Friday, February 26, 2016

A Woman's Work- #PoetryFriday

Thank you Elizabeth Steinglass for hosting Poetry Friday this week!

I'm still rather new to this community, although there are so many familiar friends here! For now, I'm just sharing poems that I want to keep closer...poems that I've loved, but live in the middle of a book, somewhere on my shelf, out of sight and out of mind. My hope is by participating here on Fridays, I will have a collection of poetry at my fingertips, as well as learn new poems from all of you!

Today's poem is a favorite of mine because I am the WORST at "woman's work." 

A Woman's Work

By Dorothy Nimmo

Will you forgive me that I did not run
to welcome you as you came in the door?
Forgive I did not sew your buttons on
and left a mess strewn on the kitchen floor?
A woman's work is never done
and there is more.

The things I did I should have left undone
the things I lost that I could not restore;
Will you forgive I wasn't any fun?
Will you forgive I couldn't give you more?
A woman's work is never done
and there is more.

I never finished what I had begun,
I could not keep the promises I swore,
so we fought battles neither of us won
and I said, "Sorry!" and you banged the door.
A woman's work is never done 
and there is more.

But in the empty space now you are gone
I find the time I didn't have before.
I lock the house and walk out to the sun
where the sea beats upon a wider shore
and woman's work is never done,
not any more. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An Interactive Slice #SOL16

This afternoon, I am leading a workshop on "Diving into Blogging" in my district! 11 teachers have signed up to learn about blogging as an educator and ways to get your students started with blogging. You can see my presentation here. I'm planning on giving the teachers time to hop on the computer and start their own blog after several activities and discussions about how to get started. 

They also need the WHY for blogging too. I sent out a Google form last week to see what their prior blogging experience has been and what they are hoping to get out of today's workshop. Some indicated they want to learn WHY they should blog as a teacher and what the educational value is to them and their students. 

I found a few of my posts that speak to my WHY- the reasons blogging has been transformational for me as a person and a professional and included that in my presentation. But here's where today's Interactive Slice comes in! It would mean so much to me if you could, in the comments, share a reason that blogging has mattered to you. If you have a post that sums it up better, you could share that link. I'd like to show them this blog post this afternoon and the comments from other bloggers as a compelling WHY they should really consider becoming a teacher blogger!

Thank you to this community for helping me to find my voice as a blogger. It's only been a year since I started blogging, but it's been quite the year! All the encouragement and comments have helped me feel I belong here and now I'm trying to "pay it forward"! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Poetry Friday: The Rider

What a wonderful community! Thank you for welcoming me last week. I returned!

Today I am sharing Naomi Shihab Nye's poem, "The Rider." 

The Rider

Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me 
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn't catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight
pedaling down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles

A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Bedtime Poem for Alex #SOL16

For Alex

Tonight, in your glow-in-the-dark rocket ship pajamas,
we read Where is the Green Sheep?
I showed you my favorite sheep,
the bed sheep, who reads a book under the covers.
You asked me to guess your favorite sheep
And laughingly, I answered "the shooting sheep" 
except there's no sheep with a gun in the book
and it isn't really funny.

Tonight, you told your aunts and uncles
you want to be in the army when you grow up
so you can kill people.
Bad guys. 
And I suggested you be a meteorologist
because you have that funny personality
and like to predict the weather.
And no one gets killed over a 5 day forecast.

Your play is full of battles and wars
And bad guys you shoot to kill. 
I don't understand this type of play.
I know tea parties and teddy bears and 
dressing Barble for the big dance.
I know playing school with stuffed animals.
I want to understand 
but I want you to understand, too.

I want you to understand that bad guys
weren't always bad guys 
They were babies once, fresh & new
blinking in the light, innocent & helpless
at the mercy of those they were born to.
It's not so easy to know 
what anyone truly deserves. 

Tonight, as you sleep under your Lego comforter
I pray you focus on creating 
and making and building and growing 
and nourishing and envisioning 
and supporting and uplifting.
Let the battle be one for goodness
and acceptance and understanding.  
Let the bad guys we fight be our own selves
and the parts of us that judge and gossip;
the jealous parts, the greedy parts, the mean parts. 

And I still think you would make a really spectacular

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Poetry Friday: For a Five-Year-Old

I always enjoy reading the Poetry Friday posts, but have never taken part! I saw Kimberley Moran was hosting this week and thought I would give it a go! You can read Kim's post and link your Poetry Friday post here.

Last spring, my son Alex, four at the time, was squishing ants while with a group of kids. I talked to him about how that was unkind and how the ants have families. I appealed to his conscience.  He took in my words and worked on convincing the other children, passionately defending the rights of the ants.  A few weeks later, at the Memorial Day Parade, Alex had the misfortune of sitting on an ant hive on the curb. Ants in his pants! He was not too fond of them after that!

I was reminded of that story while reading the poem "For a Five Year-Old" by Fleur Adcock. Alex is five now and this poem really resonated for me. It made me think of the role parents play in helping their children to become people of character, and the faith our children so innocently offer us. 

For a Five-Year-Old

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
Into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain
That it would be unkind to leave it there:
It might crawl to the floor; we must take care
That no one squashes it. You understand,
And carry it outside, with careful hand,
To eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
Your gentleness is moulded still by words
From me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
From me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
Your closest relatives, and who purveyed
The harshest kind of truth to many another.
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.

-Fleur Adcock

Monday, February 8, 2016

We're All Writers Here #SOL16

Found Poem from 2/8 #twtblog Twitter chat 
on "Discovering the Writer's Life"

We're All Writers Here

We're all writers here. 
Real life is a treasure chest 
But I know the self-doubt
that leaves a writer 
staring at empty pages.

Be the chief collector. 
Be constantly the lead collector of ideas
 from our own and our shared lives.
We can’t ask students to do 
what we aren’t willing to LIVE.

Notice, notice, notice. 
You’re writing even when you’re not writing
Live your life with "wide awake eyes" 
Ideas are everywhere!

Our lives that are write-worthy

Be blown away by stories you have to tell
You have to feel it inside--
the story (or poem) you want to tell.

Your writing can serve a bigger cause

Ignore the voice that says: 
"This has been said before." 
You have to own it and say:
 "Well, I've never written about it.."

We're all writers here. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Those Were the Days" #SOL16

I read over the weekend that Jean Stapleton, the actress who played Edith Bunker, passed away. Reading about that reminded me of my "All in the Family" story. 

When I was in college, I had a summer job working with the most amazing little boy. I'll call him C.  C was brilliant, adorable, fun-loving and a pleasure to be with.  He had spinal muscular atrophy, which made a motorized wheelchair his mode of transportation, and limited some of the physical activities he could do independently or at all. My job was to be his private assistant while he went to summer camp and help him with some of his personal needs while also looking out for his health needs. He could not be outside when it was extremely humid or very hot and we would spend time in the nurse's office, playing card games and with toys he brought with him.  It was a fantastic, rewarding job.

But there was one thing I dreaded. C had some quirks and one of them was an amazing memory. He could name every Billy Joel song. He could tell you all the James Bond movies. And, for some reason, he loved the theme song for "All in the Family." Not only did he love it, but we had to sing it as a duet, multiple times a day.  

"Boy the way Glenn Miller played," he would sing and I would have to sing back in a squeaky Edith voice, "Songs that made the hit parade!" Over and over again. And over. And over. Again.  There comes a time when you just simply cannot sing the theme song to "All in the Family" one more time and I reached that point near the end of one of our camp days. C. cried hysterical, sad tears.  I could see people looking at us as he drove his wheelchair, sobbing and me walking sheepishly behind.  When his mom came to pick us up, and she saw the tears, I had to confess that I just simply could not sing Edith's part any more that day.  I felt like such a jerk. I should have just sang the song! Was it worth it for this little guy to be so dreadfully upset? 

It was a small bump in our time together and C. got over my refusal to continually sing "Those Were the Days." I loved my time with him and still think of him often. Being his friend was a gift in my life and I learned a lot, including all the words to "Those Were the Days" and how to sing my part, perfectly, just like Edith Bunker.