Tag Archives: coronavirus

Quarantine Walk Found Poem: NPM20 Day 7

After being stranded indoors all day yesterday, I couldn’t wait to head out this morning between the raindrops for a neighborhood walk. As I walked I was thinking about the National Writing Project invitation to create a found poem to share this week. Only minutes into my walk I started to notice words and phrases, I collected them via my phone camera and compiled them into a found poem when I arrived home (only slightly dampened by the next round of showers).

When I showed it to my husband, he immediately asked, “How do you read this?” wondering if there was a right order to follow the words. I ask each reader to find their own path, read your own meaning into this text. And maybe, you’ll also consider creating your own found poem (with photos or not).

What I Keep Learning: NPM20 Day 4

This piece in progress was inspired by What I Learned this Week by Angela Narcisco Torres. While it doesn’t yet feel finished to me, it does have some ideas that I am happy to have captured.

What have you been learning as we all do our best to shelter-in-place? Those of you who are teachers, what are you learning as you work to support students through some kind of remote learning?

What I Keep Learning

What matters when your students are names on a screen

Rather than physical beings that you see and interact with each day?

When you hear the echoes of their voices 

Through typed comments

That pop up continuously throughout what used to be the school day.

Quiet students are still quiet

Rarely leaving a trail of their thoughts or needs

And body language is no longer

A text to be read

The chatterers still chat

Loud and long, filling my inbox

With every possible question, ‘sup, and emoji 

They tap their chat to me, to each other, to themselves

Filling empty ears with imagined sounds of school

Assignments matter now more than ever

I see the ways the mundane

Assignment-for-assignment-sake

Deflates, dissipating energy

Leaving us all unsatisfied and wrung out

Like that washcloth left on the edge of the sink

We need learning opportunities that connect us

Build on experiences and passions

Each student holds close

Allowing ideas to soar and words to take flight

Writing matters, that’s what I keep learning

®Douillard

Free Organic Lemons: NPM20 Day 3

I’ve been writing poetry every day this week. I’ve written with my students, on Zoom calls with my National Writing Project colleagues, and in response to poetry shared on our San Diego Area Writing Project SDAWPoetry padlet.

I try to keep my poetry on the lighter side for sharing with my students, but find myself wallowing in the fear and uncertainty of pandemic living in the spaces where adults are writing. My energy lags at the end of the week, the crush of video conferences building throughout the week, the lack of time for thoughtful lesson planning looking me in the eye as the weekend beckons, and all my other responsibilities slipping and sliding as I keep juggling the balls, trying to keep them all in play.

I’ve discovered that a quick walk down the street is now a necessity, an escape from the never-ending screen time and a welcome break from the hard, wooden kitchen chair that has become my home office/classroom/work space. I’m starting to recognize my neighbors now that I spend so much time at home!

On today’s second jaunt down the hill, we noticed a sign…a sign that provoked a very different poem than the one I had contemplated first thing this morning.

The morning prompt, after some 4×4 breathing, was to take this line for a walk: It is possible that things will not get better…

Free Organic Lemons

It is possible that things will not get better

and then I saw the sign:

Free Organic Lemons

and I read

hope

community

possibilities

When life gives you lemons

lemonade is on the horizon

Look for the signs

®Douillard

SOLC Day 31: On the last day…

I thought I would have something pithy to say on my 31st consecutive post. Instead, I offer the poem I wrote (virtually) with my students today. Our mentor poem today was William Carlos Williams The Red Wheelbarrow.

The Black Crow

Today’s quarantine inspiration

depends upon

the black crow

in the sun-dappled tree

framed by the endless

blue sky

next to the empty

parking lot

®Douillard

And a student version by S:

My shoes 

So many steps

I take 

They may be

muddy 

Beside the concrete 

porch

I will miss writing my daily slice–but have committed to writing and posting a poem a day for the month of April. Maybe some of the rest of you will join me!

SOLC Day 28: Today is Saturday

Today is Saturday. I have to remind myself since all the days feel similar when work and home have become the same place. Saturday means not setting my alarm clock, not settling myself into my working space (at the kitchen table), and a yummy Saturday breakfast made by my husband (today was french toast, bacon, and fruit).

Since my beach walks are on hold for now, a neighborhood walk was in order. But it’s Saturday. So I talked Geoff into walking with me…and he talked me into walking to CVS so he could play Lotto (an essential task…for him).

I’m working to pay more attention to the photographic possibilities on these suburban treks. And I took a number of photos along my way. (I didn’t carry my camera, instead depending on my phone camera for the shots.)

It was coronavirus-empty today. Traffic much lighter than usual and not many people out and about. I couldn’t help but notice the sign waver guy across the way, perched on the fire hydrant. I’m glad he has work and will get paid, but it made me wonder about which jobs people are still heading out for each day. Is the iPhone repair place still open for business? Does the sign waver make a difference in its business?

So what will Sunday bring? Another neighborhood walk, some time spent reading, some last minute lesson planning (getting ready to launch a month full of poetry reading and writing), time on the stationary bike while I watch some Netflixs (i just discovered the new season of Ozarks), and more time than I want to spend at home. I’m desperately missing errands, impromptu adventures, and the beach. But I’m staying home, even though today is Saturday.

SOLC Day 26: It’s the Little Things

The days feel long right now…and not in that endless summer kind of way. Being homebound means that each day feels a lot like the one before, experiencing little change in scenery. With the beaches, parks, and trails closed my walks involve treks around the neighborhood. I get my cardio exercise, but inspiration and scenic beauty are sorely limited. I’m enjoying the cool crispness of early morning walks, but I don’t find myself motivated to stop and pull out my camera to snap a photo or two.

Zoom meetings, student comments, lesson planning, emails to writing project colleagues, clearing that inbox that has building up all week…the hours vaporized and the knots in my back tightened (is there something called Zoom back?). Around 3:30 I noticed an email from a dad of one of my students…and much to my delight there was a short note…”A” wanted to send you this photo she took today. As I scrolled down the image emerged! An egret perched on a chain link fence overlooking the seashore.

I felt a surge of pure joy! I love the photo–and seeing the egret and the beach were a shot of nature that I have been missing since the beach closures earlier in the week. (I have been staying away–trying to do my part to keep the virus at bay.) And it was heartwarming to know my student knows me so well. After almost 2 weeks of remote learning, this student knew how to share some remote caring. She knew I would love this photo…and she is right! Thanks A…you made my day! It really is the little things that matter most.

SOLC Day 25: Coronavirus Status

I came across a post about Jimmy Fallon the other day–where he asked people to describe their quarantine experience in 6 words. Now his was a Twitter thing…and with adults, so the results were funny. At the same time, I was thinking about ways to give my young students (8 and 9 year olds) space to express their experiences now that school is happening at home and they are mostly quarantined in their homes. So I took the loose idea from Jimmy Fallon and combined it with some ways of working that are familiar to my students.

Here was my assignment to them today:

On our 8th day of doing school from home because of the coronavirus, think about either something you are missing or something you are finding wonderful.

1. Take a photo to represent that thing. Be sure to use a photo technique. You may use minor editing on your photo.
2. Write a 6-word update. These are 6 carefully chosen words to express your feelings and communicate what you’re experience. (You can see my example) Only 6 words…try to avoid words like the, and, it… Type your 6-word update in Docs.
3. Click on the link to access the slide deck. Choose the next slide in the deck and insert your photo and copy your 6 words (you will need to insert a text box to paste) onto the slide. Be sure to include your name on the slide.
4. You may change the font if you like. Make sure it is big enough and clear enough to be easily read by others.
5. You may change the background color of your slide if you like. Please select a color from the theme (choices along the bottom)
6. Once you are done with your slide, please attach your poem and photo in Google Classroom to submit your work.
7. I can’t wait to see our slide deck develop! Be sure to be thoughtful and do quality work!
8. My slide is included so you can better understand what I am asking you to do.

And here are some of the results:

As you can see, the kids can see both the benefits and the drawbacks of their time at home. The biggest loss they are feeling is the social aspects of going to school. They miss their friends…and their teachers. And we definitely miss them too.

So my students’ 6-word coronavirus status updates are not funny, but they are honest and sweet, hopeful and very much all kid! I’ll be looking for more ways to allow for expression without being too heavy-handed.

What have you been doing to document your experience as we journey through this global pandemic? Have you done anything to facilitate the process for the young people in your lives? I’d love to borrow more ideas!