Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week

Every week, people gather at Ruth Ayre Writes to share our weekly celebrations.

1. Being flexible. I had a Readers’ Choice Book Talk event with the public librarian that needed to be rescheduled to December. I feel for all classroom teachers. They are handed things to do at a moments’ notice anymore. Things that one wonders if it is truly what’s best for kids. It seems they are always assessing in the name of data. So I knew that I could be flexible and change the date.

2. The view of Mt. Hood on the way home from school on Tuesday. The mountain was glowing against the grey sky. The photo doesn’t do it justice.


3. Lunch and catching up with a college friend on Wednesday(no school). It’s so nice to be able to go to lunch mid-week.

4. Thanksgiving. My oldest grandgirl stayed overnight. She helped with making cranberry sauce and tried her hand at peeling yams. This was not to her liking which was fine. Dinner was great. Later I met up with her mom for late night shopping. For me, it’s the experience. I never have to have anything and I have never seen poor behavior.


5. An email from a friend that let me know she does read my Slice of Life Posts at Deowriter. I wasn’t aware. It was such a good email.

What are you celebrating?


Celebrate: Five Star Things About This Week

Five Star Things About This Week

Thank you Ruth Ayres for giving us a place to celebrate each week.

I am at Silver Falls Conference Center.

1. Working with a second grade class on writing haiku by focusing on images not syllables.

2. I found a boy tucked away in the corner of the everybody books, reading. He probably stayed in the library longer than expected.
3. A conversation I had with two first graders about my dad.
4. On the way to the writing retreat, I watched helicopters harvesting Christmas trees.

5. Noticing the frosted plants at the conference. The weather is clear and cold.



Poetry Friday: Cowboy Up! By Nancy Bo Flood

Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo By Nancy Bo Flood and photography by Jan Sonnenmair

Cowboy Up! is a fabulous hybrid of nonfiction and poetry. It has been nominated for the CYBILS in nonfiction but today I am focusing on the poetry.

If you have never been to a rodeo, this book provides a great introduction to the sport. In Navajo country, many young kids dream of being able to bull ride, sheep ride, and stay on a bucking bronco for eight seconds.

Each two page spread has action packed photography, a narrative poem, and an explanation of the event. It’s a day in the life of the rodeo.

The poem on the end pages:

Rodeo Rider

I want to be a rodeo rider-
A barrel racing,
crazy bull chasing,
lasso slinging,
wild calf roping,
bronco busting,
mutton tumbling,
rodeo rider.
~Nancy Bo Flood

Today I am fortunate to be at an SCBWI-Oregon writing retreat at the fabulous Silver Falls Conference Center. Waving “hi” to my Poetry Friday pals at NCTE.

Poetry Friday is being held at

Celebrate: Five Star Things About This Week


1.Co-teaching in a second grade class. Leading up to writing haiku by having students observe the out doors using their senses.


2.The beauty berry bush. Aren’t these berries gorgeous? We are so fortunate to have a lovely garden to greet all every morning at school.

3.Our monthly assembly to give out awards. We started this last year and it has helped to change the tone of the school. I give out the ‘Silver Star Bookworm Award’ to grades K-2 and the ‘Bibliomaniac Award to grades 3-5. They represent the best class for the month.

4.This kinder who wrote about being selected to get the award. I love the illustration of me.


5.Today, my friend Susan Blackaby read her new book, February Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise. It’s so much fun. And Susan is going to be our featured author for
school this year.


More celebrations at Ruth Ayres’ blog.

Poetry Friday: William Carlos Williams

Head on over to Jama’s Alphabet Soup for the Poetry Friday round-up.

So today, I promise a Carole Boston Weatherford poem.  It hasn’t arrived.  This morning however, I read a post at The Nerdy Book Club and the poem Ruth Ayres resonated with me:

It is difficult

to get the news from poems,

yet men die miserably every day

for lack

of what is found there.

—William Carlos Williams

Ruth Ayres has a new book, Celebrating authors. She talks about it at The Nerdy Book Club.

Happy Friday.

Happy Reading.


Meet Carole Boston Weatherford

Late August an email appeared for a free SKYPE visit from Carole Boston Weatherford. She has been talking to students about the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 Birmingham Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. I though what a great opportunity for my fifth graders. It was a great visit two weeks ago. Have you read Birmingham, 1963? If not, you should.

Today Carole is stopping by to share about her reading and writing life.

Your Reading Life

MsMac: What books are on your night stand?
CBW: Arthur Alfonso Schomburg: Black Bibliophile & Collector, A Biography by Elinor DesVerney Sinnette

MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?
CBW: In bed or in the passenger’s seat of a car or on a train.

Your Writing Life

MsMac: What does a day of work look like for you? What is your favorite time of day to write?
CBW: I like to write in the morning or afternoon. But if I’m grooving with a manuscript, I can keep writing until late at night.

MsMac: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
CBW:I like revising because I am able to see progress with each subsequent draft.

MsMac: What does your writing space look like?
CBW:It has two legs and a soft cushion and most often denim upholstery. It’s my lap.

MsMac:What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?
CBW: Teaching. I am a college professor and teach children’s and adolescent literature and professional writing courses.
In my spare time I like to travel and to visit museums, parks and historic sites.

MsMac :You have been conducting SKYPE visits in remembrance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Birmingham church bombing. What has been the response from the students you have visited?
CBW: They can’t believe that such hate violence occurred in the United States. They are appalled, and rightly so.
MsMac: I would agree that was the feeling of my students. I kept wondering why they would ask the same question. Then I realized that it was their way to process and confirm such a horrific event.

MsMac: As a child, how aware were you of the protests, the bombings, and the fight for civil rights?
CBW: I saw news reports of protests such as the March on Washington and the aftermath of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. However, my parents shielded me from the news of the church bombings when they incident occurred. I was only seven years old at the time.

MsMac: How has writing poetry informed you as a person?
CBW: Poetry sings to my soul. Sometimes, I think and feel in poetry.

MsMac: Why is poetry important?
CBW: Poetry distills emotions and makes music with words. For children, poetry contributes to creating a language-rich environment so crucial to early literacy.

Just for Fun

MsMac: Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
CBW: Very dark (85 or 90 percent)
MsMac: Me too. With nothing else.

MsMac:Coffee or tea?

MsMac: Dance: funky chicken or the tango?
CBW: Tango

Favorite Quote:

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
~George Washington Carver

Be sure to stop in Friday as I will have a poem by Carole Boston Weatherford.

Happy Reading.


Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week

There are so many things to share this week. So here are the top five.
1. See these books? Do you know what kind of books they are? According to a first grader they are ‘secret books’. You can’t tell what’s inside them until you read them. There aren’t many. This first grader is seeking the ole rebound books with no covers to find out what’s in them.


2. The Veteran’s Day Assembly. Simplicity. The veteran in front said, Thank you, I never felt like a hero until today.” He served in Vietnam Nam and is the grandfather of a fifth grade student. We were all in tears. Then there was a receiving line to say thank you.


3. The events at the book fair: Donuts and Dads, Family Library Night, Grandparents’ Day, and Muffins and Moms. Everyone has been so generous.


4. Books for the “Read to Dog” program with Lisa and Chance. Delivered by Altrusa International from a former colleague and retired librarian. In 2010, I was the recipient of the Librarian of the Year Award from Altrusa. They do so much good for literacy in the library. br />

5. The arrival of this book from the publisher. Jeff Kinney just keeps knocking out of the park. Students love, love, love these books.


More celebrations can be found at Ruth Ayres Writes

Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week


Where did Saturday go? By the time I realized I missed writing this post, I was engaged with grand girl activities.

1. SKYPE visit with Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Birmingham, 1963. What I noticed from the students was the extreme disbelief that anything like this could happen. They asked great questions.



2. Picture treasures from students. One left in a book. Note the spiders. I love spiders.


3. Reading Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds. Upon completion, a kinder boy told me that Jasper Rabbit used a helicopter to hover over the carrots and get some to eat after building the fence.

4. Kinders using the computer lab. This is the second year the kinder teachers and I have collaborated on this.

5. Halloween as Grandma Spider.


Happy reading