Celebration: Endings and Beginnings

celebrate link upSaturday, a day to celebrate with Ruth Ayers and all the bloggers who link up with the spirit of celebrating the week.

One — Endings. The Slice of Life March Challenge ended this week. So much growth, connections and writing love was shared. I really miss it. Bittersweet.

Two  — Beginnings. This week has been the beginning of a new experience for me, writing poetry.  I am learning, growing, and having fun with it. I’m not worrying so much about the outcome; looking more at the process of doing. I want to celebrate these poets who inspire and make this  journey a joy check out their blogs:  Leigh AnneMichelleMargaret, Kevin,  Mary Lee, and Cathy.

Three — Student Questions. One big moment in my classroom life this week was a conversation spurred by our read aloud, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The question came up around the concept of government, a shaky idea for fifth graders. The conversation led to power and literacy and the importance of being able to make wise decisions, being thoughtful and responsible citizens. We talked about basing their actions on close careful reading of people and text. That our future depends on it. I don’t know how much my students got from this discussion but the questioning that came up filled me with purpose for what I do and belief in the future.

Four — Quotes that Inspire. Friday evening I read Tara Smith’s post celebrating Jane Goodall’s 80th birthday with Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes.”

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. -Jane Goodall

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. — Mary Oliver

Then this quote from Terje’s blog and highlighted by Ruth today:

Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker

Five — Finding Poetry. Today I played with ideas from the week. I messed around with order, placement.  Finally, I tried to mimic a poem I shared with my students this week, “First Take” by Jane Yolen, see her reading it here. My students were delighted when they discovered they could read it multiple ways, line by line and then vertically.

Shifting Equilibrium 

Starting at an ending:

always bittersweet;

Beginnings foster challenge:

break throughs and stumbles;

Daughters seek definition:

creating possibility;

Sons separate then settle:

finding deep connected roots;

Students naturally push:

powerful questions unearthed;

Independence requires trust:

shaking up the balance;

Citizen caretakers created:

the landscape redefined.




10 thoughts on “Celebration: Endings and Beginnings

  1. #3 on your list Julianne – what a sublime moment in your classroom – I live for moments like these, when I can just hear all the great thinking whirring around in my classroom, and getting BIG. Happiness! And thanks for sharing Jane reading her poems aloud – love the way her expressions give meaning to the poems. Finally – your poem – I read it both ways, and loved how each “side” wove in and out with the other. Beautiful.

  2. I also love the details you shared here in celebration 3 – the thinking, the questioning, the stretching of ideas. Love that as teachers we can be part of this and watch it happen every day.

  3. Lovely to hear all about your week, & the poetry happening Julieanne. What you did here is meaningful, & especially after reading your post. A Long Walk To Water is an important book. Several of the teachers at school have read it aloud, starting the students to a path of thoughtful ways, wondering how they can help people in the world. Thanks for telling all about that discussion.

  4. I love your celebrations this week. I do miss the daily connections of the challenge, so I am glad we are doing this one too. I love the quotes. These all remind me of the closing words in Tuck Everlasting…”Don’t be afraid of death, be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live. And she did.” I have always said that I want those words said at my funeral – I know a morbid thought but I try to live by that.

  5. Great celebrations! Important moments in the classroom including poetry! Love this poem! Thanks for sharing!

  6. #3 These moments are so valuable and memorable. I believe it’s not just the teachers who take something form these discussions but the students too. Some will be thinking about the topic long after the talk.

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