Thursday, March 11, 2010


"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth, methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." - Ishmael

I feel like knocking people's hats off. My house is a mess, my program has totally fallen apart, there is a major break down of my practice. My blog has gone unwritten.

But, when I am growing grim about the mouth, and I'm standing in a pile of crap, I account it high time to sit down and write about a book.

I want to write about the lovely book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. I also want to write about figurative language.

This is a tense time for public education. We are preparing to jump the only hurdle that our state and federal government cares about. In two weeks we will be taking our major state assessment. This means that I'm drilling test taking strategies and teaching the snot out of heavily hit test items. This means figurative language.

I can't do anything about the politics. I can teach the best I can and move on. This week I'm reading Owl Moon to my students and we are examining the figurative language.

I'm moved by the power of beautiful words:

Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew, long and low, like a sad, sad song.

We watched silently with heat in our mouths, the heat of all those words we had not spoken.

I am lucky to read aloud to children every day. I don't know if over teaching figurative language helps students enjoy literature and write wonderful poems, letters, e-mails, and stories. But I don't know if it hurts them either. Lately I'm so busy playing the public education game I can't even think about what my purpose as an educator is.

But in the words of Jane Yolen: Sometimes there's an owl and sometimes there isn't.

I'm going to let these wise and true words be my guide.

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