Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reading is Fundamental


I am featuring at a reading here in town. A fairly rare occurrence nowadays what with all the travel associated with my work anymore - but I'd be pleased as punch if you found the time - yes you, I am personally asking you to show up - to come on out and check out this fine line up of readers.

Writing Knights Press Presents:

Michael Salinger (https://www.facebook.com/michael.salinger) has been writing and performing poetry and fiction for over 20 years. In this time he has become a fixture in the performance poetry and education community performing and teaching in over 140 cities in 26 countries.

Physicist-poet-philosopher-mathematician-teacher Terry Provost’s (https://www.facebook.com/terry.provost) writing is as unpredictable as the day is long. Heavier than the constitution. Lighter than
air. It will make you laugh. Cry. And think about things you didn’t know were possible, while giving your most important muscle a workout.

For free.

A bargain at twice the price.

Jill Riga (https://www.facebook.com/jill.riga) began her career as a poet as a single cell, then continued on as a zygote, embryo, and then a fetus. She has written poems with pens, pencils, paper, a typewriter, and a variety of word processing programs. In addition to her M.F.A in creative writing, creative writing has an M.F.A. in Jill.

Gaz (https://www.facebook.com/gaz.thecomedian) Has been in the performing arts for a short 2years boasting moderate success. He works in all forms of entertainment but finds the comedy platform to be his most fulfilling. Extremely sarcastic, his humor stays away from the very crass making fun of his life as well as everyone elses.

Before and During the Features, random Open Mic Performers will be included in the knight's festivities.

Anyone interested in participating in the Open Mic should message WK Pressman (https://www.facebook.com/wkpressman) or show up before 7pm!

Remember - Extra Credit points to the first 50 arrivals!

This Thursday the 30th of August - 7PM
Breakneck Gallery
17020 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, Oh

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What goes around comes around

So, I’ve been riding Thursday evenings with some members of the Cleveland Touring Club. It’s nice to get out with a group especially since drafting behind another rider allows one to conserve up to a third of the energy expended while cycling. This way I can average a good two to three miles an hour better time than when I am riding alone. This is a good group for me – they push me just a bit so I am getting stronger on the 25-30 mile rides.  But just like Greg Lemond said – it never gets easier – you just go faster.

Couple things about this ride – first off for the most part everyone is around my age (50) – there are a couple younger folks who show up every now and then but mostly it’s a 50 and up crew. Even so we move along at a decent clip – averaging 19 to 21 mph, which isn’t going to set any records but is respectable. Secondly, we ride out of Madison, Ohio. A pretty rural area  bordered on the North by Lake Erie and at the South by vineyards, bisected by the Grand River.

Anyway the two things that stood out for me so far this season riding with these guys.

When one is riding with a group it is important that the rider stay connected to the group. As I said above - drafting behind another rider allows one to conserve up to 30% of the energy they would otherwise use. In order to take advantage of this slipstream one must be within two feet or less of the wheel in front of them. This requires communication amongst the group and taking turns being the person out front pulling the rest of the pace line behind.  Lose the wheel of the rider in front of you and you are at risk of being dropped. Once you’re dropped it is pretty hard to catch up again.

For the most part these rides are no drops – which means we will regroup every now and then and wait for folks to catch up. Other times the group might split into two if there are enough riders to warrant it. One evening a couple weeks back we had a new guy show up to ride. After about five or six miles we looked back and saw we had lost him – he had been dropped. I was feeling pretty good and said to the other three or four riders that I would ride back and see if I could spot him. One of the others in in the group said – “Yeah go ahead you’re young.’ I replied that I wasn’t that young being 50 years old and all. How old are you? I asked this guy. 70, he said. That’s who I want to be – that 70 year old guy riding along and keeping up with the folks 20 -30 years younger than him.

Second thing. Last Thursday we rode through the vineyards and the fruit was ripe and it smelled like someone was firing grape juice over our heads with a fire hose.  There were just three of us –zooming along an otherwise empty rode cutting through the sweet air like low soaring hawks. I think cycling is the closest one can get to flying without leaving the ground.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

All that whistles - is not gold

This is the year of the goldfinch. I don’t know why but everywhere I ride my bike this year I am seeing them. Not just one or two a ride – but upwards of a dozen. Swooping in front of me flying in packs like little yellow sparks off a grinding wheel.

So what has changed – what is different about this year that so many of these wild canaries are carousing about? I’m certain it isn’t just that I am taking more notice. You know, like when you buy a new car that you think is so unique and then you see scads of identical ones on the way home from the dealership and everyday thereafter.  

What do these birds want?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Core of the Matter...

Been doing a little reading (as I am sure are many who are returning to the classroom) on the Common Core State Standards. These have been adopted by the vast majority of States here in the U.S. and are going to be a curriculum reality for teachers from New York to California.

As Sara and I  synch our lessons with these new criteria I'm starting to think they actually look pretty good to me - the Standards that is - I already know the lessons rock ;). I had heard some of the grumbling about the Language Arts standards moving away from literature in order to teach DVD player instructions instead -  so I approached with a bit of trepidation. Doing away with creative writing would be a pretty major blow to a couple of consultants who use poetry and performance to teach reading and writing literacy.  Well, I am happy to report that the demise of creative writing and reading has been exaggerated. There is plenty of room for poetry and the other literary genres . In fact several articles I have read cite poetry as a path to closer reading - close reading being one of the skills scaffolding through the Common Core.

What I like about the goals set forth in the CCSS is that the path isn't lock step laid out. There is room for some teaching to happen. Sure as with anything your gonna get your my way or the highway mentality. I've seen other good education approaches implemented so stridently that the stress in the teacher's break room feels like a door being left open in January - but this doesn't have to be the case.

Applied with a little common sense - I can see the Common Core doing some good.

Here's a link to a pretty good resource I was turned on to by the CCSS group over at LinkedIn.

Oh - all you iPad and iPod users - there is an app for it too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What I did all Summer (or - what will I do with my kids the first week of school?)

Well, Long time no see - I am going to try and get back into this blogging thing. I'm afraid Facebook posts have taken up my internet time more than they should. It's been a pretty busy summer. Sara and I are working on a new classroom project that is still in the development stages and which I hope I am not jinxing by mere mention.

In the meantime we are looking forward to the school year beginning. Our first trip this year will be to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong and then we are back to Singapore American at the invitation of our dear friend Nancy Johnson. Just before the school year ended last year Sara and I posted some lessons to the sit Teachers Pay
Teachers - one of which is a memoir writing exercise. Well, just lately I see that its download is picking up. I think the format is perfect for a "What I did over the Summer" narrative - but then again I may be a bit biased.

Anyway - I promise to get back to this blog more often now - even if it means my Facebook presence must suffer.