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Showing posts from March, 2016

Writing Everyday Changes You: SOL 31

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Today is the final day of March and of my second year of Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life month. Last year I didn't understand how daily writing could change me, but this year it's a part of my life in a way that eating is. I can't imagine a day without writing. I'd like to share two things with you all. First, a video of Ira Glass talking about creativity. Second, I created a slideshow that I'd like to share with you all. Please use this for yourself--to remind you of ways you could be writing each day and why it matters. Please download this and use this in a staff meeting or with a group of teachers who want to learn to write each day. It's my gift to you all. Thank you for being a community of writers. It's mattered to me more than you'll know.

Your daily write from Kimberley Moran

Mercury: SOL 30

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An old boyfriend told me once that I am mercurial. Few who know me well would disagree. I've learned to accept it's who I am, not a failing so much as a fact. 
My environment changes me regularly. The untidiness of the house can throw my mood out of whack. "Why doesn't anyone pick up around here?" A clean and simple refrigerator can bring me great joy. "Ah, the cheese in the drawer just where it should be when I need it." 
My relationships move me to both ends of the passion spectrum. "Why isn't he answering the PHONE?" I might scream only to turn around to find the cup he took the time to repair after it fell to the floor. "He's the best," I think.
It is this mercurial temperament that pushes people away and pulls them back in--simultaneously. I am a raging eye of the…

My Heart Can't Even Believe It by Amy Silverman

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER _______________________________________________________
My Heart Can’t Even Believe It Amy Silverman Woodbine House, April 2016
Reading Amy Silverman’s memoir, “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It” is like spending time with a best friend who knows she doesn’t have to censor her thoughts. At the start of the book, Silverman looks at her new baby girl who probably has Down syndrome despite a previous negative ultrasound and hopes quite fervently that this baby will have the family’s trademark curly hair. “But what about Sophie--so tiny in her carrier, with straight black hair and a feeding tube up her nose, chromosomally challenged and days away from open-heart surgery?” Ms. Silverman writes. “Would her hair ever curl?” It is here that I realized Silverman would tell me the truth about what it felt like for her to have a baby with Down syndrome. There would be no pussy footing around and claiming she was glad her child had Trisomy 21.
She hooked me right th…

My ABC Writing Poem: SOL 28

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After I climb out of 
Bed in the morning, I 
Downstairs to 
Encourage myself to 
Find something I can 
Gleanout my one small 
Happy life. 
Just need one minute detail to help me share 
Lovely teacher-writers. 
Maybe coffee will help 
Nudge an idea my way. If 
Only it were that easy. If only a drink could 
Prepare my brain and my 
Quiet typing fingers for a 
Real slice of life
Story that will show how much I 
Trust my readers to 
Understand the 
Very honest stories of my one 
Wild and Juicy life. My blog posts are where I sign my name on the 
X to show this is me developed through
You to help me reach the 
Zenith in my life, through the power of words.

Trust: SOL 27

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On Sundays, I join Margaret for #DigiLit at Reflections on the Teche

My mother would sometimes put me, my older brother, and my twin brother in a cab on Sundays and send us down to 865 Madison Avenue. As acolytes and choir singers at St James Episcopal Church in New York City, we needed to be there each Sunday. We would hop out of the taxi and run up the stairs of the huge church in the middle of the city where we felt very much at home. Racing downstairs to the basement, we'd pull out our white robes and rope belts and get ready for Sunday.
TRUST by keeping things simple and clear
It was here in church where we felt prepared for life. For how we were supposed to act and dress. It was all very clear. Sometimes a confusing life demands one day of the week where a person can stop and take stock. Church has always been a place of calm for me. In those days in NYC, the …

Edna St Vincent Millay: SOL 26

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It was during college that I walked past the quite narrow Edna St. Vincent Millay house in New York City. A small plaque indicating such stopped me in my tracks. Edna? He was a she? People always said her name so quickly, I only caught St. Vincent and so assumed... What a fool I was. How embarrassing. How typical of the girl who thought Neil Diamond sang a song called Reverend Blue Jeans. I was forever misunderstanding things until I read them. Perhaps that is why I love reading so much. But leave those thoughts of my misguided youth aside, I adore Ms. Edna St. Vincent Millay who was born in my adopted state of Maine and here is why -- It is because she wrote of things that would have delighted Oscar Wilde.

And if I loved you Wednesday,
    Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
    So much is true.

And …

When I was 10: SOL 25

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When I was 10 years old, I met Holly and Julie Sharp. They were fraternal twins so they didn’t really look alike. Oh yes they looked like sisters but they were very different. This was perfect as far as I was concerned since I had a twin brother who was also fraternal. From the moment I met Holly and Julie, I wanted to introduce them to Matthew, my twin brother. 
"Don't like him more than me, okay?" I told the other twins on the way to my house. "Because sometimes he can be funnier and he'll do what you want him to do, but my mom says we come as a pair, okay?" Holly and Julie nodded.
So it came as a great relief that they seemed to like us both just the same. 
We began spending all of our daylight time together that summer. I would call Holly or Julie (whomever answered the phone) in the morning and we&#…

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde

Expected Release Date August 23, 2016
Nancy Paulsen Books
Middle Grade Novel
272 pages

When we moved to a new town two hours north from Portland Maine nearly three years ago, my kids were nervous. What would everyone be like? Why did we have to move? They had each other and that helped a lot because they are only a year and a half apart in age and they like each other. The transition was tough. They went from having 12 kids in a class to having 22. Plus, I was teaching at the school as well. I have never taught at a school they attended, so this added a new dimension. I am the person they break down emotionally with and when they saw me in the halls, they felt teary and more lonely. The opposite of what I had hoped for when we decided to make this move.
I was delighted when I read a version of my own story in Lynn Plourde's first middle grade novel Maxi's Secrets, Timminy moves to a new town north of Portland Maine. He is starting middle school and his father will be the new Assist…

Helen Oyeyemi: SOL 23

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I've been reading a lot of books by Helen Oyeyemi. I discovered her because I am researching for a    book I'm working on about how gifted children can be developed into talented writers. Helen published her first book in high school. That's a lot of writing and perseverance for a high school student, but the gift is that she keeps publishing stuff and she uses various fairy tale techniques and her writing is damn good. I could close each of her books at the end and open it right back up to get something totally different. In my research, I read a profile of her on NPR. This quote struck me.
Oyeyemi was something of a child literary star, having written her first book at 18 "instead of studying for A-levels." But now that she's almost 30 and on her 5th book, the label is beginning to chafe. "It'…

When food hurts: SOL 22

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We are at the local sandwich shop, my husband and I. I look at everything on the menu knowing each and every single item will hurt my stomach. My stomach is a source of pain for me all the time, but no doctor can tell me why. 
It's Celiacs--nope it's not. It's allergies--nope it's not.
Nothing will fix it. I will be in pain forever, I think. So I order the large roast beef sub with mayo, onions, and pickles. My husband raises his eyebrows but knows better than to say something. I have been upset about an incident at school today. It is worse for me when I'm unsure of the outcome. I look down at my sub and forget about school. I eat the sandwich so fast I barely remember the chewy roast beef, the crunchy onions, the sour pickles, and the creamy mayo. My sub is gone. My husband, who is a fast eater by nature, …

Shelter Pet Squad: SOL 21

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Cynthia Lord starts her Shelter Pet Squad series off with a book called Jellybean which came out in 2014. The next two (Merlin and now Paloma) came out in 2015 and 2016. Throughout the series, Lord spins a tale about a second grader named Susannah who is learning how to care for animals and sharing her empathy for these abandoned pets, but it is also an instruction guide for young children around ways to help the animal community regardless of your age. The illustrations are by Erin McGuire who uses diverse children as a part of the pet shelter squad. This is a great draw for boys and girls of all cultures to read the series. Animal cruelty and abandonment is an issue that crosses all cultures. I read this book to my second graders last year. As we read, we made each of the items Susannah makes with her pet shelter squad. We ma…

Podcasting: SOL 20

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On Sundays I link up with Margaret at Reflections on the Techeto think about #DigiLit
Today's #DigiLit word is DISCOVERY.

I teach gifted and talented kids. I do not teach a particular subject. My job is to help develop the gifts and talents of the kids we've identified. This is not an easy task. Sometimes gifts are not readily apparent. I can see they think differently, oftentimes this is recorded as "smart" which is really a title given to anyone who catches on quickly. The key to helping these sometimes quirky kids is exposure to many different kinds of thinking, opportunities, and experiences. 

I've been working on podcasting with a small group of five fifth grade boys who are self-professed writing-haters. I don't accept this in anyone. We cannot just hate writing because writing is thinki…

Being lonely is not the same as being alone: SOL 19

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Twenty Two Years Old: 1991  Binghamton NY
I am lonely in my first job because I don’t know anyone in this town and because teaching Pre K is very difficult work. I am also lonely because I make $6.25 an hour and this isn’t enough to take care of my life. 

I am invited by the parent of one of my students to join her for a drink in a local bar. When I sidle up to the bar and say hello, she introduces me to a very handsome red headed bartender. I order a Chardonnay, house. After two drinks, my friend decides to go home, but I stay for another drink. 

I am lonely. 

I start to talk with the bartender and find out that his name is Travis. We get along great as bartenders tend to do with people who buy drinks. It is closing time and Travis asks if I want to stay and chat while he closes up. 

I am drunk. I am so drunk that I am watching myse…

My Stepfather: SOL 18

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To My Stepfather

Three days after meeting me, you drove out to Connecticut to buy that tiny rocking chair that only a very small girl could fit in. You’d only been on one date with my mother, but when you returned her to our house you noticed that my brothers had their own chairs for reading aloud time. I sat on the couch with my mother. I was fine with it, but you were not. I used that rocking chair every night for most of my childhood. 

My mother sold that rocking chair after the divorce. I guess she needed the money. __________
I was the only one who would go fishing with you at 4:30 in the morning. The boys thought fishing was okay, but I, I lived to fish. So every once in awhile, on a Saturday, We drove an hour to where your friend Robert had lots of land and his own pond. While we drove, we said almost nothing. Companionable s…

How Reading Changes Writing: SOL 17

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Reading changes us. Not just our thinking but our writing as well. They are inextricably linked. I have lifted some lines from other slicer's posts to show how you can tell when people are readers. Their language speaks volumes.

I would add carefully to my collections. Jars and jars of sea glass.  Bowls of smooth stones. Shells, bones and wood that caught my eye.If I lived in a house by the sea. (Carrie Gelson-There's A Book for That)The real lesson for literature is Allegory (a term none were familiar with) and history (The Cold War) but any reason to bring out a Dr. Seuss book is fine by me. Not many have had The Butter Battle Book read to them (a few had watched the video version at some point) and I made sure my reading style projected both the absurdity of the tale (butter? bread? Yooks? Zooks?) with the sharp politi…

Felted Soap: SOL 16

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Yesterday we celebrated Maine Day at my school. It was Maine's 196th birthday. Instead of regular classes, the kids go to five different workshops throughout the day. Each kid has their own personal schedule for the day. There are over 30 workshops going on at once, each one is Maine themed. Kids can learn about tapping trees, making syrup, Maine farm animals (with real bunnies and chickens!), hiking, growing potatoes, making herbal lotions, weaving, bee hives, along with Maine trivia games and learning about Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Don Fendler.

My workshop was felted soap which was a tradition in Maine because the homemade soap of earlier days was not very comforting to the skin and covering soap in oily sheep wool soothed the skin and conserved the soap. I went to a great fiber store and bought brightly colored wool …

I'm Ready for 50: SOL 15

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I'll be 48 on October 9th. I'm excited to be 50. 
Is that weird? 
In so many ways, I'm where I need to be. 
I'm ready to be in my fifties. I'm prepping for it. Really. 
I've started growing out my gray hair. I have wanted to have gray hair for a long time, but people are oddly averse to that. They tell me to keep dying my hair, that no one should look too old. I want to be that woman who is cool, not done. 
I want gray hair and funky hats. 
I want jeans and white tee shirts. 
I want Ray Ban eye glasses and Frye boots. 
I want stacks of books and long silk scarves.
I want to watch my children grow and need me less.
I want to travel to places where the sea goes on forever.
I want to write every day and I want my writing to be published.
I want to be rooted so deeply in my life that my branches grow new ones.

The Wind from the Sea: SOL 14

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"Wind from the Sea" Andrew Wyeth 1947
The breeze comes through the window pushing the pages of my book closed I pick up the rock keeping the door open and rest it on the pages of my book but the door slams shut scaring me and making my heart pound I leave it closed
The breeze comes through the window cooling my tea I move it over to the edge of the desk and rest it on the pages of my book but it slips and falls to the ground hurting my foot and making me get a towel which I leave on the spill
The breeze comes through the window distracting me from my writing I move over to it  and lean way out breathing in deeply but my kids see me  and shout "come play with us!" so I put my pencil in the cup and head outdoors