Writing from the Ashes

Evacuated from my home the first morning of the Tubbs Fire, I found a charred page of the bible amidst the fallen ash. Here’s an erasure poem I wrote using that that page to express the devastation and find my way towards resilience. Share these strategies to create and teach erasure poems.

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Sankofa: My 30-Second Poem

I cannot change history, but in this moment I have a choice:
Do I open my eyes to clearly see?
Or bequeath the blindness bequeathed to me?

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Six Reasons to Recite Poetry

Only two weeks into my poetry recitation challenge in a Title I school, I cannot walk across the playground without a student stopping me to share a poem. “Be forewarned. Reciting poetry is contagious.” In an unscheduled visit to one fifth grade classroom, I arrived to see students out of their seats raising hands to be the first to recite poems. They had begged the teacher to let them take their poems home…

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Taste Poetry on Your Tongue

April is National Poetry Month, and I’m celebrating by inviting you to join my students and I in a personal challenge to memorize a new poem each week and recite it for others. To be honest, I never got excited about poetry recitation. It seemed boring. I’d rather create poetry than memorize it. Reciting poetry seemed like an “old-school” activity for antique pedagogy and desks in rows. But in the simple…

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Twelve Days of Social Networking

In the spirit of holiday fun, I’ve rewritten a classic song from the 1700s with a twenty-first century twist. This is dedicated to educators, leaders and innovators engaged in professional learning networks (PLN).

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Schools Must Foster Risk-Taking

It’s easy to forget the dynamic of risk-taking in the world of K-12 education, where success is mapped in a staircase of standards and academic achievement is key to opening doors. This video poem and reflective blog dare educators to stretch the boundaries of what is possible, and inspire students to do the same.

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A Bilingual Poem for #WriteMyCommunity

When I was eight, I remember staring out the car window and thinking about disconnect between my world and the world of my Spanish-speaking neighbors who lived only a freeway exit away. No one in my family spoke Spanish, but I wanted to. In California, Spanish is the song of street signs and city names. It’s the voice of a history I wanted to hear, and neighbors I wanted to understand.

As an adult, I wrote this poem in my second language, Spanish, to reach out in a new way. An English translation follows.

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