August 20, 2013

Crickets sang from the country greens around the golf course. Eighty degree sunshine filled the air, brightening the emerald grass, as I watched my Elizabeth play golf.
Birds signaled a call to a friend, who replied a congenial song. Today’s sweetness awakened my dendrites.
In the stillness only the country bacon bring, the cricket’s song caught my attention. Most August days I might have considered the continuous song ordinary.
Today I noticed.
The music had new meaning.
I have been listening to the audio book, A Cricket in Times Square. A story of friendship, loyalty, and hope has been inspiring. Crickets do annoy me and mice do not please me. Nevertheless, the craft of personification has brought me closer to the insect, summoning admiration for its song.


SOL: Aaa-aa-aa-choo!

April 30, 2013

sols_6Warm weather.

Welcomed sunshine.

Mowers humming.


Daffodil beauties.

Shorts a sporting.

Breath of fresh air.


Nose twitching.

Eyes itching.

Medicine taken.


Loving the spring season with the warm sunshine, blue skies, and rejuvenation. Now to get the allergies under control. :)


SOLC: M & Ms

March 25, 2013

M&Ms are a favorite, and this morning I am thinking of several.

March Madness Mishap (What I thought at first when I saw the thick snow)
Marvelous March Miracle (not sure I want to categorize the spring surprise like this)
Majestic Magnificent Manefesto (nope, nothing spectacular on the agenda)
Momentary Mechanical Mishap (not really;I just like playing with those words)
Momentary Musically Masquerading (indeed I just did a happy dance)
Muse. Meditate. Manage. (Daily)
Mental Muscles Manipulated (This morning’s slice)

Monday Morning Meanderings (Yep. Like it.)


SOLSC: Flip Flops

March 13, 2012

My flip-flops were calling my name this morning. I could hear them, “MH, we are the shoe for you today. Our color matches your top perfectly and our cushion is fabulous. You really should wear us today.”

It’s March 13 and it’s 68 degrees here in Indiana, which feels absolutely delicious!

I noticed my coworkers have been wearing flip-flops, and my daughter has been begging to wear hers. I guess flip-flops kind of symbolize spring and warm weather. They add a new step to the day.

So I caved in and wore them. It was delightful!

(And it had nothing to do with the fact that my knee-high tights were still in the laundry from last night. You know the ones that I wear with my shoes all the time. Naaa, convenience of wearing the flip-flops wouldn’t have ever entered my mind. :p)

SOLSC: Sunrise

March 12, 2012

Driving down the road,

I couldn’t help notice

the beauty spread before me.

The sky was brushed with pinks,

bubble gum, magenta swirled together.

White clouds pillowed above with

a silhouette of trees awakening in the light.

The beauty of the morning refreshed my soul,

lifted my spirits, and reminded me to notice.

Secret Place

June 20, 2011

Secret Place

Among the concrete buildings, a young boy finds a small island of wildlife. As the river runs through the concrete embankments, a small marsh hides around a telephone pole. Ted Rand paints the beauty within the noisy city.  The boy and a few nature lovers observe with admiration. How did such wildlife of ducks and birds come to be? A flashback of the wilderness history is painted in their thoughts in the book, Secret Place

Eve Bunting uses her storytelling  gift to warm every nature-lover’s heart. The “secret place” allows for a spotlight of hope, life and peach within the bustle of the busy city. The book will open the reader’s eyes to the nature that surrounds him/her.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Secret Place:

  • Setting Lead
  • Repeating Line – “in the heart of the city where I live
  • Compare/Contrast – noise of the city versus the noise of the secret place
  • Figurative Language – similes, personification
  • Sensory Description

The Turning of the Year

January 2, 2010

Bill Martin Jr. is an author who brings rhythm and rhyme to the his writing.The Turning of the Year  Although this text, The Turning of the Year, is short, the words are rich.  It was like savoring each bite of Turtle Cheesecake.  The text takes you through each month of the year – with only two lines per page. 

Greg Shed, the illustrator, infers so much more with his illustrations.  One painted page shows a scene from a typical day.  On the text page, Greg scatters items that represent other activities.  These clues lift the level of comprehension, especially for younger children.

Savorings in reading and in writing for The Turning of the Year:

  • Context Clues – rich vocabulary
  • Class book idea – your students could create a page about activities happening each month for the school year
  • Repeating Structure – each month has activities
  • Personification – “earth fashions green
  • Inferring

Warsaw Public Library book

Getting What You Wish For

December 4, 2009

My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is a story that will make children smile, connect, and wonder.  The theme fits the holiday season – children making their wish lists.  I especially like the letter writing feature that  begins the story.  A young boy, Joe, is writing his letter to Santa asking for a specific present.  Joe shares that he is being very specific about his request.  This book gives a good example of describing an object with specific language.

I also think the My Penguin Osbert will appeal to your boys.  The illustrator, H. B. Lewis, paints a two page spread of a red racecar in the beginning.  The main character, Joe, reminds me of my youngest. Since he has had difficulty getting the exact present that he wanted in years past, Joe goes all out and is detailed in the size, color, actions of his request.  Joes wanted a penguin, not a stuffed one, but a penguin from Antarctica. 

On Christmas morning, Santa game through.  To the delight of Joe, Osbert the Penguin is waiting for him.  Joe is ready to open more presents, but realizes his friend wanted to go outside and play.  Each time Joe wants to do something, he renders his wishes for his friend.  You can almost hear Joe’s thinking and sense his conflict. 

But I had asked for Osbert, and now I had him.”

Osbert was the penguin he had asked for, but Joe did not realize that a penguin would be so much work.  Sound familiar with a pet?  After a while, Joe writes a secret letter to Santa.  He explains that he loves Osbert, but that if Santa thought Joe should have a different present, he would swap.  Santa does reply and sends Joe on an adventure to the Antarctic World exhibit at the zoo.  Osbert loves the exhibit and Joe relinquished his pet out of love.  In the end, Joe shares the lesson he has learned.

Savorings for reading and in writing for My Penguin Osbert:

  • Adjectives – specific descriptions
  • Letter writing -
  • Inference – the clues will lead the children to conclude Joe’s reasoning for giving up his pet
  • Varied Sentences – the author does an excellent job of writing long, complex sentences and then integrating some simple sentences.  “Then I waited.”
  • Colon – used with a sign
  • Hyphenated words – snow-globe; fire-engine-red

The Giant

October 4, 2009

A year and a half ago,  I had the privilege of meeting Claire Ewart.  Claire is an Indiana author and illustrator, residing in Fort Wayne.  She spoke at our school for our Young Author’s Conference.

One of my favorite texts is The Giant.   The text is rather moving, bringing the emotion of the daughter alive to the reader.  A girl, who has lost her mama, searches for the giant who was to watch over her.  She looks and notices the giant in the clouds, stars, and every time she thinks she can reach the giant, he always is beyond her.  Paralleling this search, Pa is working the farm.  Pa was steady by his daughter’s side, yet she could not see beyond her loss and the daily chores… until one morning.

“And there was Pa…like he’d always been, standing there, tall and strong in the wind.”

Claire shared that one idea for the book came one day as she was driving along US Hwy. 30.  Looking out across the spring fields, she noticed large puddles.  Claire said the puddles seemed like giant footprints walking across the land.   Claire uses figurative language so beautifully.  I savor the words like chocolate.

Small lakes formed

where ponds and low spots had been,

like Pa’s big boot prints,

like huge feet had walked across the land.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Giant:

  • Figurative Language – interwoven throughout the text
  • Transition in Time – from early spring to harvest time in the fall
  • Illustrations – painted in the clouds, shadows is a foreshadowing of the giant
  • Inference – the reader longs to find the giant with the girl
  • Symbolism – What does the giant stand for?  In the end, who is the mysterious giant?
  • Varying Sentences

Metal Man

August 4, 2009

Vacation was excellent.  I stumbled upon three discount bookstores, much to my delight.  My daughter has the book bug as well, so we had fun finding new titles and getting books for a dollar or two.  I still did not have enough time to sit and read like I wanted, but the memories we made were worth it. :)

Have any boys or girls who love to be hands on?  Metal Man will be a text that will grab their attention.  This text is written with shorter, staccato-like sentences.  The story focuses on a boy who daily hangs out with the metal man, a man who creates art out of junk.  The boy aspires to be like the metal man.

Aaron Reynolds molds his words to make you feel the heat of the garage.

But he pulls out his fire torch.

It howls like the El train comin’.

And he starts meltin’ metal pieces on.Metal Man

they stick,

hot and red,

like my sweaty back on the plastic bus seats,

cookin’ together.

Swet’s pourin’ down metal man,

but he don’t stop.”

The boy shares his thinking.  You really can understand him.  The boy reminds me of many boys I’ve worked with.  They are comfortable with the outdoors, the garage, the ball field, the hands-on.  They don’t always feel like that with spelling, writing, reading.  The boy feels at home in this setting and longs to be like the metal man.

When I hang out with the metal man, I get it right.

I see what I see.

Not like school.”

I want my classroom to be like the garage, a place where the kids aspire to be, to learn and to know that they will get it right.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Metal Man:

  • Apostrophe – adds voice; you hear the accent of the narrator.  It’s used as a contraction and also for possessive.
  • Similes – “That torch’ll tear you up like a thousand killer bees.”
  • Realistic Conversation – “Whaddaya wanna make?”  He ain’t never said that before.
  • Compare/Contrast -junk vs. art;   Summer’s cookin’ the streets outside, bakin’ ‘em black.  But everything’s cool and comfy inside the silver star.
  • Internal Conflict – “I got a spark in my head, but i ain’t sayin’ it with my mouth.  ‘I don’t kow,’ I say.  It’s a lie, but I tell it anyway. … ‘Don’t be scared, boy.  Bring it out to play.’  That metal man can see inside me like glass.

Warsaw Public Library

A must-get book for me!!


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