Tag Archives: poetry

Final winner spotlight: “The Farmer”

Finally, in this series of kids’ poetry, I’ve posted Sophia Diggs-Galligan’s “The Farmer.” You can find her poem and a video of the writer’s delivery (and impressive composure given what was going on) over at the DC State Fair.

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The next winner spotlight: “In My Garden”

Next in the procession of kids’ poetry, I’ve posted Rachel Epstein-Shuman’s “In My Garden.” Catch both her poem and a video of the writer’s delivery over at the DC State Fair.

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Kids’ Poetry Contest spotlight: “Everybody Knows About Carrots”

Baby Organic Carrots from Garden 10-6-09IMG_6718
This year, I had the pleasure of launching the DC State Fair Kids’ Poetry Contest. With help from the organization Kid Power DC,  submissions rolled in from pint-sized poets living all over the District. I just posted the poem “Everybody Knows About Carrots,” the first in a series of spotlights, on the DC State Fair website. It took second place in the 4th and 5th grade category. Check it out and I think you’ll see why it’s a winner.


 Photo by Flickr user Steven Depolo

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Common Core and the 70 percent

Yesterday, news of the Common Core State Standards exploded. A front page feature in The Washington Post brought them to my attention, and I guess a few others’, too. By 9:30 a.m., more than 300 comments trailed the piece.  The standards in question were adopted by states as early as 2010, sprawl across a 66-page document (PDF), and raise some questions about genres and communication.

This effort toward K-12 education reform is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What was the deal with these standards, and why would I—a college instructor and non-parent—really care? Well, the goal, according to the document, is “to help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school.” So yeah, I do care about students’ readiness to tackle my course material and do well in their professions. But I also have to make a confession: I learned from a crazy, mixed up set of genres and I liked it.

My confession

I was the kid who read Flatland: A romance of many dimensions for extra credit in ninth grade math class. My Civil War bookshelf comprised the fiction of Toni Morrison and Margaret Mitchell alongside the documentation of Howard Zinn, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs. I saw some high school classmates grok their longing through Whitman, while others soaked up our health class textbook with fascination. Later, I would understand nonfiction by John Hersey and Maxine Hong Kingston as deeply literary work. So when I saw something about required amounts of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry on reading lists, I perked up. Continue reading

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Goat cheese and greens

Spoon Bread and Strawberry Wine*. From Okra to Greens**. Many great pieces of theatre or poetry start with two random foods. My latest recipe for MyJewishLearning.com tries a little of that melding. The dish combines pungent, earthy goat cheese with spicy greens. And though it’s dinner, not literature, it does come with a couple of stories. Read all about it.

*A 1994 book of “recipes and reminiscences” by Norma Jean Darden and Carole Darden, which I saw off Broadway as a young’un.

**  A work of drama/poetry by Ntozake Shange that is lesser known than For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, but worth checking out.

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