Making Poetry and Politics

Right around the end of each school year I piece together a reading list for the summer, then I go to my school and public libraries and start clearing the shelves. COVID forced me to amass a summer reading list out of the books on my shelf at home. As a result, I managed to read several books that I have owned for months or decades. Some were better left on the shelf, but some have been a delight.

Even though schools and libraries are now open, I’m continuing the trend and recently picked up “The Buried Mirror” by Carlos Fuentes. Part history book, part Latin American polemic, I first read the book in its native Spanish (“El espejo enterrado”) in 1998. Some time later I bought the English version, put it on a shelf, and never looked at it again. Until now.

Fuentes opens the book with reflections on the relationship between Spain and the New World. Above all else, he characterizes the relationship as “a debate with ourselves.” In the process he evokes a W.B. Yeats quote:

And if out of our arguments with others we make politics, advised W.B. Yeats, out of our arguments with ourselves we make poetry.

Fuentes, p. 15

The original Yeats quotes is as follows:

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

Let’s not let slip the opportunity to quarrel with ourselves. Let’s, in every occasion possible, make poetry.

Why are “bloopers” celebrated while “mistakes” are feared?

Near the end of every student video project is the bloopers real. It’s, by the look on their faces when the project ends and the bloopers begin, they’re favorite part of the project by far.

How strange that in a video project mistakes are captured and unnecessarily added to the end, while in 99% of school life mistakes are feared, avoided, hidden, covered over, judged, or even punished.

What can we do about that?

In search of school-wide Essential Learnings/Questions

The purpose of this post is two-fold:

  1. see title–that pretty much explains it
  2. I hope to expand my learning network, so feel free to comment if you subscribe to this blog, but by all means SHARE THIS with your own network!  I’d love to meet the people that make my people so darn interesting.

Here’s the task:

Imagine that for some reason a school decided to eliminate content-specific departmental structures.  Rather than learning Art, Science, and Spanish, students learn a set of core skills and content that will prepare them for the next levels of learning, a life of citizenship, a successful career, and a life worthy of the investment of time living it.

What do you consider the essential learnings or essential questions that students would explore throughout their academic studies?

Whether you’re an educator, a parent, whether you work in public sector, private sector, or don’t work at all, I’d love to have your input.

Comment below, reply to others’ comments, challenge me and others, combine ideas.  Have fun.  I hope it’s not just me and the crickets…

Connectivity vs. connectedness

A little while ago I tweeted this:

It was an honest extemporaneous tweet, but I realized about a week later just how powerfully I have come to feel about this.  Recently I switched to Diigo from Delicious.  Prior to doing so my Facebook:Delicious time was probably 50:1.  More often than not my bookmarking routine was:

  1. half-read
  2. bookmark
  3. forget
  4. full-read someday while culling the bookmark herd
  5. forget again

Since exporting my Delicious to Diigo, my Facebook friends are messaging me to ask if I’m OK.  I’m more than OK.  I’m fantastic!  I’m reading bookmarks that my two Diigo pals @boadams1 and @occam98 have helped to highlight and comment on.  We’re debating facts, opinions, statistics, referencing other articles, and finding possible connections to our daily practice.

All this and I only have two friends!

Whereas I used to log in to Delicious to “check in,” I’m now “checking in” to Facebook.  In Diigo I’m having short but high-impact dialogues with esteemed friends about topics that delight or trouble me deeply.

For years I’ve enjoyed connectivity to content on the web.  Finally, I’m gaining connectedness.