Category Archives: Nonfiction

Postcard

When was the last time you sent a postcard to someone else? Remember trying to write your message in the tiny space provided, scrunching your letters and even curving them up the side to avoid the “DO NOT WRITE BELOW THIS LINE” section reserved for the mail service scan code? Did you pause before writing, realizing your elaborate details would need to be concise with brevity? 

Today’s TeachersWrite quick-write is inspired by guest author Madelyn Rosenberg (who is also a fellow Virginian like me!) The challenge is a fun writing prompt called “Postcard” that even students can complete: Using only 10 words, describe the scene around you, then write each word on a separate line like a poem. This is a great warm-up for students to have them focus on sensory descriptions or simply hone in on a particular scene of their writing.

Here’s my “Postcard” for today:

Pine

Musk

Rocks

Crisp

Clear

Climb

Altitude

Clouds

National

Park
Any guesses where I am today? Comment below and add your own 10 word “Postcard” to showcase your surroundings!

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I Am But One

image

I am

only

one person

but

I can

cultivate kindness

through actions and words,

mold memories

with passion and love,

shape student success

to learn, grow and be,

without

apology

apathy

atrocity;

I can

create change

in all that I do.

I

am

an educator,

a learner,

a leader,

a mom;

I

am

all these things

and

more.

I am,

I can,

I will.

 

Today’s poem inspired by Jo Knowles’ Monday morning warm-up for #TeachersWrite which can be access here: http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/487496.html

To view Kate Messner’s #TeachersWrite Mini Lesson with Mara Rockliff, visit http://www.katemessner.com/teachers-write-7-11-16-mini-lesson-monday-with-mara-rockliff/

 

 

 

#TeachersWrite Day 1: Wonder List

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Today begins the first day of my favorite summer writing camp – Teachers Write! Created by Kate Messner, this camp encourages teachers of all disciplines to be brave with their writing and share with an authentic audience which includes other teachers and published authors. For more information on Teachers Write click this link: http://www.katemessner.com/blog/. For those participating, make sure to share your blog posts on Twitter using the hashtag #teacherswrite so we can share in each other’s writing!

Last summer was the first time I had heard of this virtual writing camp. I was a Twitter newbie still trying to figure out the difference between a hashtag and a handle. I was invited by my friend Greg Armamentos to join in the fun and WOW – what an experience! It was the first time I had ever contemplated putting my writing “out there”, for public consumption, to be chewed, digested, and possibly spit out.

I had to be brave. I had to take a chance. I had to make that jump.

Photo Jul 02, 6 40 41 PM

Now as I reflect on the past year, I find myself with laces tied, arms outstretched, ready to make that leap again.

Today’s Teachers Write challenge asks us to make a quick list of all that we wonder, just to let your mind wander and document your thoughts. This prompt gets my spirit excited because it’s the exact challenge I want to give my students as we dive into #GeniusHour next year, finding inspiration for our #PassionProjects. What a perfect way to delve into writing topics that engage and excite!

Here is my wonder list for today:

I wonder why five year olds have an innate ability to know when I’m sneaking away trying to write.

I wonder why those same five year olds are always hungry.

I wonder who created Perler beads and how they realized they could create images from melted plastic.

I wonder when my mom will be called back home, her time here on earth complete.

I wonder what inspires teachers to have a growth mindset.

I wonder how I can be everything to everyone at all times.

I wonder why I can’t let that one go.

I wonder why some colors match and others do not.

I wonder why there are Girl Scout cookies still sitting on my counter.

I wonder what passions people are repressing.

I wonder how to encourage, inspire, support.

I wonder if I am meant to write in first person or third person.

I wonder if anyone would purchase a book I write.

I wonder why ocean waves roar and sinking sand shifts.

I wonder if my spirit really can soar like eagles.

I wonder.

Why I Wear a Two-Piece



Here we are again, the one time of year most women despise: bathing suit season. Something about shedding the comfortable layers of fabric to reveal our true silhouette is intimidating and filled with silent (and sometimes vocal!) angst. I get it. I really do. Believe it or not, I also fight the demons in my head about body image.

“You’re so out of shape.”

“You used to look great, but now…”

“You are way too old to wear that.”

“If you wear this, you will be judged by ____________ .” (fill in the blank)

I’ve seen my friends post articles about being fat. Being skinny. Being modest. Being honest. It seems with every perspective shared, there are three more viewpoints to contradict the point. It can really make your head spin.

So here’s the deal. This is my perspective on the whole “What bathing suit should I wear?” debate:

This is my life.

My body.

My story.

I really don’t care what bathing suit you wear. Bikini, tankini, ruffled skirt or racer-back tank. Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing! You, and you alone, are the only person in control of your body image. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else and for goodness sake, stop gossiping about those who have the confidence to boldly wear what they like. I’m not threatened by you; please don’t feel threatened by me.

I wear two-pieces. That’s right – a bikini. No, I’m not trying to act 18. I’m not trying to make you jealous. Seduce your husband? Are you kidding me? Girl, please…

I am 42 years old. I’ve had 3 children, all full-term, delivered naturally. My body has been in a state of constant change for the past 17 years.

I’m short. Curvy. No surgical enhancements, not even lasik surgery to fix my ailing eyesight. I can stand in front of the mirror and rip my reflection to shreds. Thanks for your opinion, but I need no assistance from you to feel horrible about my appearance.

I will never be tall, thin, and gorgeous. I will never look like a model in a magazine (mainly because the girl in that photo doesn’t even look like the girl in that photo.) And to be perfectly honest, this is probably as good as it gets.

I’m at the point in my life when I can embrace who I am in every single way, including body image. I try to eat somewhat healthy. I work out when I can. I can also wipe out a bag of salt and vinegar chips faster than you can blink.

I am me. 

Not the girl next door. Not the woman across the street. Not you. Just me. 

I will always be fatter than someone else and skinnier than another.

Please. Stop. Comparing.

I wear two pieces in the summer for many reasons. I hate having wet spandex stretched across my stomach. I despise having to remove an entire bathing suit just to take a bathroom break. Because I’m short-waisted, tankinis make me look like I’m wearing a dress, which brings me back to the whole wet-spandex-on-stomach issue.

I don’t wear a two-piece to make a feminist statement and I most surely don’t choose this swimwear to contradict my Christian beliefs.

I am wonderfully and beautifully made. Stop trying to make me think differently.

I have a teenage daughter who internalizes my spoken and unspoken words and actions. If I spend every summer bemoaning my physical inadequacies, what message does she receive about her own body? (Which, I might add, is almost identical to mine when I was her age.) I can assure you, she is not flaunting her body and quite frankly, neither am I.

I’m just more comfortable wearing a bikini.

I am not judging you for wearing a one-piece to remain modest. Rock on! You over there, wearing your tank top and shorts, shine in all your comfortable beauty! I am not trying to stir the pot or rile you up. Goodness, no. I am merely sharing my own personal insight on a trending topic in my newsfeed.

Embrace who you are now and who you are going to become. Age means change and that’s ok! Wear what you want, so you can enjoy the time you have. I’m sure there will come a time when my preferences shift, but until then please accept me as I am, which includes what I choose to wear.

And the next time you see me at the pool or water park, I hope you will stop by and say hi without judgment. I might need you to lotion my imperfectly freckled back so I don’t burn as red as a lobster.