The First Sound is Never the Birds

The first sound is never the birds
Neither the coo of the pigeon in the palm
Nor the call of the scrub blackbird

Trash truck sounds first
Diesel motor idle roar
Breaking bottles
Pre-dawn-end-of-the-route whisper
Of tired haulers
Hoarse

Then
Cars racing
Motorcycles revving
(Car alarms activated)
House alarms
Dog alarms
Fresh bread morning whistles
Ice cream tricycle kazoos
Old Marta shouting, “Ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le-ta-ma-le!”
(The first time I listened late and heard ma-le-ta [suitcase] not tamale)
Emergency sirens
Pounding, drilling, sanding, scraping
Street-vibrating renovations
Eleven million vying

Pause

Coo
        Call
                  Chirp
                          Song
Relax and respond

Never the first, never the last
Yet always the soothe in the din-
Awareness revealing the bird-song

Listen

For the coo of the pigeon in the palm
And the call of the scrub blackbird

.                                        Lima, Peru 2019

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Masquerade

Come dance with me
Guess who I’ll be
At the ball of masquerade

You’ll see my face
That I’ll replace
I dance my grand charade

Come listen once
Dear brilliant dunce
It’s true this love I feign

Sweet nothings slur
Words lovely blur
Cause pain, no choice, remain

**********

The trust that’s gone
May come at dawn
A principle election

The words you hear
Are cloudy clear
Choose where you place affection

Read and Listen Online

I am collecting a list of online places to read and/ or listen to stories in English for elementary school students and families.
What great sites am I missing?
Please let me know and I will add them to my list!

Starfall:           http://www.starfall.com/
Reading Bear http://www.readingbear.org/
Storyline         http://www.storylineonline.net/
Storynory       http://www.storynory.com/
Magic Keys     http://www.magickeys.com/books/
Mrs. P              http://mrsp.com/
Story Cove      http://storycove.com/
Highlights      https://www.highlightskids.com/stories
International Children’s Library http://en.childrenslibrary.org/
LibriVox          https://librivox.org/
Loyal Books   http://www.loyalbooks.com/genre/Children
A Story Before Bed     http://www.astorybeforebed.com/storytime
TuneIn Radio              http://tunein.com/radio/Childrens-Topics–Stories-g227/
Online Audio Stories
http://www.onlineaudiostories.com/category/all_stories/audio_stories/

Listen, Watch then Teach

When working with my students in language and literacy I am always looking for data.  I don’t, however, rely much on standardized scores and summative assessments.  While helpful in a very small way, those types of assessments give me information more about me, the teacher, than about the student.  I look for data that I can use.

Every time I have a conversation with students I make notes about their learning, sometimes mental notes and sometimes written notes.  I try to keep track of their use of language and their thinking.  Every time I read student writing I make notes about their use of language, their ability to express themselves and their accuracy.  This is the data that I use.

This is the real-time data that shows me what students know and can do right now.  That data is then turned into large group, small group and individual instruction as needed to move all students forward.  I encourage students to make mistakes, use big words, enter into debates and not be afraid.  It is through making mistakes, I tell them, that I can know what the next steps are in their learning.  All done in a supportive environment.

Give it a try; it’s not rocket science.  When we pay attention to the students they will show us what they need.  When we listen and watch, we will know what to teach.