Liking this site….

….because the blog entries are submitted by teachers, middle grade students, and librarians, so there is great variety in the posts, and I’m especially liking the entries by students. If you seek middle grade novels–check out this site!!

http://booksinthemiddle.wordpress.com/

Honoring great writing!

If you are a teacher, and seek fabulous samples of quality writing, here’s one for you. I love this blog piece (from another wordpress blogger) for four reasons: 1–The obvious–it’s simplicity and flow kept me engaged; 2-The writing is first person, and first person writing samples should be presented to students as often as you can find them; 3-It’s writing of a place—some of our best writing centers on a place–perhaps a place we know well, or a place, as in this blog entry, we anticipate with fervor, and 4–Great example of digital writing where photography speaks as loudly as words. Perhaps you will share in my delight with this link below, and find possibilities in sharing, as well, with your middle grade students.

Bog at the end of the world

Lessons learned….

Lessons learned from Momma….
My mom is 89, spirited, and a joy in our lives. She’s had recent heart issues, but is tough and so far has overcome each. We hang onto her days like treasures. Here are some life lessons learned from her–lessons picked up along the days and ways. Any one of them could be the start of a memoir piece. All of them guided me in raising my own kids. Writing ideas can and should begin with what we know best. This one may be useful to you. If not a momma..a daddy. a gramma..grandpa..best friend…..IMG_0034

No means No: no need in even trying to finagle a mind-change out of this woman.

Be happy with what you have. Not everyone is as fortunate as you: As a kid, especially a teen kid, I wanted all of the latest fads…clothes, makeup, etc. Sometimes, if my want equalled a need, I got it. I learned the difference between wants and needs. We always had what we needed and more. Didn’t always get what we wanted.  She would say–be happy with what you have. Not everyone is as fortunate as you. At the time, of course, I didn’t get that. Now, of course I do. Totally. I was exceptionally fortunate in having a solid, loving family.

Logic: she taught me logic in these words: Because I said so–that’s why. Enough said!

Choose your friends wisely: Don’t try to be on the inside what you see in others on the outside. Follow your own moral compass. Friends should never make you compromise what you know to be right. A hard sell for a teen–but I did follow those words and had good, nice friends.

Don’t be boastful: A few years back, she and I were going through some of her old papers and photos. She came across a letter that my sixth grade teacher wrote to her praising me. I asked her–“Why didn’t you ever show me this letter?” Her response: Because I wanted you to continue to be the person in that note. Wise words. In all of these years, I’ve never heard my mom brag or boast over any of the amazing things she has done. Enough to have just done them.

Be the same person Monday through Saturday that you are in church on Sunday: another be true to yourself adage that we heard a lot. More wisdom.

Bite your tongue: Think before you release sharp words that you may have difficulty taking back. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Another tough one, but she was a great model for it.

Don’t Gossip: Don’t think for a minute that those you are talking about aren’t also talking about you. To this day I’m uncomfortable around gossipers and do my best to avoid.

Just a few—thinking so much of my mom today as she underwent a heart procedure and came out smilingly am happy to say. Fabulous role model! Love you. Momma!

Modern Dilemmas

I love to find poetry that kind of slam dunks me with the reality that we really are a rather spoiled lot, and what did we ever do without…….? This poem by ©Kim Dower is one of those. Would be interesting to share with teens since they’ve never known a world without bottled water. Could launch interesting writing projects. What other conveniences are now part of the “new normal?”

Bottled Water

I go to the corner liquor store
for a bottle of water, middle
of a hectic day, must get out
of the office, stop making decisions,
quit obsessing does my blue skirt clash
with my hot pink flats; should I get
my mother a caregiver or just put her
in a home, and I pull open the glass
refrigerator door, am confronted
by brands—Arrowhead, Glitter Geyser,
Deer Park, spring, summer, winter water,
and clearly the bosses of bottled water:
Real Water and Smart Water—how different
will they taste? If I drink Smart Water
will I raise my IQ but be less authentic?
If I choose Real Water will I no longer
deny the truth, but will I attract confused,
needy people who’ll take advantage
of my realness by dumping their problems
on me, and will I be too stupid to help them
sort through their murky dilemmas?
I take no chances, buy them both,
sparkling smart, purified real, drain both bottles,
look around to see is anyone watching?
I’m now brilliantly hydrated.