Saturday, June 13, 2015

Celebrate: a handful of stars

It's summer and the first full week has come to a close. It's interesting to me how time seems to slow down in the summer.  The minutes move like a snail crawling across our garden wall.  Each summer I appreciate that feeling more and more.  

I am celebrating finishing my first book:  a handful of stars by Cynthia Lord.  It's a beautiful story about friendship, Lily and Salma. Lily lost her mom at a young age and lives with her grandparents who own the general store in a remote corner of Maine near the blueberry barrens.  Selma is the daughter of a migrant family who comes in seasonally to pick blueberries. Their friendship includes Lily's blind dog, Lucky, and Selma's love of art which helps both girls achieve their goal. A few of my favorite lines I lifted include: 

  • "different is good it makes you pay attention." 
  • "sometimes life is like a long road leading from one "if" to another" 
  • "takes all kind of people to make a world"
I am celebrating having the time to digest this book, to lift lines and think about how I will weave this book into my mentor text pile.  There are so many possibilities:
  • Beginning of the year with building community
  • Math time with a wonderful part about how hard fractions are yet "That's math for you. But the good part is that once you learn it, it doesn't change. You always do it the same way."
  • Writing Workshop:  How Cynthia wove so many important facts to help the reader learn about blueberries and mason bees. Both of which I didn't know anything about.
  • Reading: character development and how two main characters interact and the importance of secondary characters like her grandparents, Hannah and Dr. Katz (which was a fun play on words) 
  • Social Studies: an important message about migration and the idea of inclusion vs. exclusion.
  • End of the year letting go and taking a small part with you
I look on my time in the summer as a gift. My perspective (OLW15) each summer shifts more to gratitude. I have time to be writing again in my writer's notebook and reflecting on my blog.  I'm excited to be celebrating this week here is the link up.  Enjoy your Saturday!

Time to read, write and play with Ringo who is resting on the left.


  1. Hi Maria, sounds like a perfect week. You should post your picture with Jennifer Laffin on #iwritehere. Lots to see there this am. Have a wonderful next week too. Thanks for sharing about the Cynthia Lord book-on my list! I'm just finishing Pam Munoz Ryan's Echo-so good, too.

    1. Echo is on my TBR pile I've heard great things about that book.

  2. I loved Cynthia's book almost as much as I love her. The blueberry harvesting fascinated me because it is very different down here in the south. Your porch writing station looks so inviting.

    1. I totally agree with you! I have to admit I purchase blueberries all the time and never thought about the process. It opened my eyes.

  3. I love those lines! Do you keep a Golden Lines notebook? I have a file on Evernote. When I'm savoring a line during a read aloud, my students remind me that it needs to go in my Golden Lines notebook. I love that! I hope you will share this picture of your creative place on Twitter at #iwritehere. It looks very relaxing!

  4. Maria,
    I love how you wove A Handful of Stars into all aspects of your teaching day. This is true literacy. ( And I just love Cynthia Lord. )
    Thanks for this inspriing post!

  5. I keep all my favorite lines in my WNB it's one of my favorite parts of reading. Lifting lines and strong vocabulary. It's so fun to share with my students. I posted my picture on twitter thanks for recommending that to me. Happy day!

  6. It sounds like you had a lovely week. I hope the rest of your weeks of summer go just as slowly and allow you the time to reflect and write as you hope they do.

    1. Thank you for stopping by enjoy your week!!!