All posts by paulabourque

About paulabourque

Paula is a Literacy Coach K-6 in Maine and author of Close Writing from Stenhouse. She believes the best writing teachers are teachers who write. She knows it takes courage to put yourself out there and share your words with the world. She created this blog as a place where we honor those who teach and write and show how big their brave is!

last dance


Wind IMG_2186


a poor

dance partner






#micropoetry    #SOL18

Maine endured a terrific wind storm last fall that left many without power for days on end. We could hear the wind through the forest and the crashing of timber. It wasn’t until this winter, when I could strap on snowshoes and scale the mounds of snow deep into the woods,  that I witnessed evidence of that destructive dance.



face of hope


They rise from their desks
and take to the street
with cries of heartbreak
but not defeat.
With determined fire
they strive to cope
and rise from the ashes,
the face of hope.



At a time when turning on the news generally causes me to cringe with despair, my heart soared at the sight of students across the country walking out of their classrooms yesterday. (My son would have been among them had we not had our millionth snow day).
I feel optimistic for our future watching these young men and women speak truth to power. I am grateful to each and every one of them! This is the face of hope!

snow haiku

snow falls- flake by flake

but rises fast- foot by foot

moves slow- scoop by scoop



Here in Maine, we are in the middle of our third nor’easter in two weeks that has dumped at least a foot each time. This is our 8th snow day (2nd this week) and winter isn’t over.

Fortunately, we’ve had melting in between storms to keep the snow from burying us.
Unfortunately, the timing hasn’t been great for keeping school in session.
Fortunately, I love snow and it’s beauty.
Unfortunately, I also love summer and it’s beauty. I want to have some time away from the classroom to enjoy it before June ends! 

My Zen word for the day is acceptance.




We don’t need
to harden
our schools,
Our students’
are hard enough.
They need
soft places
to pursue

#MicroPoetry #SOL18

There is no Amendment more sacred than this declaration….”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am sickened by the talk of “hardening our schools” It’s a ‘get tough’ soundbite that has disastrous implications for our nation’s public school children. Arming teachers will not deter a suicidal killer; they won’t be scared, but our children will be.  This vision of school looks more like prisons or warzones. Our children need books, not guns…calm, not violence…teachers, not body guards.  There is so much wrong with this thinking that I can barely breathe thinking about it. This Twitter Thread demonstrates how hard it is to put teachers in the position of killing one of their own.






The thing about
is I always
   stumble a bit
      to hit the reset
but after I wipe
    the sleep from my eyes
       the view from here
is spectacular.




#MicroPoetry   #SOL18

The first few moments of Mondays are always the hardest. My bed feels so warm, my weekend was filled with family, my time was my own…the alarm disconnects me from all that. I usually lie in bed for a bit and let the week come into focus, and when it does I am usually eager to greet it. I love my job. I love the students. I love the teachers I work with. My worlds just overlap a bit too abruptly at the crack of dawn on Mondays.

Happy Monday, Slicers.


Don’t mind
Choosing to spend a little time
Away from family in exchange for
Meaningful learning and
Professional connections to
Support our passion and growth as teachers.



#MicroPoetry  #SOL18

Yesterday I attend an EdCamp in rural Maine organized by teachers…for teachers. If you have never attended an EdCamp, I cannot urge you more vociferously.  I always feel so energized after immersing myself in a day of self-directed learning with such passionate, life-long learners. A big thank you to the teachers at Maranacook Community School who put in many long hours to make #EdCamp207–a FREE professional development– so successful.  Thank you also, to every teacher who stepped up to share and collaborate and make this day so meaningful. If you’d like to check out our learning you can click on our Sessions Schedule for links to notes and resources.



you get good news
and no one knows
the private celebration
you are having

no one knew
the private struggle
you were living.


#MicroPoetry   #SOL18

There are many variations on the quote by Wendy Mass, Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  The older I get, the more I find this is true. The students we teach, the colleagues we work with side by side, and the friends we love all face struggles and challenges in life that we know nothing about. Life is filled with joys, but also suffering. When we face our own challenges and stresses we can appreciate joys more sweetly, and hopefully anticipate the silent suffering of others more compassionately.  A recent health scare brought this home to me. I am grateful for good news, but I am reminded it that not everyone does, and we often never know.




Love is
venturing out
into the cold
long after your bride
has snuggled down
to clear her way
into morning.


#MicroPoetry   #SOL18


Love evolves into something deeper than roses on the table and dinners by candlelight when you have found your soul mate. There are a thousand acts of love that pass between two people in a lifetime-the key to longevity is selflessly offering them and being woke to receiving them.








the greening.



#micropoetry    #SOL18

My land abuts a cemetery that I frequently walk. It is so tranquil and quiet, especially in the winter. I took this photo at sunset and contemplated a number of existential questions. However cold or dark or barren it gets, life seems to find a way.

As I look at the slices across the country of springtime arriving I am eager for it’s arrival here…and yet this is us:  CLICK FOR A TASTE OF MAINE