International School of Rumbai, Sumatra: Not just Monkeying Around.


Ever look out at the sliders, swingers and tag players on a
lively playground and think, what a bunch
of monkeys?

At the International School of Rumbai, playground monkeys
are not just metaphorical.  The school’s
campus, carved from the jungle by an oil company (now

Pasir Ridge International School

Coming around again to something brand new is traveling to a
foreign port and being met by familiar faces. 
Didn’t we meet before in Seoul? 
Didn’t we have dinner in Kota Kinabalu? I remember you from Cairo!

Michael and I

Changing Perspectives

When Michael Salinger and I were teaching in Morocco, we were introduced to a new fashion trend.  Teen girls were wearing the shortest of short shorts over tights and patterned stockings.  They obviously had studied the student handbook, which probably said “no bare legs up to your bum” or some such language, and

Baby Talk 2013

I recently wrote on a friend’s Facebook wall, joking about emotional displays in public, that I had thrown up while watching Bonnie and Clyde. True story, no flu symptoms. 
I have no trouble suspending disbelief in a movie. If someone sets a table for tea, I

Hate Was Not his Normal State

War is the Fiercest Art
The Luc
Bat poet knew

His country broke in two, therefore

He had to go to war.

His wife and child, heartsore,
waved bye.

The poet dared not cry.

He needed a clear eye to spill

Blood, strangers he must kill

Art for Malala


I received this email from a teacher I have corresponded with in Pakistan, who is looking to create the “the longest and most colourful card in the world’s history” for injured student activist  Malala Yousufzai.  Will you please help her reach her goal and have students email their artwork to her by October

Lies My Teacher (almost) Taught Me

I began by writing poems for my kids, envisioning a single collection for all ages, to be read by families, preferably fireside.

I have no idea where this fantasy originated since as a single parent, after I was done working overtime to make ends meet, after the kids’ play practices

The Poetry Friday Anthology

If you are looking for age appropriate poetry to share with your students, check out this new anthology ed. by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  It contains one poem a week for 39 weeks for each grade level, K-5.  Poems the kids can relate to, current, challenging, and engaging.  Poems for sharing and to provoke conversation

William Blake Enters the Fourth Grade

Oh, hark!  I hear the
conversation leading up to the inclusion of William Blake in the Common Core
State Standards (CCSS) Appendix of recommended literature for fourth grade.

Here’s a poem about a park. 
Fourth graders like to play in the park.

Not in my neighborhood, they mostly

Violence Hurts: A Discussion Starter

The past three months we have all witnessed the horrible reports of the shooting at nearby Chardon High School, the shooting at the theater in Denver, and the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.  Young Travon Martin was just walking home with an iced tea when he was shot.  Innumerable other cases wind

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