Happy Teacher’s Recognition Day!


The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.

-Alice Wellington Rollins

Thanks to all teachers who inspired me to think and question.  As an educator I tried to help students know the importance of asking questions. No question was ever diminished to be silly or dumb.

It is more important now than ever that youngsters know how to read and question. Skills like differentiating between fact and opinion are pivotal to gaining knowledge. Proposing the right question can lead to good research and to the development of ideas and concepts.

If you had a teacher who made you think and helped you be an active learner then please send her a note of thanks. They were the teachers who set you up for life.

 

Hidden Treasures


My husband and I often drive without any particular destination in mind. Last weekend our excursion brought us to a very interesting spot off of Route 46 on Budd Lake. I took some photographs when I heard from a distance someone asking us if we were tourists. I found his comment amusing given the fact we live about 25 miles away. But I guess we did look like tourists as I was carrying my camera bag and holding my Nikon camera fitted with a telescopic lens.

The person was paddling a small canoe across the lake and another person looked like he was getting his gear ready for a beautiful sunny day of fishing. For all we know they could have been the owners or gatekeeper of the property. The castle is now Pax Amicus Theater. Frankly I never heard of it before but very happy we found it. The theater was founded in 1970 and according to Wikipedia “This community theater produces a full year-round season of Broadway and off-Broadway revivals, professional productions of works by Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe, a program devoted to children’s theater, and special events throughout the year.” The most curious find of all was the various statutes dedicated to different people. It seemed surreal to me that along Budd Lake there would be a castle. “The Castle was built in the 1940s as a cinderblock synagogue. Later, it was owned by the Knights of Columbus. In 1978, it was turned into a theatre through the addition of a small stage house, two cinderblock turrets out front, and a fake-gothic facade. It sits at the end of a winding road on the shores of Budd Lake, perhaps 30 miles from Pennsylvania, and is surely one of the damnedest things one will ever run across. A sign over the front door reads “Pax Amicus”-“Peace, Friend.” I would love to know more about the people mentioned on the plaques. As a child this kind of place fascinated me. I suppose it still does. I hope that someone recognizes this hidden treasure and could give us more information. And if you never knew about it, you need to check it out some time.

Statue in front of Amicus Castle

Statue at Memorial Park in BUDD lakeeither thinking or cryingGeorge Stults PlaquePax Amicus Theater 2Pax Amicus Theater

My Dream and His: My Favorite Quotes


My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes

 

Every year for as long as I was a teacher, quotes would be posted all over my classroom during this time of year especially but all year as well. I would ask students to think about the quote and to talk about what Dr. King was saying within the given context or circumstances. I think many of my students were inspired and it was amazing to me what they said sometimes.

Every time one or two students would challenge me and ask me tough questions as well. Many times students would express disappointment and despair because they felt that nothing had really changed as a result of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s dream. Many were pessimistic and I could not blame them. I tried very hard to convince them that they were the change.

I hope that some of them remember how much I believed in the dream. I like to think that I planted a seed in their hearts and brains. As I thought about my former students today, I found myself writing a poem for them. The celebration would not be complete if I would not post some of my favorite quotes.

 

Here is the poem:

 

The Dream

I woke up from a real deep sleep

the warmth of the sun on my face

a promise for a better human race

was a part of my dream

I fell asleep again

to witness history

a token for our collective memory

We walked together side by side

Hand in hand with so much pride

The whole world knew Dr. King had died

His widow and small children

Lead the way

They still stand tall today

King eulogized himself that day

His last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church

was played

the famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon,

he’d given on February 4, 1968.

I will never forget the date.

Sadness spread throughout the land

for the Peace Prize Winner and Holy man

we could not help but to remember

the dream he had for us all.

John Lewis, Jesse Jackson and

Andrew Young would remain

To follow in his footsteps

To ensure his dream comes true

His distinct voice stronger than ever

grew in their heads.

His last speech echoed

And repeated like a refrain

“I don’t know what will happen now;

we’ve got some difficult days ahead.

But it really doesn’t matter to with me now,

because I’ve been to the mountaintop…

I’ve seen the Promised Land.

I may not get there with you.

I’m not worried about anything;

I’m not fearing any man.

Mine eyes have seen the glory

of the coming of the Lord.”

In the dream I saw your faces

(My students of yesteryear)

Pop up before me from different spaces

and as your teacher, I tell you now

Do not let the dream fall down

Keep it alive!

Keep it alive with your actions and deeds.

To my students: I wish you all God’s speed.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes

“I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”

“Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems.”

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

”I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”

FIRST DAY IN DAY CARE


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FIRST DAY IN DAY CARE

He came home,
his mouth outlined
with a chocolaty crust,
His pants torn at the knee.

But he happily sang the ABC’s
a cappella
And clapped hooray so
As if to say
See, I made good use of today.

He pointed to the folded note
His teacher had pinned
on his bright red tee.
“To Parent: Please read me.”

FYI:
1. A little girl (Hanna)
Bit him because (allegedly)
He snatched her snack,
and would not give it back.
2. A little boy (Matthew) pushed
him to the ground;
His pants will need mending.
You may notice a small bump on his head;
but do not worry; we iced it.

3. Please remind your son of the rules
he must abide.
4. He sang an encore of his favorite song,
danced and tapped his feet to the beat. But it was time to nap. What a feat to get him to sleep.

Thanks Ms. Sally 

I laughed and I cried
and I sighed,
As grandma’s do sometimes
It was almost déjà vu
His dad did the same.

Melba Christie

Happy Birthday William!


Happy Birthday William!

by Melba Christie (c) 2014

 

Pardon me if I sound presumptuous

As I do not mean to be bold

Perhaps it is not proper of me

that I address you by your given name.

But I am honored if you allow me to do the same.

 

You see my seventh grade teacher is to blame

as she made it very clear

your poetry would become so dear

to all of us

She made a huge fuss

and made us memorize whole stanzas

and on your birthday every year

she would have what she called Shakespeare’s extravaganza

 

Also I feel I have known you all my life

you describe much of my strife

besides my father’s name was William too

and maybe this is why I could not help

but to be attracted to you

 

I never want to “speak an infinite deal of nothing”

I feel “the best is yet to come”

as I slowly but surely become

a poet to be followed

an honor I hope is bestowed

upon me before my death

“For in that sleep of death what dreams may come”

““True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.”

 

This is why I sing

today and everyday

“O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful!

And yet again wonderful”

God knows I never want to be dull

 

So today, the 113th day, of this year 2014

and on the 450th anniversary of your birth,

I celebrate with great mirth

your sonnets most of all.

They taught me about the complexities of love

and how we fall

to romance, destiny from the heavens above.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIAM!

 

 

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List of Sites about Shakespeare and his Works

http://www.williamshakespearefacts.net/list-of-shakespeare-sonnets.html

Let Poemattic know how you do on this Quiz.

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/quiz/2014/apr/23/childrens-books-shakespeare-birthday-quiz

Article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/william-shakespeare/10777409/Shakespeares-450th-birthday-Now-all-the-world-is-his-stage.html

 

 

 

Lessons


 

 

 

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Lessons

by Melba Christie (c) 2013

                                                                                                                                                                      

we look to our teachers

when questions puzzle the mind

embrace their wisdom

          

 

Haiku Deck


http://www.haikudeck.com/p/guUa5mvfut/teach-someone-something

 

 

 

 

The image is a small watercolor I painted a few weeks ago in honor of St. Patrick‘s Day. The message is simple but profound at the same time. I have a passion for teaching. Many of the wonderful ideas I have learned and the creative opportunities I have had, have been taught to me by a passionate teacher. Paolo Freire believed that a nation could become literate if everyone who knew how to read would teach someone else to read. All it is, is passion. Teach someone something that you love to do, then as a result, you pass on the skill and the love of whatever that teaching is  for eternity.

I hope you like the image and I hope you go ahead and “teach someone something you love.”

Here are some quotes to ponder from the writings of Paolo Freire:

“We offer a model of learning which is not dry and academic but is based upon sharing our experience and using the ‘social knowledge’ that we all have. In this model of learning we can all become both co-learners and co-teachers.”

“The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.”

Reading is not walking on the words; it’s grasping the soul of them.”

 

 

 

Learning


 

There are all kinds of learning

but no better lesson

exists than

rediscovering yourself

through the lens of a child

with a deep understanding

and the innate ability

to identify one’s roots and heritage

 in someone else.

A unique connection is made

and the best part is that

it came about

not because of a stereotype or bias

but by a deep feeling of pride.

A Respectful Poem


“Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.” – Plato

In Celebration of the Week of Respect and Anti-bullying

“Respect builds the character and defines who we are”
If we practice it together every day we will go very far
Respect defines us as human beings
We learn it by example and by seeing
Others put to practice the Golden Rule
Children need to know this is cool.
Respect is a lifelong tool.

A week, a month may create some awareness
But to build it strong and infuse it our hearts
will not allow us to pull apart

Respect is not a season; it is a way of life
Let’s respect one another and get rid of the strife
The world will certainly be a better place
When we stand as one and the hate erase.

by Melba Christie

 

 

WordPress Bloggers Quotable Quotes


I continue to read the great material the WordPress bloggers write every day. I feel like I have access to many muses with such diversity of discourse and thought. Thoughts about thoughts that can be mind boggling at times. To all those who follow my blog I am very grateful for your continued support. You inspire me to become more thoughtful about the words I choose and about what I write. Thank you. Happy blogging!

From: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/texaspoet
“Many write poems to sell. Others to gather a form of following of one’s ego. My only reason in writing my poetry is to share my own personal journey with others.”

From: http://zenscribbles.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/to-curse-or-not-to-curse-that-is-the-question/
“While I know that real life is not all sunshine and daisies and curse words are employed quite regularly in the everyday language, I don’t see their purpose or literary merit when it comes to fiction. Some might say that it’s realistic and manages to show just how angry or peeved a character is, but as someone once told me, you don’t need to use swearing to show that. A good writer will be able to show the reader just how angry their character is by employing other techniques.”

From: http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/top-10-gifts-for-writers/
“What do you give a writer? You can’t bottle inspiration, buying an agreeable agent would probably be out of your budget, and I don’t think the antidote for writer’s block has been discovered yet (though I’m betting a placebo would do just as well).”

From: http://101books.net/2012/09/20/ian-mcewan-on-his-writing-process/
“I love hearing about the writing process of successful novelists. It makes me realize that these people are just like me–they’ve figured out there is no set formula on writing and they do what works for them.”

From: http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/writers-are-teachers-are-you-ready-to-teach/
“TeachNow changed my understanding of what it is to be a teacher. I learned that the teacher doesn’t need to know everything. I learned that teaching is less about instruction and more about helping students rediscover what they already know. I learned that teaching is also about holding space and giving students permission to explore and experiment and create. My friend just posted this quote on Twitter and it reminded me of everything I learned with TeachNow: “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.”
~Seymour Papert

From: http://akissofbliss.wordpress.com/
“If others are putting you down or pointing out your flaws, then consider the source. Smile, and outshine them with your positive attitude.”

First Day of School


 

I just received a photo of my grandson on the first day of school via e-mail. He started kindergarten today and his face says it all. He looks confident and stands straight wearing a brand new uniform. The photo brings me back to the day his father’s first day in kindergarten. He had his shiny new superman lunch box in one hand and a small book bag in the other. This is when book bags were simple and light. Kindergarten was a time for play and to engage in socialization. It was a time to begin to learn all the things that you would need to know the rest of your life.
My grandson on the other hand is wearing a big backpack and he looks so grown up. He already has a school resume having attended nursery school and Pre-K for a few years now; so school is nothing new to him. But he is attending a new school this year and so I hope he is able to adjust to his new environment.
But so many other children start school without any prior experience. Today, children are expected to know most of the alphabet, recognize the primary colors, identify geometric shapes and count to 100 before they put a foot inside the Kindergarten class. They are expected to have developed pre-reading skills like recognition of basic sight words. Kindergarten is simply not the same as when my son and daughter went to school. The exigencies are different and the pace is strict. Of course I devoted a lot of time to teaching them many things as a precursor to entering kindergarten but I did want some things to be discovered at school.
Today we need to make sure that five year old children are aware of their surroundings, understand the difference between good versus bad touching, and to develop some street smarts. Times have definitely changed. I just hope that my grandson’s experience is memorable and that he learns to love learning.
Since we live in different states I am making sure that I am a part of the experience. I told him I would write him a letter every week for him to practice reading. I send him activities to reinforce the skills in all areas. I want him to know me as a person and as someone who loves reading and learning. I want to restore some of those twentieth century skills like letter writing and good penmanship. I want him to be articulate and be able to write notes or messages longer than 140 characters. I believe that these skills are still part of building friendships and family relationships. I won’t mind if you call me old fashion. After all, I am a grandmother and I am entitled to be a little old fashioned sometimes.