Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Trawling for ‘t’ words?

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Two tall tulips

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Two turtles talking, on a tyre

Weekly Photo Challenge: Patterns

Patterns here, patterns there,
Patterns, patterns everywhere.
Patterns in nature and patterns man-made with care.

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I like the simple 4 leaf pattern on this plant…

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and the circular leaf pattern on this plant.
Are you tempted to count the leaves?

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A fascinating, tightly structured pattern on a… Travellers Palm
which is not a palm
– but Ravenala madagascariensis
and related to the banana plant.

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This man-made pattern of pavers and stones appeals for its
simple design, stark colours and contrasting textures.

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And now… take a welcome rest on this solid, wooden bench
with its gently curved patterns and symmetry.

A Turtle Takes a Walk…

A sunny morning walk from a pond at the edge of a woods… across a gravel road… towards a lake, reveals spring contrasts and camouflage…

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My dark, shiny shell contrasts with the grey/white gravel.

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A tulip stands alone, in new,
green growth on the forest floor.

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Bright, yellow daffodils dazzle midst old, brown cattails.

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Green and white trilliums make a spectacular ground
cover in contrast to the brown earth and rotting leaves.

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A motionless green and brown Leopard Frog is cleverly camouflaged
against old, beige grass of winter and new, green grass of spring .

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I bask in warm, morning sun on an old, black tyre by a dock.

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I stretch my neck as far as I can above the surface to see
if another Midland Painted turtle is nearby in the lake.

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 …

The birds are back…

The birds are back.
For spring and summer.

Water birds. Land birds.
Familiar birds: Geese. Mallards.

Unfamiliar birds.
Bobbing on the river that runs through town.

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Black and white heads against choppy, blue water.
‘Hooded Mergansers’? Not sure…

On the way out of town,
Stop at calmer waters.

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More ducks.
Black and white. Grey and white.

The ducks dive for food.
Re-surface. Anywhere!

Camera: Press. Focus. Click.
Duck:  Dives down. Out of sight.

Left with a photo of calm, cold water,
With a squiggle on the top!

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Drive home. Download photos.
Beautiful black and white heads.

Google ‘Hooded Merganser’ to check.
Black head. White hood. But brown on the body? No…

View another picture.
Black and white head.

Bufflehead? Bufflehead?
Check google photos with my photos.

Could be…
Male. Black head. White wrap around patch. Yes…

Then, a telling factor:
“… buoyant, large-headed duck that abruptly vanishes and resurfaces as it feeds.” Yes…

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A male Bufflehead

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Later, we see a male Hooded Merganser.

The birds are back!

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bufflehead/id

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/hooded_merganser/id

Words to inspire your early reader/writer…

Inspirational words to share with your early reader/writer extracted from Mary O’Neill’s poem: The Wonderful Words, mentioned in my previous blog, Snow Pellets and Raindrops…

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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

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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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