Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back to School

We started back today and I've already used so many ideas, concepts and materials from the CSUWP to plan and begin the first week!

I started today with Greg's I Wish I Weren't So... poems with my seventh graders and with the Where I'm From poems with my ninth graders. I used the idea of mentor texts as a bridge to writing and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY 120 STUDENTS WROTE A POEM! That is amazing. There are usually at least a handful of kids who can't ever seem to get started, no matter how helpful I think I'm being. The mentor texts, combined with the brilliant prompts, were just the ticket to give them the construct they needed in which to begin. Tonight they are decorating the covers of their writer's notebooks (thanks Sue!) and taping some of the quotes from Lorynda's demo on the inside front cover.

I am so grateful to the CSUWP for giving me such an incredible gift, and to all of you kick-ass teachers for sharing your blood, sweat and genius. Here's my latest poem (a bit different than the August anxiety ones that I've been posting lately), written after school today.


I am going to breathe verbs
all over your chair
and pour beakers of adjectives
on all the desktops.

I am going to rub the pencil sharpener
with nouns no paper can resist
and hang contagious phrases from the ceiling.

Your notebooks will run a fever
and your pens will bleed dry
in an effort to keep up with your
Brilliant Ideas.

Don’t bother washing your hands.

Antibiotics and tincture of echinacea
will only encourage me while
lowering your resistance.

This epidemic is airborne
piss-and-vinegar borne
and it doesn’t matter
what kind of immunity
you’ve built up
over years and years of
swimming around in
educational Petri dishes

because we are quarantined
and this condition is permanent
and the date to drop the class
was yesterday.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in September, so I can personally thank you and tell you again what a difference you've made in my life.


Monday, August 08, 2005


Any chance Tiffany would podcast and post the text of her Vitamin C poem? Gary and I went to the Mercury Cafe in Denver last night and heard the Denver poetry slam team in their last public performance before they head to Albuquerque for the national poetry slam competition. I though of Tiff, and I'd love to both hear and read her piece. Also, did you ever tell her about Hip Mama magazine? She should check it out. Kudos to Cindy, too, on her beautiful poem in the latest English Journal.

I'm still writing and blogging my poems, hoping to keep up the momentum and productivity through the school year. Looking forward to seeing everyone in September.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Podcast #17 -- Renee Esposito

Today's podcast is a piece of short fiction written by Renee Esposito. It'll blow your socks off. As always, send your feedback to the blog!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

New Writing Project Blog

Our friends at the Southern Colorado Writing Project in Pueblo are now blogging. Stop by and say hello!
Also -- where'd everybody go? Enjoying the last few days of summer? Afraid to blog now that the institute's over? Here're a couple of ideas to get you started:
1. What's you do with the last of your summer?
2. What new stuff is going to go into your classrooms this fall as a result of your CSUWP work?
3. Any good writing going on?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Podcast #16 -- Nicole Herr

Today's podcast is from Nicole Herr. In the podcast, she reads a piece she wrote about a Semester at Sea experience. Enjoy.