Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be light – and literacy…

‘Every moment of light and dark is a miracle’
 says Walt Whitman…

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and the spectacular transition
from dark to light never ceases to amaze…

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Meanwhile, Dylan’s ‘big, fat moon’ is up there…

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and like the owl and the pussy cat
in Edward Lear’s rollicking rhyme,
we can dance ‘by the light of the moon,
the moon, the moon…’

‘Light…’ also reminds me of Ezra Pound’s words:
Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hands.

But that’s another story….

For more ‘Let there be light’ entries, click here

Books and music:
Berg, R. (1984). Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussy Cat. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Scholastic.

Dylan, B. ‘I’ll be your baby tonight’, in Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

The sea is galloping…

I feel like Christopher at the beach today,
in A.A.Milne’s ‘Sand-between-the-toes’…

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with the shouting sea…

and the galloping sea…

with sand in the hair…

and sand between the toes…

and nobody else is out!

It is a super dooper poem to read with children
and with thanks to All Poetry, here it is:

Sand-between-the-toes

I went down to the shouting sea,
Taking Christopher down with me,
For Nurse had given us sixpence each-
And down we went to the beach.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is certain of
Sand-between-the-toes.

The sea was galloping grey and white;
Christopher clutched his sixpence tight;
We clambered over the humping sand-
And Christopher held my hand.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is certain of
Sand-between-the-toes.

There was a roaring in the sky;
The sea-gulls cried as they blew by;
We tried to talk, but had to shout-
Nobody else was out.

When we got home, we had sand in the hair,
In the eyes and the ears and everywhere;
Whenever a good nor’wester blows,
Christopher is found with
Sand-between-the-toes.

© A.A. Milne.  All rights reserved

What would Anne have called it?

Lilacs are prolific this spring.
Woodlands, roadsides and edges of fields are dotted with dark-lilac lilacs,
light-lilac lilacs and bright-white lilacs.

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White lilacs? I’ve only just learned of white lilacs.

Lilac Lane 2

In nearby woodlands, I wander on paths edged with fragrant lilacs.
I’m reminded of  Anne of Green Gables, one of my favourite children’s books.
I wonder aloud,
“What would Anne have called this path?”

Would Anne call it,  “Lilac Lane?” No. Too ordinary, like Diana’s Birch Path.

Lovers’ Lane… of Lilacs? No. She has a Lovers’ Lane already.

Lovely Lane of Lilacs? No. Lovely is not specific enough. But loveliest?

Loveliest Lilac Lane? No.

Luscious Lilac Lane? It’s a luscious fragrance that wafts by. Anne didn’t use ‘luscious’ – but she she learned  ‘scrumptious’ the day of the picnic.

Lavish Lilac Lane? Luxurious? Luxuriant?  No. But. lilacs are plentiful, pretty and pleasantly perfumed…

Longing lilacs? or Lingering lilacs?

Linger. Lilacs linger – especially in warm, spring weather. The fragrance lingers. And certainly Anne likes to linger…

Yes. That’s it… Anne may have called this path, Lane of Lingering Lilacs.

What do you think?

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What do you think Anne would have called the lilac framed path?

Montgomery, L. M. (1908). Anne of Green Gables.  Toronto: McClelland and Stewart-Bantam (Seal Books).

Trillions of Trilliums

Today I feel like Heidi may have felt when she discovered masses of wild flowers in the Alps – except I am in the woods when I come across masses of trilliums.

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Trillions of trilliums!

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One superbly formed flower… after another…

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But I don’t ‘gather great handfuls of flowers and
stuff them all into my apron’ 
like Heidi.

Instead, I photograph the brilliant white trilliums.

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When I get home, I learn three very good reasons for not gathering the wild flowers. One, trilliums bloom in April/May – a short time to enjoy their beauty. Two, a trillium takes up to 11 years to … (read more)

The trillium is Ontario’s Provincial flower or ‘floral emblem’.

Spyri, Johanna. (No date). Heidi: A Story for Children. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.

Browsing for Breakfast

On an early morning walk, we come across a lone heron browsing for breakfast.

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Slowly, silently slinking…  searching for a bite to eat.

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Warily walking and watching the water he sees…

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quietly enters the water.

His beak deftly pierces the water and comes up with something
for breakfast – but we couldn’t see the tasty morsel.

The lone heron browses until he is startled by a
walker’s ‘shoes on stones’ sound and he gracefully flies off.

Breakfast is over for the moment …

Freezing rain and icy decorations: Winter’s last blast?

After a week away, we return to an icy ‘welcome’ with biting winds, freezing rain and icy roads in the dark, early morning hours. Dress shoes with smooth, hard soles slide on the ice-covered pavers. I shuffle gingerly to the front door, grasping the textured bricks of the house wall to keep me steady and upright .

In contrast to the dangers in the dark, morning light reveals a derth of delicate decorations…

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Icy maple branches and

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icy spruce branches.

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An icy clothes line and

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icy chicken wire.

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Icy ‘antlers’ of cedars and

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icy crystals of spruce.

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And buds in ice prisons, wait to burst free…

Is it spring or autumn in your part of the world?

What does your environment look like?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Lunchtime…

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a long, leisurely, loquacious lunch,

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 a low-cal, lingering, longhand lunch

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and a lively, laughing, literature lunch!

Snow Pellets and Raindrops: how words feed and groom our thoughts

“Snow pellets on my jacket are like raindrops on the roof,” I said to my husband.

Coral shovelling snow PM edit small
I had come inside after shovelling overnight snow off the driveway. But, the snow  falling this morning was different from any snow I’d seen before. The snow I knew was like big, soft flakes. This snow was like hard, tiny pellets.
“Snow pellets aren’t like raindrops,” he remarked with a grin.
“Okay. The sound of snow pellets on my jacket are like raindrops falling on the roof,” I replied.
“What if it’s a wool jacket?” he asked.

“You’re right. I can make it better. ‘The sound of small, snow pellets on my polyester jacket remind me of the raindrops falling on the tin roof when I was little.’

Or better still. ‘The sound of tiny, crusty snow pellets bouncing off the crisp, polyester shell of my jacket reminds me of the raindrops dancing on the tin roof when I was a little girl in the old mallee farmhouse.’ Yes that’s it, that will do.”

Our conversation continued…

“You know what this is like?” I realised, “It’s like talking about  being specific and adding details with my Year Ones when we are doing Shared Writing. I remember…”

Martha brought her toy bunny to school and wrote in her Journal: 
I have a bunny.
It is white.
It has a pink ribbon.

After our Shared Writing about ‘being specific’ and ‘adding details’ she said, “I could write like that about my bunny.”
“What do you mean Martha?”
“The details. I’ll do it and show you,” she said and went off to write in her Journal.
She shared her writing with the class. She read: “I have a soft, white, toy bunny. She has a bright, pink ribbon round her neck.”

But my favourite example of ‘adding detail’ was from Suzy. One day, completely out of the blue, she wrote in her Journal: “I brought my adventurous, big, brown bear and he got into lots of trouble…”. Sometimes it takes a while for new ideas to become a part of children’s thinking. And it’s a wonderful surprise when it all comes together.

But back to the snow pellets… “I think that crusty, pellet-type snow is called corn snow. It’s a term I haven’t heard for years,” he reminisced.

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Snow pellets/corn snow on Boxwood

Corn snow on Coral's wool hat PM edit small

Tiny snow pellets, or corn snow, on my wool hat

The more we talked, the more our words “handsomely groomed and fed” the thoughts in my head (O’Neill)…

“What’s also interesting is the contrast,” I mused. “The sound of raindrops dancing on the tin roof above my bedroom when I was a little girl put me to sleep, but here, the sound of the crusty, snow pellets bouncing on the crisp, polyester of the snow jacket wakens my senses. I stopped shovelling and put my arm out so I could see the snow pellets bouncing off the sleeve of my jacket and hear them pinging and singing as they bounced off my sleeve.”

The last four lines of Mary O’Neill’s (1966) delightful poem, ‘The Wonderful Words’, came to mind…

But only words can free a thought
From its prison behind your eyes.
Maybe your mind is holding now
A marvellous new surprise!

Come to think of it…

O’Neill’s words would make a great poster to inspire budding writers in the classroom!

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