Cottage Retreat {Celebrations}

July 21, 2014
Celebrate the big and little throughout the week at www.ruthayreswrites.com.

Celebrate the big and little throughout the week at http://www.ruthayreswrites.com.

selfieTammy’s cottage is a highlight of my summer. The BONS meet together for stories, sharing, and relaxation. We wrote too. The cottage is quiet and I found valued quiet time to focus writing an article. We arrived Saturday afternoon and stayed over through Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I did not post that evening due to no internet access. Ruth kept us updated on a softball tourney her daughter was playing in. S was playing great and the team was successful. Ruth was being a great mom, cheering her daughter on, and connected us via text messages. She was in our hearts. We missed you!

I celebrate friendship, connections, encouragement, laughter, fishing, ice cream, campfires, notebooks, revision and writing!

MHG.fish

After everyone left on Sunday evening, Tammy took me in the row boat. I caught my first fish ever!

 

Tammy caught the largest Bass. I caught 2 Blue Gil and 1 Bass. Lots of fun in the rowboat.

Tammy caught the largest Bass. I caught 2 Blue Gil and 1 Bass. Lots of fun in the rowboat.

 

Tradition: sitting around the campfire sharing stories and laiughter. Tam had fun keeping the flames going.

Tradition: sitting around the campfire sharing stories and laughter. Tam had fun keeping the flames going.

 

Ruthie and Tammy enjoying relaxation.

Ruthie and Tammy enjoying relaxation.

 

A new tradition: being creative with art. Last year we knitted. This year we painted.

A new tradition: being creative with art. Last year we knitted. This year we painted.

 

Tammy's birdhouse sits on the porch, displaying more beauty.

Tammy’s birdhouse sits on the porch, displaying more beauty.

BONS means writing and writing I did. I worked on an article, added to my notebook (Thanks Ruthie) and received a new one from Tammy. I didnt get a picture, but I clicked away on my computer. The cottage is the best setting for writing.

BONS means writing and writing I did. I worked on an article, added to my notebook (Thanks Ruthie) and received a new one from Tammy. I didn’t get a picture, but I clicked away on my computer. The cottage is the best setting for writing.

 

I usually share a book when we meet, so I had a book treat for each. I LOVE ice cream, so this book captured some laughs. We celebrated my birthday with ice cream bars afterwards. :)

I usually share a book when we meet, so I had a book treat for each. I LOVE ice cream, so this book captured some laughs. We celebrated my birthday with ice cream bars afterwards. :) Oh, and it was National Ice Cream Day yesterday too. How fitting!

 


Family / Friends {Celebrations} a little late

July 14, 2014

Wes.ElizSaturday came and I gathered my pictures to upload. My computer waited patiently for me to type. My two oldest children served as counselors at a camp for underprivileged kids. Saturday, they returned and their stories began. The house was full of reenactments, laughter, and sibling banter. Suitcases and sleeping bags, fans and pillows littered the living room floor. Hugs embraced me and thankfulness touched my ears. My kids were home and they were wiser.

The campers connected with Wes and Elizabeth. Their stories were shared and my kids listened. “Mom,” Wes said. “One senior asked why I listened. I told him I cared.” The campers were returning the next week as well and begged for my kids to return. Wes made arrangements and I began on the laundry. Thirty hours later, Wes headed back for this week.

My heart celebrates in their moments, and I’m fine with being late.

While my kids were away, I played. :)

While Tim went to basketball open gym, I visited the library and wrote. I could spend hours there.

While Tim went to basketball open gym, I visited the library and wrote. I could spend hours there.

 

I loved having my mom along on this adventure. We only saw two areas and have more to visit on another day.

I loved having my mom along on this adventure. We saw seven flower beds, two quilt shops, and have more to visit on another day.

During AllWrite!!! Elsie and Kim asked about the quilted flower gardens in northern Indiana. I hadn’t heard about them, but after seeing their pictures, I planned to go. My mom loves quilts and flowers. This was a perfect match. We asked my cousin and my sister-in-law to come as well and fun together on Wed.

barnpink flowers


Where’s My TRUCK?

July 2, 2014

I enjoy children’s books. Some books are okay. Some books are great and some books are ones I will hang on to. Where’s my T-R-U-C-K? by Karen Beaumont is a gold mine. David Catrow’s illustrations caught my eye. His fun, unique colored drawings brings out the child-like fun. He draws the character emotions of the boy brilliantly, making me feel like I am right in the room. On the title page, the kick the little boy has just given the toys immediately makes you go, “Uh-oh. Somebody is NOT happy.”

I read this book during summer school to my kindergarten kids. They loved it. The figity boys were hanging on each page wondering what was going to happen next. The conflict in the book is an everyday happening. Kids relate to losing things. (I do. How many times have you misplaced your keys or phone?) Frustration wells up when looking for your lost item. Nothing else will appease.

The parents and siblings try to subdue him, but to no avail. The beginning starts:

Shhh!” I hear my parents say.

“Tommy’s not himself today. He’s lost his T*R*U*C*K!”

When reading the book, the kids would spell the word in a whisper voice or in a more intense tone depending on the character speaking. The kids loved being involved in the story. Each connected with a story of their own.

David Catrow uses the dog to be telling a parrallel story. Notice the items the dog is taking in each scene. After reading the book, I showed the kids the illustrations again. We enjoyed rereading the book again.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Where’s My TRUCK?:

  • Everyday Happening
  • Foreshadowing – watch the dog
  • Connect with the word family “uck”
  • Verbs and Nouns – a great way to teach younger (and older) children to identify the parts of speech
  • Voice

 


My Assistant {SOL}

July 1, 2014
Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

Listening in to Kay as she reads to Tim.

For the past three summers, my youngest son has been my assistant during summer school. Tim doesn’t have any extra training; he’s just a young man who is willing to help. His first year of helping, I modeled how to catch the kids acting appropriately. I remember hearing him stop mid-sentence, “Tom, stop ta…. I notice how Sam is standing quietly with his voice off. I notice Sally with her eyes on me.” After class that day, Tim said, “Hey, catching them being good really works.”

I finished teaching kindergarten two weeks ago and wouldn’t have survived without Tim. My hat is off to kindergarten teachers. These kids are inquisitive, attention-seeking, and energetic. During a read a loud, the kids would be captivated, participated, and definitely cheered for more. We had fun.

The kids loved having Tim's full attention.

The kids loved having Tim’s full attention.

During small group instruction, Tim would circulate among the students who were reading independently from their book bags. He doesn’t know any specific strategy except for listening. Tim would ask them questions and encourage each on a job well done. He also helped keep the kids focused. I loved capturing him one morning listening in. I wish I had Tim during the school year, to be a live audience and respond positively to the efforts each kid makes. Does he plan to be a teacher some day? Maybe not the professional kind, but he’s definitely learning the life lesson of assisting others.


Heat Wave

June 30, 2014

It’s hot.

In Indiana, the heat index is fairly normal in the 80’s. The humidity has been above 50%, tolerable but definitely moist when pulling weeds this morning. But these temperatures are nothing in comparison to a day in Lumberville.

In Heat Wave by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, the towns people are doing everything possible to keep cool. I connected Patricia Polacco’s books with this book when the people sleep outside. No air conditioning available during this time period. (I am so thankful for ours right now.) Children will understand this book. It’s an everyday happening – activities you do in the summer when it is hot.

Sun sizzled. Hair frizzled. It was a sweltering day in Lumberville….”

Set in a day of the week text structure, Eileen focuses on each individual activity – cooking in the basement, hair cut, splashing in the wash tub. Finally, the people sleep outside near the river, on the fire escape, or on the roof. Each had the same dream – rain.

This book reminds me of Come on Rain by Karen Hesse.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Heat Wave:

  • Transitions
  • Snapshot – one moment in time
  • Proper names with title clauses – Mike Morello, the mailman,
  • Varied sentences

Eileen and her husband, Jerry, share about their writing lives in this 5:30 minute YouTube video.

 

 

 

 


Opportunity {Celebrations}

June 28, 2014

Join in Celebrating the little and big in your life at Ruth Ayres Writes.

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Linda, Kim, and Elsie are wonderful!

This week was the beginning of my summer at home, scheduling as I pleased. My heart is filled with joy and renewed by seeing so many friends at AllWrite!!! Memories make me smile. I also love connecting with them on Facebook and feeling a part of their lives through the distance. I love blogging about books and receiving comments. I love reading other life moments and being connected.

I celebrate my friend, Bethany. We met for coffee and shared about our teaching lives. Her classroom blog captures to creative spirit she resonates with them.

shop

I celebrate shopping. My daughter and I spent yesterday with my cousin and her daughter. We laughed and shared and laughed some more. Of course we made purchases too. I love a sale!!

 

I celebrate memories of my classroom. Phase one of our new school has begun. Two sections of our school have been torn down to allow for the new construction to begin. In the photo below, my door is still open to the very last minute.

 

My door stands open until the end.

I celebrate a dream come true! During my presentation at AllWrite!!!, I was unaware Brenda Power from Choice Literacy was in the audience. Afterwards, she invited me to spend the day at a writing retreat. I accepted with a huge hug and smile. Monday, I practiced BIC- bottom in chair – and after six hours of drafting, rereading, revising, conferring, rereading, revising, conferring, an article was birthed. The accomplishment of nurturing an article into being was awesome! Thanks to my writing group who gave feedback during the day. (Notice I had their picture up during my writing time.) Thanks to Brenda for the opportunity and conferring with me. Thanks to Christy and Deb for their smiles of affirmation. Thanks to Ruth for believing I could do it. Thanks to Franki and Shari for providing feedback during group share. Now, on to more writing!!

The desk I wrote at during the retreat. Loved it!!

The desk I wrote at during the retreat. Loved it!!

 


Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini

June 26, 2014

Harry Houdini was known for near-death escapes. The sibling authors’ grandmother shared stories of meeting Houdini. She gave them their first magic book too.

Reading the book jacket, I learned more. Kim Kennedy and Doug Kennedy had a family donkey on the farm, who was known to take items from a person’s back pocket and then hiding behind a tree. These memories triggered the idea for the book.

Knowing these idea snippets, the introduction correlates. The illustration shows a donkey and mouse sitting under a tree talking. I believe in letting kids know how ideas come to life. An every day happening, such as a pet, living on a farm, created a story. The kids could be like Kim and Doug.

The story begins with the two friends practicing magic tricks day after day, persevering through disbelief from the other animals. A “one-day” story highlights the magic in a dream, the prize from persistence.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini:

  • Power of 3 – words in a series; scenes in three
  • Other Verbs for Said - honked, squeaked, grunted
  • Community Building – believing in a dream, persevering
  • Made up Words – “unlock-o-maneuver”
  • Story from memories

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