Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Highlights of The Flipside




I had a lot of fun with this year's National Poetry Month poems. Early in the month I started writing etherees, inspired by Liz Garton Scanlon's video lesson.


Gratitude
I
give thanks
for the clouds.
Yes, the same ones
that spoiled your picnic,
that rained on your parade,
that flooded the soccer field.
I am thankful for clouds because
without them there'd be no rainbows, and
behind them there will always be blue skies.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020




Now, More Than Ever
Breathe
in hope,
then exhale
your gratitude.
Remember these truths:
students over standards,
patience over procedures,
compassion over compliance,
care over content, and grace over
gimmicks. We must humanize our teaching.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020




Fifth Grade Lessons
You're
only
eleven
and you're learning
life requires you to
(first and foremost) show up.
Read directions, do your best,
ask for help, give help when you can.
Put one foot in front of the other.
Never take "ordinary" for granted.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



I wrote lots of haiku (sometimes that's all the brain space I had after a day of online teaching). Inspired by Jarrett Lerner, I kept a haiku diary for a day:


Haiku Diary for April 15

I wake up whiney
the sameness of every day
I'm on my last nerve

exercise, shower
a mug of hot tea, breakfast
sun peeks through the trees

my heart pumps, blood flows
lungs reliably inflate
some sameness is good

going to work means
down the hall into office
alone/together


Google Meet is fine
but like all the rest of life
you have to show up

food delivery
a small thing for us to do
makes a big difference

lunchtime luxury
listen to a podcast
nurture my spirit

hours and hours of screens
my brain is totally fried
the cure is ice cream


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Here are two of the stories I told. The first one is 100% true, but the second one is mostly fiction. In the first stanza, I am the Grandma, the second stanza is me, the third stanza is fiction (after the first line, anyway!), and the fourth stanza is where I was and what I was doing when I wrote the poem.


I Have a New Friend
I have a new friend.
We've never met.
She chalks art and exercise challenges on the sidewalk.
She leaves the chalk out.
I write and draw my thanks.
Her chalk sticks became a pile of chalk pebbles.
I left a package on her porch --
Highlights magazines and gently used sidewalk chalk.
She left a package on my porch --
coloring pages, crayons and markers, four Cra-Z-Loom bracelets.
And a note.
I have a new friend named Annie.
We've never met.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020




Lunch

When Grandma was a girl
she sometimes walked home from school for lunch.
She remembers grilled cheese and tomato soup,
kidney beans and cheese on toast,
peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Now that school is in my house,
I eat lunch at home every day.
I like to eat the same thing I did at school --
pretzels and a cheese stick, veggies and a fruit.
Keeping lunch the same helps me remember the cafeteria.

The cafeteria was loud and messy.
I traded pretzels for bites of sushi or mini Oreos.
After lunch was recess. I miss recess --
the swings, the big toy, even the muddy soccer field.
I even miss indoor recess.

Sitting on my porch
eating my not-a-school-lunch
at home-is-now-school,
I close my eyes in the sun, listen to the birds,
and remember everything I miss about school.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020




Liz has the Poetry Friday Roundup for today at her blog Elizabeth Steinglass. Happy May!


nature carries on



nature carries on

hyacinths are gone
viburnum is swarmed by bees
daisies will bloom next 


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Lunch




Lunch

When Grandma was a girl
she sometimes walked home from school for lunch.
She remembers grilled cheese and tomato soup,
kidney beans and cheese on toast,
peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Now that school is in my house,
I eat lunch at home every day.
I like to eat the same thing I did at school --
pretzels and a cheese stick, veggies and a fruit.
Keeping lunch the same helps me remember the cafeteria.

The cafeteria was loud and messy.
I traded pretzels for bites of sushi or mini Oreos.
After lunch was recess. I miss recess --
the swings, the big toy, even the muddy soccer field.
I even miss indoor recess.

Sitting on my porch
eating my not-a-school-lunch
at home-is-now-school,
I close my eyes in the sun, listen to the birds,
and remember everything I miss about school.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

There's No Such Thing



There's No Such Thing

There's no such thing
as something from nothing
but potential can surprise us like Spring does
can unfold the way a leaf opens
the way Einstein grew out of an inauspicious childhood
into his genius.
It is the way of the world to
make the improbable possible,
then real.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



The phrase "make the improbable possible, then real" is something Maria Popova said during the live stream of "The Universe in Verse" on Saturday, April 25, 2020.





Monday, April 27, 2020

In the Recent Past




in the recent past
"infectious" and "contagious"
referred to laughter


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Sunday, April 26, 2020

Dandelions, Ten Days Later




temporary sun
now a galaxy of seeds
blown dandelion


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020

I Have a New Friend




I Have a New Friend

I have a new friend.
We've never met.
She chalks art and exercise challenges on the sidewalk.
She leaves the chalk out.
I write and draw my thanks.
Her chalk sticks became a pile of chalk pebbles.
I left a package on her porch --
Highlights magazines and gently used sidewalk chalk.
She left a package on my porch --
coloring pages, crayons and markers, four Cra-Z-Loom bracelets.
And a note.
I have a new friend named Annie.
We've never met.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Friday, April 24, 2020

Perspectives




Perspectives

I can see the train on the tracks two blocks away,
but an eagle can see a rabbit two miles away.

I can turn my head to look west down the street to the sunset,
but an owl can turn its head to see 270° (plus it can see in the dark.)

I can roll my eyes at Bill's corny puns,
but mantis shrimp and chameleons can roll each eye independently.

I can see your face,
but not your heart.

I can see through tears,
but not through closed doors.

I can see the stars,
but not the future.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Can it really be the last Friday of National Poetry Month? Christie has the roundup AND the Progressive Poem at Wondering and Wandering.


And then this: Grant Snider is thinking about what we can and cannot see, too!


Thursday, April 23, 2020

What You Want




What You Want

When what you want
is to swim laps in a pool,
a walk in the neighborhood
will have to do.

When what you want
is a hug and high five,
a card or an email
will have to suffice.

When what you want
leaves you high and dry
what you DO have
will just have to satisfy.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Fifth Grade Lessons




Fifth Grade Lessons

You're
only
eleven
and you're learning
life requires you to
(first and foremost) show up.
Read directions, do your best,
ask for help, give help when you can.
Put one foot in front of the other.
Never take "ordinary" for granted.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

There's Really No Other Option




There's Really No Other Option

It's a small boat.
You're alone in a storm.
The sea is rough.
A gust of wind takes your sail.
The boat spins and lurches.
It threatens to swamp.
You scream into the dark night.
The sky absorbs your anger, despair, frustration.

Then you pick up the oars,
and you row.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Monday, April 20, 2020

Be Prepared




no Swiss Army Knife
adequately prepares you
for a broken heart


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


I opened my Everyday Offerings book after I heard the announcement from Governor DeWine that our schools would be closed for the remainder of the year. It wouldn't have mattered if I had seen this before I heard the announcement. I knew it was coming. I was not prepared.




Sunday, April 19, 2020

Generosity




Generosity

Give what you can.
Even if you have
No cash to spare, your giving makes a difference.
Every card or "thank you" or piece of art
Reminds those who are working so hard to keep
Our world running and our citizens
Safe and healthy, that we acknowledge their
Invaluable contribution.
Today, what will
You give?


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


NCTE President's Address-November 2019


Several people had asked earlier about when my NCTE President's Address from November 2019 would be available.  It is titled, Room for Learning: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Changing Classrooms. It is available now and you can find it here.

If you are like me, you are having trouble reading anything over a page or two these days and I have no idea how a talk converts to text. But I decided the piece was worth sharing here as a way to amplify the voices of people I've been learning from lately. If you are looking for new people to follow and learn from, skimming the article for those mentions and photos is worth it.  One of the biggest gifts of my NCTE role on the presidential team for the past (almost) four years, has been the ability to grow my circle and get to know so many people and (most importantly) to learn from and with them. I have been thinking about our education community a great deal during this past month. We are so lucky as members of NCTE to have this community and I think it's important for all of us to expand our circles so the we learn from more and more people every day.  NCTE has sustained me throughout my career and it continues to sustain me and keep me grounded during this difficult time.

(As an added bonus, it will be well worth your time to open the address in order to get a vintage photo of Mary Lee and me looking over the program at one of first NCTE conferences.)


Saturday, April 18, 2020

The 2020 Progressive Poem is HERE!


True to the spirit of collaboration and community here in Poetry Friday Land, Irene Latham started the National Poetry Month tradition of a crowd-sourced Progressive Poem, and then handed the baton to Margaret Simon this year. Margaret put out the call and thirty poets quickly filled the schedule. (See bottom of post.) This year, #1 Donna Smith started things off by giving #2 Irene Latham the choice of two lines, and so that's the way the poem's flowing this year. You get to pick a line, and offer two possibilities to the next person. Here are the choices Heidi offered me. I got to choose between "slow and mesmerizing, or brief and energizing."

Here's the poem so far:

Progressive Poem 2020

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song
and night melts into a rose gold dawn

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold
hints of sun lightly dapple the trees
calling out the sleepy bees

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.
I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax...
as a whitetail doe comes into view.
She shifts and spotted fawns debut.

I want this moment to last a little longer, so I choose...

We freeze. My green eyes and her brown


Tag, you're it, Tabatha!
Your two choices for the next line are:

meet and lock. Time slows down.

OR

connect in a moment so profound



Here's where the poem's been, and where it's going:


2020 Progressive Poem

1 Donna Smith at Mainely Write

2 Irene Latham at Live Your Poem

3 Jone MacCulloch at deowriter

4 Liz Steinglass

5 Buffy Silverman

6 Kay McGriff 

7 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core

8 Tara Smith at Going to Walden

9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link

10 Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme

11 Janet Fagel, hosted at Reflections on the Teche

12 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise

13 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers

14 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

15 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life

16 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance

17 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe

18 Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading

19 Tabatha at Opposite of Indifference

20 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities

21 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse

22 Julieanne Harmatz at To Read, To Write, To Be

23 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town

24 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering

25 Amy at The Poem Farm

26 Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work That Matters

27 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge

28 Jessica Bigi at TBD

29 Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces

30 Michelle Kogan


Friday, April 17, 2020

Contact Tracing




Contact Tracing

shy handshake
pat on the back
ponytail tug
hand-over-hand cursive
fist bump
high five
side hug

wave goodbye through the window of the bus
wave hello through the computer screen

contact secure
heart to heart


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Molly has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Nix the Comfort Zone.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Dandelions



Dandelions

Yellow stars
in a sky of green
you shine
but never twinkle.

Dots of happiness
splattered on the lawn
you're a freckle, a dimple,
a wink.

Golden coin
on green bank
you share your wealth
freely.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Haiku Diary for April 15



Haiku Diary for April 15

I wake up whiney
the sameness of every day
I'm on my last nerve

exercise, shower
a mug of hot tea, breakfast
sun peeks through the trees

my heart pumps, blood flows
lungs reliably inflate
some sameness is good

going to work means
down the hall into office
alone/together

Google Meet is fine
but like all the rest of life
you have to show up

food delivery
a small thing for us to do
makes a big difference

lunchtime luxury
listen to a podcast
nurture my spirit

hours and hours of screens
my brain is totally fried
the cure is ice cream


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Keeping a haiku diary is one of the challenges from Jarrett Lerner.



The Power of Choice During this Online/Pandemic Learning

**Mary Lee, Franki and Julie have been talking and thinking about choice during this time of Online/Pandemic Learning.  We decided to share our current thinking about choice and writing today and would love to hear from others on what is working when it comes to choice, writing and online learning. You can find Julie's post here.


From Franki
Writing Workshop is the heart of our classrooms and we believe student choice is so important for authenticity. Typically during the school year, we do 3-4 genre-based units of study and then between those, I do other units of study that cross genres. I want my readers to know there are so many ways to study and grow as a writer and although there are specifics for particular genres, there are also skills writers have that cross genres. Learning from Other Writers, Revising, Expanding Important Ideas in a Text, and Word Choice to Improve Writing are all units we've done across the year.

With this new online/pandemic teaching, it's been a challenge to stay grounded in what we believe about writing and writers.

I thought long and hard about what this time means for writers and I realized that this stay-at-home time is a perfect time for writers to do authentic work, to commit to a project with lots of time to work, to play around and to grow, to build a stronger identity as a writer.  So I decided that choice would be the most important thing over the next few weeks.

After talking with Julie Johnson on how she was providing her 3rd graders choice, I created this board for students.  Last week, students spent time thinking about the possibilities for their writing over the next several weeks and they committed to one of the ideas on this Choice Board.


Having a writing workshop with very little live time together has been tricky so I built this board with this in mind. I knew I wanted students to have choice in genre, but I also knew that my focus for teaching as they were working on their writing would span genre. I knew I wanted them to find mentor texts and I knew revision would be important.  So I built some mentor texts into the slides so that as students explored options, they could see writers who they might learn from in each project.

This week, we will have small groups meeting to share and discuss their writing. And I am thinking about how to incorporate this brilliant idea from Clare Landrigan from Tuesday's blog.  My main goal is to support writers in lots of ways, to invite those writers who have lots of time to give to this, some options to dig  (working hours each day if they'd like) in in a way that isn't possible when school is in session.  I want them to know what that feels like they have a project they love and are committed to. I also want to give writers who don't have as much time or space for this the option to create and learn something--something they want to learn. It seems like an easy time during the year to do this as routines are set, students have goals as writers, they have learned from mentors all year and they have lots of writing ideas. 

I am already amazed at the ideas kids have shared and the work they are doing.  I am hoping this choice board meets the needs of all of my writers during this challenging time.

From Mary Lee

In our first full week of online learning, we had a very successful Flipgrid Science Symposium on Friday, where students shared their learning about food chains, food webs, energy pyramids, and the biome of their choice in a short video on Flipgrid. They loved having a project to work towards, and seeing how all of their work in reading, writing, and science could come together. In our "more of this/less of that" conversation on that first Friday, they definitely wanted more projects, and one student requested work with biographies, so I made a mental note to somehow work that in for our next project.

Last week and this week we have done some activities that are building towards an in-depth opinion piece. I wanted to weave together life science, biographies, and opinion writing. This is what I will present to the students next week. I hope I built in enough choice so that every student can find an entry point.



Students will be able to choose by person, by the person's area of science, or by the person's action -- what they're famous for. All of the links (except Julia Hill) go to our school's subscription (via Infohio) to WorldBook Student. 

Some of my students will be able to chose a topic and run with the research and the writing, but many will need scaffolding. We will brainstorm ways to make this an opinion piece. It will be very different than a "fuzzy socks are the best" opinion piece. They will need to make a claim about the importance of the person, the area of science, or the work. While they will start in WorldBook Student, they will need to do online searches and find information in unlikely places like BrainPOP.

I am struggling to get my students to keep their commitment to the small group session they signed up for, but in my dreams, those small groups will become writing support groups where we can discuss their progress and they can share their writing for peer feedback.

I envision this project lasting several weeks, and I have my fingers crossed that my students will be up for the stamina of this. Perhaps I'll have to drastically modify my expectations, or even toss the whole thing out as a spectacular failure. Time will tell, but I think it's worth a try!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Ode to My Hardboiled Egg




Ode to My Hardboiled Egg

You came into this world ready
to be whatever was needed from you --

glue, to hold together a cake,
glaze, to make a pastry shine,
shell, to become a work of art,
sustenance, to give my body the strength

to do whatever the world needs from me.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Monday, April 13, 2020

We Are In This Together




We Are In This Together

When, in the human history of the
Earth, have

All the people --
Regardless of continent or nation -- shared the same
Experience? No one is

Immune from the daily
News of infection and death.

Turn on the media and you'll
Hear "furlough," "recession," "economy."
Incredible to see crops of tulips and onions
Sitting in fields, rotting.

Turn off the media and head
Outside. Nature will fill you with
Gratitude. Our
Earth -- spinning out days, circling out seasons --
Tells us change is inevitable,
Have hope, share wisdom, take care of
Each life.
Remember: we are in this together.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020





Sunday, April 12, 2020

Good News From Across the Pond




Good News From Across the Pond

in the village of
Ribbesb├╝ttel, Germany
the storks have come back


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020








Saturday, April 11, 2020

It Never Grows Old




It Never Grows Old

Redbud
blooms burst from bark,
fleck the tree with color,
then open into a haze of
purple.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


This Online/Pandemic Learning Journey (so far....)


We just completed our 2nd full week of online learning. We started with a 3-day week, then had Spring break. So last week was our second full week of this new, online learning.  The journey has not been an easy one.  As teachers and students grieve the community space we know and love, teachers are also trying to support students and families during this pandemic.

The first week of online learning was easy. And boring. I put some things out there and kids did them. We were lucky to be able to send lots of books and some supplies home with kids before schools closed so that made things a bit easier. My kids were already comfortable with many tech tools, so I wasn't worried about that.

But at the end of the week I was frustrated and depressed. What I was doing wasn't teaching. How could I be teaching when students did the work in their homes, while I sat in mine? There was no laughter, there were no inside jokes, no greetings and no book talks. I mean the libraries are closed. Never in a million years did I imagine a world in which there are no libraries.

I missed the big kitchen table in our classroom and the way that kids would gather when they needed a bit of community support.  I missed read aloud and the collective thinking of this amazing group of 5th graders. I missed the conversations on the way down to lunch and I missed watching friendships develop.  I even missed indoor recess --and all the noise that goes along with that. I realized again that every single minute in a classroom is a minute that teaches us something about a child in our company.  I've always known how quick little conversations with kids add up across a school year but the absence of all of these quick conversations made it so much more clear.

When I was able to reflect last week, I knew I could create lessons. I knew I could find resources online. I knew my kids could use the online tools easily and effectively.  I knew we had Google Meet and we could gather in real time. But the thing I couldn't figure out was how I could possibly teach without the listening and watching. I teach by listening, by talking to kids individually, by checking in. I believe that my best teaching is in listening and observing children in the midst of learning and making sense of things.

So, I started to wonder about listening in this new world of school. What does listening look like? What could listening look like now? How could I create an online space that felt more right? That felt more like our real, physical space?  How could I listen and be responsive to individual students and to the classroom as a whole? How could I know what they needed? How can I be more myself as a teacher in this space and how could my students be more themselves?

One of my students said something amazing last week before a read aloud. She said, "I don't feel like I'm learning anything at home. I mean, I am learning new things but I don't get that happy feeling I get at school when I learn new things. I don't like that we can't turn and talk and hear other people's thinking. It just doesn't feel like learning."

So this last week, instead of spending my time finding as many great resources online as I could, instead of trying to find things kids could do independently, I spent time (thanks to Clare Landrigan) thinking about what was most important to our classroom community and what was most important to me as a teacher. I believe in student choice and agency.  I believe in invitations over accountability. I believe in authenticity, connectedness and intentionally. And I believe that if I am not learning, my students are probably not learning either.

And then I set up things that, even though they were asynchronous, gave me ways to listen. Just like at the beginning of the year, when I slow down and listen and watch, I did a lot of that this week. Even though they were nothing like being in a classroom together, my focus was on listening and learning from my students and that helps me plan better, I think.

Once I figured out that it was the LISTENING that was missing and that I cannot teach without learning from my students and allowing my students to learn from each other, I went from feeling like this:



to feeling like this:

So, here are some things that helped me listen and learn over the last week or so. These things helped make our online classroom feel just a TINY BIT more like our real, wonderful classroom.

6 Word Memoirs-I asked my kids to write 6 Word Memoirs and they posted them on a class Padlet. I was hoping that this was a type of writing would be an invitation for students that they could spend as little or as much time as they wanted on.  They could process what this time has been like for them or write a 6 Word Memoir about something else. They could add art, but they didn't need to. I could see where their thinking was, and I figured most kids would do this as it is a quick, low stress kind of writing play.

Friday Letters to Me--Each Friday during the school year, my students write letters to their families about their week's learning. Last week, I asked kids to write letters to me. Not necessarily about their learning but just a letter about how they are doing, how they are spending their time, how things are going, etc. They did these on Google Docs so I could respond individually.

 I created a Padlet called "Stuff We Are Doing" and invited kids to share things they are making, books they are reading, ways they are helping etc.

I wanted to touch base with families without adding stress. So, I sent individual emails to families just checking in--inviting them to let me know how things were going.

We've had daily Live Read Aloud via Google Meet.  This gives us time to come together around a good story and to also have time to stop and talk.  It isn't quite the same as being in the classroom, but it does feel like our old routine and our conversations have grown more natural as the week went on. We also use this time to catch up--I open the meet about ten minutes early and have time to chat with students as they log on and as the group goes. We were even able to use this time to sing Happy Birthday to a few classmates last week!

Flipgrid has been my favorite tool during this last week. It seems to be the place where students are themselves and where they can share and feel like they are talking to and with classmates. They seem confident and happy in this space.  So, we've used Flipgrid for a few screenless Science challenges as well as some student-led Classroom Bookadays.  Then, in a conversation this week, one of my students suggested we make a FLIPGRID AT HOME so kids could post videos of things they are doing.  Almost like a talent show but more inclusive in terms of things kids could include. They are thinking playing songs on instruments, baking, introducing us to a pet, etc. I am anxious to see this Flipgrid grow.

If you haven't seen Georgia Heard's poem, "WhenWishes Return", this was an incredible conversation. I had a Google Meet to just answer questions and chat on Thursday. About 9 kids showed up.  I pulled up this poem as they had read it earlier in the week and we just chatted, looking at the poem. For a few minutes, I forgot we were online as the conversation was so much like so many we've had in our classroom. This poem invited such rich conversation. It was accessible. It had depth and it was relevant. I realized that this was something we were missing--the rich real time conversations that happen every day in the classroom around important ideas in text. At the start of every class meeting, we usually start with a shared book or poem or topic of discussion.  Talking about texts beyond just our read aloud in real time is going to become an important part of our routine moving forward.

Finally, my students told me they miss the small group time. That they love seeing the whole class, but they also want to meet live in small groups around tings we are learning. So, I created some Invitational Book Clubs and some choice writing for kids who were interested. Next week, I'll offer small group conversations and keep building on those.

The most important thing I did this week was to open up Comments on anything the kids turned in. Rather than turning something in just to me, I asked them to post it on a Padlet or on Google Slides so that others could learn from and respond.  I love Flipgrid because it allows video comments. By making "commenting" part of the daily learning plan that I sent out each day, students were invited to learn from each other and I could tell how important this was to students by the number and sincerity of their comments.

Like every teacher in the world right now, I'd much rather be in the classroom. And I am sad. So sad. But, this journey is definitely one in which I am learning every day. I'm not sure what next week will bring. But my main focus after much reflection is on trying to remain true to what I know is important whether in the physical classroom or not. So for now my focus is to make sure that whatever I put out there for my kids to "do," it is something that allows me to listen and learn, to give them space to be who they are right now and to share their voices. If I am listening and learning as if I were in the physical classroom, my hope is that they are too.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Poetry Friday -- Living is a Form of Not Being Sure



Living is a form of not being sure, 
not knowing what next or how.
The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows.
We guess.
We may be wrong, 
but we take leap after leap into the dark.

--Agnes de Mille


Living is a Form of Not Being Sure

There are all kinds of dark.

You close your eyes in fear, exhaustion, or prayer
and dark is there.

The sun sets, the clouds roll in, you step into shade
and dark is there.

Your mind fills with unmarked roads, closed doors, gaping chasms
and dark is there.

There are all kinds of light.

You open your eyes in hope, anticipation, or gratitude
and light is there.

The sun rises, the clouds roll on, you step into sunshine
and light is there.

Your mind takes leap after leap into the dark, guessing, risking
and light is always there.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020 (with help from Agnes de Mille)



Amy has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.



Thursday, April 09, 2020

Now, More Than Ever




Now, More Than Ever

Breathe
in hope,
then exhale
your gratitude.
Remember these truths:
students over standards,
patience over procedures,
compassion over compliance,
care over content, and grace over
gimmicks. We must humanize our teaching.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


This poem is an etheree.  It is also a found poem, comprised of bits of a post I read on the Nextdoor app, and this tweet by Shana V. White:





Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Unbounded




unbounded by walls
my classroom fits on my lap
hello front porch


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

This Is Just To Say




This Is Just To Say

I am not reading
the books
that patiently wait
on my shelves

and which
I should probably
have read
by now

Forgive me
I will read again
someday
maybe today


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


My mentor texts for this poem are William Carlos Williams and Kate Messner.


Monday, April 06, 2020

When I Stepped Outside for My Early Morning Walk




When I Stepped Outside for My Early Morning Walk

I was met by the moon,
full and bright, hanging low.
Good morning, Moon, I said.
What do you know?
And Moon said, Glow.

Few will notice
fewer will care.
All the more reason to always be there
and glow.

Waxing is joyous
waning is real.
Whether a sliver or the whole wheel,
you glow.

Find some light
get in its way
reflect that light with beam or ray
and glow.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Sunday, April 05, 2020

My Hands




My Hands

wrinkled cracked and dry
these clean clean clean clean clean hands
my gift to the world


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



This poem was inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's Sharing our Notebooks video.


Saturday, April 04, 2020

On My Walk




On My Walk

On my walk
around the block
what do I see?
I see a teddy bear
looking at me!

As we go
I look below
and what do I see?
I see chalk art
looking at me!

Walk some more
and on the door
what do I see?
I see a rainbow
looking at me!

Come back home
where we're alone.
What do I see?
A hopeful heart
is looking out for me.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020



Friday, April 03, 2020

The Flipside: My National Poetry Month Project for 2020




My Joy

I see
you on my screen.
Hear your voice, check your work.
But I miss the reality
of you.

Your face --
pixilated --
so close, and yet so far.
No matter the distance, you are
my joy.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


This poem is a pair of cinquains. They were written in response to Liz Garton Scanlon's prompt.

So much about the world right now is scary and uncertain. That was always true, but it is in-our-faces true now. At the same time, there are amazing acts of generosity, compassion, connectedness, and creativity that are happening because of These Unprecedented Times. For myself, for my students, for my readers, I wanted to write poems this month that remind us what's on the flipside of the scary uncertainty.

Heidi has the first Poetry Friday Roundup of National Poetry Month 2020 at her blog, my juicy little universe.


Thursday, April 02, 2020

Gratitude




Gratitude

I
give thanks
for the clouds.
Yes, the same ones
that spoiled your picnic,
that rained on your parade,
that flooded the soccer field.
I am thankful for clouds because
without them there'd be no rainbows, and
behind them there will always be blue skies.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020


This poem is an etheree, written with gratitude to Liz Garton Scanlon for her poetry prompts.



Wednesday, April 01, 2020

National Poetry Month 2020: The Flipside




The Flipside

Your fear stings like a fresh paper cut.
The flipside is brave determination to never give up.

The changes are rollercoaster fast -- disorienting, dizzying.
The flipside is the steady predictable approach of Spring.

Our connection is like the two sides of a coin:
the flipside says, whether we are together or apart, we are joined.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2020