Sidewalk Poetry

WCCO TV published a report tonight about St. Paul Sidewalk Poetry.  What fun!  And even better, they showed my poem:

Let’s Talk
Said one young man to his young bride,
“I’m so sad my dad just died.”
“Let’s talk of it,” she softly cried.
“Um, I just did,” the man replied.

If you live in St. Paul, MN and would like to enter a poem in this year’s contest follow this link:
http://publicartstpaul.org/project/poetry/#about_the_project

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Minnesota State Fair

I love the Minnesota State Fair!  I try to go at least twice a year when I am in Minnesota.  While there is lots and lots of food, there is also much to learn, arts and crafts, animals, …  If you go, be sure to check out the Education Building to learn about options for post-secondary education.  Amazing possibilities!

Here is a view from the Space Tower at the Minnesota State Fair:

Unexpected Amazed

As I knelt to plant my vegetable garden
the sown seeds, unexpectedly, had been mixed
At some point
by no one in particular
A loose box, open envelopes, perhaps

The vegetables were few and far between
But the flowers
The flowers
They were beautiful mixed with greens
Unexpected
Beautiful

When I stood to paint this mural
To reflect the sea and the sunset
The waves and the gulls
A sudden elbow slip, a few misstrokes
new-strokes
And the sea became a flowing river
All re-framed
With tall buildings reflecting the sky
Beautiful
Unexpected yet
Beautiful 

Sitting at the piano bench to write
The song of minor tones and sadness
Oops, a major third, hmmm, a new progression
With a walking bass line
And a piano solo
Jazzy
Classy
Unexpected and beautiful 

Lettings loose the best of creation
Rolling with the punches
Not knowing the end result
Why did the character sneeze?
Why did the colors blend?
Why did the music roll?

Ahh, the way of creation
Beautiful and unexpected
And beautiful
Accepted and beautiful
For if the end were pre conceived
Would it be art?
Would it be creation?
Would it be life?

Unexpected beauty happens
Be amazed!

After Her Death

Following my mother’s death
We fought about the things.
We argued over furniture and
Heirloom diamond rings.

The Waterford from Ireland,
And oil-on-canvas art,
Madam Alexander Dolls,
Keepsakes of the heart.

Two lifetimes worth of Kodak prints,
The sweaters knit by hand,
Great grandma’s China gravy boat,
Old stories of the land.
____________

“My shelves are full!”
“My car’s too small!”
“Antique things’ll break!”
“I’ve got no room
On floor or wall
So nothing will I take!”

That’s the way we argued,
Voices almost at a wail.
So then and there we opted
For a discount two-day sale.

The Tooth Fairy: A True Story

Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy.  His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).

Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:

Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No?  (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No.  It’s not real.
Me:  What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy.  It’s a ratoncito. This is true!  In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.

The Cupboard

The ratty kitchen cupboard door
stood open every morning.
And everyday I told my kid,
“This is your final warning!

“You have to, must and always will
keep spices from the light
within the safety of the doors,
the cupboard closed up tight!”

“Sorry pop, it wasn’t me,”
the youngest one would say.
“I’d never harm the cinnamon.”
One day he moved away.

That open kitchen cupboard door
kept pestering my life.
Mistake! for it was not my child:
Was my forgetful wife.

“Oh honey, dear, please help me out
and do me a big favor:
Please close the cupboard door at night
so spices we can savor.”

“Don’t ‘honey me’ with open doors;
forgetful I am not.
I, too, protect the tarragon
and rind of apricot.”

After many years of open doors
she passed while sound asleep.
I cried for days, din’t eat a bite,
spent nights a‘counting sheep.

Then hunger knocked one afternoon,
I craved a spicy stew.
Aghast! the cupboard doors thrown wide!
I din’t know what to do!

***********

The cupboard doors I had removed,
And now I clearly see:
T’was not my son nor lovely wife,
The guilty one was me

Differentiated Instruction

Yes!  Differentiated instruction is important.  Students need the opportunity to learn and show their learning in ways that are appropriate and motivating for them.

For a humorous take on differentiated instruction, watch this video: