Tag Archives: EIWP

My creative writing and “I Am” poem

It’s been longer than I realized since I last blogged on this site; I have spent a lot of time in connecting with like-minded teachers, especially ELA teachers, mostly through Twitter and some through Facebook. I have been very fortunate to meet many of them over the past two NCTE conventions (#NCTE17 and #NCTE18). And, I will be honest, I have been a bit intimidated by their success in various online media; if I wasn’t sure before if I had anything valuable to say, I certainly felt they had much more important things to say than I did. Imposter syndrome at it’s ugliest. So, I have decided to jump back on the blogging bandwagon (it is still a bandwagon, right?). I plan to post at least once a month about something I am doing in my classroom that is going well. And whenever I read a book that I think would be good in my classroom library, or when I read an ARC (thank you, again, #NCTE18), I will post those reviews.

But, to get back into writing, I have decided to post some previously writing creative pieces. I have written these over the years of my participation/coaching/co-directing @EIWP (Eastern Illinois Writing Project). Quite frankly, these posts are more scary to share than what I’m doing in my classroom since I don’t consider myself a creative writer. I have created a new page titled “My Creative Writing.” In the blog, I will post an explanation and a link to the piece.

My first piece is a poem in the format of an I Am poem:
I wrote this “I Am” poem in July 2006; on the one-year anniversary of a student’s death from leukemia, I found myself on a writing crawl to the local cemetery with the Eastern Illinois University’s Taste of the Writing Project. I thought the day would be sad but that I could handle the hour since my student was buried in another state. The panic attack set in within twenty minutes; I fled to a friend’s house and then spent the next few days of the Writing Project trying to write this poem (another participant had demonstrated the “I Am” poem format on the first day).


Circadian Rhythms of Teachers #SOL

About a week before the end of the school year, a state government employee, who only works 4 days/week, tried to tell me how easy teachers had it with summers off. I politely bit my tongue, although I did try to point out that I would spend much of my summer either in classes or planning for next school year and that the school district doesn’t pay me to work in the summer. She wouldn’t listen.

What I really wanted to tell her was that if she had to work with students day-in-and-day-out, then she would understand why every teacher looks forward to each break just as eagerly as the students. It’s difficult to convince a student of any age to focus and learn new material when they are busy watching the first snow of the season, or planning a Halloween costume, or looking forward to the first day that the pool will be open. And I know that I’m fortunate to be in a school with central air conditioning and a wonderful custodial staff that answers the phone every time I call to report that my classroom is too hot or too cold. Not every teacher is so lucky.

So my summer break is not a vacation (we travel over spring break for that). Until this summer, most of my days were spent at a sports field–some soccer, but mostly baseball. Lots and lots of baseball. I was very busy as a mom, and as a teacher-mom who wasn’t going to work every day in the summer, I volunteered to drive other players to games for parents who couldn’t get off work that early. I was keenly aware of my luxury of free time. My sons are now out of high school; it’s taking some getting used to not cheering on a team all summer long.

And like most of the prior 25 summers, I will be doing whatever I can to improve my teaching. I firmly believe that change is good. This summer is especially busy. I am participating in an online book club that I found out about through a Twitter chat that I follow most Sundays (shout out to Talks with Teachers and #aplitchat). Currently, we are reading Ken Robinson’s¬†The Element, a¬†nonfiction book that I probably would not have chosen to read on my own. It’s very positive, and I’ve already figured out how to use part of chapter 2 for a writing prompt next school year.

I have already gone through Level 3 training/Coaches Academy training for EIU TPS. That training started literally the day after the teacher institute day. I am now using that training to revamp my go-to informational texts resources presentation since I am giving that in two weeks. at an EIU Writing Project professional development day. I need it to be fresh for both me and my audience. When I give that presentation, I will also be giving a brand new presentation that I need to create. So it’s a working break, just different employers.

I am also attending a professional development afternoon this week (I am incredibly fortunate to live in a town with an education-oriented university); coaching for the EIU Writing Project; attending the annual ILA conference in St. Louis; and planning to teach two new-to-me courses that will start on August 18th. To be honest, I am really looking forward to each of those activities.

I know that sounds like I am either bragging or complaining, but I don’t intend to be doing either. I’m trying to be factual. Will I have a lot of time to do what I want and when I want to do it? Of course! I will get up and run some mornings; I will paint the interior of my house; I will sleep in or stay up late; I will not grade a single essay; and I will read a LOT of books. After 25 years teaching, I don’t know how to live my life any other way.

The circadian rhythms of a teacher are just different from the so-called norm.

Piktochart—a free site to make Infographics

In today’s technology luncheon, our tech guru shared the website Piktochart.com with us so that we can make our own infographics, or teach our students how to make infographics. It was easy to use, although, as with most sites, the really cool stuff requires going pro. In this case, pro is much too expensive ($29 per month!). Here’s what I made: