Tag Archives: poetry

And You Thought Sputnik Was A Satellite

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My sophomores and juniors finally finished decorating their weave poems for the county fair.  After writing some prose text about a person they remembered from their childhood and writing down the words of a song they remember being sung, they wove the two pieces together with some great results.

One of my students is the son of a local man who recently lost his battle with cancer.  Everyone called him “Sputnik”.   The name fit him.  In Russian, the term, “sputnik” is used to refer to a companion.  The word “sputnik” represented something new, a new beginning, the space age.  The Sputnik that we all knew was certainly a companion to many and was always trying something new or different.  In a way, he represented new beginnings.

His son wrote a great story in English class about the time that Sputnik and his brothers decided to go Christmas Caroling as adults while visiting Sputnik’s mother.  The story would be enhanced if I had a photo of Sputnik and his brothers to share.  There is no telling whether these guys had their hair combed, if they were clean shaven, or if they had on any nicer clothes than their work jeans and work boots.  These brothers were known as being a bunch of “characters.”  They told the family whose door they knocked upon that they would sing “Joy to the World”.  Then, they broke into Credence Clearwater Revival’s version of “Joy to the World”.  You may remember this song  if you’re a baby boomer.

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

Was a good friend of mine

I never understood a single word he said

But I helped him drink his wine

And he always had some mighty fine wine

Joy to the world, all the boys and girls

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me.

Well, the story ends with the family who received the gift of Sputnik and his brothers singing a Christmas carol not only laughing but also inviting the guys in for some wine.

The story doesn’t really end there because Sputnik left his son and many others hundreds of wonderful memories that bring a smile to our faces.  To bring a smile to someone’s face, now THAT is a gift!

With his permission, here’s Junior, Chance Bush’s poem:

BULLFROG                                                                                                                              

by Chance Bush

Remember When

Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog

Decided to Go

Was a Good Friend of Mine

Went Over To

I Never Understood a Single Word He Said

Were Close Friends

But I helped Him Drink His Wine

And they sang “Joy to the World”

Joy to You and Me!

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Teaching, Researching, and Libraries

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Every Monday I was planning to write about teaching and teaching tips.  hmmmmm  I had planned to include one of my student’s weave poems today, but I forgot to ask him permission.  Last Friday, I went to Wal-Mart and bought art supplies (with my own money, of course), and today we began the attempt to make our poems look “cute”, “nice”, “good”, “artistic”, ….well, to look like they would be worthy of entering the San Saba County Youth Fair which begins this Thursday.  The 10th and 11th graders really got in the spirit of decorating the poems.  Some of the students are going to save their decorated poems as Valentine gifts for their moms or dads; others will save them for a Mother’s Day present.  I’m really pleased with the result. I hope to have a photo for you in the near future.

I also graded sources that the seniors have found for their research papers.  I’m actually quite proud of their research.  They’ve done a decent job.  When our Region XV Service Center told us that they could no longer afford the Ebsco Data Base we used to find all of our articles online, I panicked last year.  What to do?  Having been a county librarian, I was familiar with the library network and set to work to get all of my students a library card from the Tom Green County Library in San Angelo, Texas.  We got that accomplished during the first semester.  Now, each student is able to get on a laptop and use the online resources of that library which is a two hour drive from us.  Sometimes, I think technology is just the greatest invention ever!  Our school is so small that our reference section is near to none although we have the best librarian ever!  Mrs. Gossett has created a comfy, cozy learning area and has used all of her creativity to raise funds to have adequate books for grades K-12.  Anything that a person requests, Mrs. Gossett finds a way to get it.  More on our wonderful library in another entry.  Stay tuned!

Exciting Teaching News

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Okay, this blogging thingy is more work than I thought!  I’ve really fallen behind as I got busier and busier at school this week. I did want to share with the world my big news at school.  An assignment for my junior English class was to enter the Central Texas Telephone Cooperative’s essay contest.  The contest includes around 15 schools.  The first place prize is a free trip to Washington, D.C. in the summer with 100 other students.  The prize even includes spending money.  The other places receive cash or savings bonds.  Tomorrow morning, a CTTC representative will be at our school to announce to my junior English class the winners, and the tiny school of Richland Springs has won 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places!!!!!  Woo!  Hoo!!!  I am so, so, so excited.  I can’t wait to find out WHO has won!

Our “weave” poems are coming along, slowly but nicely.  The juniors and the sophomores are both creating weave poems in our English classes.  We hope to enter some of them in the county youth fair.

Finally, our contest play, the One Act Play, is coming together.  We  are doing Steel Magnolias, and I’m enjoying the 6 young actresses so much!  They are fun and funny!

A Tip for English teachers

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Perhaps one day a week,  say Mondays, I’ll write about a teaching tip that I have picked up through the years.  One tip that has kept me enjoying teaching is to always keep trying something new and different.  This year I was determined to teach myself and one of my classes how to blog.  We are just getting it going, but both blogs are up and running. The blogs are fun and exciting.  TAKS test review they are not!

Today, I received some information from a much younger teaching friend about teaching a form of poetry called a lullaby poem.  I had seen her talk about this idea several years ago, but I couldn’t remember exactly how the process worked.  The student thinks of a lullaby, song, nursery rhyme, saying or something that he/she can remember someone singing or saying to him in his very early childhood.  The song could be something like the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  The student writes that down and numbers the lines with even numbers only.  The student then writes in prose a description of the person who sang it and the circumstances.  After underlining phrases that stand out in the prose, the phrases are numbered with odd numbers.

The two are then combined to create a poem.  The lines are written in numerical order; thus, alternating the song and the prose  creates a poem.  The project makes a great gift for a mother or grandmother or father.  I’m very excited about trying this tomorrow with some of my classes.  Maybe I’ll share one with you if I can get permission!