Between a rock and a melting place

Ajax (the special needs dog) is eating a pencil under my desk. I’m dressed for the gym but stalled here at the computer. I read the news — or most of it. I’m afraid to look at the article about the melting polar cap and disappearing glaciers. I already struggled through

Don’t know how to feel about this

Let’s say some school district, a big district, is putting together scripted lesson plans for the third grade, a program that is destined to grow up through all the grades. It is organized into 10 minute segments so that every teacher in the district can be at the same point at the same time

Parkside Elementary School, Goshen, IN

Goshen is in prairie country, flat and windswept. Tuesday morning dawned clear and cold — extra cold. The reception at school however was warm and welcoming. The students from Parkside are camping out at a school called (appropriately) Praire Elementary while their own school is undergoing an extreme makeover. But before

Poem the poem — Parkside teacher Matt Cooper had his fifth graders rewrite some of my poems, to “poem the poem,” as he describes it. Here one student rewrote “Which Way to the Dragon” as Which Way to my Teddy Bear.” 

Universal peace signs and lots of smiles. 

Illegal migrants — not an issue confined to USA

In China, rules are in place that require a visa to move from one province (like a state) to another. If a family moves without this visa to find work, say from a farming community to the growing city of Shanghai, they become illegal immigrants and thus are not able to enroll their children

Children at the Chinese Migrant School recite poetry by heart. Then I taught them a poem in English — my shortest poem. Everyone laughed and laughed.  

Jammers from Puxi perform a poem for four voices. Missing in the student poetry are poems about street crime (as so many are in the USA). Maybe because there is virtually no street crime in Shanghai beyond a pick pocket here and there and even that is rare compared to other large cities. 

Shanghai American School Puxi

You wouldn’t believe this campus. It is like a luxury community college state side. The staff and kids are all very dedicated to learning, you get that feeling just walking through the halls. A big highlight from my four day visit there was the poetry jam hosted by the middle school where

Poetry Jammers from the International School at Tianjin. After they finished performing my poetry, I asked them if they knew what the next step was. “Why, you need to write and perform your own poems.” And I know they will. 

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