Language Arts (6)
April 24, 2014
Why does your death feel so bitter right now?
Every day standing alongside dirt road
With long arms too stretched and a head to bow
Right by a river where water before flowed.
Then death’s black shadow came and took you today
Now you're tall strong limbs are gone and withered
Why is it you that has the price to pay?
You no more look like a strong wizard.
Now just a tree struck by the power of god
You now stand dead covered with ivy and leaves
But now spring comes and your thick ice is thawed
And today we begin to recover from our grieves
Spring comes providing the next world’s rebirth
To continue the new cycle of the earth
Raft of Friendship
April 23, 2014
There were all my old friends from a young age
Vienna friends, whom I remember well
I knew them only at that one past stage
And Abernathy friends, all this farewell.
When only photos hold my memories
The bridge is in decay beyond repair
All warmth has gone so cold that it must freeze
Old friends dried out in middle school’s thin air.
But it is not too late to hold on tight
I forded rushing river, now to build
The ferry back and forth between the lights
Two worlds of friends are joined, to make me thrilled
And into corners of my heart I’ll fold
All of my loving friends, both new and old
The Work of Art
April 23, 2014
I used to think that life was way too long
Months seemed like years, and years were eternal
now it is very clear that I was wrong
and no one will ever be immortal.
Why live if death is inescapable?
Life is a flame that always will be drenched
if only one’s death could be unable
then life’s issue could finally be quenched .
Though humans may never be immortal
there are many things that outlive people
a masterpiece of art could outlive all
it’s been done: there are buildings like steeples.
Make a work of art that will set a spark
it can be a building, painting, or ark
A Bittersweet Truth
April 22, 2014
The night before that fateful day of tears
I sat above my homework on my desk
When up he came, a friend I’ll love for years
His gray-white fur I softly did caress.
Next morn’ the tragic tale it did unfold
His life and him were drawn from us that day
My feline friend was now just thoughts of old
And so my fragile heart began to fray.
And ‘neath the sun a thought occurred to me
No one can stay on Earth ‘till time does end
Though I was young, I still could clearly see
That through my sorrow, I would make amends
Within the sadness there is such deep strife
But I will still go forth with my young life.
February 6, 2014
I must be strong
My fate hangs on a line
Luring me in with its glorious shine
I’ve lived long enough to know how this ends
Considering the disappearance of all my friends
No matter how hard I try to escape
I know that oblivion is my fate
I exchange my life for another’s satisfaction
Sad I have to go from a simple interaction
My life wasn't supposed to end in a bowl or dish
But after all, I am just a fish.
February 5, 2014
What has a bank but no teller
what has a mouth but is not a yeller?
What has a bed with no pillow
and on its shore you’ll find the willow?
At its start you’ll meet its source
at the end it has run its course?
Don’t you think we should conserve
something that our fish deserve?
February 4, 2014
I had barely closed the door when the levee broke
water snaking through the city
barreling through homes
and the big winds started
at 175 mph
roofs were blown off houses
The water punched our windows like a train
The door of my house crashed down
I scrambled as fast as my 8-year-old legs could carry me
up the stairs and into my bedroom
I slammed the door
got as much play-doh as I could get
stuffed it in the crack under my door
hearing the water crashing up the stairs
it’s no longer safe on the second floor
so I climbed up the hole
in my ceiling
to my attic
I crouched in a chest in the corner
full of my old stuffed animals
and hugged my bear
I prayed that I wouldn’t die
Outside everything was calm
The eye of the storm passed over my house
I opened my door and looked downstairs
On my table a baby alligator was sleeping
I heard the winds creeping back
I ducked in my trunk again
Helicopters circling the neighborhood
I waved madly at the FEMA rescuer
that was hovering above my house
got their attention
they lowered a rescue swimmer
I fell asleep
on the ride to a hospital
my home in ruins
my sister lost
never came back
I survived Hurricane Katrina—
wanting life for my ninth birthday.
January 22, 2014
She’s always been there
Sitting with the others
On top of my bed
But she’s different
Little Bow Peep Pot Pie
All she is to others
Is a small pink stuffed bunny
With worn out furr
She is more to me
I love her
Whenever I’m sad
She cuddles with me
When I’m happy
She dances with me
In my arms
Smiles at me
She goes everywhere
Mexico, US, Europe
From Aunt Junko
Who I have not seen
Since I was 5
Japan is far away
Which is now with me
Please check out a sixth grade students' online blog at http://transitiontownpdx.blogspot.com/.
This blog is the culminating project of a six-week unit that I taught in my sixth grade English class at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, between October and December, 2013. We have been studying how to read nonfiction and solve environmental problems, focusing on a host of interrelated environmental issues such as global warming, farming, hunger, topsoil loss, and water shortage.
Students began the unit by reading dystopian science fiction novels of their choice in small literature circle groups, for which they discussed the fall of these fictional worlds. Novels included Maze Runner, Hunger Games, City of Ember, The Roar, and Shipbreaker.
In a parallel unit of study in social studies class, students looked at the rise and fall of the great city-states of Sumer, focusing on how the first human civilizations rose to prominence with writing, wheat, irrigation, and specialization of social roles. Students found that monocropping of first wheat and then barley, as the soil became choked with salt, led to the dissolution of the first great Mesopotamian cities.
We then compared and contrasted the ecological catastrophes in our dystopian science fiction novels and in the ancient Middle East.
Along the way, students read excerpts from Rob Hopkins's book The Transition Handbook, as well as copies of copies of the Transition Network newletters (https://www.transitionnetwork.org/).
Finally, in jigsaw reading groups, the students tackled several National Geographic articles on the aforementioned ecological issues, finding connections between seemingly disparate issues such as global warming, fracking, and extreme weather events. National Geographic articles included "7 Billion," "Food Ark," "Fresh Water," and "Our Good Earth."
This blog is the final project, then, in our unit. Students have been asked to imagine themselves living in Portland in 2020, where they are the business, political, and scientific leaders who are developing solutions to the problems that buffet our world today.
We wanted to end with hope and answers rather than wallow in hopelessness and befuddling questions. We hope this blog can inspire communication between our little Transition Town culture here at Catlin Gabel School and other Transition Towns across the world, from Totnes, to Boulder, to Portland.
The Ultimate Helper
November 21, 2013
shiny metal in the palm of my hand
if I use it too much it will get banned
instagram, twitter, snapchat and more
this object will never be a bore
I put it in my back pocket with ease
contacting my friends is now a breeze
not only can I hear them but I can see their face
I can contact anyone in the human race
a featherweight, revolutionary box
use it to buy a pair of socks
emailing teachers no longer a chore
drop it on the floor?
that’s what a case is for!
a built-in camera that filters and crops
it is covered by insurance if it drops
once you get it you can’t go back
when people call you it’ll ring or quack
it knows when to be quiet
and when to raise alarm
we could all agree that it has style and charm
everyone can own one, there is no need to grapple
I guess that I just really like Apples.
The Everlasting Helper
November 22, 2013
My heart suddenly
but I am still
swatting the butterflies
like all the blood
in my body
My throat clogged
My nose stuffed
everything I ever cared for lost
and there he lies
who has made me
who has helped me get this far
but now he is
what am I?
He was my tour guide
in the museum
My guardian angel
that smells like
in a prison chamber
is escorted from his
I lie down beside him
ignoring my eyes
my hissing eyes
telling me that this is hopeless
stillness overcomes me
the quiet overpowering
And my sunken, deflated heart
my brain whizzing
my trembling hands
my soothing hero
slowly fades away
At least, not from my
September 24, 2013
From behind brick walls
fading to grey
are empty halls and stained carpets
I’m afraid to say
but if you look a little closer
the surroundings please forgive
in terminal 72
that’s where I live
Among the papery faces
tinted white and grey
you’ll find me,
and I’ve got some things to say
2 years after this plague
selfishly ravaged our earth
I was left abandoned
pushed into the dirt
I live here now
in the airport
not the safest place
since the plague nearly wiped out the human race
Who will it be?
To bring us out of this abyss?
Me, that’s who!
I will put an end to this
Among the papery faces
tinted white and grey
you’ll find me,
and I’ll bring back the day.
(Based on Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins)
September 23, 2013
Intense days full of sun
Dad is gone life is done
falling in the darkness
no light in reach
i’m drowning in fear
like a fish on a beach
the underlanders welcome us
we are a rare sight
in this underground domain
only the strong can fight
Escaping is the hard part
We may be stuck here forever
Getting out of here will take someone clever
i might have to live here
With these pale skin freaks
Hopefully not, ‘cause this place stinks
I am Gregor and this is my story
I will escape this place in a blaze of glory!