Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celia Door's & My "Dark Side" Poetry

I haven't written in over a week - this is a tough assignment I gave myself.

Here's what I've learned - or haven't learned - so far (that will help me when I try this - once again - with my seventh graders)...

  --> How can I expect my students to do a blog post every week, when I have not done one every week... and it's SUMMER... and it's MY OWN work I gave MYSELF... ?!?! If I can't even be diligent enough to do this - How can I expect a 12 year old? And I TRIED!! But I had no more inspiration! (Finally, today, I have the inspiration...)
  --> I did not "pitch a product" first. I may have to ask my students to do this. I at least have to ask them to tell me what they want in the end. What do they want to achieve with their project? What about this one of mine? I should've asked myself. I know now - I wanted to try to write poetry, and show others (doubters) that they can, too. But I also wanted to go a step further, and make one piece (or more, but I know now that won't happen any time soon) that could make a difference in someone's day.
   --> A rubric would not have helped me.
   --> A grade might have helped me work, but it wouldn't be my best work. I would just be doing it to "get it done."
   --> I know I could go further with this project, but I know I won't, because I am not using my genius like I could. What is my genius? Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) asked this of me in a Google Hangout this week, and I didn't know what to say. Finally, I just blurted out - "I love life." Because you know what? It hit me hard this week that not everyone loves life. That is something I feel I am truly blessed with. Because I love life, I look at things differently, and I am grateful for a new day, every day. Knowing this, I know this project does not include my genius. I am just doing it to "get it done." This does not sit well with me.

So. What next?

Write that poem. Write the poem that depicts what I want those 7th and 8th grade girls to think about. What would Celia Door want to tell them? Celia, who doesn't fit in... I'd like girls to be able to think about this topic when no one else is around. They can read it and think about it on their own, with no influence whatsoever. They can judge it or see it for what it is, and connect to it with what experiences they bring to it... I'm planning on posting this in each bathroom stall in the upstairs girls' bathrooms. (Can I do that??) I'm hoping I could get the plastic coverings that many bathrooms have to house advertisements... (?) Then poems or messages can be switched out, based on what students want to publish for others... (?) I'm still working on that. I want to ask our "Girl Up" sponsors at school for help with this idea.

Here are my notes... that have been stewing in my head since last week's mini camping vacation:

My first attempt at putting my thoughts together:

I feel like I need to add some of my "genius" here, however. I feel like I need a picture behind the entire thing (the white is too plain for me, and I'm not happy with the colors I already have, either), or have small pictures throughout. But of what? Maybe I just need to print this on colored paper of some sort. Any ideas? I thought I could do this project on my own, but it's time for mentors... Please give me your thoughts!


  1. I can't help with the poetry piece, but one thing I've taught students is just to write no matter what it is - even if it's a diatribe on how much you hate to write.

    As for the picture idea - what if you had two girls looking at each other, maybe sitting next to each other, looking out of the side of their eyes? Two normal-looking, average 7th grade girls.

  2. Hi Joy, I like the colors and the "Poem for 2 voices" style. I could sense the conflict and the "other side." I like the black emphasis: Judgment, What is perfect? I don't even KNOW her." They made me go back and reread to dig deeper. The last large line is perfect.

    Where I got stuck was the small last line, a punch line that is so small -"Everybody's got a story... Get to know her story." It needs to be there; it needs to be smaller than the others -- to me it's like a reflective thought after having gone through the rest of the ideas.

    So, I was wondering. What if you turned that very last line upside down, keeping it small, but stretching it out to match the length of the "I don't even KNOW her"? It would force the reader to attend, and push the reader back through the text. Just a thought.

    Love the process of of showing the kids how you struggled. And it shows how important both the passion of the project and a plan for the project is -- How were you going to write a poem a day or week? Where would you get inspiration? A photo prompt? A flickr group? (That helped me -- I used the daily flickr photo prompt to write my poem for NaPoWriMo )

    Yet, in one of your other posts you mentioned planning to write, even if it wasn't with the teacherswrite group - a novel. So, with that came another idea. And now you are revising again.

    You are modeling real thinking, planning, adjusting. We must do this in education in our lessons because this is really planning to be college and career ready! Keep writing!

    1. THANK YOU for your ideas, you two!

      Christine, two girls in one pic could work - especially if I just got the backs of their heads so they were anonymous. And I'll be sure to "puke on the page" to see if any other ideas come from my swirling brain...

      Sheri, are you saying to actually turn the last line upside down? That reminds me of jokes or riddles in the newspaper - the answer is upside down. Maybe that signifies that getting to know people's story IS the answer... very significant, and I love it. As for sharing my struggles, I am a train-of-thought writer/rambler, that's for sure. I asked students to share what was going right and wrong for their projects, and it's very easy for me to mention what I'm having issues with! And I feel I NEED to adjust, because this entire project is not worth my time if I don't. I'm not like the students in that now I'm mature enough (phew!) to make this worthwhile for me... I know it's not for a grade - I know I need to come out of this having learned a few lessons.

      My last lesson this week - I need to reach out for help on my next step. A big thank you to you two for answering my plea!


    2. Yep. Actually turn the text upside down, adjacent to the don't even know her line -- because it is the answer. Just see how it works.

  3. Love your words! They fit so well with my "walk in my shoes before you judge" post. So glad Carrie helped us connect the two :)

  4. Man, I am so behind. I didn't even know about your new passionpurposeproduct blog. Great work. I love your visible thinking, and always attending to your students and what will help them. You are inspiring!

    It will come together! Thanks for sharing with the world. You matter and you are making a difference to many.


  5. I absolutely love the idea of the bathroom wall hangings. I may have to try to figure out how to do something similar in the bathrooms at my school. I love the poem also. The two colors for the two voices really works. I like the ideas that others already shared, but I also think that if you just had the poem on colored paper it could work as well. Simpler might be better in this case.