A little brown bird
Spied on a long black utility wire,
An expanse of forbidding dark gray sky
The little brown bird
Across the wire, tail bobbing up and down
His beak wide open, chirping
That little brown bird
Singing his cheerful song
Even as fat drops of rain began falling
One little brown bird
Like a herald of hope spreading a message-
Though storms come, believe our world will
A list of things that happened today:
* I filled in on hall duty when another staff member was running late this morning…got a few hugs from kindergarteners
* A third grader I worked with for thirty minutes spent the time getting up and down to get tissues to wipe his drippy nose (hope it is allergies- don’t want a cold now that the weather is getting warm, finally)
* I went to a professional development meeting where we did an “immigration simulation” in which my “family” was evicted and had to live in our car (not an unrealistic story for some of our students)
* Back at school, I was on duty again at dismissal
* A colleague who is on maternity leave was at school this afternoon (with baby! and grandma) to move things into the new classroom she will have when she returns to school next year… changing from third grade to first (so next year, I won’t be collaborating with her as I did this year, since I teach 3rd to 6th grade ESL)
* While I was over in the primary hall to see her, I ran into and chatted with a first grade teacher I worked with last year in summer school… comparing notes, we discovered we are both on the waiting list this year, not good news for two single moms with college students
* I talked with the Art teacher about a decision to take two sixth grade boys out of a special after school program at the Art Museum due to poor behavior
* I stopped for a “lemon ice” and few minutes to relax with a book after school
* I took a short nap waiting for my daughter to get back from a job interview (cross your fingers with me!)
* I heard about the interview over hamburgers, shared advice about putting in more applications while waiting to hear (nothing is a sure thing these days)
* I watched a favorite show on TV with my daughter and listened to developing plans for a visit from “the boyfriend” (I knew they would never make it through the summer apart!)
* Couldn’t come up with anything very original to write, so I decided on a list…
* Now I’m posting and then it’s good night, all!
One afternoon recently, I was sitting on the glider on my front porch- well, actually I had collapsed there for a breather in the middle of mowing the lawn. I was thinking about how hot and itchy I felt, more like a muggy August day than the end of April. Our spring weather has been crazy this year, mostly very cool, with a warm day thrown in now and then to tease us, then this hot day, and throughout April near record-breaking rain keeping the grass growing high, but the ground too wet to mow ’til the grass is out of control. The weather has mostly left us wondering what happened to spring and when is it going to finally arrive and stay. My thoughts were interrupted, thankfully, by a bird chirping away loudly and happily in the tree at the corner of the porch…
tree in pinkest bloom
bird perched in uppermost branch
sings out joyfully
Getting some ideas together for different forms of poetry students might enjoy trying, I played around with writing poems to explain the “rules” of some different forms. Here are the results:
is a kind
of poem that’s
very fun to write
add one more each line
five at last
Do it three times
Your arun is done
two, four, six, eight, and two
syllables respectively in
A triolet poem is a tricky thing
Only eight lines to write seems easy
Especially when the first line keeps repeating
A triolet poem is a tricky thing
You use rhyme to make it sing
But the task is not that breezy
A triolet poem is a tricky thing
Following the patterns- 3 3 2, ABa Aab AB- is a challenge, believe me!
Free verse poetry
Puts you in charge of the rules…
Do you want rhyme?
Do you want rhythm?
Do you want short lines?
Or will the lines be longer, with more than one phrase?
You are the poet, you make the decision!
Do you want one long stanza or lots of verses?
Will you use punctuation or not?
The poem is yours.
You are free to choose!
lay on the
curb, waiting for
someone to hear her
calling in distress.
heard, helped her up,
walked her back inside.
thinking what could
have…is even worse.
more than that she
hurt her sense of self.
as she was before?
to be her
as she has been ours.
My classroom has a sneaky leak. It has been “repaired” numerous times by our own building custodial staff and by staff from “downtown.” After each repair, a clean, new ceiling tile is put in place. It will seem all is well. It will rain, and one of the custodians will ask, “How is it?” and I’ll say, “All dry so far.”
Then there will be a big rain, and I will walk in to find the ceiling tile bulging or a big puddle on the floor and a wet stain on the ceiling. The staff will come in and take the tile down. Students will be distracted looking at the hole in the ceiling until a day or two (or week or two) passes with a dry floor- and the tile will be replaced again.
We got a new tile yesterday. This afternoon after dismissal, we had a “gully washer.” The rain came down fast and furious. It has continued raining all evening. I wonder what I will see in the morning…
The year before last, her family moved to the USA from Mexico. She spent most of that year in her silent period. She was taking language in, listening and showing understanding, and learning to read English, but without speaking.
Last year, she hardly spoke at all. When she did, her voice was just a whisper. It wasn’t that she had nothing to say. Sometimes, when we were working in a very small group, reading mentor texts and writing, she had very definite ideas about what she wanted to write. She didn’t find the confidence to speak up in her classroom, though.
This year, she has bloomed. She speaks freely with me and with her classroom teacher. We get to hear her stories of life with a little sister who is learning to walk and talk, and sometimes, bug her big sister! Academically, she is reaching grade level. She asks questions when she doesn’t understand. She raises her hand, eager to take part in class discussion. She can hold her own when working with a partner, even to the point of disagreeing with her partner and defending her position on occasion. Socially, she has made a best friend-and they became such talkers, their desks had to be separated. It was temporary… she soon learned to control her newfound freedom of communication.
She has found her confidence! She’s finding her voice!