Creative Learning

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When I started teaching back in 1969, computers were unheard of, there was no air conditioning, and the front wall of my classroom was covered with black slate chalk boards. It has been a challenging journey navigating through the changes that never cease.

I always tried to incorporate hands on learning in my classroom. We did crafts, had a painting easel, and did lots of cut and paste art work. One year my class had a hot house, raised their own Marigolds and replanted them around the school ground. Then we collected the seeds and saved them for the following year. We watched the mutations from cross-pollination.

As children start back to school, I wonder what Covid-19 and teaching for the test has done to their creativity. I am glad to see them back in the classroom even with the mask precautions. There are things you just can’t learn by virtual learning. It is essential that we don’t forget the importance of hands on learning and playing together.

Days growing shorter

School buses rumble at dawn

Kids can’t wait to learn

 

Photo; Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse Frank Tassone asked us to write a back to school haibun. I am thankful my teaching days are log past!

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The Magic Oak

W.A. Pattillo Elementary School - Tarboro, NC 1978 (2)

Story #1
A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. Sadly. Taking Down the Tree occurred in the summer when almost everyone was gone. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations.Dwight's Class in front of our Giant Oak 001 (2)

Today at d’Verse Victoria asked us to write Flash Fiction prose of not more than 144 words. She gave us a line from one of Jane Kenyon poems. Jane Kenyon was born in 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was once the Poet Lauriat of New Hampshire. The line we had to include in our story was: Taking Down the Tree.
I took a photo of our giant oak tree from my former teaching days and created my story.

I realized after the fact that I got the wrong line in my story. It was supposed to be:  If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.

I edited the ending to my story and inserted the correct line. Below is the revised version.

Story #2   The Magic Oak 

A giant oak tree stood in the middle of the School parking lot! Rumor has it the center was hollow, and inside lived the souls of teachers from the past.
They called it the Feel-Good Tree, because anyone who stood under it lost the stress of their day. Its magical qualities had been shared for almost a hundred years. Children played around the tree while waiting for their buses. Teachers stood by in the shade and shared the day’s gossip.
The School board decided to build a new building that would be located right where the oak tree stood. As the roar of the chain saws marked the end of the magical tree, no one heard the mournful cries of the souls of the teachers who resided there for generations. As they disappeared, they said, “If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant.”

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Teachers Change the World

Our special nest 001 (2)

Autumn leaves change colors

Students begin new school year

Retired teachers smile

Parents  take a long deep breath

New challenges await all

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Teachers Change the World

Hiding our the bird nest 001

Photos of my students: Dwight L. Roth

This flashback is for Frank Tassone’s Haikai challenge. He asked us to write a poem that included autumn/Labor Day/ School. This is a project I had my students do many years ago. They had to make a bird nest and put a real egg in it. Then they had to find a spot on the school ground where they thought it would be safe. At the end of the week we checked to see how many survived. Fun times before “teaching the test days!”

Join us at:  https://frankjtassone.com/2018/09/01/haikai-challenge-49-9-1-18-labor-day-coming-of-autumn-risshuu-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/

 

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Gun Limericks

AK-47 TOY ASSAULT RIFLE KID BOY MACHINE GUN SOUND MILITARY ARMY CAR-15 M-16

AK-47 TOY ASSAULT RIFLE KID BOY MACHINE GUN SOUND MILITARY ARMY CAR-15 M-16

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We are so contradictory in our affair with guns. On one hand we revere our American Heroes and buy our kids GI Joe toys and guns to play with, while telling them that guns are not to be pointed at anyone because they are so dangerous. We buy them video games of virtual reality that allows them to kill at will, and then tell them this is not real and they should never think of killing real people. We buy guns at gun shows and keep them in our house, and tell our children if anyone tries to break in we will shoot to kill. We watch our Hollywood heroes kill at will, but they are not to do the same. What are you teaching your children by word and by the toys and games you allow them to own?  Solutions solved by guns almost always end in death and collateral damage.

Teachers at school are all shaken
Students lay dead// lives taken
Blame freely passed
The public’s aghast
While guns freely trade and are taken

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Student in school have had enough
Parents and administrators in a huff
While congress delays
The gun lobby pays
As the NRA’s stand remains tough

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TV news constant streaming
Showing pictures of shooter and screaming
The death count will rise
Amid shots fired and cries
As the next insane planner keeps on scheming

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Trump says teachers should be armed
As parents and teachers sound their alarm
Teachers used to be teaching
Carrying guns seems far reaching
As they try to keep children from harm

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Gun Ad above can be seen at amazon.com

Slow Learner

spelling-game

Learning was difficult for me from the very beginning.  It took a long time to finally get things to make sense. I was a slow learner in the primary school. The spelling board above is one of the learning tools my parents gave me to help me spell my name and other words. The board was forgotten until a couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law contacted me and wondered if I wanted it. My name was scratched into the center of the board in cursive. You can see how poor my second grade handwriting was at the time. I am one example of students who learn at a slower rate than average , but if given a chance can end up at the same place as others who learned faster.

Slow Learner

Back in 1954

Learning just starting for me was a chore

Second Grade just as hard as First

Trying to learn to write was the worst

Writing co-ordination did not exist

Making a D was a major twist

Compound curves and loop-t-loops

Sent me into a tizzy left me pooped

Spelling not much better just didn’t stick

A game in my toy box just might do the trick

Spelling abacus board red letters in a track

Sliding round and round to the middle and back

My name and words arranged in place

Giving me practice pushing my pace

Math did not click numbers did not jive

They came up wrong no matter how hard I tried

In Third and Fourth I struggled along

Not understanding why it took so long

When I got to Fifth things began to make sense

The numbers finally didn’t seem so dense

Mrs. Vilseck my teacher seem to understand

She helped me along and gave me a hand

My writing got better my spelling progressed

I finally began to keep up with the rest

I struggled with learning all through school

Compensations adaptations and repetition were the rule

Helping me make it from one step to the next

Life’s a continuous learning process at best

I’m grateful to all my teachers and friends

Who finally helped me learn in the end 

After all these years creativity at its best

Art music and writing poetry with the rest

Computers opened doors to learning beyond pen

My writing shared round the world to the end

With you who read my blog and share your thoughts

You make my day every day with your talk

Inspiring me to carry on

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Game Board Photo: Dwight L. Roth