Thursday, June 21, 2007

Has anyone read Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks??? Someone must have given a book talk on it or used it for a demo at the Greater Kansas City Institute because several from that location have posted responses on the e-anthology. I looked it up on Amazon and it was listed alongside Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed (one of all time my favorite books).


Who knew. . .

. . . I would be leaving at 4:00 a.m. to drive to Wichita and missing our Friday writing project. We just got a call from our younger son Kevin, who is competing at the NFL (speech) nationals and is in the finals of what I can best figure is a consolation or secondary round. Nonetheless, it is a big deal, and I just can't stand to let John go without me. I have so much mommy-guilt as it is, and these things are once-in-a-lifetime. We NEVER get to see Kevin perform (it's just "not done") but the finals are "public," in an auditorium at some convention center. I'll be thinking of all of you, and I honestly feel that tug in my stomach at the thought of missing out on tomorrow with you. I spoke to Keri, who graciously supported me in gotta-d0-what-you-gotta-do, but it still feels funny. I've just posted this week's piece to our e-anthology, and I look forward to catching up with you there this weekend.

Time Management

Katie Dog,

Whew, how do you do it? My owner, ignoring my silent pleas for a little Mr. Yen's to drop on the tile floor, has been on the computer for an hour already, browsing the blog and going back to ready comments that were added later. What tips do you have for managing this workload because I'd really like to go for a walk later.


My First Poem, with help from Hayley's demo

I am stepping onto the big-girl diving board and feeling some trepidation... Let me preface this post by saying that I am not an English major, so my poetry is not fully developed. Much love and thanks to Hayley, who convinced me to find my inner Dead Poet. Your demo was wonderful.

Here are two poems, one is the original, one is a reformulated version. I won't say which is which as it doesn't really matter, right? Any feedback you give would be much appreciated.

First Meeting
Two proud mothers,
one son alive,
sitting, looking at memories not his own,
memories of his father.
The other son has passed,
his life kept fresh by conversations
over old photos and pieces of paper
glued into a scrapbook.
He looks like his father.
Both mothers smile.

First Meeting
These are proud mothers
One son looks intently
All eyes on the scrapbook open,
balancing on their knees.

The scrapbook holds memories,
photos and papers
that tell the story of the son
not alive
missing from the picture.

New relationships discovered
So much to absorb
The face so familiar
His father would be so proud

One son devours the images
Snapshots of a father he never knew
Never will meet
Wants to understand.


I suppose, if I were leashed and forced to climb inside one of the pigeon holes that humans are so very fond of, I would say that I am a modern day Hemmingway (minus the drinking, of course, because the canine liver is, as you know, so fragile). I say this because I liked the dog character in "The Hanging" and am always looking for the next metaphorical bull fight, as you can probably discern by my Harley Davison jacket and bandana. Living, to me, is leaning into one of the banked curves of highway 125 at 110 MPH. My heart beats in time with the engine revolutions as my nose drinks in the scents of hay, livestock, adrenalin, and gasoline.

At first glance, I appear to be a pedigreed, snobbish mammal, complete with champion bloodlines and foreign ancestry (c. 300AD Milan). But, I am, as the mother of two, content to patrol the yard's perimeter for imagined enemies and, when the opportunity arises, race the sunset to Bull Shoals Lake on the back of a Harley. Occasionally, but not often, a cardinal will sneak past my defenses and successfully pilfer a few sunflower seeds from the birdfeeder, but other than that, life is calm.

I apologize, after hearing my owner spout off about what she has learned through the demos and reading, I sat down to browse Breakthroughs; but, exhausted from watching her mow the lawn, my eyelids betrayed me and closed like like wooden verticle blinds (a glance at the attached picture will confirm my efforts to investigate the hub-bub). For humans, I suppose, teaching the important skills, like how to catch a rabbit without tripping over your own feet, is overshadowed by literacy. Although I must admit, I liked the article about poetry and may have to give the genre a try, and I have, already, caught my rabbit for the day... hmmm... What rhymes with squirrel?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Looking for the Well Read Dog: Calling All Canines

Fellow Canines:

You are cordially invited into the exciting world of canine academia as part of Literary Blog Dog Team (LBDT). Please join this talent search by submitting photo and profile. The LBDT strongly encourages you to dress as your favorite literary character for your formal photograph. Photos must be accompanied by an essay (500 words or less) explaining your choice of character. We suggest you include what you find intriguing about your character and your motivation for this choice.


Dr. Cosmo Turner, PhD (Philosophical hound Dog)

Monday, June 18, 2007

OK OK Maybe a Little Professionalism is in Order

I want to apologize to everyone for openly whining today about the research involved for these demos. I am truly grateful for the feedback I received from my SWG. Thanks ladies! Keri's glancing my direction and dropping the word professionalism has redirected my thinking. I realize now how researching for my demonstration will help develop me professionally. The fuss I made was unwarranted. I shall now invoke the 11th commandment "Thou shalt not whine!" I post this on my white board every Friday for my students. So, I should follow my own rules.

The above pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago at Hampton Beach, NH. I went to the beach to catch the morning sunrise, which happens around 4:45 a.m. I filmed some spectacular footage of the sunrise. I did not realize it only takes about 4 minutes for the sun to rise. I would like to invite anyone who reads this to take 6 minutes out of their life and follow this link:

Sunrise Video

Comments on the video would be appreciated.

Monday, Monday: Minutes from the Blog Team and an Invocation to the Muse

Notes from Katie the Blog Dog...

Barb tells me she was not the only one struggling with Monday, so I offer you a simple melody with lyrics that speak for so many of our group yesterday.
She told me that when she slid into class after an early but rocky start, she learned that the demonstration scheduled for Monday was canceled.

After some warm up writing, I heard that you guys scrambled off in search of a muse, to get centered, or to find space to write, read, or access a computer. When you reconvened, Julia started off by discussing her reading...she and Laura both noticed how nice it is to find research validating best practices already in play in your classrooms. Liz shared her response to Johnston's Choice Words, a reminder to many of us of the power of word choice.

Small writing groups shuffled off to share lunch and writing, and as we regrouped after this break, we were entertained and enlightened by Zak Hamby's "Attaining New Heights Through Readers' Theatre." Being the thespian that I am, I was disappointed to learn that I had missed being cast in Zak's play version of "The Tale of Perseus"
because I have lovely costumes as you can see. Below I am pictured as Athena, goddess of wisdom (but it should be beauty as well). I understand from Barb, there are many budding actors (seasoned ones, too) in the group.

The Gray Sisters were
relishing their roles as eyeball sharing, witchy women, and Polydectes and Medusa were particularly evil...Kudos to Zak for reworking the format of his class, writing all those play scripts and no doubt bringing joy and life to mythology. All I want to know is...where is the part for the dog?

I'm sure I left a lot of you out and didn't do justice to the minutes of the day, but you know how it is to get your information second hand. I'm only as good as what she (Barb) tells me. Perhaps you'd like to post the poems you wrote in the comment section of this post. Heck, maybe you'd like to be more visible by creating a post about it. Please feel free to comment additional thoughts!

Caroline's quotes from Monday


You read some quotes today that I would love for you to post. I want to remember them. Would you post them?