Tag Archives: teacher

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).

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My toolbox

Last week, I attended a workshop put on by one of the national companies that provides professional development for teachers. This one was to focus on the “rigors” of the Common Core. I’ve been attending workshops on the Common Core standards about twice per year for the past couple, and I’ve even presented at conferences and workshops, but I just feel that there is something more that I could be doing as a teacher. I hoped that this workshop would provide the final nail to connect everything and make my lessons extraordinary.

But there was no nail; not even some glue. Just a couple ideas that I could use to fill a tiny crack. As I filled out the evaluation, I had my aha! moment–my toolbox is relatively full. I don’t need a new hammer–our department has created quarterly unit plans and is working on common quarterly assessments. I don’t need a new screwdriver–I¬†created a weekly lesson plan template that works (when my schedule is not interrupted by snow days, tornado drills, standardized testing). I don’t need a new box of assorted screws and nails–I’ve been amassing teaching resources and strategies for 23 years.

So, what to do now? I have to return to my New Year’s resolution: renew through perseverance. I need to stick with what I am doing and be willing to make changes as needed, but, more importantly, I need to feel confident that I have what I need to teach my students.

I have started a couple different blogs but never followed through (this one included); to build my confidence, however, I have decided to post for everyone (whoever that may be) what I am doing as a teacher. I will start with Kelly Hines “20 Day Blogging Challenge” (http://kellyhines.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/self-initiated-blogging-challenge/), ¬†which will help since I currently have a student teacher in my classroom and I am not directly lesson planning nor teaching.

I welcome any feedback–support or suggestions!