We need ALL of us!

Temple Grandin has Autism Spectrum disorder. Her life has been celebrated in her many books (Animals in Translation, Animals Make us Human, Different…Not Less, The Way I See It, The Autistic Brain..to name a few), and recently, in a biographical film of her life. She is a doctor of animal science and a professor at Colorado State University. Most notably—she is an autism activist and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior (humane treatment of animals, even those headed to slaughter). Both movements are the focus of her life. She also created the “Hug Box,” a device to calm autistic children.

As long as standardization in Education is here (and it seems, to stay), we are still mired in the process of sorting kids, no matter how loudly the profession screams for differentiation, culturally responsive teaching, and all of the other current (yet not really new) methods, theories, and strategies that focus on student-centered pedagogy.

Temple Grandin’s TedEd speech reminds us that we are all all kinds of “smart” and we need ALL of us Listen, Think, Enjoy, Share.

Poetry Workstations

Poetry Workstations

Kids plus poetry plus podcasts–what’s not to LOVE!!!

Another Teaching Channel winner–check it out!

50 Shades of Red

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow….

Hopped over to Sherwin Williams online and whoa! MORE than 50 shades of red!Here are the 50 I chose….imagine the fun kids could have with this–pick any color–give them names.

You’ve all been to the hardware–Lowe’s, Home depot, etc…or to the paint store…where there are racks of all those paint chips with the varying shades? What if the kids assigned vocabulary words to varying shades??

Here’s my list, compliments of Sherwin Williams!

Positive Red…Show Stopper…Heartthrob…Gypsy Red…Real Red…Ablaze…Fireworks…Habenero Chile…Wild Currant…Red Bay…Red Tomato…Rave Red…Bolero…Crabby Apple…Rambling Rose…Fireweed…Canyon Clay…Red Barn…Rustic…Firebrick…Cherries Jubilee…Radish…Valentine Red (Yay!!)…Heartfelt…Pink Flamingo…Coming Up Roses…Stolen Kisses…Coral Bells…Foxy…Cajun Red…Copper Red…Rosy Outlook…Gracious Rose…Appleblossom…Bold Brick…Hopeful…Candy Apple…Cranberry Zing…Red Rose Bouquet…Watermelon Smoothie…American Rose…Red Alert…Red Raisin…Cherry Tart…Raspberry Crush…It’s the Berries…Red Baron…Campfire Blaze…Lady Love…Wild Heather

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fruit Haiku–why not?

My email last week from The Teaching Channel posted this lesson that combines vocabulary with the poetry form of haiku. If you’ve visited my “other blog” you know how I love the play with words in the short haiku form.

Kids do, too!

Watch and enjoy–teachers–perhaps you can use or adapt. And..if you have not visited The Teaching Channel and subscribed (FREELY) to this wonderful website, you really should!

I have also attached the lesson plan for the Fruit Haiku activity.

Fruit Haiku


poemcrazy: Freeing your life with words

I first discovered poemcrazy, by Susan G Woolridge, during my summer at Sunbelt Writing Project (Auburn University). That was almost 14 years ago. Today my copy is dog-eared. I return to it for personal sustenance, motivation and inspiration, and have also used it hundreds of times to do the same for my student-writers.
So, what is it that pulls me again and again to poem crazy?

It’s uncluttered. The “stuffiness” (a sixth-grader description) of poetry is not in this book. Woolridge writes in a fresh, friendly style that makes you feel like she’s your neighbor and hey, if she can do this, you can too. And, she provides easy paths to follow to writing your own poetry. Short, digestible chapters that end with lessons make this book manageable for teachers, and for self-study.

Woolridge shares ways to help us free the words, images, feelings and thoughts that bounce around inside each of us. She helps us to discover the poetry in the everyday of our lives. She reminds me a lot of another teacher/writer who inspires me–Natalie Goldberg. Like Goldberg, she shares her stories in often amusing ways, and invites us to discover our own. Woolridge’s workshops with adults and children, including adults in recovery, and teachers in training, show us that anyone can write poetry, that poetry is the essence of our daily worlds.

If you take a trip to Amazon, you can peek inside poemcrazy.



Through the (school) year with poetry–Poetry 180

Since I started February with a poetry post, I will continue this month with posts that focus on poetry and teaching poetry.

Poetry 180

Let the poems come to you! If you sign  up to follow this blog, a poem a day will be sent–for the 180 days of the average school calendar. Based on former poet laureate Billy Collins’ book, Poetry 180, this teacher/blogger searches to find poetry that her middle school students will likely have prior knowledge of the poem content or context. If you don’t wish the daily email, the site is extensive and you can browse to your heart’s content. And, I love the idea!

Happy February!

February is Valentine’s month, and here is a Valentine for you!

This link will take you to a broadcast of a 2008 NPR All Things Considered program that features former poet laureate Ted Kooser sharing the scoop on his little book of poems called simply: Valentines. The little tome came about from a personal story that is delightful. I take my copy out every February.


I hope you enjoy this treat. Not only does Kooser share the story behind Valentines, but you can listen to him read several of the selections from Valentines on this site.