Hide-n-Seek

Dewdrops
Twinkle
Like stars
Resting
Among
Green
Pine needles
Playing tricks
On my eyes
Now you
See us
Now you
Don’t

A simple game
Of hide-n-seek
The same way
Children
Play outside
‘Til the sun
Disappears
And the wind
Carries them
Home to rest
Dreaming of
Their next visit
To the Loblollies

Sitting outside one morning after a rain, I noticed little bright spots in the trees. One would shine and then disappear just as another came into view.

My eyes went back and forth between the trees for several minutes. Each glimmer made me smile.

Joy in the simple things. And how much fun is it to say Loblolly? 😉

Eyes in the Sky

I spied
Two eyes
In the sky
Today
Against a
Backdrop
Fluffy white
Strikingly
Tinted
Bluish gray
Two eyes
Looking
My way
Feeling
Inquisitive
I returned
Their look
Wondering
What they
Might say
A smile
A sparkle
Followed
By a wink
Before they
Looked away

Nature’s Tempo

A raindrop
Landed on
My windshield
With a bounce
Becoming one
Small bubble
In its own space
Until another
And another
And another
Came along
To invade-
Soon the glass
Was covered in
Raindrop bubbles-
The tempo
Of the car
The tempo
Of the rain
Increased-
Gravity said
Rain falls down
From the sky
But the droplets
Seemed to be
Traveling
The wrong
Direction
Rows and rows
Of raindrops
Flowing up
My windshield-
Optical illusion?
Possibly
Vivid imagination?
Could be
Or perhaps simply
Nature’s music
Ever-changing
With the rhythm
Of this life

Caution, Kids at Play

There have been many discussions in recent days concerning play in education. I don’t want to discuss the how’s and why’s of whether or not play is crucial to a child’s development. As a teacher and parent, I have witnessed its benefits.

The opportunity to pretend and create and have fun is vital to a child’s happiness and success. And today, with only seven days left in this crazy school year, I was reminded of this truth most surprisingly.

The end of a school year is challenging. Teachers are tired, students are stressed. Emotions run high. Particularly for students making transitions for next year. Oh yes, fifth graders. The last few weeks of school with these friends can be particularly challenging.

With that in mind, I tried to keep things simple. Give up some control. We have played rhythm games, bounced balls, hula hoops. There have even been a few rounds of hot potato and musical chairs. Sometimes things went well, other times…well, let’s just say no one was injured.

Today was a little more laid back. Students love to color, so there were music-themed coloring pages. Almost everyone in the class grabbed a paper. They quickly circled up around the basket of crayons and markers. That in itself caught my attention. They were laughing, talking, and sharing. They were playing.

It gets better. A few of the boys didn’t want to color. One asked if he could read a book. The other three were quietly talking. I noticed one of them lay down with his head underneath a chair. He said, “I’ll fix it.” Strange, I didn’t know it was broken.

Suddenly, all three boys were on the floor, heads under the chairs. I called my reading friend over and asked what they were doing. “Oh, they’re fixing cars,” he said. I watched more closely. One was “on the phone” with a customer. They were talking back and forth, mentioning specific types of cars.

Then it hit me. These boys are playing pretend! Fifth-grade boys are pretending to run an auto shop in the back of the music room. Wow! They needed time to play. And I needed to be reminded that they are still kids.

Possibilities

Eyes witness
The moon
In darkness
Eclipsed by
The shadow
Of Earth

Feet stand
On the surface
Of the moon
Looking back
At their blue
Marble home

Children explore
Past in present
Imagining future
Moon flights
Of their own
Anything is possible!

Today’s prompt was interesting-write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

From the Classical Dictionary I chose the following fact: First eclipse of the moon on record 721 B.C.

From the second dictionary I chose the word moon flight.

For more info check out https://www.napowrimo.net/.

Snow Surprise

Living in Arkansas and Oklahoma, snowfalls are uncommon. Several years might pass between weather events. They bring a sense of wonder, fuel for the imagination.

Around five inches of snow fell last night in our corner of Oklahoma. Another four to six inches may fall tomorrow night. Of course, wind chills are negative. So, we are enjoying the view from inside our warm home.

As I sat down to write this morning, I wasn’t planning to write about the snow. I planned to follow a familiar writing prompt pattern, which did not include snow. It is funny how one thought leads to another and another. Often with an unexpected result.

Writing out my list of words from the prompt, one stood out-sheep. Sheep turned to lamb turned to white turned to snow. And the progression of thoughts became a poem. While writing, an image kept coming to mind. It was a stuffed animal lamb. When you turn its silver key, music plays.

This particular lamb rests happily on a shelf at my parents’ house. It was mine when I was a baby. A quick text to my mom, and I had several photos of my cherished lamb. As you can see, this lamb was well-loved and is no longer white like the snow. But I am glad its sweet face appeared in my memory today.

Tranquility

Ground covered
In fluffy white
Like an innocent lamb
Precious and new
Quiet cries quickly
Comforted by mother
Pink belly once again
Rising and falling
In perfect sleep
No fear of today
No worry about
Tomorrow
Only tranquility in
The fluffy white-
Tranquility in
A blanket of snow

…always

The wind blows
A sturdy tree
Leaves dance
Branches wave
As if to say,
Come with me!
Like a mom
Calling to her child
Run to me!
I will catch you
The wind will
Carry us away


Where will it take us?
I do not know
But we will go together
Our very own adventure
How long will we be gone?
I do not know
Only time will tell
Minutes, hours, days
One thing is certain
Each journey will
Stay with us
For a lifetime

As the steadfast tree
Continues to call
Waving branches
And dancing leaves
Waiting to embrace
And carry me away
I also stand
With open arms
Ready to embrace you
To share another journey
Wherever the wind
Carries us…always

For Robert & Erin, Rachel, and Ryan~The reasons I love being a mom. ❤

Thirty Seconds of Silence

We live in a busy, sometimes chaotic world. It is hard to be quiet. This is true not only for my students but for me as well. Recently, I experienced the power of purposeful silence during my first-grade class.

To introduce our lesson, I asked students to look at a picture on the Smartboard. A beautiful winter scene complete with a horse-drawn sleigh. I wanted them to tell me what they saw. If all went as planned, this activity would transition us right to “Jingle Bells.”

First-grade is at the end of the day. The kids were wiggly and chatty. Getting them to focus is not always easy. But I had an idea. I asked them to look at the picture for thirty seconds without saying anything. At first, students looked puzzled. But when I began silently counting, only mouthing the numbers, the room became quiet and still.

All eyes were fixed on the winter scene. And when I finished counting, hands started going up. Students took turns sharing answers and ideas. Some had surprising insights I had not even considered.

This was not something I had planned. After school, I thought about why this worked. I think part of it had to do with purpose. This wasn’t me simply asking students to listen or be quiet. I asked them for a defined amount of silence with a specific goal.

Granted, it was only thirty seconds. But that thirty seconds brought a successful time of sharing. And the sharing easily flowed into our singing and rhythm activities.

Before you envision a picture-perfect music class, things did get a little crazy during our next transition. I am definitely not Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. But that’s ok. I did stay calm in the chaos and class continued. Maybe because of that thirty seconds of silence?

I’m afraid I can’t take full credit for this idea. I think the inspiration came from Mr. Rogers. I’m currently reading “The Good Neighbor-The Life and Work of Fred Rogers.” I also saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” last weekend.

I have always appreciated the quiet, kind demeanor of Mr. Rogers. When I need to feel calm, I sometimes watch his old T.V. episodes. Revisiting his work through this current book and movie seems to have the same effect.

I am particularly struck by his use of time. His actions are never hurried. One scene in the movie displayed this so clearly. Fred asked a friend to be silent for one minute, but with a specific purpose. The time was set aside to consider all the people who had loved them into being. Profound.

Granted, our studying of a picture in a first-grade music class may not qualify as profound. But it was certainly beneficial. And it opened my eyes to the power of defined silence with a specific purpose. Even if it’s only thirty seconds worth.

Yesterday and Today

Think about your favorite song. I bet you can hear it playing in your head right now. (You are welcome.) 😉 Maybe you even remember a person or place associated with said song. Certain melodies/lyrics work their way into our memories and pop up when least expected.

Now imagine you wake up tomorrow and are the only person who remembers this song? It has been inexplicably wiped from the memory banks of everyone in the world…except you. This is the plight of singer Jack Malik, in the movie “Yesterday.”

As we watch Jack reintroduce the world to the music of The Beatles, he quickly finds himself in a difficult position. Even though no one else seems to know the songs are not his, he begins to experience a guilty conscience. And he alone has the power to make things right.

I know it may not be an award-winning blockbuster, but what a fun and entertaining 1h 56m! Though the music was a big focus, the movie was about so much more. The songs were beautifully intertwined with stories of family, friendship, life, love, and integrity.

It reminded me how chasing something just out of reach may cause me to miss the amazing things right in front of my face.

This funny, sweet story introduces us to the wonderful songs of The Beatles, as if for the first time. Songs from yesterday which continue to influence us today. You just might be tempted to sing along!

🎶Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me
🎶

~John Lennon & Paul McCartney

A Child’s Laughter

There is magic in the laughter of a child. Equally innocent and powerful. All you have to do is listen. Feeling stressed? Your cares will disappear. Feeling grumpy? Your spirits will be lifted.

Today I experienced this phenomenon while babysitting for some good friends. Their little boy is three years old. What an imagination! And his laugh? Contagious!

We played outside, ate snacks, read books, and watched Sesame Street. But the real fun came when we got out the playdough. Our creations included an airplane, Sponge Bob and a birds nest. We also cut out shapes and created patterns.

In the middle of playdough time, my little friend said something I didn’t quite understand. As I attempted to repeat his words back to him, he started laughing. “No, silly,” he said in his sweet little voice. He then proceeded to say the word again. Still unsure, I tried once more. Now it had turned into a game. A game which continued for five minutes, the two of us laughing our heads off.

Tired from all our playing and laughing, he soon fell asleep on the couch. Watching him sleep, so quiet and peaceful, I realized something. His sweet laugh had cleared my head and filled my heart.

What a perfect picture. Can you see it? This sweet boy sitting at his little kid table, me sitting crisscross on the floor (don’t try too hard to picture that) 😉 , playdough, and laughter. A room filled with laughter.

I know it sounds simple, but it is often in the simple things of life where we discover the profound.

The innocent laughter of a child, if we take time to listen, has the power to light our world. And if we join in? Well, we just might be surprised by the outcome.