Thursday, December 11, 2008

Creating a Haiku

Yesterday was Haiku day in eighth grade language. I love this day. We read several Haiku poems, talked about the structure (which they are already well aware of) and then they wrote their own. I gave them green slips of paper to write each on. For the first two I gave them general subjects (seasons, and things they like), and the last one they could write about whatever they liked. Here is a sampling:

I can't think of a Hiaku
So this will have to do it
Do not make fun of me.

Complete with spelling error, this poem speaks volumes about this student's insecurity and lack of self esteem. Clever subject, nonetheless.There were several others about the writing process, including:

She loves haiku
writing all the days
Oh! But he does not!

Today in this class
I like reading haikus here
It is all peaceful.

The small green paper,
is now right in front of me,
I write my haiku.

One was the remake of a joke, which I found amusing:

Your mom is so fat,
that she sat on a rainbow,
and skittles popped out.

Who knew that could be a haiku?

I really like salads
They taste really good with carrots
I really like salads

There were a lot of repeat first and third liners in the bunch...this being one of them. I find this one intriguing because it leaves me wondering if this student really likes carrots, or if tomatoes just didn't fit.

In the coolness of
the morning I feel like I
could run forever

This was mine. As I read all 48 haiku poems to the class (three per person including myself) they guessed who they thought wrote each. They guessed this one quickly. I guess I'm kind of surprised that the idea of running forever doesn't resonate with any of these middle school students.

Shopping is so fun
Spend money on whatever.
Let's go buy buy buy.

Tis the season...what can I say. Then, of course, there were some written about other students:

Austin is funny
sitting there slouching, laughing
thinking of classmates.

I love basketball
I beat Josh every single day
And Steve if he plays

In the end, there were a few thoughtful ones:

Go to the river.
May your catch be plentiful.
Bring me some, won't you?

I love this one. Such a tone of longing underneath the surface of wishing well.

Today in class they asked if I would read them again so they could guess..."Sorry guys, we have other great things to study today, like Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Ralph Waldo Emerson." They weren't convinced....perhaps someday they will be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A little bit of Coelho

Today was the last graduate school class I had to attend for my masters degree. I still need to finish my practicum, but that doesn’t involve class time. That just involves putting in hours doing projects and reflection papers that will make me look like I’d be a competent and effective principal.

Not that I’m sure I’d ever want to do that.

At today’s class session we did the classic “everyone present their project” which involved power points with fancy backgrounds, a myriad of fonts and pictures, new educational web links, and all levels and ideas of over-achieving. Then we sat in small groups and talked about our observations of other teachers (a different project), which turned into all our hopes and desires for teaching, and all the technology and supportive materials we wish we had for our classrooms.

Then came the best part: we reminisced. It felt like signing yearbooks senior year of high school as we talked and laughed until we had tears in our eyes. It felt so cliché, but I almost forgot about how much I have detested going to classes either for four hours after working on Tuesday nights, or six and a half hours on Saturdays. All of the sudden, the three hour timeline project that was never graded was hysterical. The field trip that felt meaningless and ended with people getting lost on the way there and the way back was a classic. And of course, the classmates that didn’t know how to stay on topic, or when to stop talking in general, or even why we educate homeless people were just plain amazing.

Hindsight: What a beautiful thing.

Degrees: Worth it for the stories? No. But they definitely make it a bit more bearable. After all, the journey is typically worth more than the end result, right?