn work Cashew Apples

Cashew Tree Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Mateussf -Maior Cajueiro do Mundo 2011

Biggest Cashew-tree in the world, located in Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil)

SOL17 DoodleaDay Sketch50 Haibun

doodleaday_end_sketch50_haibun_3752

A Message from Robins

A Haibun Poem

I awoke to a new day announced at first light by a chorus of robins, a celebration of the last #doodleaday, ready for April 1st — the beginning of #GloPoWriMo or Global Poetry Writing Month.

Robins announce spring,

Chirping, chattering, tweeting

Me awake at four.

Yes, they chirp alarms

Unwanted, unneeded, yet

Inspired a poem, yes?

Oh, haiku power,

joyous chaos rises to

Humble my complaints.

Ha! And we two sing

Word play- Global Poetry

Writing Month: April!

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Tomorrow starts Global Poetry Writing Month [#GloPoWriMo], or in the United States, it was once called National Poetry Writing Month [ #NaPoWriMo], started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson at napowrimo.net.

So when I woke up today, I knew I wanted to start my April off with some ideas. I started with the pre-GloPoWriMo post by Maureen, suggesting a form of poetry I hand not heard of before: haibun. I love the examples, here, which Maureen shared in her post.

What better way to end #doodleaday than with a new style of poetry, especially since the topic today is: Why Do I Doodle?

I doodle to enhance the message. As a participant in Sketch50, I discovered that topic today is “two people talking.”

So my doodle of two people talking in haiku enhances the message of my morning waking up to the dawn of Global Poetry Writing Month.

The prose introduction plus the conversation of haiku creates the haibun poem. What a fun day of sketching and doodling!

Thank you to Royan Lee  for the excellent experience he created for us in #doodleaday prompts!

And thanks to Melvina Kurashige whose tweet helped me with drawing people

And thanks to Deb Baff whose tweet also helped me with drawing my two people talking:

So — if you’re not sure about your drawing skills, develop a growth mindset and do #doodleaday and Sketch50 so you can doodle to enhance your message or to take notes.

And, get ready for National Poetry Month!

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Resources for Poetry Month:

Be sure to check out the resources at Poets.org:

National Poetry Month information, including a downloadable, clickable poster

Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 27 & Find a Poem for Your Pocket

The Dear Poet Project

30 Ways to Celebrate—  #NPM17

A Poem a Day

Thirty Days of Writing Prompts by Kelli Russell Agodon

National Poetry Month links by Sheri

Online Interactives from Read/Write/Think: Theme PoemsAcrostic PoemsDiamante Poems

or learn from poets:

Kinds of Poems by Kathi Mitchell

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids

Giggle Poetry How To

Not sure you want to write a poem every day? How about reading one every day. Find one you like. Link to it in your Kidblog and let us know:

Which kind fits you? Why did you chose it? Why is it poetry?

A Poem a Day by GottaBook

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 This blog is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Why Do I Doodle?

Part of Sketch50: two people talking

Part of #GloPoWriMo / #NaPoWriMo  @NaPoWriMo at napowrimo.net started and nurtured by Maureen Thorson

glopo2017button1

Doodling Song for Today:

I’ve Got A Name by Jim Croce 

One of the strategies my students follow is to “name it

Not a dog — give it a name: a German Shepherd, or a bouncing white poodle

Not the floor — name with description and nouns: but the muted colored tweed carpet

Or like Jim Croce — not the wind blew but

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky

Enjoy this story, this poem, this song by Jim Croce: I’ve Got A Name, because you can picture  the images in your mind…

SOL17 DoodleaDay 30 Tools and Spaces

doodleaday_30_tools_spaces.sre

Doodling is writing in images. The flow for each is similar: idea-draft-share-elaborate-revise-share-enhance-edit-publish. And publishing can be private, shared with a few, public on websites, social media, blogs, journals, etc.

For me, and again like writing, I prefer the digital. The ability to cut/paste/re-order/undo/redo just makes the process of thinking through the challenge to create the best message is just such a gift. This is especially important with art– because I’m not an artist. I’d be crunching up paper and eventually be buried in snowballs of wrecked work. I’d be frustrated and quit. But with the digital, I try over and over and feel like I can improve and understand better what each stroke, brush, line does to bring out the image. It’s fun.

I think that’s important to understand for students in writing class: why drearily write by hand when the words are so easily created, ordered, deleted, enhanced with the tools available in digital format? Handwriting? That’s now art! Make it fun, on paper or digital.

The #Sketch50 theme this week is Communication, and today’s topic is page/book/device. Notice what changed from the #doodleaday of “Tools and Spaces:

sketch50_page.book.device.sre

First of all, you can see that I just needed to copy the #doodleaday to my Sketch50 journal in Paper53. To make the icons I just searched Google [icon Blogger, for example]. Then I could zoom in and create an image pretty close to the icon of  the app that I use for communication of ideas.

Sharing Google Docs, in blogs, on Twitter, in Evernote, through presentations [Keynote or Slides]– those are ways for me to curate ideas and collaborate.

And the information is from my experiences, my books [Kindle], news apps, research in Google Search.

I do have a journal, which I hardly use, and Staedtler fine point pens, for the occasional sketching I do for a quick idea– rare. I also do a little ZenTangle art, but mostly in my Paper53 and Autodesk Sketchbook apps. My pens last a long time.

But whatever writing I do — text or image – I just think, get an idea, and then dive in, digitally.

I visited school yesterday. Actually, I was the substitute Principal. It was a wonderful experience– I could see the flow of the day, and found smiles on student faces, which means the school is doing well for kids. I wrote on paper [!] a log of what I did. I wrote “Tootles”– oodles of them in each classroom I visited. Tootles are acknowledgements of students who are models of goodness: Good thinking, good questions, good answers, good effort, good attitude– each is written specifically for and given to one child. I was able to hear good questions, acknowledge a change in attitude, a willingness to listen again and correct mistakes, etc. It was awesome.

I was also reminded of the challenge in writing — the biggest challenge– the start. That first word or image. That blank paper or screen. In my experience, the best way to overcome that obstacle is three-fold:

  1. Model examples [if needed, non-examples as well]
  2. Model and try with students; Share and find the positive.
  3. Conversation: discuss the trials and encourage discussion of what the examples suggest– what else could have been tried or done or reworded?

I found that modeling, guiding a reworking or new ideas, and then having conversations with students, and students with each other, gets them thinking about their own ideas and experiences. Soon, one by one, each student is able to start.

If you are new to teaching writing, I’ve always recommended these:

Ralph Fletcher Books

Lessons for the Writers Notebook and Teaching the Qualities of Writing by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi by Heinemann

In the Middle by Nancie Atwell

Vicki Spandel Six Traits

Six Trait Writing by Northwest Labs

Teaching that Makes Sense by Steve Peha

If you are a writer, what is your flow? Are you digital or paper?

If you are a teacher, what strategies do you suggest for helping students start?

If you are a teacher, what resources do you recommend?

We all need tools and spaces, and once we help each other consider the possibilities– starting  is not an issue.

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A Poem for Three Writing Voices: On Starting

Stuck.

Blank.

[Sigh]

“What?”

“Nothing – You?”

“Look – whale’s tales”

“Whales tales?”

“I couldn’t draw

the whole whale.”

“Me too.

I drew my dog

in the  wheat field.

Just the head.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah!”

“That works!”

“Yeah, that works.”

“Oh.”

“I know.”

“What?”

“What?”

“It’s a square.”

“It’s my cat in a box.”

“Now I can write.”

“Yeah–we looked

for that cat

for an hour!”

“I know.”

“How to Find a Cat”

“That works!”

“That does work.”

“Shhhh.”

“I’m writing.”

 

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Doodling Song

I was going to listen to “We’ve Got the Whole World In Our Hands,” but then I stumbled on the same song, remixed for Earth Day: Official Music Video for one of DARIA’s Earth Day CD songs: We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands.

It’s got some great images — I imagine a class set of doodles / sketches could be used to create a similar version.

 

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Tools and Spaces

Part of Sketch50: page/book/device

 

SOL17 DoodleaDay Map Story


Writing.

If you’re a writer, you know it isn’t easy. If you’re not a writer, you know it’s hard.

Donald Murray assured us that “Writing is hard fun.”

In our classrooms, as students learn and read, and wherever students are, they listen, watch, play, work and learn. They gather ideas and facts; they imagine “what ifs.” And teachers have a responsibility to extend all that learning by providing time for students to think and write, and think and write together. And writing for their personal expression in fact and fiction to share their ideas.

Writing clarifies our ideas; it frees our thoughts, contains our thoughts, and connects our thoughts in new ways. We get better at writing by reading a lot and writing a lot. We get better at writing by sharing our pieces — what we like, what we wonder, what we are confused about– for feedback from others. 

Writers know this. Our students need to experience this, not in assignments, but in writing about what’s important to them, in fact or fiction. Journaling, blogging, writers workshop, genius hour: all are ways to incorporate choice in student writing.

We’ve got to let them develop their style, away from templates and outlines. Students need to experience using what they know– facts, experiences, imaginings– to form ideas into a story [fiction or not]. As students review their writing, they share with a friend and get feedback as they make a choice to abandon or to elaborate and revise. If they like their piece, they can edit and publish.  Without these experiences, the feeling of satisfaction and joy — that hard fun — is not attained. We want students to live as writers, as authors on their own.

And with that experience, their messages become clear, in both their own and in their assignments.

Yes, I want my students think like authors– to make the choices in words and organization, in flow and structure, to build their factual or imaginary story and feel the message understood by others when they share during writing and later in publication. 

I want them to learn through their process and publication that “Writing is hard fun.”

And just perhaps, they’ll compose such a story as…

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Today’s doodling tune in honor of writers and writing, in all its forms.

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Hiding in our minds

Ideas flow and connect;

Stories Awaken.

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

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Update: As I perused my Facebook feed, I discovered that Ralph Fletcher just made a similar plea, but, of course, he says it much better than I:

Greenbelt Writing: How Low-Stakes, Student-Centered Writing Supports Bold Learning

It’s a great read on Heinemann’s Medium blog.

SOL17 DoodleaDay First Amendment

doodleaday_first_amendment_triangle

One of my favorite parts of teaching in the middle school is the sense of fairness students demand. Learning about our basic rights to help them formulate a rebuttal to unfair rules is a real world lesson. Students all call out, “Freedom of Speech!” when they complain, and discovering there is a responsibility and a process that accompanies that freedom from the Bill of Rights of our Constitution gives them the skills to make change. Right in that first amendment it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Helping students formulate petitions for their frustration at not being able to chew gum, wear hats, or use electronic devices– and receiving redress in some way for those complaints, which stem from their middle school needs is a powerful experience and lesson. I’ve found it to also raise the level of understanding for students for rules, and the level of their acceptance of leadership and responsibility.

I think we all need to review our Bill of Rights, and participate as citizens more actively by participating in community conversations to bring about understanding, acceptance, and compromise.

Here is the Public Domain copy of First Amendment:

Amendment_1

My Sketch50 topic today was ‘megaphone’ or ‘microphone.’  It fits with this topic:

sketch50_microphone_first_amendment.jpg

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The vote is cast

The order given

Denying humanity

It’s unforgiven.

Groups here

Groups there

In every group

Bad, too, finds a lair.

Bad / good

Found in all

So single none:

Else divided we fall.

Come together

Speaking, Attending

Focus solutions:

Not one, but many.

Humanity

Community

Country

United, Indivisibly.

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Morehouse College: We Shall Overcome  And here is Pete Seeger in

And Pete Seeger historical civil rights recording [1963]:

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Triangle Concept

SOL17 DoodleaDay 27 Text


Kids text a lot. My granddaughter could text without looking. I don’t know how she does that.

I remember one of my “hunt and peck” students, put his hands in his lap and looked up at me. He said, “Ms Edwards, if I had a thumb keyboard I’d be a lot faster.” Then he gestured typing with a phone. So true. So funny.

The most difficult thing for my students was to capitalize the letter I. They could catch all other “txt” typing in their work, but that ‘i’ really bothered them.

We have a family chat for sharing. Sometimes, one of us will say, “selfie.” And then we add selfies to the chat. Very fun. Very fun now that every grandchild but one has an iOS device; makes sharing with the grandparents easy.

Which brings up the #doodleaday: my favorite txt. I don’t usually type LOL or OMG or any of those. I always have to look them up if I see them. But I love pressing a picture and sending a heart. It’s so fun to push a little love across the universe.

So, I have two songs today.

Elton John: Your Song

Because I say to my grandchildren, “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

And Across the Universe, because it seems we are connected from wherever we are, across the universe.

Beatles: Across the Universe. Click to Listen.

https://soundcloud.com/acrosstheuniverseost/across-the-universe

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: What is your favorite ‘txt’

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To My Children an Grandchildren

Across the universe

Shines the light

From your smile

Across the universe

Flows the music

Of your song

Across the universe

Ripples the love

From your kindnesses

And the universe

Magnifies your sparkles as

How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂  ❤ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~