April 4, 2014

Poetry in the Black: Adding (meaning) by subtracting

Filed under: creativity,teaching,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 11:46 am

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.22.12 AMIn honor of Poetry Month, I offer another “poetic” post to follow up on the pocket poems.

You have seen them: blackout poems created just the way it sounds, by blacking out large portions of text on a page and leaving carefully selected words behind to form a “poem.” You can see many more and learn more about them in this great resource.

At first glance, blackout poems are a strikingly creative exercise, plucking words offered by serendipity to generate a poem entirely separate and new. Depending on the original passage, blackout poems can discover the power of even the smallest words, becoming a Hemingway of meaning or an e.e. cummings without capitals or punctuation. If you ask kids to try it, they may complain bitterly that the one word they want is not there, “Can I just add it?” By saying “no” you force a whole new level of creativity and awareness about words. There must be some other word there to suggest a thought that works. Poems suggest, allude, entice, but never tell.

At a much richer level, blackout poems can teach many things. Common Core asks us to teach close reading of informational texts, to help your students see how authors lay their evidence amid all the words, the bricks of evidence that support the structure of ideas and opinions. When you consider blackout poems, you are delving directly into those bricks, deciding which to keep and which to remove, while still trying to support a structure of your own ideas to become the message(s) of the new poem. I am not sure whether it is harder to maintain the message of  the original passage in the new poem or to create an entirely new one, but blackout poems could do either. A passage about trees can become a poem about climate change or pollution. A passage about the characteristics of great teachers (see “Passion and Awareness: What Great Teachers Have in Common” by Bill Smoot) can be distilled into a poem that suggests a similar message refracted through the poet’s lens. Here is a sample based on the great teacher article as a “test” of doing close reading via blackout poetry:

the noteworthy passion

a calling to feed their souls

chose me

for it serves humility in knowing

a purpose larger

give the ability to be better

to mind the words


the passion investigates     studies   writes

that math is beautiful

expertise completes it

excellence is never far away

create an atmosphere

detached awareness

a therapist

to listen to


themselves      and in their students

the witness seat

the art to instill

a goal of learning

tempered by


Now imagine sharing any article for reading, in fifth grade or twelfth, and talking just a bit about what it means, what its important ideas are, and how the author tells us what is important. Don’t answer all the questions… just start to ask. Now have kids work together with that text to first highlight JUST enough words to suggest the message. Then they simply reverse out the highlighted words so they are the ONLY ones that show, blacking out the rest. Have them try taking away as many as they can to suggest, allude, entice a message. At the same time, you are teaching poetry. (Science teachers have permission to pass out now.) Granted, it is not the kind of poetry that rhymes or has meter. It is sophisticated blank verse and lacks the conventions of writing we work so hard to instill! But in comparing the new poems with the original passages, and comparing the different poems that groups create, you have the perfect experience with close reading integrated with writing AND curriculum content:

Does the poem match the passage in meaning? How do you know? Can your group “prove” it? Do these two poems have the same meaning or does one slant it differently? How do you know? Is one a better match to the original passage than the other? But which one has a message you prefer? What words make it your favorite? Are there any “loaded”  (i.e. biased, slanted, or powerful) words in that poem?

The best thing about this activity is that it can happen in history class, reading a passage about the causes of the Civil War or the economic influence of China. It can also happen in science, reading about the importance of biodiversity. The original passages can come from the web or a textbook (bo-ring!). If they are on the web, a simple copy/paste gives students the raw material to read, subtract, and add meaning. It also gives students a new way to master required terms. Creating blackout poems is  group oriented, creative, and loaded with very high-level thinking.

Here are just a few other ideas for blackout poems during this, National Poetry Month:

1. Coming to terms: Make blackout poems from articles kids locate using Google, subtracting words to give meaning to new terms they are learning.

2. Loaded words: Make blackout poems to call out bias or opinions in letters to the editor (online or print).

3. Pass the backout: Have one student blackout a passage and pass the words to another who must create a poem from them. (This one allows reordering the words and adding a certain number of your own).  If in a content class, the message should have something to do with concepts they are learning, such as explaining weather phenomena.

4. Pass the Backout II: Pass around several different articles, challenging each student to blackout one sentence or less then pass it on. Each receiving “poet” must continue the blackout process, trying to do it so there is a logical continuation of the poem. (Very creative, but best suited for students who have some experience making blackout poems!)

4. Blackout mixup: Combine two passages into a single blackout poem, alternating words from the two articles to form a poem. This is REALLY challenging!!

5. Pluck the figures: Have students do the blackouts in small groups, treasure hunting for words that will become figures of speech. Of course the poems that include these figures of speech must make sense, too!

6. Earth Day Blackout: Find a web or print article from which you can blackout a poem titled “A requiem for the environment”  or some other Earth Day theme. (You can ADD the title so you don’t need to have those words in the original text!) Note: this is the ultimate “recycling” — of words — for Earth Day!

7. Blackout poem, the multimedia version:  BLACKOUT large portions of videos or news clips from YouTube to create a multimedia blackout poem. Try a tool like DragonTape. This is for the adventurous techie types and your gifted kiddos who always want to do something different! Make sure they give you the text transcript of the resulting  “poem” to show that they actually thought about it and did not just throw together something to be funny.

March 28, 2014

Be Ready: Pack a poem in your pocket

Filed under: learning,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:05 am

Name (or recite) your favorite poem. No, you cannot run away or close this tab.poempocket

I hear you now…

  • I don’t have one.
  • I can’t remember, but I’ll Google one.
  • I had once once, but that was in 5th grade.
  • Insert something from Shel Silverstein that you read to your kids last night or to your classroom today.
  • Who cares about poetry?
  • Common Core says we don’t teach poetry anymore.
  • I don’t teach English. Ask the English teacher.
  • Yeah, right. Like I have time for poetry with all the other stuff they lay on us.

Try this: For one week beginning April 1 (the first week of National Poetry Month), carry your favorite poem in your pocket or — even better — on your smart phone. Be ready. You could be asked by anyone, anytime to produce and recite it. Pack poetry in your pocket with tech. Create a QR code that directs to:

  • a YouTube video or SchoolTube video of someone reading your favorite poem
  • a music video of a song with lyrics you LOVE– yes, that’s poetry!
  • a web page with a favorite poem (or limerick?) that makes you laugh or cry
  • a recording of yourself  reading a favorite poem or reciting the lyrics from a favorite song (or singing it!)
  • a synthesized voice reading a poem you have pasted in
  • a web page montage you create of the poem and the images it generates in your mind
  • a video of YOU reciting a poem YOU wrote (posted on YouTube or any online video service)

When asked,”What is your favorite poem?” hold up the QR code (saved on your camera roll) so others  can scan the QR code to listen or read. As you ask others, collect their online offerings in your Diigo or post the QR codes from students on your class wiki or web page as a scannable “treasury” for others to explore.

Not ready for such high tech stuff? Find a special piece of paper to transcribe your favorite poem and flamboyantly unfurl it when asked. Maybe a scroll or a cleverly folded booklet?

Why bother? Elena Aguilar offers Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools, and I am sure there are many more. As stressed, overworked teachers, perhaps the most compelling for us to write our own poems may be her Reason #5:

Poetry builds resilience in kids and adults

Surely, a poem penned by a teacher– included at the end of this article — may resonate with other teachers seeking resilience.

Pack a poem in your pocket. Ask your students to do the same, whether you teach physics or first grade. Simply the act of valuing the power of poetry to express, visualize, and revitalize is reason enough.  You might even find yourself humming a song or bellowing its lyrics in the car on your way home.

For more ideas for National Poetry Month, including loads of tools and prompts to write and share poetry, see this collection.

October 18, 2013

Dream tools for ANY writer, including your students

Filed under: creativity,edtech,teaching,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:09 am

pencil-leafIf you frequent this blog, you know that writing matters to me. As a teacher, I helped many a student improve his/her writing skills, even when the subject was not “English” or “Language Arts.” As a college prof helping educate teachers-to-be, I emphasized the importance of writing for a teacher’s professional presence, even in the short notes scribbled to go home in a backpack or in the short paragraph of directions at the start of an assignment. Today’s Common Core underscores writing across the curriculum as part of college and career readiness. If you cannot write, you are very limited in what you can accomplish. Even the carpenter who left notes during my basement  renovation had to write understandably so I knew what he was asking. So, yes, writing is a passion of mine. In this post I share two recent Featured Sites from TeachersFirst that sing out to me.

One focuses on poetry. Poetry, while not a life skill, certainly celebrates the power of a single, carefully selected word. Like the scarf that picks up the blue in your eyes or the bright orange sweat socks that define your persona as a tennis player, a single word can relate far more than its own meaning. A tool like Tranquillity  lets us play with poetry. Poems are infinite jigsaw puzzles of ideas: the piece with a green edge and one with a curly, jagged side fitting together after you flip them around until they make sense. Tranquility lets you play with words and shows the value of one word to fulfill a rhyme and hit the final note of your thought melody. Play with some words in Tranquillity. (This really should be an iPhone app to de-stress people waiting in lines!) Share it in a science class, and challenge students to write poems to explain Newton’s Laws or to tell the tale of oxidation/reduction in chemistry. Even self-described “tech nerds”  like those who created Tranquillity enjoy poetry.

The second, Slick Write, is my dream tool. I have been looking for this tool since I was fellow in the Capital Area Writing Project in the early 1990’s. I tested a simple piece of software back then that could tell a writer about such things as the number of prepositional phrases in a passage. Why bother?  A surfeit of prepositional phrases means you have weak or imprecise word choice. As a statistician would put it, conciseness of writing varies inversely with the number of prepositional phrases. (Take that, data mongers!). Slick Write also targets other writing foibles: passive voice, cliches, and much more. You can configure it to focus your writing self-analysis on one area at a time. (Sports coaches know the importance of focused correction in skill building.)

I like Slick Write I so much I’d like to politely share it with my adult friends and colleagues, especially those who… well, don’t get me started on the amount of passive voice I read. Try it secretly and see if it makes a difference in how you write.

—————Stop reading here if you don’t care about the example——————-

Slick Write analysis of the above: (I have bolded the things I wish to improve)

Words: 508
Function words: 217 (42.72%)
Adverbs: 22 (4.33%)
Pronouns: 66 (12.99%)
Uncommon words: 69 (13.58%)
Filter words: 9 (1.77%)

Avg. word length: 4.61
Passive voice index: 9.84
Prepositional phrase index: 108.27 (The tool explains that a score above 100 means you should consider revising)
Automated Readability Index: 9.31
Unique words: 284 (55.91% of total words)
Unique function words: 61 (21.48% of unique words)
Unique uncommon words: 59 (20.77% of unique words)
Paragraphs: 4
Average paragraph length: 6.50 sentences


September 13, 2013

Wordplay: The Angry Birds of Language

Filed under: creativity,musing,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:55 am

Sometimes the simplest tools can be the most creative places to play and learn. The trick is approaching them with some curiosity and playfulness — making a game of it.


Try MoreWords. This very simple tool, apparently designed to help you cheat at crossword puzzles, word scrambles, and other word games, is also a lot of fun for finding new words and playing with letter combinations, prefixes, suffixes, and more. (You WILL have to ignore some annoying ads.) I tried entering crypto—— and found several new words all related to codes. What a great way for kids to get hooked on words. Try entering various numbers of blanks before a suffix or around a root. You could even make it a “gambling” challenge: I predict there will be seven words that have seven letters followed by the suffix proof. How many do you predict? Before we enter it, how many can you name?  OK, I was wrong in my prediction. How close were you?


Here’s another one: WordCount. It analyzes English statistically to tell us word frequencies. Sound like something Google would do, right? But imagine predicting or asking which word is used more frequently: wrestle (rank = 25905) or fight (rank = 1484) ?  (To enter a word and find its rank, click just to the right of  the tiny text “find Word” and type it in.) Think of other word pairs you might test. Ask students to choose one word in a draft they have written and suggest a lesser-used word to replace it. How do you know? Use WordCount.


Looking for more word fodder? Try Alan Cooper’s Homonym List. (What’s the difference from “homophones”? Click  Go to All About Homonyms to decide what to call them). This innocent looking, alphabetical list of homonyms begs us to write clever sayings, sentences, or tongue twisters. Can you figure out why some have red squares and some blue? This list could become a series of writing prompts. Choose a set of homonyms . Create a clever, visual way to show them in correct use in writing and show their differences, perhaps with images, comic characters, or even video.

If we gamify word choice and word study through wordplay, words can become as much fun as apps, and a LOT more productive. If all of us played with words as much as with Angry Birds, imagine how articulate the average American could become. Surely, there would be lasting benefit in that.



August 30, 2013

Teacher Dreams

Filed under: about me,deep thoughts,teaching,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:29 am

Teaching is personal, and so is this post.dream

This week is the anniversary of MLK’s I Have a Dream speech, the moment that gave impetus to so much good (and so much good left to be done). Yes, I am old enough to remember that time period. But no, this post is not about civil rights. It is about having a dream and what that dream can become.

As a brand new teacher several years after King’s speech, I had a dream to bring new ideas about learning and creativity into my classroom.  I was sure I’d be the perfect teacher. I had a dream to make all kids like to write. I dreamed that kids would write and create not just “papers” (so thin a substance!),  but media: television shows or radio shows or photoessays with accompanying writings, anything that could express themselves clearly. I had a dream to change kids’ view of school and get them excited, even amid hard work.

I was sure I could do better than the “dead wood” teachers I read about and occasionally saw in classrooms around me. Most new teachers have a similar dream. For sure, I would never be like the “old” teachers who — to my young view — had decided that change was not worth their effort. I remember looking at those teachers who had not only children, but grandchildren and thinking they would never try my new ideas.

Like many dreamers, I was surprised. I discovered that some of the grandparent-teachers were the most willing to get excited about something new. When I suggested making a six week minicourse in the TV studio part of sixth grade language arts curriculum, the teacher said, “Great! How can I help?” When the kids suggested an Emmy-type awards ceremony (we called them Televiddy awards) at the end of the year, entire teams of teachers jumped in to help pull it off. The dream was alive, and the second year the kids’ writing got even better because they wanted to win a Televiddy. The best part was that it wasn’t my dream anymore. It was our dream.

Fast forward through a long teaching career, and I ask myself whether my dream is accomplished. Never. But I think I have given impetus to some good — and so much good left to be done. I look at the challenges facing enthusiastic, green teachers today and hope they have permission to engage in their dreams. Our kids need the dreams of teachers. They need the chance to feel it, see it, and join in the dream together. I can only hope that those who drive educational change today can see the value of dreams over minutiae and uniformity.

August 9, 2013

Social learning and student writing: A delicate teaching dance

Filed under: myscilife,teaching,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 11:19 am


As teachers, we all work to balance high expectations while differentiating for various abilities and needs. When we set “requirements” in a digital, social learning community, it is indeed a delicate dance.

Example: You set a high bar for all students in your science class for written expression students in a shared learning community with other schools like MySciLifePosts must use complete sentences and correct conventions of written English.  The powerful tools of authentic, social learning today: online learning communities, blogs, wikis, and collaborative projects, all motivate kids to show their best writing. Alas, one student’s “best” may invite embarrassment, comparison,  or — and this is the worst — digital muting by his peers. Kids simply ignore posts they cannot understand or that they deem “dumb.”  They even exclaim,” Hey! This kid didn’t use complete sentences, and you said we had to!” Either way, the struggling poster’s voice goes unheard.

Students who struggle with writing — for whatever reason — need more scaffolding and support outside the social stream. Few content area teachers are familiar with strategies for writing help, and many do not realize how much they may hurt. Dealing with a student’s writing is like doing surgery on his larynx. You are dealing with a voice here!

Struggling students want to be heard and to join in the  online conversations — and they should, but they need time to build to a level of competence that does not invite criticism or giggles.  As teachers, we dance delicately. We can suggest offline drafts (think Google docs or even — gasp– paper?) so the struggling student  can improve his/her writing before he posts. We can encourage him to have a peer read it back to him aloud to be sure it “sounds right.” Offer some sentence starters in a Word doc,  diminishing this support over time. Even use his own sentence starters derived from his previous posts. We can focus on major conventions, but we also need to focus on the science content. Offer some words he can drag and drop to form sentences, including required science terms.

Remember that larynx! We do not want to mute his voice by over moderating, rewriting, or constantly disapproving his posts. He needs the posting and social learning experience even more than others. So we eventually allow him to post in the stream and hope that others will be kind. Our delicate teaching dance includes promoting digital citizenship so other students do not demean or digitally “mute” those who struggle. Encourage kids to reply to posts who have received no comments. Reply to a post with a thoughtful question that will help you learn more from that person. Give bonus points for interactions that go above and beyond by asking questions that help another student explain more clearly.

Writing is tough. Writing is personal. Remember the larynx and tread carefully as you tiptoe the delicate dance!

July 19, 2013

Going Listless: A case for deeper thinking

Filed under: creativity,deep thoughts,gifted,learning,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 8:58 am

NUMLISTToday’s rapid-fire, tweeting world loves lists. We see numbered lists on Twitter, in headlines, on magazine covers, among the “popular” stories on our Google News sidebar, among our Facebook friends’ links, on blogs or sites we follow, and even on television. The lists often outnumber any significant substance. The headlines read “Ten best ways to do this,” “Top seven blunders of that,” “50 Best blah-blah,” “100 top whatever.” I admit that I have fallen into the numbered list trap when in a hurry. It’s simply easier and quicker to list a bunch of stuff than it is to finely craft a single idea.

I am tired of lists. Give me one solid, deep article or critique any time over a long list that allows the author to avoid a firm decision or  investigation of  one option in full detail. I would like a supported opinion on one book, a recommended investment, a classroom management strategy, or tip to deal with an ornery two year old, not a long list of possibilities that I must sort, probe, or filter. Yes, I like choices, but I also like to hear an opinion supported by evidence and flavored by nuance. Numbered lists are quick, but they share as much subtlety as an all you can eat buffet. They scream,” My smorgasbord is impressive because it has so many serving dishes, not because any dish can actually stand  on its own culinary merit.”

As teachers, we expect our students to provide visible steps for their solutions to equations, solid evidence for the thesis of their essays, and connections between data and conclusion in their lab reports. Would we allow a “Top ten options in solving for X”? or “Seven possible reasons for the Civil War”? I hope not. Numbered lists have value as brainstorms and for idea gathering — as preliminary investigations, not as ends in themselves.

We should model what we expect. If we write lists for our students (or parents), we should prioritize the items and explain why. If we allow Top Ten lists from our students, at the very least we should ask,”Now that you have chosen ten, can you rank them, explaining why you chose that order?”  If we write articles or blogs, we should skip lists and focus on one thorough critique or discussion.

Ready to go listless? Here is a teaching idea to promote 21st century skills and an opportunity for authentic learning: Have students collect as many examples as they can of numbered lists from their own experience of the media, web surfing, or social networking: articles, blog posts, videos, etc. Then ask them to select one list they care about, research it, and rewrite it based on evidence to support a specific rank order. Of course, they will need to write their explanation in a manner  understandable to the list’s intended audience, including all the supporting evidence, appropriate voice, and conventions needed for publishing in that venue. Have them share it as a comment, blog post, or in-kind response to the original author.

“Listless” could become a very productive oxymoron.

July 12, 2013

Awesome Foursome: Writing ideas with a twist

Filed under: creativity,gifted,Ok2Ask,teaching,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:10 am

I must share this awesome foursome of writing resources that grabbed my creative eye as I prepare for an online OK2Ask session  in August. twist2

Gone Google Story Builder (reviewed here). Layer writing on top of digital storytelling about writing using this tool that plays back the writing and editing process as a video. Here is a tongue in cheek (?) example. Imagine assigning students to write s story about writing, portraying two or more characters in the process. Suddenly, the writing matters because we are highlighting the actual process of writing. But the metalayer is that we can “see” the persona doing the writing. What a wonderful way to make students aware of narrative persona and of the thinking processes involved with writing. It would be great fun for a student to show an internal tug of war as he/she writes, such as the impulse to be wildly creative and the impulse to please admissions committees reading a college essay. To actually use this in class, you might have to start by simply brainstorming characters who could be writing and editing a piece together:  a parent and a teen, Jekyll and Hyde, a dog and a cat, Hemingway and Dickens, etc. It also might be easier to make this a partner project. Then ask students to jump back and describe the message of the writing “story” they have told. Layer on layer…

Five Sentences (reviewed here). This is simply a challenge to become more succinct and get to the point in emails. Email is a boring old people medium, but it is also a workplace (and adult) reality.  It is a very practical way to focus writing for a purpose. Students could start with examples of long emails they or their parents have received, rewriting them in five sentences.  Then they could write their own five sentence emails for a real purpose. [Five sentence end here…got the gist?] Many web sites have “contact us” boxes with limited text fields, so the five sentence limit is good practice. Brainstorm things teens might be asking for: a refund, a replacement for a defective product, information about something, etc. Then have them write the five sentences. Make a five sentence rule for emails to YOU as the teacher, and promise to respond in five sentences. Do you think parents would comply?

750 Words (reviewed here) Everybody needs a place to mind-dump. This private space is a good one to vent, collect pieces of writing you don’t know what to do with, lines from songs you like, or angry words you should never actually send via email or text. If your students have email accounts, they can have 750 words accounts. These personal spaces are great for daily write-to-think time, but they are even more likely to be used if students have permission to write off topic at last part of the time. Instead of having them write for you, have them write for themselves.  Keep a class 750 words account where students can enter simply the TOPIC they  wrote about with their own 750 Words today. That list will become inspiration for others.

Quest (reviewed here) Write a game. A long time ago on devices with small black and green screens, there was a game called Adventure. Players made choices about their moves based on text descriptions of where they were and what their options were. The writing must be very clear and consistent, but the option to use vivid description and clever plot twists makes text-based game-creation addictive. A science or history teacher could incorporate writing and gaming to reinforce concepts. For example, a game written by students could include accurate geologic formations or chemical reactions. A game set in a certain place and time in history could include encounters with actual historic figures. This seems a perfect collaborative task for a group of 2-3. Just realize that it could spin into weeks of game obsession. Got gifted? Toss this one at them as a way to use what they know and write their way much further.

I love summer for getting the creative juices flowing.


April 26, 2013

TeachersFirst’s Six Word Story

Filed under: creativity,TeachersFirst,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 2:05 pm

number 6 Word Making & Anagrams letter w ZIP-IT! Dice Letter O letter R Plastic blue letter S
I love verbal challenges, so what better way to round out this series of “Happy 15th Birthday, TeachersFirst” posts than to use a six word story? Thanks to Jonathan Olsen’s Edutopia post for reminded me of this minimalist challenge for masterful messaging. Reflecting on how TeachersFirst began, what we have done in fifteen years, and what we strive to do into the future would seem to explode the six word limit. But I will brainstorm a few possibilities:

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers- trench tactics!

Teachers learn, thinkers grow, technology helps.

Internet mysteries evolve to teaching masteries.

(Continuing my brainstorm, I stop to wonder: Is punctuation is allowed? Do six word stories often end up having meter or some sort of rhythm, as mine often do?)

Web-filled minds imagine limitless learning.

By teachers for teachers for years.

Just in time  — for fifteen years.

Learning imagined by friendly, tech-savvy teachers.

Imagine teaching that makes you think.

I could go on for hours, but instead conclude with this personal birthday thank you:

Happy Birthday to TeachersFirst,  the best “workplace” any teacher could ever hope for.  I love all the Thinking Teachers I “meet” in this job  and love imagining those  “out there” whom I will never know. 

(In case you are wondering, you can create your own images from letters on Flickr with this tool.)

April 5, 2013

Poetry: The greatest freedom words will ever have

Filed under: creativity,deep thoughts,Teaching and Learning,writing — Candace Hackett Shively @ 2:21 pm

It’s poetry month. Take time for a poetry break. Why does poetry matter? Poetry is the literary equivalent of a microcosm and a sound bite all rolled into one. You can find tiny representations of huge ideas and short snippets that resonate and “stick” in your mind like the smell of your favorite cookie baking or the horror of watching Kevin Ware’s basketball injury last weekend. Poetry is distilled insights and sensations not designed to meet a standard or a bottom line. Poetry is the greatest freedom words will ever have.

If you teach math, poetry is the equivalent to the equation you extract from an elaborate word problem.

If you are a scientist, poetry is the DNA that tells a full-blown experience of life how to grow and thrive.

If you are an artist, poetry is the three primary colors we use to express endless pictures through words.

If you are a musician, poetry is your lyrics, your melody, and your counterpoint. Poetry conducts the orchestra of our minds.

If you are an engineer, poetry is the perfect schematic with projections from every angle, forming a three dimensional reality much greater than the sum of its succinct pieces.

If you are a child, poetry is curiosity and music bouncing together.

If you are a pragmatist, poetry is a frivolous moment that suddenly strikes you with meaning.

If you are a gym teacher, poetry is the fluid combination of the word skills that move beyond drill to a slam dunk.

If you are a historian, poetry is the  artifact that tells the story of a lost civilization.

When did you last share a poem with your class? You have 17 school days left.