Day in a Sentence: End of March

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week’s Day in a Sentence. It continues to be a pleasure to see your words before the rest of the world and I am always truly honored by your posts.

And now, your sentences …

Larry (whose sentence I almost lost — sorry, friend) saw with his own eyes the continued aftermath of the storm.

Spent a mixed week in the New Orleans — the French Quarter is wonderful but so much of the city is still devastated two-and-a-half years after Katrina.

Lynn reminds us of the work that goes on behind the scenes by teachers and others to make sure our students have educational experiences. We’re often like the wizards in Oz, right?

Today’s excitement is palpable as our Arts-Media-Communication students arrive early to school anticipating our excursion to the Norton Simon Art museum: they will never know the effort, work, headaches, and sheer drudgery experienced by the 3 teachers who fought two bureaucracies to bring it about. (I’m extending to sentence 2.) Tonight is Back-to-School night, and I fully expect to fall asleep behind my teacher mask that will automatically chat and smile with parents.

Jane comes into Day in a Sentence from Slice of Life and I am so happy to see her participating with us. She reflects on snow and perceptions.

It seemed to me that today’s round of yet another snowfall would be terribly discouraging for the birds but as I watched them hop about their daily business seemingly oblivious to the obstacles created by the snow, I decided to do the same with the falling problems in my life. Matthew 6:26

There are birds in the air (I, too, noticed the sounds the other day) that signal changes for Connie.

Standing outside in our nature area, I see wave upon wave of migratory female robins arriving; I notice that the males are singing new songs.

Bonnie has been away and now is back home. In-between, she carved out a moment for her sentence.

I am on the last legs of my March adventure in Israel and it has been rich with a guesting hosing for Boil Down You Week, my obsession with creating slices each day as a way of documenting this experience and sharing it with our virtual communities and IMing marathons with Nancy and Karen…a rich experience in the moment and sharing it on the web. PERFECT!

Ben B. had a full house (room) on a day of testing, showing that students know when it is time to skip and when it is time to stay.

My worst-behaved class must have known about the standardized testing today because despite the three absences, there were more bodies present than chairs.

I am not one to accuse anyone of sabotage, but it seems as if Sara had it a little too easy the other day. What was she doing near the water pumps at 4 a.m. that morning, anyway? (laughs)

“Okay, it is with an almost unprofessional glee, that I report the following news: when my school’s town shut off water yesterday afternoon to make some routine repairs, my brand new school neglected to shut off their water pump, so it burned out, and the outcome is this – kids dismissed at 9:45, and a good chance we won’t have school tomorrow (nothing is better than an unexpected day off, even better when it probably won’t have to be made up in June!!)

Elona reports from the north in a wonderfully poetic way.

The record snow fall we’ve had here in Mississauga, Ontario this winter is finally melting away this week in the warm sunshine and my thoughts this week turned to gardening.

looking out the kitchen window into the backyard
beyond the orchids on the inside window ledge
ignoring their exotic deep yellow and fushia blossoms that scream for attention
down at the semi-frozen garden bed at the shyly emerging green shoots of crocus bulbs and the promise of spring realized

Boy, Anne sure has a full plate: family, friends and sheep (I think).

Being on 2 weeks holidays this week, means that I have had time to spend with my family, including babysitting my little grandson, time to explore further the wonderful websites that my ‘twitter’ friends put up, time to just catch up on my long list of ‘to dos’ and oh…. time to help out a bit in our woolshed as shearing is in progress on our farm!

Delaine finds solace in the regularity of the days.

I realized how much I love the routine of my life after having it disrupted this week.

Eric sees spring right around the corner. There it is! No. Shoot, it disappeared. Wait! There it is!

Things are changing around here- must be spring.”

Amy, a newcomer to Day in a Sentence (welcome!), also awaits the first signs of spring.

Spring break quickly turns into a time for addressing all the necessary parts of life that are pushed aside during the normal week.

Matt is all about definitions. It does turn out that everything is something else, after all. (ps — check out Matt’s site for the cool Rip Van Winkle movie he made about the state of education)

I’m beginning to wonder if crazy is the new normal.

Nancy was part of what sounds like a wonderful New York City Writing Project this weekend and like all technology-infused adventures, it had some moments that probably made her wish for pen and paper.

Despite technical glitches at yesterday’s Teacher 2 Teacher presentation, a good time was had by all but boy, Windows ought to be strung up, tarred and feathered.

Peace (in words),

Slice of Life: Chapter 27

(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)

Today’s Slice of Life is a convergence of communities.

I write this as part of the ongoing Slice of Life project being guided by Two Writing Teachers but I also want to invite anyone and everyone to contribute to this week’s Day in a Sentence feature. After first settling in Australia, and then traveling off to Israel, the Day in a Sentence is back home here.

In some ways, the Day in a Sentence is a nice companion to the Slice of Life and I hope there continues to be some cross-over between the two writing communities that I am part of in this Internet world. The Slice of Life, which is nearing its end, is a collection of bloggers who are reflecting on their days through their posts over the course of a month. The Day in a Sentence is a weekly entry into reflection and sharing through a single sentence or writing prompt. (see some of the archives)

Day in Sentence Icon

If you are a regular Day in a Sentence contributer, I invite you to head over to Two Writing Teachers and follow some of the Slice of Life threads. If you are a Slice of Life friend, I warmly invite you to contribute some words to our Day in a Sentence feature.

Here is how Day in a Sentence works:

  • You think about a day of the week or your entire week
  • You boil it down into a single sentence (no special prompts this week)
  • You post your sentence here by using the comment link on this post
  • I collect all of the sentences, collate them and publish them on Sunday
  • Feel free to hyperlink to podcasts, or photos, or other files, if you want
  • That’s it!

Here is my sentence for the week:

I’m realizing that I need to spend less time on the keyboard and more time in real life, and so, a little withdrawal is necessary.

Peace (in community),

Day in a Sentence: Off to Israel

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The Day in a Sentence continues on its world tour, moving from last week’s comfortable confines in Australia with Anne M. to the shores of Israel, where Bonnie is on her regular sojourn for a few weeks.

Next week, the moon? No. We’ll bring the homesick Day in a Sentence home for a week of rest and relaxation after the visit to Bonnie’s blog this week. All that travel makes the Day a bit worn out, but loving the memories.

And so, without further ado, Bonnie invites you to visit her blog and post your Day in a Sentence for this week, with any kind of vacation-themed writing you may to do. She even encourages the sharing of vacation photos. I decided to use a vacation-style metaphor for how things are going with me. You can feel free to twist the vacation idea any way that seems appropriate for you, of course.

Here is my Day in a Sentence:

While my body feels as if it is in London — all dreary and foggy on the outside of the world — my mind yearns for some little tropical island somewhere that no one else knows about — restful and relaxed from morning until night.

See you on Bonnie’s Blog!

Peace (in connections),

Day in A Sentence Down Under

Our Australian friend, Anne M., has been the host of this week’s Day in a Sentence and she used VoiceThread as one way to collect sentences. There was quite a good response. See for yourself and feel free to add your own sentence:

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Peace (in audio, text and visual),

Day in a Sentence: Off to Australia

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This week’s Day in a Sentence moves away from the continental United States and rests on the blog of our good friend, Anne M., from Australia. Anne invites you to join her Day in a Sentence adventure at her lovely named blog: ejourneys with technokids.

Come along for the journey and boil your week down to a sentence (with the option of using a VoiceThread — which everyone should try) and then share with our ever-expanding community of teacher-writers. You are cordially invited, wherever you are and whomever you are.

Peace (in traveling in virtual space),

Your Days as a Couplet

You know, you are an amazing group of writers. Here I am, throwing out the concept of boiling your days down into a couplet and you don’t blink an eye. You get down to it and start writing and start sharing and you blow me away every week. I am thankful for everyone who participated again this week. I am thankful to know all of you through your writing.

Thank you.

Here are your couplets:

I got a chuckle out of Saras, as I know she has a birthday coming up (or has it come and gone?).

where did the years go from 6th grade ’til now?
the last birthday in the twenties, coming up – ka-pow!

Mary brought us into her classroom. Mary is part of a new technology team that I have put together.

digital stories all about fractions
Posters made to show all the actions!

Anne H. has long been looking at how technology is both used and mis-used and she is a colleague at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project.

A computerized tutorial program that responds to emotions–
What brave new world brings such notions?

Kathryn answered my call on Twitter (yeah!)

Bad time management and should have gone home
Instead distracted by twitter not work and writing this poem

Nothing like a load of grading to weigh you down, right, Cynthia? She writes:

Doth not it seem yon English teacher is just a bit uptight?
Perhaps grading those darn research papers hath kept her up all night.

Jane is part of the Slice of Life blog project that I discovered and jumped into, and I am happy that that she posted for this project. But I am sad she is in a bit of pain.

The train of my life has gone off the track
Derailed by the pain in my sore lower back.

Karen (who may have also ventured here from the Twitter world?)first informs us, “This is my week, so far, in a nutshell (or nuthouse, as the case may be)”:

Grading! Grading! Report cards are due!
Teacher is wishing she had the flu.

Elona crams a lot into her two lines. First, she writes: My week? What can I say except,

Anxious, confused, frustrated my students and I are
Research projects, tag clouds, wiki, Voki avatar

The weather impinged upon Barbara, and she isn’t so happy about it.

Old man winter, plaguing us with rain, wind, and snow
Closed school? ) tacking snow days to the end, ( OH NO!

Ben B. once again weaves wit with words.

Much food and few people was I then with
At a free seminar on one Adam Smith.

Karen prefaces her poem with the following thought: This couplet is about something that’s been on my mind for a few days.

If March comes in with wind that will blow
Is it a lion or lamb, and how will it go?

And Aram made a discovery of the unpleasant kind.

Her poem surprised me, so deep, so gifted.
One google later, I found it was lifted.

Aram adds: That’s how it goes, lately, Kevin.

Sue is waiting for the tube to catch her class.

This week was exciting, and the students can’t wait to see
if our local news station will be covering their podcasting on TV!

And, she adds: “Yes, This can become addicting…”

Larry, Larry, Larry. You did fine. Here is his note: “As you read this couplet, be aware that in college my poetry instructor wrote this in my final class evaluation: `Larry did write one good poem this semester.’”

At school and at the gym, at basketball I’m trying harder,
but no matter what I do, I stay at mediocre.

Jo got inspired by one of her students. She explains, “this is a bit ironic when you know that the student in question spends most of his class time, once he finally arrives, trying to covertly text message. With the number of zeros he’s accumulated, he’s doing pretty well to have as high a failing grade as he does. ;)

Her couplet:

“You’re the hardest teacher here!” said a student.
I smiled and said, “I take that as a compliment.

And Bonnie was the reluctant poet this week. Reluctant, but brave.

Snowstorms last weekend, floods today.
And Mother Nature just keeps on laughing away.

Next week, the host of the roving Day in a Sentence will be Anne M. from Australia, so be on the look-out for that announcement and join Anne on another writing adventure.

Peace (in verse),

Day in a Sentence (as couplet)

Day in Sentence IconHow is your day going? Your week?

I invite you to join our community of short-prose writers in the Day in a Sentence and boil down your week and share. (see archives) This week’s twist comes via a suggestion from one of our regulars, who asked that we try a couplet.

I am always up for poetry so let’s give it a shot. Here is how it works:

  • Think about a day of your week, or your entire week
  • Boil it down to the essence (add some spice and simmer)
  • Write a couplet (two lines that rhyme is general enough of a definition for this effort)
  • Use the comment feature on this post and submit your couplet
  • I will collect all of the writing and release them on Sunday
  • If you want to podcast your couplet, even better. You can either provide a link in your post or you can email me your audio file and I will host for you. Send the audio to dogtrax(at)gmail(dot)com.
  • Be part of the writing community! Everyone is welcome!

Here is my couplet and podcast for the week:

How many times can I shout: stay focused on your work!
before the kids begin to whisper, Mr. H has gone berserk.

Peace (in rhyme),

Survey Results: DayinSentence

Last week, as part of the Day in a Sentence feature, I asked folks to take a quick survey that I had set up using the new Google Forms feature. There were 19 responses, which I think is pretty darn good turnout (thanks to everyone who did participate).

Side Note: This week’s Day in a Sentence is being hosted over the TeachEng.Us site. Please wander over there and submit your sentence. We would love to have veterans and newcomers alike share their insights into their weeks.

My first question asked how often the participants write and post a sentence for the ongoing feature. (By the way, I could not quite figure out how to get Google Forms to move data into a graph, so I went to an online graphing site and did it myself. I think that because the answers were not numbers, Google had trouble. Or I had trouble telling Google what to do. In either case, I couldn’t figure it out)

I was pleased that there are so many regulars, although I realize that many people put on their writing hat when they have time and space for the reflection. You can see that we had a few who were very new to Day in a Sentence and we heartily welcome them in.

Next, I asked which format people have enjoyed. We have been adding new twists now and then, just to keep it interesting. (I realized later that I forgot to add Six Word Sentence to my survey options — sorry)

You can see that so many of the writers are open and ready to try any format that we throw their way. I love that we are so flexible and willing to try new things. But there is still a desire for the traditional sentence and I support that, so we will continue to toggle back and forth between genres.

The next question asked why people bother to participate in the Day in a Sentence. I could not graph the answers, but here are a few that stuck out with me:

    • I like the concept of creating a community of writers and teachers.
    • I love the challenge and the community!
    • It’s a way to reflect on my week and make connections with other teachers at the same time.
    • It is interesting and fun to try and capture a moment or think in such reductive terms.
    • I think it’s important to contribute. If you don’t, you have no right to complain about there being nothing good to read out there.
    • It’s a challenge to compress my hectic days and weeks into just one sentence. The analyzing of my life and then putting it in writing often helps put things in the proper perspective. Also, it makes me find the time to write and share because I have an authentic audience. All too often I ignore the urge to write and then my ideas just float away into outer space. Participating in Day in a Sentence helps me capture my ideas and feelings.
    • I liked the option for creativity and the chance to let my voice be heard.
    • I like the challenge and I love reading what others come up with.
    • Linkbait.
    • Nothing better to do. Collaboration can’t be beat. Kevin is cool. I like to write.
    • To take up the writing challenge and share it with an growing community.
    • I participate because I like being part of a community. That is, I enjoy reading what others have to say and believe I have an obligation (a happy obligation) to contribute.
    • I like the connectedness and reading other people’s comments. I am no good at haiku but I like all the other formats that could be and have been offered.
    • I like reflecting on my week and I love reading everyone else’s reflection. I also enjoy being able to find out more about each person that contributes.

And finally, I asked for any suggestions for future writing formats. The participants wrote:

    • Using a Mash-up Map to locate our sentences geographically
    • Limerick
    • Cinquain
    • Why not some more esoteric English terms, like synecdote, etc.
    • Your week in iambic pentameter?
    • Comic/Photo
    • Song
    • I think it might be interesting to have us write in a sentence about a challenge we had during the week. I am sure we have many from which to choose. The other prompt might be a funny mistake or pit fall of the week. Here again, I bet we have more than a few to share.

Thanks again to all of the people who took a few minutes from their busy day to answer my questions.

Peace (in our days),

Day in a Sentence (with students)

This week’s Day in a Sentence will be hosted over at the new TeachEng.Us collective blog that Ben D. has started up in hopes of creating a site where many teachers (you are invited) contribute ideas for the classroom and technology hacks that can make all of our lives better and easier (always a good thing, right?)

So please, head on over to TeachEng.Us for this week’s prompt.

Meanwhile, I decided on Monday that I wanted my students to do some blogging (we were just back from a week vacation and I wasn’t quite ready to go full-bore into paragraph writing). I thought, I should have them write about a day in a sentence and then post on our classroom blog.

So we did. It was interesting because so many of them (I have 80 young writers) write so literal that my coaxing to get them to get at the “essence” of the day seemed to be a flop. I wish I had had a better explanation or plan. They definitely enjoyed the writing and the posting and the reading of everyone’s sentences, so it was worthwhile.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • We stayed at home watching the snow fall from the sky. –Paige
  • I met a new friend named Scott. — Kevin
  • I quickly learned how to ski, and I won a $20 bet against my parents that I would not fall while going down the beginner mountain. — Ryan
  • Last Saturday, in Okemo, it was cold like the arctic but fun — Matt
  • …. I got lost in the woods and it was scary — Katrina
  • Yesterday I gambled. (on the computer) — Sarah
  • On Friday I stayed up till 3:o0 and my dad caught me, so I stayed up later and I fell asleep at 3:30. — Dan

Peace (in brevity),

Your Days Are Blooming Like a Bed of Flowers

This week’s Day in a Sentence became Day in a Simile, and everyone was wonderful (again!) with their entries. There is such a thrill to peak into my moderation bin and see all of the submissions and know what great quality writing and reflection is going on in your lives. Flowers to everyone this week!

Without further ado, here are your Days in a Simile:

Larry boiled his week down to this: “Teaching my Tuesday ninth grade English class was like experiencing the Five Stages of Grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — in an hour-and-a-half.

But he also explains, “I’m sure all of us teachers have experienced that, often, when we get a new student if it’s a boy the girls want to show off, and if it’s a girl then the boys want to do the same. Well, on Tuesday I got a new boy and a new girl in my ninth grade English class.”

Yep — been there, had that, Larry, although not two new in one day.

Bonnie wonders if her simile makes sense. Sure. It certainly has imagery to it, don’t you think? (poof)

My week is has been a clean blackboard, just waiting for exploding chalk dust to bury it until spring.”

The Great Thaw is on the minds of many in the winter regions, including Michelle, a friend from the National Writing Project.

My week is like black ice that cannot be melted or cracked–at least, not until a good thaw comes in the form of spring break (mid-March).

Matt is busy … with his Wii, and writes a simile as beautiful as a poem. (now move that arm and get that controller swinging, Matt!)

My week walked in beauty like a stone. We found and purchased a Wii which was like going to the dentist, getting a free toothbrush, and finding out you don’t have any cavities.”

Illya had a hill to scale but conjured up breakfast for a simile.

With my brain sizzling like bacon in the pan, I try to climb the mountain of preparation which will lead me to a successful course week of preparation of English teachers.

Ben B. was a bit, well, literary in his submission. Let’s hope his week ended better than it began.

This week’s Totalitarian unit was like Shakespeare — ‘a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Janelle is seeking tasty treats and new terrain.

My week has been like experimenting with new cuisine. There are some tastes you like, and some that you could do without…. but at least, you’re trying it!

Ann O., a friend from the Twitterverse and Delicious network, is new to Day in a Sentence and I welcome her words and her presence.

My week is like a marathon race with a long stretch ahead and much pacing needed but a clear eye on breaking through the ribbon at the end.

Eric compares his day to a movie and maybe he has some major stars lined up for the parts?

Today is like a slow motion moment in the middle of a movie action scene.

Karen is all about variety this week.

My day is like a Levenger catalog, with my pens moving me from my journal, to my Circa class notebooks, to my journal again, and then to a book with the page carefully marked with a Levenger bungee bookmark.

Alice‘s sentence comes via Tumblr, a microblogging application that I have not yet ventured into (just starting to Twitter, you know?). She had a terrible day and she had to recast her original entry (a bit of profanity filtered in) before settling on this culinary comparison.

Today was like a sandwich of filet mignon on buffalo chip bread: my desktop o/s was fried last night when the server crashed, so I had to be re-imaged; the school day went great; I got my cell phone lost/stolen at the end of the day.

Donna was playing some virtual “red light green light” due to weather conditions and the cancellation of many events in her life.

My day is like a traffic light because I start off in one direction and opps! the light is red so I can’t go.

Sara’s blog detailed her sick week with the flu (sounds like my house).

My Tuesday was as tipsy as a tilt-a-whirl, because getting over the flu is not as easy as it sounds!

Ouch! Dentist simile coming up from Cynthia. Bring on the laughing gas!

Teaching the Codys and Treys of the world is like having impacted wisdom teeth extracted without anesthesia day after day after day.

Ann M., a friend from Australia who just awarded me a Thinking Blog Meme Award (thank you!), had news from a parent:

My week has been like a merry-go-round, with the highs including a statement from a grade6 parent that her boy no longer plays computer games, but now just at school 4 weeks.

Tina, who is part of my Western Massachusetts Writing Project, composed her simile late at night, she says, and as vacation week was winding down.

Sleeping in during February vacation is like breathing underwater.”

Elona found her week in a jar in the cupboard.

My week was like a jar of crunchy peanut butter- most smooth but crunchy in a few places to keep it interesting.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a sentence. Next week, the Day in Sentence (in its traditional format) will be hosted over at the TeachEng.US site that Ben has set up as a collective resource for classroom teachers. He is always looking for new writers, so feel free to peruse the site during the week and give him an email holler if you are interested in contributing. NOTE: Ben has a classroom photo contest going on and you can get more info at the site.

Peace (in community),