210 East Rosedale The Literary and Education Journal of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project
Winter/Spring 2013 -Volume 2, Issue 1
210 East Rosedale Winter/Spring 2013 – Volume 2, Issue 1 Contributors
Classroom Memoirs The Art of a Science……………………………………..1 by William Bell Power to the Teachers………………………………..…4 by Tony Rotondo Words of Thanks………………………………………….6 by Linda Milanese Kerschner
Photograph by Meg Griffin
You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover but Sometimes YOU CAN…………………………………………………9 by Linda Walker Why I Teach Faulkner to Seventh Graders………..…11 by Kathleen S. Hall Scanlon
Personal Memoirs Frozen Seconds…………………………………………14 by Donna Searle McLay The Influence of a Good Man……………………….....16 by Brian Kelley Woman’s Best Friend……………………………….….20 by Deanna Brown
Photograph by Meg Griffin
Poetry After the Fifth Elegy*…………………………………..30 by Don LaBranche After the Ninth Elegy by Don LaBranche……………………………………..32 Ode to the Young Readers and Writers Programs…34 by Eileen Hutchinson Remembering Nancy Drew…………………………..36 by Janice Ewing Photograph by Meg Griffin Cover photograph by Patty Koller
“IF” For Student Teachers …………………………37 by Cecelia G. Evans Tribute to Cooperating Teachers ……………….…38 by Cecelia G. Evans When Turtles Whisper ……………………….…….39 by Cecelia G. Evans The Things They Carried ………………..…………40 by Richard Mitchell
Songs Photograph by Patty Koller
A Song for the Children of Sandy Hook by Patricia Bove………………………………..……41
Book Reviews Winged Adventures …………..……………………42 by Linda Walker
Photography Meg Griffin Photograph by Meg Griffin
210 Rosedale Literary Journal The Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project A National Writing Project Site since 1980
Director: Dr. Mary Buckelew Production Editor: Meg Griffin Assistant Production Editors: Andria Kaskey and Sally Malarney PAWLP Staff: Ann Mascherino, Toni Kershaw and Sally Malarney
From the Director
Dear PAWLP Fellows & Friends, Welcome to the powerful pages of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project’s second ejournal, 210 East Rosedale. Designed, written, and published by PAWLP Fellows, the e-journal is a place for all PAWLP Fellows to share their writing, thinking, and visual artwork. In this issue, you will find a variety of wonderful pieces – all of which resonate with the strong voices of PAWLP Fellows. Whether writing songs for the children of Sandy Hook or sharing observations about their lives as educators, the voices of all contributors are powerful and provocative. Linda Walker’s book reviews are not just reviews – she engages the reader with her asides and the stories that swirl around her book choices. Linda Kerschner, Bill Bell, and Tony Rotondo’s pieces serve as important reminders for all of us as we navigate the educational landscape and life in general. Kathleen Hall Scanlon’s photography and classroom memoir remind us of the power of literature to change lives. Whether a call to action or musings on classroom and family memories – there is something for everyone in this volume. Special thanks go out to Meg Griffin whose editing artistry and photographs -- along with Patty Koller’s photographs elevate this issue to a work of art. While our highest priority is the written word, you will notice that aesthetics play an integral role in the e-journal and all PAWLP endeavors. From philosophical musings on life to pragmatic teaching tips –PAWLP Fellows are invited to submit their work for consideration in 210 East Rosedale. Change the world or change a life with your words and art.
Sincerely, Mary Buckelew
The Art of a Science William Bell
Whether you know anything about teaching or not, when you walk into the room of a great teacher, you are aware of it. There is a sense of anticipation, there is a creative buzz, and there is an overall impression of student excitement. Teaching is a bit like coaching in sports; when the team is losing, it must be the coach’s fault. Of course, that might simplify things a little too much. While coaching a successful sports team involves a myriad of differing and competing imperatives, teaching successfully involves infinitely more. Teaching involves the fragile and ever-evolving psyche of children. It involves the matching of styles with a room full of divergent minds. It involves a delicate balance of being a tough disciplinarian and a caring mentor. You need the listening skills of an experienced counselor and the mental toughness of a Marine drill sergeant. Your task is far more than to teach a specific skill; you must also nurture, cajole, excite, and motivate. You must have slick skills to deal with parental, administrative and personal expectations. You must entertain and engage, all while simultaneously imparting complicated skills. You need to do all that with charm and good will, even if you don’t get them in return. Today in educational circles, everything you hear is about “teaching to a program.” Teachers are encouraged to use specific methods—and even scripts—in their daily lessons. Some districts call it teaching “with fidelity.” Gone are the days when teachers could use a timehonored lesson or a tried and true activity to teach a difficult skill or topic. Modern educational “science” has shown us the “way” to teach a course. Elliot Eisner, professor emeritus of Art and Education at Stanford University, writes about the “arts and artistry” aspect of teaching. Eisner
contends that cognitive practices utilized in the arts have a place in the planning and implementation of educational curricula across the country. We cannot look to science to guarantee effective teaching. He writes, â€œNot everything measureable is important and not everything important is measureable.â€? There is a very real movement underway to make teaching itself into a science. Itâ€™s almost as if teaching could be reduced to a recipe that, followed closely enough, will result in an educated product. The very things that you probably remember about that special or gifted teacher you may have had, the methods that made them stand out in your memory, are no longer encouraged and in some cases, disallowed. The classroom is no longer a place for creativity, experimentation, or innovation. Methods are tested in university studies and implemented with new curriculum. In striving to make all teachers competent, we make fewer exceptional. This is likely the answer to some mediocre teaching (and there is and always has been mediocre teaching). In some cases it substitutes for real and authentic teacher training, which everyone talks about but few school districts do very well. It also is an attempt to increase standardized tests scores, the Dow Jones average of educational barometers. What do we lose when we reduce the subtle art of teaching to a step-by-step process? We lose the heart of learning, we lose the serendipity of discovery, and we lose the chance to create a spark in young minds. But if we follow the script and are faithful to the program, we undoubtedly will produce a very uninspiring result. This would be a far cry from the motivation that drove most young college students to seek a career in the classroom. The beautifully noble idea of creatively forming young minds is much harder to find in modern education. In the
future, will today’s students look back on their time in school as the seed of a lifetime of discovery and creativity? As Isadora Duncan said, “I do not teach children, I give them joy.”
Bill Bell is in his 17th year of teaching in the Upper Darby School District. He has taught in Middle School and Elementary School. He gets the most satisfaction out of teaching writing to young people. He has been a PAWLP Fellow since Summer 2008. He blogs about education and life at Plato’s Locker (http://platoslocker.wordpress.com/). He lives with his wife and sons in Delaware County. email@example.com
Photograph by Patty Koller
Power to the Teachers Tony Rotondo
I’m going to be a teacher until I drop dead. I thought after 40 years that I had had enough, but it turns out I just needed a two or three week break after retirement. That’s about when I was offered a job as Field Supervisor of student teachers. How hard could it be? You go to a school, sit in the back, and watch a kid teach. If principals could do it once a year, surely I could do it once a week. Here’s what you find out…nothing much changes. Sure the white boards are now Smart and the announcements are now on closed-circuit TV. But pretty much everything else is the same way you left it. Still those annoying interruptions from the office over the intercom or phone always coming when you are breathing heavy as you reach your lesson’s climax. And it’s always important shit, earth-shattering shit: “Johnny’s mom has dropped off his lunch or his jock strap. Please tell him to pick it up in the main office.” You could tell the secretary not to disturb you when class is in session, but that would be inviting professional suicide. That’s what happens whenever you tell a secretary anything. You may as well fall on your sharpened Ticonderoga #2 pencil. Secretaries and janitors rule…and they never forget a slight. The former are like the President’s Chief of Staff; the latter are like the Secretary of Commerce. One false move and you’ll never see another ream of paper. Sometimes the student teacher lucks out and falls under the tutelage of one of the greats, a seasoned teacher who loves what he does one hundred and eighty days a year. And other times the student teacher loses the toss, and is saddled with a co-op looking for an indentured servant to use and abuse for an entire semester. You know—someone to grade all his papers, record all his grades, and teach all the required crap he can’t stand teaching himself.
And so I naively offered myself and my decades of experience, blithely believing I was giving back to the profession. What was I thinking? Most teachers don’t want to be observed, and most don’t want to give up a planning period…for any reason. Giving back is for suckers. But at least once a semester I come across a teacher’s teacher, one loaded to the hilt with energy and enthusiasm, love of subject, and love of kids. I watch him rub off on my students, who eye him with envy and awe, wonder and adulation. It’s this teacher that should get the big bucks or a new computer or a room library or a WaWa gift card. Supervising student teachers is a lot like being a vice president—you know, the bucket of warm spit? You and your student teacher are guests in a room of established rules and regulations. You are told what to teach, how long to teach it, and what kids to watch out for. You might feel powerless to effect change. But then you remember---Hey! I’m a PAWLP Fellow and that means my influence is exponential. When I present at in-service programs, I reach 30 teachers who in turn may reach as many as 150 kids each… every day. That’s the power of teachers teaching teachers. I might do this till I drop dead, but what a way to go. Tony was a public school teacher for 40 years. The only thing he’s been longer is a husband…48 years. Now he supervises student teachers, presents a variety of topics to public and private school faculties, tutors adults whose second language is English, serves as an Ombudsman (look it up) for an 800-bed nursing home, makes humorous motivational talks to whoever asks, and writes something every day. If you haven’t bought his book: Scratch Where It Itches: Confessions of a Public School Teacher…shame on you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Patty Koller
Words of Thanks Linda Milanese Kerschner
We were sitting in a diner on a Sunday morning when I was lamenting the lack of kindness demonstrated in my last workplace, where the people to whom I reported were actively engaged in a program of ignoring any teacher’s accomplishments, in or out of the classroom. I was bemoaning the fact that a simple word could brighten a person’s day, while silence could make that same day dark. At about that time, I noticed a man sitting in a booth by himself with a short stack of blueberry pancakes. His walker was decked out with the cartoon character Mr. Bill. As I watched, a young manager walked over to the booth and made small talk, nothing profound, just a moment of human contact. This exchange made me pay attention. Evidently “Mr. Bill” was a regular. Every couple of minutes, another member of the diner staff stopped by briefly, asking if he needed a fill-up of his coffee, or if the shades let in too much sun. “Mr. Bill” wasn’t eating alone. He was part of a community, which is probably why he was a regular. Under ordinary circumstances, that would have been the end of a warm and fuzzy story, one that I would forget before our check was paid, but that morning was different. I still stung from my decision to leave the career I loved because of the negativity toward the teaching profession and from my own acrimony towards people who couldn’t say a kind word, who didn’t want to notice the hard work our jobs entailed. My stillopen wounds made me want to make a change. Instead of just leaving a generous tip, I decided to say something to my waitress. I told her that I had never encountered a friendlier diner staff. Her smile went from ear to ear. I’m sure that my words made more of a difference to her than any tip I could afford to leave.
On the way out, I passed the manager and stopped to tell him that I noticed his kindness toward “Mr. Bill.” He blushed and said it was nothing, but I could tell he was pleased that someone noticed his actions. His pleasure revealed the Janus coin of today’s society: while a word of thanks makes us feel special, those same words are few and far between. What is wrong with us, I thought, that we don’t show our appreciation more often? A kind word costs us nothing, but it means so much to the person who receives it. While I rued the general lack of genuine gratitude, I also recognized that gratitude, like charity, must begin at home. Since that Sunday morning, I have made a heartfelt effort to change my own ways. Instead of the cursory thanks that we all might offer to the person who holds open a door or the ironic thanks I might blurt when a clerk ignores me or another driver deliberately cuts in front of me, I decided to seek out opportunities to give thanks. These thank you’s had to be genuine. They had to be specific. They could be expected, like the thank you notes my mother trained me to write, but not perfunctory. They did not have to be in writing, but I knew that a handwritten note is more valued than the spoken word or a lesspersonal email. I gave myself a quota, at least one thank you a week, and I went on the lookout for reasons to give thanks. I planned to document my mission, for mission it was. I wish I could say that I lived up to my goal. Some weeks have gone by when I didn’t think about thanks at all, though I know I have missed opportunities to give someone a muchneeded kind word. The good news is that in other weeks there have been several chances, chances that I embraced with the passion of any zealot. I won’t bore you with a list of the people I thanked and why, mainly because I have not written them down. When I started writing, I realized that initial impulse to record my notes of thanks was in itself selfish. Keeping track felt like a quid pro quo, as if I were looking for someone to pat me on the back.
Why am I telling this story, then? My motive is simple: to remind others that it doesn’t cost anything to make a difference in someone else’s life. If you are working in a place where the people above you do not show appreciation, it is even more essential for you to find a chance to give colleagues a word of thanks for the things they do for you, for the kids, for the school, for the community. Maybe you can shame your boss into extending a kind word because of your example, but even if you don’t, you will still make someone else feel appreciated, and that appreciation can be contagious. That’s a contagion worth spreading.
Linda Milanese Kerschner has taught writing and literature to students of all ages since graduating from West Chester University in 1976. Since leaving teaching, Linda spends her time traveling, writing, knitting, sewing, and giving thanks. She is the author of Pizza Friday, a children’s book about food, family, and friendship. email@example.com
Photograph by Patty Koller
You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover but Sometimes YOU CAN Linda Walker
I love children’s books. The stories between the covers transport me to another time and place with characters I love and those I love to hate. But to tell the truth, it’s the jacket illustrations that entice me. A title or author recommendation may pique my interest but if the cover doesn’t grab me, well let’s just say it goes on my “read later” list. Sorting the juvenile book donations at the local library, I came across a 2003 copy of INKHEART. If not for the flames on the cover I would have placed it on the shelf and forgotten about it… but those golden fire fingers reached out to me. I could feel the heat, smell the charred paper and hear the whisper of disappearing words.
consume? Even many years later the smell of burnt paper would come back to her as soon as she opened one of the books…what books? What or who was INKHEART…a name for an enchanted place or an enchantress? And what’s with the lime green lizard…and that glittering fairy? Questions unanswered until I opened the front cover to meet Mo and Meggie, a father and daughter who could read characters out of books, and Dustfinger, who makes fire dance. What adventure, what description, what dialogue; I was hooked! Imagine my delight when I discovered this was a trilogy. I continued the journey with INKSPELL and finally INKDEATH. Now I was eager to read more of Cornelia Funke. The front covers didn’t matter. I traveled with Prosper and
Bo into the magical underworld of Venice with The Thief Lord and rode on the scaly back of Firedrake, a young silver dragon, as we set off to find the Rim of Heaven. I was the Dragon Rider. I hadn’t read fantasy adventure for a long time but now I devoured it ….Ingrid Law’s Savy, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon and Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiars.
Sometime after finishing the INKHEART trilogy I was asked by a young library patron for a good fantasy read. “Follow me,”
I said eager to enlist a new
INKHEART aficionado. On the walk to the “F” section in junior fiction I began to give the reader a taste of the tale. Ah, here we are…F for Funke, and here is INKHEART. The book had the same red cover, but not the same illustration, so it lacked the pull that said READ ME! I took the book from the shelf, handed it to the child and said, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
My to Read Book Jackets
Linda Walker (Writing Fellow 2005) was a teacher for 33 years with experience in several grade levels including teaching children with learning disabilities and the gifted. For many summers Linda has facilitated two specialty courses, Young History Writers and Young Nature Writers, for West Chester University’s Young Writers and Readers Program. She has been published in Highlights for Children. firstname.lastname@example.org
Why I Teach Faulkner to Seventh Graders Kathleen S. Hall Scanlon
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was about to teach my first push-in class with an interdisciplinary team of 40 seventh graders learning to read, write, and think critically and creatively. As the seventh grade gifted support teacher, I’m considered a writing expert. I wore my autumn green, light pants ensemble – unusually casual attire for me. The day was absolutely perfect: sunny and dry. I was poised to elevate the young writers to Nirvana, with my classic lesson on creating a thesis statement, when someone on the public address system directed us all to report back to our advisory classrooms immediately. Disappointed, I guessed there must be an internal situation, such as bathroom graffiti. Perhaps the principal wanted to lecture us all. When I arrived at my own classroom door, my teacher neighbor motioned me aside and asked if I had heard what happened: a commercial airliner had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. The act pointed to terrorism. We all have our 9/11 memories, especially those who taught America’s kids that day. I dashed to conduct a pep talk with my advisory-- just as the second plane hit. Speechless, I ate lunch watching the news with two colleagues – as both towers collapsed. Like everyone else, I couldn’t call my husband. Lines and cell towers were jammed. I drove home after all students had been evacuated, and turned on the television upon arriving. Chris, my husband, finally arrived home so we watched
Rowan Oak Faulkner House Oxford MS
together, and then ate a solemn dinner of who knows what -- with red wine. Candles lit, I remembered I would be teaching my literary circles on opening day, about two days after September 11. Each year we explicated a story called “I Just Kept on Smiling” by Simon Burt, about a British teen-aged kleptomaniac with family issues. This year, I had to find something better, something remarkably uplifting. A poem? A different story? I felt stumped. I used to teach high school, for twenty-two years, actually, until I joined my husband’s community in the Philadelphia suburbs. My personal English classroom passion was American literature, in my former teaching position, and I hammered my former inner-city students with literary heavyweights: Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Pearl Buck … oh, yes – and William Faulkner. I rustled my fuzzy mental pages, still stunned from the September 11 events. My head hurt from tearful anger. Life altered, heart resolved, I contemplated what to teach my literature lovers. Neither cute stories nor magic poems hit me. At the dinner table after our meal, on the second glass of wine, it suddenly hit me: I needed eloquent words of sustenance and inspiration. No, not Shakespeare’s. The relatively contemporary voice would have to be clear, and powerful. Someone classic, of course, and someone profound. But who? I stopped mid-sip: “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” I said those words aloud, in the dark. My contemplative husband frowned. “Who wrote that?” I flashed my lazy red wine grin, the one my cat might capture if he drank wine. “William Faulkner.” Chris raised his eyebrows. “Faulkner, for your seventh graders?” “He’s perfect!” I imagined twelve-year-olds telling their parents we’d read Faulkner.
“Do you think they’ll appreciate it? Why you chose it? Will they, you know, understand it?” I thought a minute. My top readers appreciate subtle nuances of language. They also love drama. That fall, they were certainly shell-shocked, with so many of their parents working in or near New York that day. And they would never forget what Faulkner decreed about the writer’s duty, or his view of the human condition. I could introduce them to his great literary voice; exhort each to show his or her “inexhaustible voice, a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.” Despite my now-retired former principal’s initial
William Faulkner and Kathy Hall Scanlon chatting.
apprehension, I commence my literary circles with Faulkner every year, following a preview of the major literary prizes. They contemplate Faulkner, as we might mitigate modern fears, removing perceived Nobel Prize stuffiness. I teach them, “… the poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man”; rather, it “can help him endure and prevail.” And Faulkner, who exhorts us to “Read! Read! Read! Read everything – trash, classics …” encourages my students -- and me – to endure and prevail.
Kathleen Hall Scanlon is a 35-year veteran and 2003 PAWLP and NWP fellow whose teaching experience spans the inner-city high school English classroom to the suburban middle school gifted support classroom. She additionally coordinates the Lower Merion PAWLP secondary summer Youth Program, offering specialty classes in Gothic/Science Fiction/Fantasy, Poetry, Reading/Writing Math & Science, and African American classes with PAWLP colleagues. An ailurophile, Kathleen and her husband cohabit with Renard, a three-legged orange tabby muse, whose adoption story appeared in his veterinarian’s recent online news blog. Her extensive library of real books renders eternity within her hands – her seventh graders read Blake, too. email@example.com
Photograph by Patty Koller
Frozen Seconds Donna Searle McLay
The sign reads "Frozen Seconds." I know this store in the Lancaster County countryside where tourists stop to buy soft pretzels. I've driven by it many times. They freeze the imperfect twists and sell them at bargain prices. Nothing is wasted.
But my mind has more twists than any pretzel. I see "frozen seconds" and I see moments in time. I see the first glimpse of my newborn babies. I see my mother in her coffin looking regal in death, as in life. I see the Marines digging foxholes outside my classroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at the start of the Missile Crisis in October, 1962. I see a toddler in an orange sundress chasing pigeons on the plaza in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I see the Twin Towers collapsing. I see a perfect sunset at the beach in San Diego.
And I see
... my young son after his first haircut ... my daughter Laura astride her wheeled toy horse at the top of the slide in our back yard ... Beth and Jim acting out "Flipper" adventures on the tile floor in Newport, RI ... Patty dancing and twirling around, her twin pony tails tickling her face ... my father getting the tops of his feet sunburned at the lake ... my third grade students performing a musical written by a classmate
and so much more.
I imagine everyone has a store of these frozen moments, precious for their emotional grip on us, as well as soothing for their peaceful content. What treasures! And what a blessing to make time to revisit these frozen seconds and minutes and hours, for even with the sad or frightening ones, we know what happened next. We know the child did not ride the toy horse down the slide. We know the missiles were removed from Cuba. We know a wave surprised the wedding party on the beach. We know the body was buried.
My sister has short term memory loss. I suppose this piece has been about the pleasure of memory because of her. I'm happy she remembers things from our childhood. I grieve that she cannot find her way to familiar places in her town. I pray that she holds onto many frozen seconds for a long time. Donna Searle McLay retired in 2003 after a thirty-year career as teacher of all ages, reading specialist, and principal in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Cuba. She studied writing with Lucy Callkins at Columbia and became a PAWLP Fellow in 1998 through the Reading and Literature Institute. Among her published works are memoirs of her experiences during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She currently lives with her husband of two years in a retirement community in Honey Brook, PA, where she teaches memoir writing. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Meg Griffin
Photograph by Patty Koller
The Influence of a Good Man Brian Kelley
I know my grandfather through photographs and family stories. And, even though I never shook his hand, I feel a great responsibility to not let him down—to make him proud.
To live up to his standard of kindness and generosity that has influenced me.
The most recycled memory of my grandfather is the afternoon he walked between parked cars, crossing the narrow street, while eating pasta fagioli directly out of the pot. My Nan called him back to the house from the screen door, but he just continued on down the street. Ladling spoonfuls of white beans and corkscrew pasta in his gullet, he sought the company of my Uncle Joe and my Uncle Carmen. He continued past laughing neighbors, acknowledging each with a nod and a broad saucy-lipped smile even as he chewed.
A humorous photo, grey and blurry, frames him sleeping on his back with a fried meatball in his mouth—too tired from work to chew and swallow. The photo is a close-up, almost too close, as if the photographer wanted future observers to understand that this man fell asleep with unfinished food perched on his lips. I wonder if my mom took the picture—his impish daughter, sneaking an irreverent photograph of her father.
Another photograph, overexposed, taken along the side of a country road, places him next to a 1932 Plymouth; self-confident, he strikes a jaunty pose in dark pants and a dark jacket.
The milky landscape bleeds into the overall whiteness of the photograph. The hard elbow, the felt fedora, the calloused hand stuffed in a pocket, casts the light of a gangster on him.
A truck driver by trade, I wonder where he was going in this car. And who took the photograph? Was he on a date with my grandmother on the outskirts of Philadelphia? Was he with a friend, earning an income, taking care of his family?
Pictures of him stationed in Alaska during World War II, and photographs of him, shirtless, on the beach with my grandmother, have been passed onto me and hang on the walls of my home. Their honeymoon photos at Niagara Falls still survive, as well as a photograph of my grandfather on an old porch of an old house surrounded by high country grass.
He drove a tractor trailer for a hard-earned living, and they say he parked his cab right on the street with the other cars, curbside, among the brick rowhomes, telephone poles, and crisscrossing wires overhead.
The men in my family spoke to me about him often when I was child. I learned at an early age that the timbre of words can say more than their published definitions. With frank sincerity, the voices of men revealed that they missed him.
Ever since I was walking, men told me I walked like him.
Men told me I looked like him.
Men told me I was built like him.
And men told me I reminded them of him. Each time they said it, their voices exposed them as much as their words, “He was a good man, your Pop-Pop John.”
I grew up in his house—the house where he raised my mother. The house my grandfather paid for with hard hands. His friends, my Aunt Joanne and Uncle Joe, lived with my grandparents for a short time. Uncle Joe shared the story with me. Joanne and Joe couldn’t yet afford a house right after they were married. Working and hoping to raise a family of their own, a house was a long way off. So my grandfather told them, “You’ll live with us.”
The offer was more than the use of a room. It was a willingness to transform a house, a family, a friendship, and a future. It must be difficult to not feel like a stranger when moving into someone else’s home. Yet Joanne and Joe never uttered those words, and the tone of their voice never suggested it. The story goes, my grandfather made it easy.
That home became their home. How many meals they must have shared together! “Your Pop-Pop John, he used to say, ‘Come on down to my bar,’ and we’d all walk down the steep steps into that old musty basement and have a drink. Even poured the kids a small glass of soda. He’d point to the oil tank and say, ‘That’s my bar,’ and he’d use it to set his beer on. “
Whenever my Uncle Joe told me about my grandfather, he hugged me afterwards. He hugged me so hard that when I was just a little boy, it hurt my bones.
“We didn’t have much. Nope. But your Pop-Pop, he made us feel like Kings.”
Uncle Joe always finished his hugs by giving me a kiss on the cheek. His rough scruff scraped my face. With these small gray pins on his face, he pressed into me and always said in word and in the music of his memory, “I miss that man.”
Raised among many aunts, uncles, and cousins in the City of Philadelphia, Brian Kelley saw his extended family share many things. The influence of his immigrant great-grandparents took shape in the simplest of forms— as part of a generation who came to this country with very little, they taught their children the most noble of virtues: be generous. Kelley saw his family share food, money, and time with anyone who needed something. Yet, one of the lasting influences on his life was the example set by a grandfather he never met. (Writing Fellow,‘10) email@example.com
Photograph by Patty Koller
Photograph by Meg Griffin
Woman’s Best Friend Deanna Brown
It’s time, the gaze in his eyes say to me. I’m not sure I’m ready, I say. He limps over to me and puts his head on my lap, eyes looking up, pleading. I put my hand on top of his head and release a deep sigh. The tuft of hair on his head is still soft like when he was a puppy, all those years ago. *********************************** Friday night was pizza night. Relinquishing the hassle of cooking, and even worse, the aftercooking clean-up, proved to be my reward for a long week of teaching. All my professors in college preached about the intrinsic value of being a teacher, but not once in the four years I prepared for my profession were any of them honest with me about the less glamorous facts of a teacher's life: expect to parent 100 plus kids every year, accept being overworked, embrace the struggle to make ends meet and become acquainted with the discomfort of a full bladder because bathroom breaks will be a rare, and often timed, luxury. These are just a few warnings that could have been tossed my way, and though they did not stifle my youthful excitement and unsullied
passion for teaching, they did exhaust me as a new teacher. Weekends barely supplied enough time to gather the energy I needed to plow through another challenging week. Pizza will take fifteen minutes to be ready. I knew. I knew the drill. Annoyed with myself for not calling ahead, I sat down at the sticky waiting table, wondering what Friday night movie would be on that I could zone out to. I looked at the time on my cell phone. Fourteen minutes to go. Maybe I should start grading tonight. I have so much to do, I thought remorsefully. Fifty-six, three page papers, some incomprehensible, from my eighth graders. Thirteen minutes to go. Something outside caught my eye and when I looked up, I saw a man headed out of a store across the street. Bounding beside him on a bright, yellow leash was an oversized, dopey looking dog. Ah, a pet store. I can pass the next twelve minutes and 43 seconds in there, I thought as I gathered my things. Actually, I couldnâ€™t. I consumed the next thirty-five minutes in that pet store, no longer hungry for my reward pizza, because that was where, unexpectedly, I fell in love. Inside a four-by-four, top-open crate were three, four month old puppies, each small enough to fit with ease into my palm. Foodles, the sign read. One female, two males. I knelt down to examine the puppies closer. The female was easy to spot because she was the smallest and the prettiest. The second puppy was almost all grey, which made him look more like a grandpa than a canine. But the third puppy was middle sized and though he couldnâ€™t have weighed more than five pounds, towered over his siblings on long, tottering legs that still seemed unsure of themselves, like a novice on stilts. I put my hand into the open crate to pet the top of his head. The puppy jumped up and leaned against the support of my hand. He licked my fingers and looked up at me with brown, almondshaped eyes. He had me. I scooped the puppy up, examining the soft, black fur with a splash of white on his chest, like a little boy playing dress up in a tuxedo. I laughed.
I have never been one to be impulsive. In fact, I am the complete opposite of impulsive; I am what my daughter today tells me is CDO, which is OCD, but arranged neatly in alphabetical order. Guilty of laying my clothes out the night before work, eating the same breakfast consisting of two eggs, over easy, with two slices of American cheese, every single morning, and even refusing to update my high school email address eleven years after high school, I amazed myself at the ease with which I laid down my Discover card and charged one-third of the credit limit for this little guy. This wasn’t planned in my budget or in my life, but I didn’t care. I was going against the grain of my nature, and no matter how untidy a puppy would be in my life, no matter how unplanned, there was an overwhelming joy that he was mine. ******************************************* The phone rings. My eyes jolt open though I had not been able to fall asleep. It is silly of me to think I could find rest in the middle of the day when the house is filled with silence that reminds me of what is missing. I run into the kitchen to answer the call, and as I place my hand on the receiver, I hesitate for a brief moment, the already existing pit deepening in my stomach. Then I pick up. Hello? I croak. Yes, this is she. And then I listen. It is as bad as we dreaded. He is only going to become more uncomfortable, which means he will get more aggressive. I think of my daughter’s hand with the large band aid wrapped around the meat of her palm. This was how we knew something was seriously wrong with George, who normally was a cuddle bug. I am advised, but ultimately, I am told it is my choice. Oh God, I cry. I lean against the wall looking for support, but nothing catches my legs and I slide to the floor. How many more times can I beg the mercy of God to put this off for another day, month, year?
Do you understand, I am asked. No, I don’t understand, I want to scream. How can anyone understand death? How can anyone willingly choose death? But I don’t ask the questions my heart aches with. Instead, I comply with the faceless voice whose heart is untouched by this loss. I’m sorry. I’m here. Yes, I understand, I say. I am asked if I would like to take him home for the evening and bring him back tomorrow for the scheduled procedure. Of course I do, I say. I feel the suffocating weight lift as I think to myself that I will never take him back there. I will keep him here at home, keep him safe as I watch and care for him. The thought of securing more time with George lifts my heart for just a moment. Then I remember my daughter’s bandaged hand. *************************************************************** Fourteen years. Had it really been that long? For fourteen years of my life, George was with me every step of the way. He saw eight different homes, visited seven different states, claimed five backyards, and had three different daddies. How forgiving George had been each time I uprooted us to yet another residence. How gracious he was to allow someone else, three times over, to share our bed. George was five when I met Richard and after the third proposal, I finally accepted. George would finally have a permanent Daddy and I had finally stopped running. George did not argue when I made him the ring bearer at our wedding. He already had the tuxedo, though a bit of salt had begun to invade the pepper. He looked handsome in the red bow tie I fastened around his neck, so handsome that he wore it for six months after the wedding. There are so many pictures of him in that red bow tie around the house. And all those nights, early in the marriage when we were still figuring things out, Richard and I would fight passionately, and poor George would seek cover under the bed from the shouting,
only an occasional whimper released to remind us, in the heat of our pain, that our actions did not go without consequences. Too exhausted to fight any longer, I would retreat, a pillow cradled under my arm, into the spare bedroom. Faithful as ever, George waited until the silence was secure, and then he too would make his way into the spare bedroom. I’d lift the covers for him and he’d curl in beside me, nestling against my belly. Sometimes I would cry and he’d let me hold him, but it always made me feel better knowing that we were both mad at Richard. When we purchased our first home, George had ridden up front in the passenger’s seat, perched on my lap with his face hanging out the window, ears pushed back in the wind. He kept me company during the long, dry summer days when I painted the walls, unpacked boxes and sometimes fell asleep in exhaustion out on the hammock in the backyard. Some days he just ran up and down the length of the backyard, burning a path into the grass and christening his part of the house. George was alert and attentive when Richard and I were woken up by the phone in the middle of the night. My mother was in the hospital, again. This time there had been a car crash, one she caused from her late nights and thirsty habits. We threw clothes on and Richard drove us to the hospital. Six hours later when we returned home, George was sitting calmly at the front door waiting for us. He had abandoned his usual custom of flying down the stairs and colliding into our legs and instead, followed us around the house like an anxious father refusing to allow his child out of sight. At some point, Richard and I fell asleep on the couch and hours later when I woke, Richard was curled into my back and George was curled into my tummy, making due with the little space available. After a year and a half of trying, I found out I was pregnant. George sat in my lap when Richard and I made the final heart wrenching decision that I would leave teaching, which I still loved and
had finally come to balance, in order to be home for our new family. While Richard was at work, George became my daily walking companion as we strolled down the trail behind our house to count rabbits or squirrels. We watched the sycamore trees turn with the seasons, and as my belly grew, so did our excitement. The late November afternoon when we brought Delaney home from the hospital, George went into full swing big brother mode, even leaving my side some evenings to take up a post underneath her crib. He was there for Delaney’s first steps, caught in the background of the home video, watching her intensely as though he understood the magnitude of the moment we were all witnessing.
******************************************* In three months from now, Delaney will be turning five. How am I supposed to tell her that George is too old to stay with us? Will she cry? Will she understand the permanence of death? I think of her drawing that is hanging on our refrigerator. “My Family,” it says with a stick figure Daddy, Mommy, and Baby, and a giant black blob. Georgie. Will I have to take the picture down? She loves this dog. Even Richard loves this dog, Richard who had first accepted George only because he wanted me. But no one loves this dog the way I do. Loves him enough to willingly take the impact of his aging on my own body, if only I could. Loves him enough to dip into our savings to keep him comfortable, to lose sleep at night cleaning his messes, to prepare and hand feed him his meals, to give him daily injections.
Through the years, I openly witnessed signs of his aging. The fading of his puppy features, the round nose becoming pointed, the white hairs springing up in his black fur, the struggle to complete our runs and then the struggle to complete our walks, the quietness of the house as he began to seek rest instead of play. I saw the transformations, and I knew what they meant, but I needed him so much that my mind tricked me into believing I could take care of him in his older age. I was prepared for the expensive veterinary bills, the continual messes, the excessive medicines. I could control these things. I thought that would be enough to protect him. I never considered that I wouldnâ€™t be able to ease his suffering. I never thought I would have to choose between George and the safety of my daughter. They say you lose a family member. I think I am losing my best friend.
************************************ I am not sure how to do this. I wonder if my reflexes will kick in and help me navigate through the murkiness of my brain. George finishes his dinner and goes back to the corner of the kitchen to lie down on the blanket I have laid on the floor for him. I made his favorite, chicken and rice. I want to make sure his belly is full of his favorite things. I look at the clock. We still have twenty minutes before Richard will be back from dropping Delaney off at my parents. Okay boy, I say. Are you up for a walk? He looks at me, but is unable to wag his tail. Walk. That has always been one of the trigger words we couldnâ€™t say around the house without spelling it out or looking around to see where George was first. To say a word like walk, or treat, or car could be dangerous, eliciting an automatic and endless series of whining and tail wagging and jumping. Now, theyâ€™ll just be words.
I get his leash out and though he doesn’t spin in circles or squirm his little body like ants are crawling on him, he does manage a few soft flicks of his tail to tell me he approves of this idea. I fasten the collar around his neck and click on his retractable leash. Tears flood my eyes as I think of all the times I leashed him up without a second thought. This time, my fingers and my eyes painfully observe the mundane task that today seems so profound. George slowly climbs onto all fours and without haste, we exit the back door. I know his favorite path that takes us underneath the sycamore trees. This path we’ve walked hundreds of times, but today I feel so fully present, so excruciatingly aware of everything around us that my breath is weighted in my chest. I observe George as he notices a squirrel. Where once he would have playfully chased the squirrel, now he simply perks his ears in acknowledgment, and continues his steady, slow stride. How many times had I gotten angry with him for jerking the leash as he sprung after a squirrel or a rabbit? How foolish I had been. As we make our way to the bend in the road, George begins to slow down. He hangs his head low to the ground. I understand, boy. I am not angry, I want to reassure him. I kneel down to pat his head but as I do, I see in his eyes, in his face, how very tired he has become. My breathing gets heavier and my heart is so tight I think it might actually crack. Now I know why they call it heartbreak. Peering at him, I feel the defenses slipping away and all I am left with is the face of the friend I am losing. What if I am never ready to let go? What happens then? If he isn’t there to curl at my side, the weight of his body pressed against my belly, how will I know it’s time for bed? If he no longer stands on his hind legs to watch me pull out of the driveway, how will I know I am missed and that I have reason to hurry home?
I grab his little body and pull him against my chest, all restraint lost. Iâ€™m sorry, I wail, tears streaming down my face. I feel his body relax into me, most of his weight in my lap. He is trusting me to care for him as his body is failing him, but I know that I too am failing him and he deserves so much more. I begin to shake in sobs and I hold him closer, my cries deepening with a grief that just might swallow me whole. Clenching him tighter, I find myself pleading with him for assurance that he somehow understands how much he has given me. I know how many times he has saved me and I am so sorry I cannot do the same. Please boy, I cry. Please forgive me.
Deanna Brown has taught English at the middle and high school levels for seven years in the Rose Tree Media School District. She earned her master's degree, summa cum laude, in education from Neumann University and joined the PAWLP fellowship in 2012. She is currently planning a family with her husband, Ryan, and is enjoying time off for travel, volunteering through her church and teaching children's ministry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Patty Koller
Photographs by Meg Griffin
AFTER THE FIFTH ELEGY * Don LaBranche
But tell me, who are they, these wanderersâ€Śwho from Their earliest days are savagely wrung out by A never-satisfied will?
Because business at the market, the trade in fruit, honey, and black tea, became so lucrative her mother sent her to a good school from where she pursued a career and five times a day Dzhanet Abdullayeva gave thanks to God and so did not go to Moscow.
The young man she loved became instead a carpenter like many other men in the family who built sturdy homes at a fair price and would, down the road, rise in stature and become a respected elder whom the police did not hunt down and kill, and so, happily married, Dzhanet Abdullayeva would not have gone to Moscow.
Or perhaps someone showed her the news photograph with its thin surfaces glossy with boredomâ€™s specious half-smile and she recoiled from the implication of the gun and the hardness on her face that looks barely a teenager prepared to die and so Dzhanet Abdullayeva reconsidered going to Moscow.
Photograph by Patty Koller
Some that knew her say she was a promising student who recited poetry in local competitions. Now they wonder if she recited Akhmatova? If she, in her own voice, ever spoke The memory of sun weakens in my heart. Or this: What power a man has who doesn’t ask for tenderness! And did a young girl balancing on a precarious ledge hear All day the crowd rushes one way, then another… Death sends patrols into every courtyard. Here those racked with grief beg Abdullayeva not to come to Moscow.
Yet, even so, on that day, even in early spring, with the switch in her fist And a kilo of plastique tucked beneath her breasts, she might have heard the always sad voice of the oriole when the subway door opened and the breeze from the street above blew across her dark veil and the smell of lilacs touched her skin and the earth’s tilt might have shifted one degree in either direction…it is written that nothing is written. And Dzhanet Abdullayeva went home alive from Moscow.
*Note: In the Spring of 2010, Dzhanet Abdullayva was one of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in a Moscow subway car, killing 40 and wounding dozens of people. She was 17 years old.
Photograph by Meg Griffin
AFTER THE NINTH ELEGY Don LaBranche
Isn’t the secret intent of this taciturn earth, when it forces lovers together, That inside their boundless emotion all things may shudder with joy? --Rilke
Onions, garlic, and celery sizzle in the olive oil while Buddy Guy hoists up the flag of the Blues because the woman he loves has done him wrong and, oh, if she’d just come home… Do you hear what he’s buried inside that just? Do you hear how far he’s willing to stretch himself to hold her, to anchor them both to those better days on the Avenue back at the beginning? What keeps lovers together like this? What accounts for this carving out of negative space to occupy their long years? What of the day when they look around and discover that all their cords and levers are interlaced and locked, that they are not two things any longer, but one thing; but also hundreds, thousands of things waiting in anticipation at the ancient threshold of the door
Photograph by Patty Koller
like someone who hasn’t eaten for a long time might wait to see what’s added to the fry pan for dinner; or the dying, to see if the ecstasy of light can outmaneuver death’s heavy hand; or even if the laurel and the dogwood might cry out in a joyful embrace, and like lovers rain down flowers around each other’s feet?
Donald LaBranche (Writing Fellow, '93) graduated from West Chester State College and Widener University. He taught physical education, swimming, third and fifth grade in the Chichester School District. In 2002 he participated in a week long internship at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Nancy Atwell's demonstration school in Maine. He has taught graduate level courses for PAWLP as well as a class in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror to fascinating teen writers in the Young Writer's summer program. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications. email@example.com
Photograph by Meg Griffin
Ode to the Young Readers and Writers Programs Eileen Hutchinson
With my passion for literacy, the best part of summer is the time I work as a site coordinator and teacher of writing in the youth programs. It is truly the moment to let my imagination run free, inspired by young authors of creativity. In poetic verse, I salute all of the past and present dreamers who have graced my presence and brightened my mind in the Young Readers and Writers Programs sponsored by The PA Writing and Literature Project.
For the Love of Literacy, May the summer day, Awaken young minds to Discover new creative ways. See the poetry all around us, Hear the music in Natureâ€™s Chorus, Taste the sweetness melons bring, Smell the roses from early Spring, Feel the rhythm of your heart song, Keep dreaming-all day long. Be HappyCelebrate your words. Shout highLet your voice be heard!
It is A Writing Kind of Day, That is what I say With pens in hand Ideas so grand Stretching our minds Works one of a kind Lots of genre choices Fostering unique voices A Sentence Explosion or journal writes Creative juices flowing just right Mentor texts to imitate craft skills Quick writes-an author’s free will Create a list or word splash Organize ideas in a flash Working alone or with a friend The power of thinking never ends Reread and Star Revise A great habit of the Craft Wise Final edits to polish your words Ready now for it to be heard Quality craft work let’s shout out That is what it is all about It’s a Writing Kind of Day So come on Imagination Just light the Way!! Write on!! Eileen T. Hutchinson An artist who dreams today….tomorrow…forever 99’ Writing Fellow/05’Literature Fellow
Eileen Hutchinson (Writing & Literature Fellow 1999) is an Instructional Coach (K-5) in the West Chester Area School District. She just recently earned a Certificate in English as a Second Language. Eileen is very active in the Project. She is PAWLP’s E-Poetry Contest chairman, a site coordinator for the elementary, youth programs in the Lower Merion School District, and she participates in Continuity/Leadership Saturdays. Aside from her professional work, she is a loving wife and a busy Mommy to her son Bobby who is the sunshine of her days! She loves literacy and music, and dances through each day to the rhythm of her own heartsong. Eileen says, Write On!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Remembering Nancy Drew Janice Ewing
Her independent, snappy self safely ensconced within the pages of a book that I could open and close
With her cool convertible and her nifty Ned and the dad like none that I knew she found herself embroiled in just enough trouble to find her way out again
And what to make of Carolyn Keene another fiction as it turns out but as real to me as Nancy and as necessary.
Janice Ewing is a PAWLP 2004 Fellow and is co-director for Continuity and Teacher Inquiry. For most of her career she was a reading specialist and literacy coach in the William Penn School District. She is currently an adjunct professor in Cabrini Collegeâ€™s Reading Specialist Certification Program. She is interested in professional growth through collaboration and in helping others to find and sustain their writing identities. email@example.com
“IF” FOR STUDENT TEACHERS Cecelia G. Evans If you can set aside preconceived notions About the school where you have been assigned And look with an open mind Ready to learn much about children, cultures, communities; If you can look at each child, See an individual; appreciate the difference; If you can believe that all children Can learn Something, Somehow, Sometime; If you can put aside your fears And assume a take- charge stance Remembering not to be arrogant So as not to fall flat on your face; If you can hold onto yourself Resist being a clone of your *CT or some other; If you can accept the criticism meted by significant others And not let your self-esteem lag; If you can remember that you, like the children Are still growing and developing If you can take your talents and apply them To make your stay complete; If you can be patient And explain many more times When some of the concepts Seem too hard to grasp; If you grab hold of your work, Never wishing to shirk When it seems overwhelming And you want to ask, “What’s in this for me?” If you can set a good example, Take pride in yourself and your work; Do your best at all times, Dispel the thought, “Who cares, anyway?”
Then teaching is for you! Grasp the opportunity, accept the challenge; Enjoy the positives that outweigh the negatives, Your talents and insights are surely needed! You can make a difference As you help win some battles That will enlighten mankind And strengthen the world. *Cooperating Teacher
Tribute to Cooperating Teachers Cecelia G. Evans
We salute you for being there For this is no small feat. The position that you have taken Shows that you are great. You receive these budding teachers Into your havens of learning And your patience and your courtesy Lasts long through anxious burning. You studied the theories given And began the uncertain practice, Reflected and took those theories Meshed them more than thrice. Your talents and skills are recognized By your peers and significant others You know you are special, Don’t have to be told by sisters nor brothers. You are a teacher/learner, yet Realize you don’t know it all Each child can teach you a lesson As well as that student teacher. So, we salute you and Thank you for standing tall Being there for those who come To answer that important call, “To teach.”
When Turtles Whisper Cecelia G. Evans
Whenever my friend, the turtle, whispers, And tells me to listen I try to do just that For I know he’s the wise one. This all started when I was seven And now that I am over threescore and ten The whispers still guide my way, And help me know what to say. When I have questions He listens patiently, Then softly whispers in my ear, “My friend, never fear.” There are times when I cry out in prayer Oh! Lord please help me The turtle whispers softly, “Stand still and listen, He hears.”
Cecelia G. Evans, Ed.D. (Writing Fellow, 81) is a retired Philadelphia public school teacher and administrator. Dr. Evans is the founder of With Pen in Hand a family literacy program that enhanced the literacy lives of hundreds of families in Delaware County for more than 10 years. The three poems shared in this issue, may also be found in Dr. Evans’ poetry book, When Turtles Whisper. This collection features poems that portray the many experiences of Cecelia from memories of her childhood and throughout her life as an educator, mother, and grandmother. There is something for everyone in Cecelia’s collection from children and adults alike. When Turtles Whisper is now available. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Meg Griffin
The Things They Carried Richard Mitchell
Two books of the same title, side by side, stand disparate One stands straight, the upright standard. Beige pages futilely awaiting collaboration. Its top, a solid stack of paper, fresh cut. Glued neatly ten years past and neglected. (barring the autograph) Their cover perfect, valuably unread.
One worn, leans right, bowing its tanned pages, swollen with thought. Long lines welcome a new student. Folios neatly packed which still (and always will) obey the glue of their cover.
Off the shelf, a perfect unit of book. Corners salute their owner, awaiting bed check. This book made it home from its author’s visit. Each time it is opened to the title page (and only, ever, to that page) Its corners are pressed back into shape.
This copy laid flat on a desk, breathes. Cotton corners reveal messenger bag travel and trips across the land and town to other readers with different perspectives (motivation, age, levels of depression) and back, patiently awaiting another idea.
Beyond the signature are off-white blanks collected and neatly packaged in a cover. A photograph of men, blurred with imprecision, rifles shouldered, burdens heavy (and impossible to know) that I’ve never met.
Inside this book, a history is laid, informing of transition, transformation through the graffiti’d marginalia, colors of call and response between (and I do mean between) the author and his reader, whomever is whom.
I have a unique relationship with these books. They are equally special to me, their pages spoke and speak in words I never understood possible. Both, because of their histories on my shelves, and in my mind, hold value, because both books, in different hands, bear my name.
Richard Mitchell is an English teacher at West Chester East High School. He is a PAWLP and NWP Fellow (Writing Fellow, ’08) and codirects the Summer Writing Institute at West Chester University. Richard is also an Ed.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. His wife Maggie as an author and publisher of children's stories and their daughter is a budding musician and writer herself. (PAWLP Fellow 2008) email@example.com
A Song for the Children of Sandy Hook Pat Bove
For the children we love you very much For the children you left us when so young For the children your spirits live on For the children we love you!
Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Alna, Catherine, Jesse, Grace, Emilie, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Madeline, Chase, James, Allison, Jack, Benjamin, Dylan, Avielle, and Adam
For the children we love you very much For the children you left us when so young For the children your spirits live on For the children we love you!
First and Third Verse would be sung. Second Verse would be changed with a triangle beat.
Patrice Bove recently retired from the TE School District after teaching for 43 years elementary music. She participated in the PAWLP Writing Institute in 2007 and will be participating in the Literature Institute this summer. She enjoys reading, writing, teaching in the summer PAWLP program, and volunteering at Chester County Hospital. firstname.lastname@example.org
Winged Adventures Linda Walker
This summer I hope to again work with West Chester’s young nature writers at Pennypacker Mills. The theme is Winged Adventures. I hope to encourage my authors to write poetry and prose inspired by winged creatures, from nature’s swallows that swoop the meadows at Pennypacker to the magical winged dragons that employ their destructive and creative powers in extraordinary quests. I’ve read many books in which winged creatures are central to the plot. The following are ones I enjoyed and plan to use in this summer’s Winged Adventures. Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock (YA novel) When I was a youth, I read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries because they were detectives close to my age. The challenge for me was trying to solve the case before the end of the book. Each chapter presented a new set of clues which eventually led to uncovering the answers to the crime, the who, what, where, when and why. Eye of the Crow, a YA novel, is Shane Peacock’s first in The Boy Sherlock Holmes series about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s renowned detective, Sherlock Holmes. In this first book, 13 year old Sherlock, always interested in the news, retrieves some discarded newspapers from a dust bin. The MURDER headline and the shocking drawing of a young woman lying in a pool of blood arouse his curiosity. His interest in the case leads to his involvement with Malefactor, the head of a London gang of young hooligans, and Irene Doyle, who helps him in his search for the real murderer in the story. Real-life English Victorians are interspersed throughout the book, which gives an air of authenticity. The chapters move fast towards the solution. You’ll be kept wondering until the last chapter as to who done it. Find excerpts from Shane Peacock’s other books in the series: Death in the Air, Vanishing Girl, The Secret Fiend, and his newest, The Dragon Turn, at http://www.shanepeacock.com
Wild Wings by Gill Lewis (Junior Fiction novel) I was first attracted to this book because of its cover illustration. I started to read, lost interest, then put it on top of my “to read” stack. There was something about those children: what were they doing in that tree, and what about that hovering bird? So I picked up the book again and I’m pleased that I did! The story revolves around a rare osprey that has chosen to build its aerie on a small island near a Scottish farm. Callum McGregor, the young lad who lives on the farm, has promised Iona, a peculiar girl who discovered the wild bird, to keep secret the osprey’s nest and to protect it from harm. When the osprey becomes entangled in fishing wire, Iona is frantic and agrees to let Callum go for help. Now the osprey’s secret place must be revealed. A series of events revolving around the osprey’s natural world connects the reader with relationships between longtime friends and new ones, life, death, and promises made. The author, a former veterinarian, weaves information about the osprey within the story but never overshadows the plot. Find more about Gill Lewis and her books at gilllewis.com.
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin (Junior Fiction novel)
“Chiaroscuro,” Dean mutters as he winds his way along a rectangular labyrinth in the Blackhope Tower. Then he disappears. Sunni, Dean’s frantic stepsister, follows him and also dissolves in front of her friend Blaise. A brave Blaise goes after Dean and Sunni. So begins an adventure into a world of Fausto Corvo’s enchanted paintings. Fausto Corvo, a mysterious late Renaissance painter also known as the Raven, has created the world of Arcadia. In this place, the characters are confronted with many perils: a ruthless art forger who will stop at nothing to discover the 3 lost Corvo enchanted paintings; Marin, Corvo’s apprentice, who can trap people within his charcoal sketches; and the Raven himself. But all the children want to do is to discover the path which leads them back to their own world.
The author moves the plot along with a rapid succession of trials for the characters. At times it is difficult to follow all the action, but it is sure to engage children who enjoy fantasy. You can follow Sunni and Blaise in their next art adventure in The Crimson Shard. Follow Teresa at http://www.teresaflavin.com/ and learn more about The Blackhope Enigma at http://www.theblackhopeenigma.com/
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (Junior Fiction novel) Rosa, a rat, informs the dragons that their valley will soon be flooded by humans. What to do? Where to go? Who will find safety? So begins the extraordinary story of Firedrake, a young silver dragon, and Sorrel, his closest friend, as they set off to find the Rim of Heaven, the last place to hide from humans. In their quest to locate the Rim of Heaven, the two meet Ben, an orphaned boy, who is the reincarnation of a legendary Dragon Rider. The three team up to search for the valley of the hidden dragons. Enter Nettlebrand, the Golden One, not a born dragon but a created one. When Nettlebrand discovers that dragons still exist, he orders Twigleg, the last of his homunculi kind, and his spy crows to follow the Dragon Rider so that he, Nettlebrand, can at last satisfy his passion for devouring dragons. Many characters move the plot along in this story of good versus evil: Professor Barnabas Greenbloom and his daughter Guinevere, who are obsessed with fantastical creatures; Gravelbeard, a Mountain dwarf spy for Nettlebrand; and the Djinn of a thousand eyes. Dragon Rider was pure pleasure to read. Now I want more about fantastical creatures and their world of imaginary places. Follow Cornelia Funke at http://www.corneliafunke.com/ and be sure to read her Inkheart series about a father and daughter who can read aloud characters from books.
Linda Walker was a teacher for 33 years with experience in several grade levels including teaching children with learning disabilities and the gifted. She is a 2005 Fellow of the National Writing Project. For many summers Linda has facilitated two specialty courses, Young History Writers and Young Nature Writers, for West Chester Universityâ€™s Young Writers and Readers Program. She has been published in Highlights for Children. email@example.com
Cover Illustration Frozen Seating, Butterfly Landing, Reflections at St. Michaelâ€™s,
Into the Sunset, Tree Reflection, Sunflower Farm, Winter Truck, Garden Truck, Flower Bed Kitty, Watering Can, Snow Flower Patty has taught elementary school for the past 34 years in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She is currently an instructional support teacher for students in grades K-2 in the Downingtown Area School District. Patty is a PAWLP Fellow and has facilitated a variety of courses for teachers over the past 20 years. Most recently Patty has been teaching courses for youth and teachers at Longwood Gardens where she gets to combine her love of teaching and nature. firstname.lastname@example.org
Snow Angel, Lonely Bench, Surprised, Butterfly Landing, Farmhouse Lane, Joy,
Sunbathing Gulls, Rock Wall, Pelican, Summer Flowers, Cigar Rooster Meg has had many careers in her adult life from stockbroker to baker to brain injury nurse. The fates conspired until she finally found her passion â€“ teaching. A PAWLP Writing Fellow since 2005, Meg teaches fourth grade in the Central Bucks School District. She regularly presents at local and national conferences, particularly on technology integration. Meg facilitated Moving Writing into the 21 st Century: Integrating Technology and Language Arts in Bucks County last summer. email@example.com
Submission Guidelines Manuscripts should be sent by email as a word document attachment to PAWLPJOURNAL@wcupa.edu.Manuscripts should be double-spaced throughout (including quotations, endnotes, and works cited), with standard margins. Word 2000 or later is preferred. Authors using Macintosh software should save their work as Word for Windows. Paper submissions should be sent only when email is impossible. Please save copies of anything you send us. We cannot return any materials to authors.
Feature Articles: In general, manuscripts for articles should be no more than 10-15 doublespaced, typed pages in length (approximately 2500-3500 words). Feature articles can be on nearly anything dealing with the teaching of writing and reading. Provide a statement guaranteeing that the manuscript or photo has not been published or submitted elsewhere present or future in any format. Lessons: 300 – 750 words. Short, practical lesson plans to bring writing and reading into the classroom; cross-curricular ideas are encouraged. Book Reviews: 300 – 750 words. Reviews of recent books about the teaching of writing and reading, YA Literature, Children’s Literature, other books pertinent to education. Poetry & Prose: 6 – 750 words. As space permits, we’ll publish poetry and prose. Teacher Voice: 300 or fewer words on something you need to say! Original Photographs: Send title and location. Make sure all permissions are secured. Original Cartoons: Pertinent to Teaching Other: Something you know we should include but isn’t listed. General Guidelines Number all pages. Use in-text documentation, following the current edition of the MLA Handbook. Where applicable, a list of works cited and any other bibliographic information should also follow MLA style. List your name, address, school affiliation, the year that you became a PAWLP Fellow, telephone number, and email address on the title page only, not on the numbered pages of the manuscript. Receipt of manuscripts will be acknowledged by email, when possible.
210 East Rosedale is refereed, and manuscripts will be read by two or more reviewers. We will attempt to reach a decision on each article within four months. Prospective contributors should obtain a copy of the Guidelines for Gender-Fair use of Language.
Photograph by Meg Griffin