My Alphabetized Existence by Shanie Armbruster

(based on The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Armbruster

It means crossbow in German. I like having a weapon for a last name. So many people pronounce it as Arm-buster which sounds like I’m an enforcer for the mafia. It makes me laugh.

Baking

Chocolate chip cookies were my favorite thing to make as a kid. I loved the taste of the cookie dough scraped off the beaters with my pointer finger. We had a cookie jar that my mom made when she was a potter, and I can still remember coming home from school, reaching in the jar and the heavenly first bite.

Cats

My mother is a cat person. We had a lot of cats growing up. Merlin, named after the magician, was my favorite, the long-hair,16 pound Maine Coon who disappeared for days at a time only to arrive at the door right at dinner time, meowing loudly to get in and be fed. Thus his name. I played too roughly with him, once, and he swatted me over both eyes, hard, with his claws retracted so I would get the message. I heard it loud and clear.

David

My brother’s best friend and my first French kiss on a winter night under a street lamp. I felt like a heroine from a foreign film – mature, beautiful, mysterious, weak in the knees. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my tongue, but he didn’t mind. Continue reading

Different Students, Different Needs: How Teachers Differentiate by Abby Mallett

A fourth grade teacher sits at her desk, the first rays of morning sunshine cutting through the blinds and striping the stained carpet. Her eyes move swiftly across the screen of her computer, open to a student’s writing from yesterday.  The only sounds are the click of keys and scribble of a pen as she types comments into the document and makes notes on a chart next to her.

The bell rings, jolting her out of concentration.  She quickly switches the document to a morning message to display on the screen for her students.  The teacher proceeds to the door, opening it with a smile.  She greets her students with a “Good morning” in a cheery voice.  The quiet room becomes a hubbub of children’s voices and movements as they unpack backpacks, sharpen pencils, and recount stories of yesterday’s adventures to their friends.

The teacher joins the hubbub, moving quickly, but unhurried around the room.  She stops at a student’s desk and discreetly gives him a graphic organizer to help with his morning spelling assignment.  “I hope your sentences make me laugh again today,” she tells another student with a wink.  A student struggling to hang up a backpack gets a hand from the teacher and a gentle point to remind him to read the morning message.  An energetic girl runs up to her, eyes lit with excitement.

“Guess what!” she exclaims. Continue reading

Aliens by Holly Hughes

I live with Aliens.
They’ve been with us for millennium,
but they are not like you and me.
With me they walk around on their
five,
six,
seven toed feet.
You know,
Hemingway loved them.
These aliens come from that Hemingway line.
Perhaps there’s something of Ernest in them.
They are dramatic after all.
Crying out at odd times.
Not too clear about what they’re trying to communicate.
Saying it regardless.
Staggering there and then here
on those
five,
six,
seven toed feet.
Willing to do anything to remain, the
Center of Attention.
Hacking sounds.
Piles left in hidden places
to be found
when others are present,
visiting,
or stepped on in the middle of the night.
Perhaps Hemingway was an Alien.
I can see him flicking his tail,
Certainty in his Being.
I provide for my aliens and they ignore me.
I put treats in their food to help their
skin,
digestion,
teeth
and they stare me down.
Really?
I’m not necessarily afraid of them, mind you,
even though I wake to see them sitting above me,
but it’s not like they’re my friends either.
They’re nothing like you and me.
They’re aliens.
That’s really all there is to say about it.

 

Holly Hughes teaches at Community Montessori in Boulder and completed CWP 1 in June of 2015.

“CWP has ignited a passion for writing in me that I wasn’t aware of before.”

On Thursday afternoon, I invited participants to share some golden lines, their favorite lines of writing that they’ve produced so far this week:

For months, dogs chirruped about the sheer fact that Max had survived the situation at all, let alone that it would forever launch him into a sort of notorious fame. Max was considered one of the baddest prairie dogs in the history of of Rabbitbrush.

 

We are so good at circling each other / avoiding what needs to be said / that we come together like an explosion of startled birds / wings flapping, feathers ruffled / startled and angry.

 

There is only this loud memory that needed to be written. Needed out.

 

I clumsily grasped the reins with the hand already filled with the bit and the bridle. “Easy girl. Easy.”

 

Ultimately we travel alone and need to know the world through the eyes of our souls.

 

Perhaps Hemingway was an Alien. / I can see him flicking his tail.

 

The din of kids yelling and screaming around me contrasted with the silent shame that began to overtake me like a dark cloud.