Don’t Go Disappointing Me

The elections are fast upon us, and like many, I am keeping an eagle-eye on the developments of the economy, the wars in the Middle East, and the leadership qualities of the two presidential candidates seeking to get my vote. I guess I haven’t made too many bones that I am mostly independent, leaning left on most issues, and I have been impressed by Sen. Obama. (But I also once voted in a Republican primary for Sen. McCain when he was facing off against Bush.)

I was thinking of Obama and McCain the other night, and how they seek our allegiance and then, all to often, abuse it with the whispers in their ears from lobbyists and advisors and others. I always worry they will just disappoint me again.

And so, with some taste of bitterness, I suppose, I offer up this song:

Disappointing Me
(Listen to the song)

I’ve lived a long life
Oh, the stories I could tell
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

The path is paved
with empty words that they will sell
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

Four years ahead of us — The future’s in our eyes
My baby’s getting old — and the world is compromised

They’d tell you anything
to fill your heart with fear
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

I’d like to take you
for a walk around my town
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

Just stop and listen
to the people all around
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

Four years ahead of us — The future’s in our eyes
My baby’s getting old — I hear it in his cries

You’ve got the power
to change the world that we know
I hope you don’t go disappointing me

(You can hear my youngest son in the background, talking and singing his own song and then at the end, asking me to play it again. Very funny).

Peace (in presidential promises),

Here a poem, there a poem, everywhere a poem poem

I say,
These days are crazed;
hectic, perhaps, but OK —
we still find time to sit back and think
and find our place here among this virtual space
with words and thoughts and ideas
and the satisfaction of the act of connections
through collectively shared reflections.

Without further ado, this week’s Days in a Poem:

Mr. Mansour got me right at the first line.

Bacteria, viruses, rockets, and rocks.
6th graders still challenged by lockers with locks.

Two student teachers and some nurses to boot.
The best rocket maker might win some loot.

Friday detention is a bit of a pain.
This poem is confusing, let me explain.

It’s my week in a poem, the life of a science teacher.
I’m armed only with my cunning, a computer, and a beaker.

Anne M. came back from behind the Great Firewall of Asia.

Being lost without my blog
In China where it would not log
Then again when back home on the farm
Due a quirk, I felt I’d lost my arm.

Sheryl provides us with a rush of words in her freestyle poem, which she says is “prompted by needs for teacher literacy in technology”:

21st Century is no time to be a wallflower as the dance moves on without you.

Ken continues his wonderful stylistic writing that captures more than a moment:

Fleet stepping figures in oilskin array,
scattered reflections a constant foray,
city street buskers with rhapsodic song –
happy together –
the lyrical chorus delighting the throng,
mocking the weather.

sara (she of the lower case world) mulls over love:

he brought me
a cheesy bagel today
at my second job
at the plant place.
wrapped in a paper towel,
with two string cheeses
on the side.
“you need a snack,”
he smiled.

the mums do their mumming,
the late-summer bees gather pollen,
i count the days of marriage
in the crumbs.
and it’s like the stars.

but better.

I’m hoping Liza made it through, even though a new week now begins:

I think that I will survive this week
Abundant with colds and meetings and chaos
I think that I will survive this week
Where life and work cross swords with one another
I think that I will survive this week
With stinky skunks and dirty hands on kids
I think that I will survive this week
but can I survive the weekend?

Gail P., who gave me the idea of last week’s Day in a Question (and then her question got lost in transit somehow), captures so nicely the richness of her teaching environment and philosophy:

The natives are restless.
They’re eager to go.
They’ve found the right path
But what they don’t know
Is what lies before them,
Around every last turn,
Are the carefully laid challenges
That bring them to learn.

Like Liza, David was looking forward to the weekend. Perhaps the sniffles are gone?

Snuffles and coughing, but deadlines to meet
Still, dogs to walk and children to feed
Poems and blog posts, but
Still, deadlines to meet
Thankfully, in sight: the end of the week

And Lisa C. added her poem called Late September to her blog site, capturing a hectic week.

The week started off without a hitch
We learned how to start stories,
Worked out more than one glitch
We worked on a project, or maybe two,
Finished a couple
And started a few that are new.
A novel was finished, all in one day!
The weekend was coming
With more time to play.
One last thing, before we go
We ended our week
By honoring a hero.
I sigh with relief
Now that it is over
And start make plans for another great week!

Sue W added a haiku to our mix:

Student blogging comp
Read, comment, post, drink milo
Midnight again, BED!!

Thanks to all of the poets here.

Peace (in wordplay),

Getting Them to Think, Write, Create

Yesterday, in hopes that it would draw my sixth grade students’ attention to the first presidential debate, we did some work around thinking about the elections. Our school will be doing a Mock Election for the first time (ever?) and I am determined to provide my students with enough information to not only make a good choice but also to filter out the influence of parents, teachers and others (yeah — this is going to be tough).

I started out the lesson with this great video from Common Craft and we talked about the complicated voting system in this country and why that is important (and the day before, we chatted about the balance of power among the branches of government).

Then, I had them brainstorm issues that they consider important and hope to be addressed in the campaign. Our list included:

  • Global Warming
  • Protecting Animal Habitats
  • The War in Iraq
  • Fuel Prices
  • Offshore Drilling
  • Health Care
  • The Economy

Next, my students did some stick figure drawing for a comic strip in which they, as a comic character, ask a question of the candidates. We then moved onto the computers and headed off to Make Beliefs Comics, which is an easy and isolated comic strip making site. They loved it! The comic site is limited in scope, but you can email the link to the comic and I intended to take all of the comics and use Google Sites to create a little website of their comics.

Here is my example:

BUT — the Make Beliefs site has something strange going on with scripts (I emailed the creator, Bill, and he is working on it — he is very responsive). So my web idea will have to wait and I hope they get it all resolved out very soon.

Peace (in the election campaign),


Looking for Days in a Poem

The themes for Day in a Sentence continue, with this week focusing on poetry. (I know it’s not April and that is the point — poetry should be enjoyed in all forms all times of the year). I ask you to consider reflecting on a day of your week in the form of a poem. It could be a couplet, a haiku, a freeverse or any style of poem that suits your fancy.

Just add to the comment section of this post and I will collect and publish over the weekend.

I look forward to the rhythm (and maybe rhyme) of your words.

Here is my week, in a Haiku:

Behind: Biopoems
Ahead: short story fiction
Young writers emerge with words

Peace (in poems),

Common Craft … again

The Common Craft folks have done yet another great video — this time, it’s on searching the web.

Or here:

Peace (in searches),

Some Comic Relief

So, today, my webcomic — Boolean Squared — got published on the website of the big regional newspaper and my venture into the world of creating comics is official. The newpaper (The Springfield Republican) also printed a short story in its paper version about the launch of the comic, so we’ll see where things go and how they develop.

Click on this image to go to the article:

Masslive Announcement by you.

And click on this image to go to the comic:

You can also subscribe to the RSS of the site where Boolean Squared will run each Monday with this RSS URL address:

I also set up a virtual storefront for Boolean Squared Swag through Cafe Press, just to see what might happen. (Check it out if you get a moment).

And check out the promo video I made with Animoto:

Peace (in frames),

Get Your Jogging Shoes On

I decided to take all of the many submissions for this week’s Day in a Sentence (actually, it became Day in a Question with the theme), and use a site called Jog the Web, which allows you to set up a series of navigational paths for websites. I like that I can move you to the blogs and sites of all of the folks who added their words to our feature this week.

So, without further ado, please tie the laces on your shoes and let’s hit the trail.

(either click on the image above or use this link for our Jog the Web)

I would love to get some feedback on the experience as a viewer, if you have time.

Peace (in reflection),

Riding the Wave into the Future

I love the fertile imagination of my students. Give them a push and they leap forward. I presented them with a prompt in which they had to create a Vehicle of the Future that would run on something other than fossil fuels. This led to an interesting talk about the Earth’s resources and innovation.

Then, they got to work, using informational text/expository writing to label and explain their vehicles. I took their images and went into Animoto and … came up with this. I showed it to my students today and they were enthralled with it (and a few who had not yet finished their vehicles are now inspired to complete it soon before I do a revision of the video).

See what you think:

Peace (in green beans — which was my vehicle),

Your Day in a Question?

Day in Sentence Icon by Dogtrax.

This suggestion comes from Gail P., who teaches at my school. She came into the lunch room and said, Why not Day in a Sentence as an interrogative?

Well, why not, indeed? We haven’t done that one before, so: Please reflect on a day in your week or your week, and narrow it down to a provocative question or query for us.

Then, use the comment feature on this post to add your question and I will gather them up and publish over the weekend. (Thanks, Gail!)

Here is mine:

Will this push into Professional Learning Communities will make our school more collaborative in nature or will it just tighten the circles around our grade level teams?

I look forward to your words and invite everyone and anyone to come on board with this collaborative, community project.

Peace (in wonder),