Because of all the wonderful things that God has done for us–we get to enjoy days with family remembering the sacrifice of His Son that not only gives us beautiful days with family on this earth, but also gives us the confidence of beautiful days with family forever. We are truly blessed.
I have not written in a long time. There has been no time, I say. Of course, there has been time. . .I have just used it differently–in other ways–walking, cooking, creating test questions, calling parents, running errands. I just read a book where the main character is an artist who hasn’t done art for almost two decades. She writes to an old friend–a lengthy, rambling letter–and the friend says to her, “Stop this. You must create or you will become a menace to society.” I think I might need to hang that up over every door I walk through on a daily basis. I must create or I will become a menace to society.
Photo with different filters. (I don’t know this little girl, nor did I ask her mother’s permission to photograph her or put her on the internets–however, I will say that she looks like any 15-18 month old little girl on the beach from a distance.) This falls under the category of creating–not being a menace to society.
Today is the first day of the rest of our Christmas break. It involved teaching, napping, cooking, driving, reading, (not all simultaneously) and now writing followed by resting followed (tomorrow) by shopping. Sunday will be more driving and then visiting my family in Louisiana.
This year has been busy and full and hard and exhausting, but we are all healthy and under one roof and blessed beyond belief.
I left all school work at school. My desk is as unburied as it has been all year long. There are still papers to grade–and other papers to SAY I will grade until the end of the nine weeks when I will recycle them and suffer the ensuing guilt. But, for now, for today, I have a two week vacation staring me in the face, and I plan to enjoy every second of it. I can say in all truth and honesty that I have EARNED it.
This is an actual letter that I sent to three administrators and the P.A.S.S. teacher (a different take on adaptive behavior programs–kids who have very specific acting out tendencies) regarding one of the most surprising results from Chopped Poetry. This came from an 8th grade student that I teach.
I did an experimental lesson in my room last week over poetry. It actually went pretty well, but I had to share this one with you. The kids picked an envelope with “ingredients.”. This student chose free verse. In the envelope were the following items that HAD to be in their poem:
So, in 8th grade Language Arts, we are talking about figurative language and how the graphical elements and word choice in poetry creates meaning and how we can use those elements to infer and draw conclusion blah, blah, blah. . . . .BLAH. I have a FEW teenagers who are interested in the mechanics of poetry, but most of them are flying under the radar to avoid persecution by their peers.
Not only that, but my kids just got back from a week of vacation and weren’t buyin’ it. I HAD to CONNECT. SO, I showed them THIS little video (which you are welcome to watch should you so choose) just to get them INTERESTED. Who, exactly, can resist the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bellaire?” Seriously. The video uses that to explain narrative poetry/ballad. Then it uses other popular songs or videos to go over other types of poetry. We didn’t really spend much time on sonnet, but I DID tell them that it was a good introduction to what they will see very soon in high school.
Anyway. . .this morning, I had a BRAINSTORM (along with finding the video) while brushing my teeth and being late for school. I decided to do “Chopped: Poetry.” Have you ever seen “Chopped?” It’s a Food Network show where four chefs compete for $10,000. There are judges and time limits but the clincher is that there are “secret” ingredients in a basket that the chefs MUST use in their dish preparation. Some of the challenges have included the following basket ingredients. . .
Dessert: prunes, animal crackers, cream cheese Appetizer: watermelon, canned sardines, pepper jack cheese, zucchini Entrée: blackstrap molasses, red snapper, parsley root, dried cranberries
Tomorrow, my kids will get a “basket” (an envelope. . .) with their “secret ingredients” in it. They HAVE to use these “ingredients” to create their poem.
Type: Acrostic Topic: Music Figurative Language: Onomatopoiea & Metaphor
Today while showing them the different forms (they had to take notes), I was explaining haiku. This was my haiku on teens.
Teenagers are like, “Awesome, ratchet, hastag, Bruh!” They own the language.
My second period suggested I change it a little to this:
Teenagers be like, “Awesome, ratchet, or nah, Bruh!” They own they language.
I must admit to the second version being nails on a chalk board, but at least they PARTICIPATED. We’ll see. . .
There are five types of poetry, six different topics, and ten different types of figurative language that I mixed up. This will either be a moment of fist-pumping “YES!” or a crash and burn of “OH, THE HUMANITY!!!” Maybe even both. . .in the same class period. I can pretty much guarantee both in 2nd period for sure.
. . .for the glory of the skies. . .
. . .for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies. . .
Lord of all to Thee we raise, this our sacrifice of praise.
(Trees attached to and outrageously blue sky over our wonderful neighbor’s piece of Texas. All of it courtesy of God. All photos AS IS out of the camera.)
I recently traveled to Louisiana to spend time with my friends MaryLinda and Stephanie. We get together once a year (although this year we decided twice would be better), so for our lagniappe trip we chose New Orleans.
This photo is more of what MY Louisiana is like. The northern and southern parts of the state are quite different, but we both have bayous, Spanish moss, cypress trees, and good food.
Speaking of food, we pretty much ate our way through part of the French Quarter. I cannot say I am sorry. That would be a lie. This billboard speaks truth.
Unfortunately, we only made ONE trip to Cafe Du Monde for hot beignets.
And I “did” it wrong by having a Diet Coke rather than cafe au lait. . .but I was happy. . .and ML and Steph didn’t have coffee either.New Orleans is OLD. Really, REALLY old. . .1700’s old. The first time I visited New Orleans was in 1985 WITH, interestingly enough, MaryLinda and Stephanie (and a bunch of other friends). We were in high school, and our undefeated football team played the state championship in the Dome. I remember thinking at that time how OLD it looked. I think it has to do with the color of the stone. . .the erosion of edges and corners. It was also DIRTY. . .two and a half centuries of grime in the Louisiana heat takes its toll. Katrina did a lot to wipe some of the grime away, but at a high cost. I would LOVE to know exactly how old this building and those chimneys are.
We were out in the morning, and they still wash their sidewalks and stoops to clean them off. As pretty and historic as the French Quarter is, there are many who sleep on or against stoops like this each night, hence the washing.
Come with me on a weekend stroll through the Quarter. .
“New Orleans ladies. . .all the way from Bourbon Street to Esplanade, they sashay by. . .” I didn’t see any of the “ladies” that the group Leroux immortalized in song, but I liked this sign.
I cannot begin to describe the way this gal plays the clarinet. Brought me to tears. Seriously have never heard anything like it.
A place we actually did NOT eat. If it’s on MaryLinda’s list, we WILL eat there someday.
And this lovely, lass just appeared out of nowhere with her Robin’s egg blue bike, dark red lip and hair, and wrap skirt. It was like she stepped right out of the early 1960’s. I barely had time to snap this shot. She was on a mission.
Caricature dude with a tale on Jackson Square
The Louisiana Supreme Court building 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
The three steeples of the St. Louis Cathedral
Transformer Dude was pretty amazing to actually see.
This one is staring across the threshold at his twin–maybe they are discussing how to eat that lamb that is just feet away. Also, it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the “do not photograph in our show room” placard. I’m such a rebel, but I was on the sidewalk anyway. . .
Traditional French Quarter Horse Head Hitching Post.
This is one of the views from our room at The Ritz Carlton New Orleans. We had two windows–this one looking down Canal. . .
. . . and this one with a view towards The River. Old Man River. The Mighty Mississip.
Our 12th floor room gave me the PERFECT vantage point to photograph the iconic Ritz Lions.
I think this might be my favorite photograph of the entire trip.
And being the photography happy yokel I am, I couldn’t resist this shot.
There is never enough time, so when we discovered we had taken NO photos (but one failure of a selfie) together, we had the valet who brought the car take some shots of us. . .all blurry. . .all hurried. . .but here we are–happy to be together.
So, we were all “home” in some sense of the word–MaryLinda still lives where we all grew up, Stephanie was born in Texas but spent most of her growing up years in Louisiana, and I was born there and moved away. It matters not–when we are together, we are home. We carry it with us.