Sunday, December 14, 2014

For days when nothing goes well

I do not halve the words.
Irregardless of what you say.

Wind we talk, mine fallout
Like angry ducks shouldering
Mean metaphors.

You never here what I intense.
Conversions trip on tongues.

Are dialogue step falters.

I give up.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Meditations on Robert Frost

At thirteen, I received this book as a present from my Aunt Melody from Amarillo, Texas.

I really liked the short ones in those years: "Fire and Ice," "Nothing Gold Can Stay," "The Rose Family." Later I discovered the long narrative poems about marriage and miscarriage and misunderstanding, and glimpsed adulthood through the trees and hills of his landscapes.

Teaching Frost and poetry and critical thinking these last 14 years to seniors in high school, the poems have become part of my interior monologue. I can't choose a fork in the trail without muttering to myself, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." And so this poem.

Two paths

It's good multiple realities meet
A mathematical need.
Nice when math and mental anguish agree.
In all the possible eventualities,
I can still feel the one with you and me.

"Two paths?" "One traveller?" True.
But "long I stood?" No. Untrue.
It's an instant when time tears,
When your future comes unglued,
When your one path, becomes two.

There's no "kept the first for another day"
With this life I've since made.
Everyday we step further away,
And yet it's a relief to know fate is a mistake.
The best road is the one you make.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Change the World project

It's the season where my seniors choose projects and mentors and their futures. They amaze me with their creativity again this year. Inspired by our local food bank, Food for People, a group has decided to volunteer as gleaners for valley farms to donate produce to food banks and weekend backpack programs for kids, and another group from our HROP culinary program has committed to offering a multi-part cooking class for food-insecure members of the community, featuring donated produce and food bank foodstuffs. Another group has decided to take on public education about the risks of electronic cigarettes and the writing of county and city policies to prohibit their use in public. Worried about salmon and trout endangered by non-native squawfish populations, one group plans a fishing tournament to eradicate squawfish and encourage their fishing.

They do cool stuff. Last year, a student asked what my project would be, and his classmate piped up, "Um, duh. We're her project." I had to smile.

This year, I challenged myself to stretch out of my comfort zone and do what I can to make service project-based learning more accessible to different schools. I'm working with my good friend Rose Francia at Hoopa Middle School to write service curriculum for her 8th grade classes.

And I've decided to share the paperwork I've used with my seniors in the hopes that other schools can build from my efforts. I hope you find the shared folder useful on your journey to integrate service PBL into your literacy curriculum. I'd appreciate feedback. What could I do to help?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Flight and Ferguson

As anchored as I sometimes feel,
the birds swooping overhead remind me of


Winging in broad arcs
riding thermals I can’t see,
they don’t think of me,
don’t watch me in the day, or the dark.

All summer
They’ve been imprinted on the blue
Soundless and free over my
Car, walk, errands, cry,
Reminding me I can fly.

I don’t know what it would be like
If that feeling of flight was
Taken as casually as men in power
Took the lives of black sons in hoodies.

I see power, grace, flight.
If my children were in danger for being white,

Would I just see vultures?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Change the World

You can check out last year's Change the World video.

Thank you Tia McNaughton, Kyle Franck, and John Gearheart!

Or see the new logo:

Thank you Daniel Holmes!

But I'm also working on students starting their projects this year and still looking for a few more mentors. Anyone an expert on homeless in the Eel River Valley, perhaps someone from River Life Foundation? I'm also looking for someone who knows about translation volunteering, someone who specializes in health care for the Spanish-speaking community, and someone wanting to take on a benefit concert for music education for our area schools.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Experiment in found art

I really enjoy making a very different statement out of a home construction manual. My daughter and I played with gel pens and messages one afternoon. It's not my normal form of expression, but that's why it's worth doing. Reading the work of Austin Kleon sometimes inspires me and my students to think new thoughts.
 Steal Like an Artist