The day started, like any other Sunday. A light breakfast of bagel cream cheese and a few olives, washed down with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The powdered chocolate from cocoa grown in the rain forests of Ghana. Pure, refined and slightly bitter. It was creamy and had a sweet aroma. I glanced at my phone and noticed I had many messages from all my cherished children and dear friends wishing me a, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. I felt special. I had to share the feeling with my mothers, so I sent my mother-in-law and a few mentors messages of love and encouragement for this journey of parenting.
I then got ready for church, and remembered there was an event after lunch. I took my two choices of clothing with matching shoes and accessories, just in case one was not right.
After church, I stopped at my sister’s, joined the family for lunch and prepared for the Mother’s Day Garden-Tea Party. Many events in my life create images that stick and this was one of them. A colorful group of ladies, some familiar others not so familiar. We chatted and got acquainted with each other before settling down to a menu of delights. The youthful band surprised us with familiar music that sounded so perfect and mellow. It is only when you actually turned to see the band that you realized the music was live.
Meanwhile the setting was just extraordinary. Tables of two, four six and more had been set. With waiters at our beck and call. Mother’s being pampered. The garden was plush, I have grown to appreciate plants and ‘greenery’ so much. The garden had been cleverly nurtured, with a hut-like thatched roof of green palm branches. There was a mix of realistic looking artificial flowers for the décor, however there were beautifully colored roses as the center pieces on the plushly laid tables.
When we found our table, ‘Peach Tea’, none of the guests were seated. Soon after that, a few ladies joined us. The conversation started. The waiters served the most exotic tasting cold tea and kept refilling our glasses. They delivered the three courses on tiered servers. It seems scanty but definitely a delight to see and taste. It was filling, many choices, sweet and savory.
A remarkable experience. The sheer exuberance of the exquisitely dressed mothers or mothers to be. An escapade I am sure I will look forward to next year. Thanks to the organizers, like my children, this will live with me for a very long time.
Browsing through Instagram, I came across a post from one person that led to another. I usually read interesting posts but rarely comment.
This time, the post led me to another. To my amazement it was a challenge, one that I found very inviting, especially at this time of my school year (when my to-do list never diminishes).
A May challenge that asks for one bit of information a day. I found the right title for it, A little piece of me. I thought so, as by the end of the month I would have thought deeply about myself and experienced daily mindfulness at the same time.
I’m glad the post allows us to take a screen shot and answer the questions on our own or with friends. So here’s today’s ‘ask’ below.
I’ll wait till the end of the month to contemplate on all my answers.
During the March slice of life challenge, I collected many words from slicers, words I have never used in my writing. I vowed to use them frequently and today I have been able to dot some of them around, here in my poem about silence.
My weekly visits to R’s garden reveal many new surprises. It really is fascinating the way plants change as they grow. New additions are brought in weekly, so no part of the garden ever stays the same.
My annual March Slice of life, daily writing is no different. I am amazed by what I learn, the different structures of writing, new vocabulary, the variety of feedback I receive and learn from. Like the rich soil the plants in garden receive, I have been exposed to many creative ways of writing. I have been enlightened and this is helping me develop my writing in many ways.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Stacey and the co-authors at the Two Writing Teachers for the opportunity to slice daily in March, with other educators. I’m growing as a writer and my goal every year is to carry on writing with my various writing groups. My goal is also to ‘just write’ and to try and pop in to slice on Tuesdays. I appreciate this community, for nurturing and providing me with the sunshine required for my writing growth.
I appreciate how well you’ve been working on your essays. I know it has not been straightforward but I can see you are all working very hard to achieve a persuasive claim.
Tomorrow, you will be working on your body paragraphs, and as you have already decided on the reasons to support your thesis statement, all you have to do is to select the evidence and examples that help expand and explain your reasons.
Our next lesson will help you select the appropriate evidence, we will also share transitional phrases that will help you truly convince your reader.
Do let me know if you need help at anytime during the next lesson. There will also be student samples and our selected mentor text available to guide you.
See you during the lesson tomorrow, come prepared to do your best writing.
Yesterday’s slice was my thoughts about my lesson. Today I felt the need to write to my fifth grade writers.
I’ve been sitting here contemplating on what to write for my slice today.
I started a slice about my revision lesson during writing workshop and gave it up as I did not think there was much to report. When I started typing I realised I could share about the uneasiness of my students, as they had to read and revise the first draft of the claim for their persuasive essays. They wanted to carry on writing the next paragraphs of their their draft.
I asked them to spend the first few minutes reading their claim aloud to themselves to determine whether their hook, background information and thesis statement were convincing enough. Had they added reasons to expand their statement?
As I read through their first paragraph, I had questions for them. Had they thought about their audience? Who were they trying to persuade? Conferring with individuals and small groups, I drew their attention to some changes and addition to make and they had the checklist to refer to.
At the end of the lesson, I was really moved by the claims most of the students had coined. I made them aware that they had worked really hard and the work they had done was to help them understand the importance of revision.
At some point during the lesson, I questioned myself as a teacher. Was my initial mini-lesson last week, explicit enough? This is a reflection that is still churning in my head.
I went to watch a local play with friends last night.
This morning, I retold the whole storyline, with its themes and controversies to my sister. The play had several messages, linked to current affairs, the playwright, director always delivers with less than ten actors, also uses snippets of global incidents to connect with the general public. What he does well with in his shows is the application of lyrics from different songs, both local and foreign, to reiterate his message, during the play. The invisible, youthful band plays the selected song at the appropriate time, with the actor dancing and singing perfectly.
The power of using popular music charges the atmosphere and powers the whole theatre. The audience break into song (helping the actor relay the message) whilst jigging in their seats. I guess this is an opportunity or an unlabelled interlude for the audience to soak up the message, at the same time attaching the meaning of the lyrics to the part of the storyline. It is the playwright’s style of delivery and it works so well. He knows the audience will respond.
So the audience is pulled in by the powerful song, humor and the direct links with the part of the story. This actually draws them into the story, the interactive nature of the show reminds me of the call and response in pantomimes.
I have also got to mention the pre-play, show. When the invisible, youthful band play their version of the modern rhythmic Afro beats. This charges the theatre, sets the scene, as the audience walk in to the near perfect beats.
Thanks so much Leigh Anne, for the invitation to this year’s slicer writing retreat. This will be my very first writing retreat. I have been craving one since I started writing seriously. My first slicer party and my first ever writing retreat.
And now here we are, “in a cabin tucked away in a world of lush green fields surrounded by beautiful flowers blooming under blue skies and perfect temperatures.” I will be travelling to this location. I will plan this journey, flights and all. I’m glad the weather will be warm, so I will not need to find extra warm clothes.
I will bring:
Writing tools – Different colored of sharpie pens, many pencils and my sharpener. The tiny sharpener I travel will with everywhere, lodged in my cross-body bag. I am a pencil lady and read with a pencil in hand, that’s why I like to buy most of my books, as I annotate whilst reading. My steno note books are coming with me, that is where I brainstorm and think. I will bring a few as I am hoping to organise my thoughts and be productive. I have a couple of books I have that I will tuck into my bag, they are; 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Doodling for Writers. They were all recommended by my writing friends from Teachwrite. My Laptop will be with me for looking up synonyms, some research and publishing any pieces, but writing with paper and pen will be my first choice.
Food/beverage – I guess as I write best through the night, so a jar of my Douwe Egberts coffee will have to be tucked in there somewhere. It’s sure to keep me up for the times I write best. As I am used to my local snacks I will bring a few packets of plantain chips, for my midnight feasts, whilst writing.
Quote – “Life is such a gentle, treasured thing. I learn about it every minute. I think about it so deeply,” by Bessie Head, a writer I have discovered recently. This resonates with me so much, especially post -Covid and looking at the world around us. As we write, we are are learning and thinking about life and our lives now.
Thanks Leigh Anne for this opportunity to write with a focus. I’m glad I am getting to meet many writers for the first time! Maybe one day there will be a ‘real writing retreat,’ somewhere warm.