McCord Junior High, Sylvania, OH

This was fun — They broadcast my assembly presentation from McCord Junior High to two other middle schools, using all kinds of technology. In the old days, they would have bussed the other schools in, but instead they saw me on a screen. The pluses were that I could see (or be seen)

Microsociety in Toledo

Birmingham Elementary is a Micro society school ( – the kids, the first graders, asked me about being a poet as a job. Did I set out to make money at it? Was it always just a hobby? The kids were engaged and busy working on building their community.
In the

Back home at Bay Village Middle School

This is the first time my daughter Katie and I ever did a teacher workshop together — at her school, which was much more stressful for her than for me. What is it about presenting to our own colleagues that freaks us out so much. I remember feeling the same way when I

Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville is south of D.C. and a full day at school is followed by a long drive back to Cleveland. So many flights have been cancelled that it was impossible to get a flight that would get me back in time for my day at Bay Middle on Tuesday. Michael did the driving

Cincinnati, OH

The Ramada Inn is set for rennovation, but unfortunately for me, not before I pull in late Thursday night. The room smells of old smoke, ground into the dingy carpet and painted on the walls. In the bathroom is a whirlpool tub that no longer whirls and a steam apparatus that must have

A day to celebrate

21 years ago today, Katie, Kelly and I were stopped at a traffic light in North Olmsted, OH talking about whether or not we should continue cable or cancel and save the money. When we all woke up, we were disoriented and bruised. We had been hit from behind by an absent minded

Topeka, Indiana

This is Amish country in Indiana. At least half of the kids in this district don’t watch American Idol and wear simple clothes. Whenever I have contact with the Amish community I wonder if the rest of us aren’t missing something a little less hectic. The drive was golden with buggies on

When did it become cool to be dumb?

This is a question that has been haunting me. The attitude seems to start around middle school but it projects itself into the political arena all the time. Maybe doubting the intelligence of the world is simply a rite of passage, like the rite of passage where adults upon reaching a certain age

Westerly Elementary School

A week at Westerly — this is the elementary school both my daughters attended. I was lucky enough to spend the week there doing writing workshops with the third and fourth grades culminating in a grand poetry jam on Friday afternoon. The auditorium was darkened, the stage set, names drawn and many poems

Westerly’s Poetry Jam 

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