Thursday, September 29, 2022

Nebulous Definito

Hello, Last Friday of September,

Except for the odd monster hurricane, what a beautiful month! I really hate to see September go...except that October is arriving. And, I do love pumpkins, pumpkin spice and fall leaves.

The Poetry Pals challenged us to write a definito, this form was invented by our own Heidi Mordhorst--and is super fun to write.

Things that lift a star's spirits...that's what's new on Star's padlet today.

Please visit The Opposite of Indifference for the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks for hosting, Tabatha!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Since Last Constitution Day

Hello Friday!

September 17th was Constitution Day in the US. This year, I celebrated that the Constitution of my nation still holds. It has been attacked and challenged. Yet, so far, our Constitution and federal form of government in the US continue to work by and for the people. I am grateful and acutely aware of how fragile the ideas of this old battleship of a document are. My drafty poem is a bit dark.

I had fun with poetry prompts from Ethical ELA's Open Write this week. A super fun prompt involving my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire song f and this photo generated a poem for Star's padlet:

Be sure to visit Rose at Imagine the Possibilities. She's hosting our round-up this week and I'm still in awe of her riff on St. Milay last week. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

September 16

Hello Poets,

Last weekend, I visited the Mexican Genuises: A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience. It was wonderful -- truly an artist date. 

I've always appreciated that Kahlo and Rivera were artists. But neither of their styles has been my aesthetic. To be honest, I just thought Kahlo's art was edgy and weird.  I enjoyed how the immersive experience took me into the world of these two in a different way. 

The exhibit was held in a warehouse turned movie studio. Each exhibit space included reproductions of art as well as objects from the time period and culture. I loved the leather chairs in the first space to sit and watch a huge mural by Rivera animated from a black and white sketch to full painting. 

Another room was set up like a kitchen with dishes and cooking utensils--all of this with painted reproductions, menus, and sound recordings of kitchen preparations.

The grand finale of this visit was a massive hall that played a 360-degree presentation of sight and sound. I was grateful for a swivel stool I could turn around and around as the scenery changed on the ceiling, floor, and every inch of the walls. 

As guests exited, we were invited to color in a community Rivera-styled wall mural and play with hands-on objects and dioramas of the Mexican geniuses. Fun!

In the mural coloring and fun objects room

There won't be a Kahlo or Rivera painting on my dining room wall anytime soon. But, I appreciate how these two lived their art and both produced large collections of work to enjoy. I'm so glad for the experience with their work.


Borne by pain 
you lived corseted 
unable to contain all you would express. 
 Painting was the way--  

Artists and communists 
even democratic thinkers
of your day wanted to know
and keep up with you.  


Stars over Coyoacán drank your colors 
red and ochre birth blood 
post-surgical black and green.
Again and again. 

In the future,
we think we can know you console you.


I have receipts for trinkets
and copies of your work.
Still, stars remember the flavor of your colors
as I wander a dark world looking at
and wondering about your art.

--Linda Mitchell--draft

This painting by Alan Syliboy sparkled on my twitter feed this week...just look at all those stars! See the poem inspired by them on Star's padlet 

Be sure to stop by Kat Apel's blog for the latest and greatest on her work and a round-u[ of our Poetry Friday friends.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

International Literacy Day

Happy Friday!

We made it--but it wasn't that hard. Monday was a holiday for many of us. It's nice that the world feels back to work right along with me now. 

Thursday of this week is International Literacy Day with a theme of Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces; Exploring Possibilities and Opportunities. It's fitting that our Poetry Friday friend, Carol, is hosting our round-up this weekend at Beyond Literacy. She's a pro!

I was mulling over the word literacy for today's post. I looked up the definition at UNESCO's site and at Merriam-Webster. As a middle school librarian, I am always looking for opportunities to grow a student's literacy. It's tough these days. I've had to select my literacy go-tos carefully.  This is difficult with some adults today seeking to control what feels like an uncontrollable world by banning books for young people.

ILD graphic created for my school from UNESCO pics

One of my go-tos is author, poet, and Youth Ambassador for Poetry and Literature, Jason Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds is exceptional at the descriptors in his title. He has additional charisma for connecting his passion for literacy to others.

This is what Reynolds discusses in the article below--so elegantly expressed as you see-- that I found a poem in his words.

Jason Reynolds

I don't want you
to lead a reluctant life
    Engage with language!

Make the work
that work needs to live somewhere.

Understand that with just
a few words--
everything you are looking 
for--the secret to not boring
a conduit to wholeness
permission to be uncertain.

Bearing witness 
to your insecurities--sometimes
empathy has to do with
empathy of self.

Feel less alone
more emotionally strong
diligence and persistence--
could impart conscious.

Be excellent at it.

words found by Linda Mitchell 9/9/22

I hope that by reading posts of Poetry Friday blogger friends you'll appreciate your opportunities to grow even more literate.

Let's figure out how to grow literacy for others at home and around the world. It's a job for poets!

There's a new poem on Star's padlet inspired by this interview of Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

This photo...

Happy September, Friends 

Thank you,Teacher Dance, for hosting our Poetry Friday roundup today. This month, my youngest child enters the last of his teens. Where has the time gone? School is in full swing north to south, east to west in the USA and, the Inklings share a challenge from Margaret:

...Choose a photo from the month of This Photo Wants to be a Poem and share your poem and your process...

I chose this beautiful photo by Kim Douillard posted to Reflections on the Teche on July 6th. I've heard, read...somehow learned...that the word "dance" is used a LOT in poems. I try to find a synonym for the word whenever I can...but this time it just fits.

It's a season of September stars! I love this song...I promise to hum it every day this month. Some of the lyrics are on Star's padlet:

by Earth, Wind and Fire
Do you rememberThe 21st night of September?Love was changin' the minds of pretendersWhile chasin' the clouds away
Our hearts were ringin'In the key that our souls were singin'As we danced in the night, rememberHow the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah


Hello Sojourners,

I so appreciated Maureen's invitation to write about community for Spiritual Journey Thursday. One of the special aspects of the community where I work is that we get an annual summer reset. Students, teachers, administrators, and staff members all get two months of time that our school is not in session. Students get an eight-week reset, professionals get varying amounts of time to get away and recover from the work, and the building itself has several weeks of silence.

When we re-open, it's with excitement for moving up a grade or, starting a fresh year of teaching, a new classroom, locker, or office. It's a celebration.

I've been taking an online course, Digital Detectives, with Jennifer LaGarde and Darren Hudgins. It's fantastic and I highly recommend that teachers take one of their free courses (just need to buy the book). We were discussing all the ways that technology in the hands of students is good and bad and I found myself commenting to the group, 

                "We have to play the game we're in, not the game we would love to play."

I find myself coming back to that phrase today as I consider the journey to be a trustworthy member of my community.

Yesterday, I asked a student their name. This led to manipulation and defiance on the part of the student. I could get upset with their refusal to give me their name. Or, I could understand that a gaping hole of mistrust lies between us and attempt to bridge it.

If that student and I can work together to repair that pothole in our path, we become stronger for our community. We help others be safe and strong too.

After a chat with the school's head principal, I walked the student back to class. I was stumped as to how to begin a relationship. I began abruptly,  I have a cat. His name is Ira.

The student looked sideways at me through slitted eyelids.

I continued, when my cat sits on my lap he purrs so hard it tickles. I love it.


Do you have a pet? 

The students said in a voice so quiet I could bearly hear it...I have a guinea pig.

Oh! Do you like to snuggle your guinea pig?

Yeah. smile...


Building community is very much a "pantser" experience for me. I just have to do what I can at the moment to repair and build with few resources at hand. Today, I will make sure to say hello to this student by name. I will ask about the guinea pig. I will find something new to say.

I thank God that my path to teaching has been something possible for me. These moments reinforce my spiritual journey and remind me that I'm doing good work, work I should be doing even if it's baffling at times.