Posts Tagged ‘language arts’

Going with Plan B

April 18, 2017

I wasn’t going to have them watch it.

As part of my daily blogroll, I came across the wordless animated short “How to Wait for a Very Long Time,” and the first thing I thought as I looked at the title was, “This will be a quick way to teach my kids patience and persistence.”

And then I watched the video. It’s about 3 minutes long. Go ahead and click here to watch. (I promise I’ll wait for you.) You may as well, because I’m spoiling it below.

Needless to say, this video is NOT about patience and persistence.

I worried that students would be let down by the ending. That they would be disappointed with how abruptly the guy dies at the end. That they wouldn’t see the point. That on this day, which marks two years since my brother’s passing, I would not be able to manage teaching anything close to this subject matter. That it was better to go forward with my plan book as written.

And yet. When a great opportunity to have rich discussion or work on literary argument arises, I’ve can’t help but grab it. So…onward.

As a group, we watched the video three times.

First time? I stopped at the title and had the kids predict what they thought the lesson of the story was. That’s just before I confessed to them that MY prediction was dead wrong. Then they just notated plot.

The ending surprised them just as much as it did me. There was a lot of, “Whoa.” and “Oh!” and “Wait…what!?” We spent time sharing our surprises and questions. And yes, ALL of us fell for the easy predictions from the title. Silly us.

Second time? Pick up on everything we missed the first time. Talk to people around you. What’s the ONE THING you NOW believe is the point of this story?

Third time? Note the evidence to support your claim…then get writin’.

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Once again, my kids surprised me.
Once again, they inspired me.
Once again, they allowed me to see things in new ways.

Proving, once again, that some of our best teaching moments aren’t the ones we put in the plan book.

 

 

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Mother’s Lament (NaPoWriMo Day 9)

April 9, 2013

I can taste it,
Like the first bite of a hot-fudge sundae
Or a gooey, cheesy pizza
So delightful
Rich
Decadent,
Yet well-deserved.

I long for it
From deep within my bones
I hunger
I ache

For a
Good
Night’s
Sleep

Why I Don’t Write Limericks (NaPoWriMo Day 7)

April 7, 2013

Sometimes as a matter of course
My thoughts into structure I’ll force
In my strong efforts I’ll
Replace substance with style
(Putting the cart before horse)

Signs of Spring – National Poetry Month Day 6

April 6, 2013

Signs of Spring

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The hostas, in hushed whispers
Poke their heads from the earth
And signal an all-clear

The crocus responds
Gentle, persistent,
Not wishing to interrupt
But clear to any who listen

And others, in turn, join the crescendo:
Daffodil, tulip, forsythia, lilac

Silenced, I join the world in
The deep, full breath
I had almost
Forgotten how to take.

Do You Remember Me? National Poetry Month, Day 5

April 5, 2013

Do You Remember Me?

You…
You, with that faded bonnet,
The microscopic handwriting,
The comics you drew me,
The moldy mess we excavated from your desk,
The orange sweatshirt you always wore,
The April Fool’s joke you played on the class,

How you didn’t speak until February,
How your grandma was your rock,
How you asked question after question after question,
How I worried about the sadness I sometimes saw in you
How I carried so much of you with me:
Your essays, your homework, your worries…

…You.

You, who I sent out like ripples
Wondering,
Awaiting your return
Like a present
I get to keep opening.

 

Why I write – Poetry month day 4

April 4, 2013

Why I Write

There is a certain
Satisfaction
That comes with cooking a good meal.
It’s the love stirred in
The effort of smelling, tasting, listening, editing
Until it seems just right
And the hungry ones take it in
And where there was once noise
There is the quiet
Of grateful and appreciative chewing.

And I think,
This is what I made, this piece
Of me I served out.
They like it,
And they are
Eating it up.

Priorities (National Poetry Month Day 3)

April 3, 2013

Priorities

Sometimes when I shower, I
(full of distractions) grip the soap
Too tightly, and
It pops right out of my hand.

I used to
Reach for it blindly,
Block it with my elbow,
Slow it down with my knee,
All to keep it from
Hitting the shower floor;
A valiant effort
That many times worked.

Until
One morning, my distracted self once again
Grabbed the soap.
As it slipped through my hands,
Time
Slowed
Down
And I thought
Well, maybe.
Maybe it would be okay this time
And no one would be hurt
And no one would get angry
And heroics look silly anyway
And I maybe could just

Let
It
Fall.

Poetry Month – Entry 2

April 2, 2013

The Poem I Didn’t Write

 

Was the one about
Our favorite tree,
The one out front that you can’t get your arms around.
The one my boys and I picnic under
On lazy summer days while we
Watch the drivers
Pass life by

The tree that grants quiet strength,
Steadfast devotion
(not unlike my father)

The tree my children worry someday will fall,
Or get sick and die.
What will happen when it is gone?
I can’t picture the changed landscape,
The lack of shade
The empty space.

The poem I didn’t write
Wanted to be about our favorite tree, yet
Sank its roots too deep.
It waits for me, unfinished
Awaiting a time
I am ready to dig.

-April 2013