Ginkgo Tree in Verse

The Ginkgo tree,

Lovely Maidenhair tree:

Unique, beautiful, deep-rooted, patient.

Withstanding drought,

 winter salt,

air pollution.

Resisting snow and wind damage.

Fan-shaped leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze.

In autumn, a brilliant, saturated yellow.

Female Ginkgo’s fruit: a yellow orange, plum-like.

Living more than one thousand years,

Here with the dinosaurs.

A conversation starter for your backyard.


Leaves as delicate

as silk fans, the ginkgo tree,

shades me – an old friend.

An Easy Writer’s Guide: Smart Charts

Consider building smart charts through writerly discussions to help your students understand their choices and possible strategies to engage them throughout the writing process. These smart charts are really anchor charts that are created with the whole class. The teacher records the thinking of the students. When it is posted, students can continue to add to the chart as they think of new ideas. Here are some examples.


Planning                                                                          Organization

Draw a picture                                                                  introductions

Label a picture                                                                  satisfying endings

Draw a comic strip                                                            story map

Lists—expert list                                                               outline

Reading books                                                                    sequence of events

Photographs                                                                         graphic organizers

Reading newspaper or articles                                        transition words & phrases

Story stars (oral rehearsal)                                             text structure (c/e, prob/solution, etc.)

Mystery of Harris Burdick                                                    paragraph structure (topic sentence,

Revisiting writers’ notebook                                                       transitions, etc.)                                                       establish meaningful order

Author/illustrator podcasts                                               flashbacks, anecdotes

Brainstorming                                                                      bridge paragraph to the middle of Observing                                                                                                    a    story

Vocab lists – word bank


Revision/Editing                                                               Publishing

Minilesson on revision                                                      make a book

Color dots/highlight                                                           artwork

Praise/ponder/polish                                                           poetry

Rainbow writing (colored pencils)                                  class newspaper

Express lane editing (checkout)                                     cereal box

Read aloud (ear/eye conference)                                    writing a letter, sending it to an

Conference Clocks                                                                     audience

Peer revision                                                                         creating a game with directions

Spell check/technology                                                     writing a book talk

Franklin spellers                                                                  PowerPoint/technology

Proofreading party                                                               Online books

List of Language Conventions for grade                       Letters and postcards

Editing Checklist with 4-5 appropriate skills            Collection of family history stories

Motivating Kids to Write                                                   BARE books

CHOICE!                                                                                     Paperbag books

Picture books                                                                            podcasts


Read alouds


Shared experience

Make special books

Special markers

Crayons, pencils

Giving specific roles

Mind maps/heartmaps/handmaps

Writing territories

When Old Man Winter Comes

When Old Man Winter comes

In the middle of a snowy night,

December’s magic unfolds.

He sends playful snowflakes

that chase one another

through dark and stormy skies,

piling up on rooftops and branches,

covering pastures and fields,

silencing the world in whirling whiteness.

And the children awake with cheery cries,

Delighting in the changed landscape.

With open arms, they welcome him

Like a dear, old friend

Who has been away too long.

All Around Farm, Gwynedd Valley., PA 1998 20160425_065900