Getting lost in Pictures of the Day…

“Pictures of the Day” are fascinating finds. They can be used in multitude of ways teachers—to launch writing in many genres, to supplement research, to create word lists, engage in great discussions, and simply to enjoy.
Here are a few of my faves—and while you are there, check out the archives on all of the sites:

Discover the Cosmos with Astronomy Picture of the Day

Earth Science Picture of the Day

Atmospheric Optics Picture of the Day     cool stuff!!

Lens–NYTimes Picture of the Day 

Yahoo and Flikr teamed up to launch this cool site

Aloha!  Hawaii Picture of the Day

Nature Picture of the Day–inspirational–why not try out a Haiku?

Now that I’ve got you going, I bet you can discover many, many more. (Teachers–I have looked these sites over for G ratings—some POD sites are not!)

Enjoy your travels!

The journey of a thought…

How many verbs can describe the journey of a thought…?













….certainly there are more!

Teachers…when your students page through their writer’s notebooks, have them consider…how did this entry begin—did it begin with a “verb”…an “action” in the mind that triggered that entry? Could be a fun and educative activity.

The marriage of art and writing…

As I’m cleaning up after a quick watercolor sketch today my thoughts jump to a quote from poet e.e. cummings. So, I tear through notebooks to find it.

Poet e.e cummings sketched and painted. A lot. Oils, watercolors, line drawings. An interviewer once asked him: “Tell me—doesn’t your painting interfere with your writing?”

He replied: “Quite the contrary–They love each other dearly.”

My two loves today–my art and my writing. Today’s indulgence of time is a quick draft watercolor sketch for the cookbook I am working on. Each recipe has a watercolor and a story or thoughtline. Writing feeds the art; the art feeds the writing; they both feed the soul.


When I ask my preservice teachers to express what they know visually they are always engaged and amazed.

I am never surprised.

An Egret’s Day—-Inspiring us to look closely….

As the title of An Egret’s Day suggests, the subject of this children’s poetry book is the daily life of the large and beautiful bird known as the Great Egret. Using a variety of poetic forms, Jane Yolen has written more than a dozen poems about egrets. Each of the poems examines a different aspect of the egret. These include: the egret’s name, eating habits, size, nest, flight, feet, walk, preening, beak and more.  What a great model for writing, teachers!!

Each double-page spread contains one or more striking color photographs of an egret and a poem that relates to what’s in the photo. A paragraph of factual information that sheds further light on the subject of the photo and poem is also provided.

Wonderful integration of poetry, art and science—and an inspirational invitation for students to show what they can learn through close observation in multiple ways.

Children’s literature is just a misnomer—what adult would not be enchanted with this book!

egrets day

Outta my head…

Learning about your students is one of the greatest pleasures of teaching. Not just their test score histories, their math or writing hang ups, their reading struggles, their work habits. But, learning about their hopes and dreams. That’s when you become effective. When you listen closely.


February is Valentine month, which gives me the opportunity to share a little book of poems that I pull off of the shelf every year at this time..

For Valentine’s Day 1986, Ted Kooser (poet laureate 2004-2006) wrote “Pocket Poem” and sent the tender, thoughtful composition to fifty women friends, starting an annual tradition that would persist for the next twenty-one years. Printed on postcards, the poems were mailed to a list of recipients that eventually grew to more than 2,500 women all over the United States. (When he spoke at conferences he would have women add their names to his growing mailing list )His final mailing cost over $1,000 in postage. Valentines collects Kooser’s twenty-two years of Valentine’s Day poems. It’s just a great read. I love his simplicity and how he draws me into every poem through his honest approach to the things that matter to us as we move along from day to day. You won’t find gushy, romantic valentine poems in this little tome–though you might suspect to with a title pronouncing messages of love. Kooser’s collection spans topics that connect us to a simple life. And, as with so much of his work, his love of place—his Nebraska prairie, comes through.

Here’s “Pocket Poem,” the one that started it all….

Pocket Poem

If this comes creased and creased again and soiled

as if I’d opened it a thousand times

to see if what I’d written here was right,

it’s all because I looked too long for you

to put in your pocket. Midnight says

the little gifts of loneliness come wrapped

by nervous fingers. What I wanted this

to say was that I want to be so close

that when you find it, it is warm from me.