Words on a Limb Interviews Trilby Plants

I met Trilby Plants on our Facebook Page. We connected and spoke about how important it was to support each other in the writing community. I read up on Trilby and found that she has led a fascinating life.

She shares that she was immediately hooked on words when, at the age of four, her mother read her Gulliver’s Travels. There began her love of all things speculative and fantastical. All her life she’s been telling stories about fairies and creatures – real and imagined – and things that go bump in the night. Trilby is currently editor of The Petigru Review, the yearly literary anthology of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her sports junkie husband in Murrells Inlet, SC, where she writes, knits and plays golf.

Trilby took some time away from golf clubs and knitting needles to sit under our Author’s Spotlight. Among other great information, she shares some great tips for beginning writers. Take a look!


About writing …

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
When I was in fourth and fifth grade grades, I lived in a tiny town in eastern Montana. My teacher, who was ahead of her time, had us writing and illustrating little books. She sent one of my drawings and a book I wrote to the Montana State Fair. I won blue ribbons on both. I was hooked on stories.

Both my parents were avid readers, so books and magazines were plentiful around our house.

Then life intervened – growing up, college, marriage, career and children. Along the way I dabbled in poetry, nonfiction, short fiction and the inevitable first novel, which remains in a box under my bed. As a teacher I channeled my love of story-telling by encouraging writing. My first children’s book, Hubert Little’s Great Adventure, came from a decades old story I wrote along with my students when I first began my teaching career. I scanned the old illustrations, Photoshopped them into parts, used some digital backgrounds and put the book together. It was purely a labor of love for my then three-year-old granddaughter. Hubert will have more adventures. Now that my granddaughter is reading everything she can get her hands on, the next Hubert story might be a chapter book.

What book(s) has most influenced your writing?
My mother read to me and my brother when we were young. The first I remember was Gulliver’s Travels when I was four. I loved Swift’s complex language and the imagined journeys to faraway lands where Gulliver met fantastical beings. By brother, a year younger, only remembers the scene where Gulliver urinates on the town to save it from a fire.

I am a voracious reader. I loved Ray Bradbury’s stories. His blend of the ordinary with the fantastic appealed to me, as did his somewhat literary style.

When and where do you prefer to write?
I find myself most productive during the day, usually after lunch. I’ve never been much of a morning person, so I use mornings to ponder ideas and afternoons to bring them to life. My desk is in our guest room and looks out at a berm of trees. Squirrels’ entertaining antics force me to look away from the computer every once in a while.
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Back-to-School Favourites

GravatarHere it is – a collection of my favourite Back-to-School literature. Some are new, others are older classics. Please feel free to share your discovered gems in the Reply box below. I will continue to update this list, so please come back and check again (because we can never have too many).


The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten
Maureen Fergus
Kids Can Press

A kindergartener invites her mom to class and discovers there are some things kids are better at than parents. This book makes a perfect gift for readers who are about to start or have recently started school.


Llama Llama Misses Mama (Llama Llama)
Anna Dewdney
Viking Juvenile

Strange new teacher.
Strange new toys.
Lots of kids and lots of noise!

What would Llama like to do?

Llama Llama feels so new . . .

It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back?

Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

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Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar???

handJar

Shhh, don’t tell them, but it was me!

Here is a fun and tasty idea for the first week back to school …


Print and cut-out enough cookiecookiesLyrics templates so that each student has one with their name written on the back (you may want to invite students who are able to write their name independently, to do so prior to beginning). Place all the cookies in a jar and with all the students sitting in a circle, introduce the song, Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar.  While singing, pull out one cookie at a time and hold it up for the class to read. You may want to help by encouraging students to look at the letters for clues. For example, “This person’s name begins with the letter B, which makes a bbb sound.  I wonder whose name this could be?” If you like having your students wear name tags during the first few weeks of school, you may want to invite them to take off their tags at this point and look closely at the letters in their name. Throughout the day, continue to pull out more cookies from the jar until each child’s name has been called (if you have a small class, one sitting may do).

cookiesWritingYou might also want to revisit this activity with a small group of students or else with a different focus in mind (i.e., sorting: girls and boys, long names and short names; counting: number of letters in each name, number of students; graphing: organizing the information, etc.).  I like to repeat this activity several times during the first couple of weeks of school. Students are quite amused by it and it is a great way to learn each other’s names while learning important skills at the same time. As an extension, I prepared a follow-up writing piece where students are invited to write their name and draw a picture of themselves eating cookies (a great time for an art lesson).  While some students may be able to write their name independently, others may need to copy or trace the letters from their name tag (tracing over a highlighted name works well too).

cookieTemplatesThe jar can then be put to further use by placing it somewhere in the room for students to access during Centre/Play time. Depending on the various skills you introduced with the activity, students may want to explore some of them independently or in a small group (i.e., counting, sorting, etc.).


** To download a copy of the song, cookie templates and follow-up writing activity, press on the cookie jar below.

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sketchCookie

Thank you and have a sweet and fabulous start to the school year.

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Lora

Please Stay Awhile

peekingGirl

Hello everyone.  Hard to believe, but the summer months are drawing to a close.  September is right around the corner and a new school year is about to commence.  For us, teachers, it is that time again – setting up, organizing, preparing and planning for the year ahead.  As we get ready to open our doors and our hearts to the newest treasures, I would like to share a poem I wrote, welcoming everyone on this great journey together.  Feel free to download a copy of the poem and use it in your classroom – just click on the image below.

PleaseStayAwhile!

One of the things I like to set up at this time of year is individual student portfolios.  I designate a specific area in the classroom for showcasing each child’s work in a bulletin format.  Throughout the year I make sure to add new writing pieces to each child’s portfolio, highlighting their growth and changes over the course of the year.  It is always fascinating to see their progress, however big or small their steps may be.

boyPeekingAs an extension to the poem, Please Stay Awhile, I prepared an initial portfolio assignment.  Toward the end of the first week of school, students will be invited (in small groups) to sketch a picture of themselves and write their name.  Please note that this is not an assessment piece.  It merely gives me an indication of where my students are at – a point of reference for each child’s starting point.  It is also a great way for me to see what my returning SK students retained from the previous year.  Perhaps the best use of this task is that it allows me to plan my program in a way to address whole-group as well as individual needs.  Feel free to download a copy of the template by clicking on the image below.

GoodNews

Happy Start-of-the-Year everyone.  As always, your comments and feedback are most welcome.

If you enjoy the Free Teacher Content, please let us know by pressing  Like button
or visiting us on our Facebook Page.

Thank you,

Lora


Creative Commons License
Please Stay Awhile by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You are Enough – You Matter!

08a37230a6bf842869d68b5ccc2ead17  It’s For You

Originally posted on

I was thirteen when someone very close and dear to me was ready to give up – ready to leave behind their whole life and not wake for another day. Here we are seven years later and I remember this day vividly, like it was yesterday. It was a traumatizing and painful experience but what pains me today the most is my reaction to it. My anger and disgust towards her. How could she possibly be so selfish to leave just like that? How could she be so stupid to think that this would solve everything? How could she do this to me and everyone that loves her? Why would she even do this? Nothing made sense. Nothing.

I wish I could say that when by some miracle she made it because she was found and brought in on time, that I felt joy and relief. That my heart was filled with love and happiness and that all anger was gone. I wish I could say that I understood. I wish I could say that I ran up to her with open arms and a smile, held her hand and told her it was all going to be ok – that she had my love and support unconditionally. I wish I could say that why she did what she did made even a little bit of sense to me. But I can’t say any of that.

Most of all, I wish I could say I knew it was depression and I understood that she was sick and I could not blame her for this. But when you’re thirteen, the ignorance of your teenage years doesn’t always allow you to think about others. And all I thought about was how could she have put me through that. For years I was upset. Years. And then one day I turned around and became an advocate for mental health. Because finally, I understood.

So to all those suffering from a mental illness, this is for you.

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And Then There’s Darkness

old lady  Slowly she arrives at her destination.

Just before reaching for the door, she adjusts the glasses over her thinning grey hair. The doors today seem as heavy as her weary heart.

She hits the large wheelchair button instead and waits as it slowly opens, welcoming her, one last time. A bittersweet smile paints her lips as she recalls days long ago. Continue reading