210 East Rosedale The Literary and Education Journal of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project
Summer/Fall 2013 -Volume 2, Issue 2
210 East Rosedale Summer/Fall 2013 – Volume 2, Issue 2 Contributors
Classroom Memoirs Making it a Success………………………………..…1 by Rita Sorrentino Tales Out of School……..…………………………………………..5 by Donna Searle McLay Waiting for a Drink
Personal Memoirs A Screwdriver, a Hammer…and a Pen……………....7 by Kathleen S. Hall Scanlon An Open Letter to the Pope and Ponyboy………….12 by Rachel E. Nichols Cent’anni, to a Family Gypsy………………………..17 by Brian Kelley His Master’s Voice………………………...................21 by Diane Dougherty History Comes Alive……………………………….…23 by William Bell A Perfect Web
One of Her Own……………………………………...26 by Deanna Brown Starbucks Spoken Here ……………………………36 by Bobbie Wade
Education Article/Tips Common Core State Standards Reading Unit Plan Nonfiction Texts: Reading to Analyze and Writing to Explore in the Age of Common Core……………………………..40
by Adrienne Darreff Reilly
Hide and Seek Cover Photograph: Pumpkins for Sale
Poetry At the Getty……………………………………………..47 by Don LaBranche Kitchen Still Life by Don LaBranche……………………………………48 March Madness………………………………………49 by Kathy Barham The Plunge …………………………………………...50 by June Schultz
In Memorium New Mexico Memories………………………………52 by Sandy Connelly Pantoum for Sandy…………………………………..53 by Janice Ewing
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
Follow the Leader
From the Director
Dear Fellows & Friends, It is with great pleasure that we present PAWLP’s 2013 summer/fall ejournal “210 East Rosedale.” This journal once again delights with fabulous photographs and a variety of genres that explore many facets of our journey on this planet. Classroom memoirs, tales of love and loss, and provocative poetry are just some of the themes and topics explored in this issue. Beginning with Rita Sorrentino’s delightful, yet practical piece on exploring “making” in a third grade classroom and ending with Janice Ewing’s poignant poem dedicated to PAWLP Fellow Sandy Connelly, the journal showcases the human experience through the lenses of the talented authors that comprise the PAWLP community. Thanks to the PAWLP photographers who submitted their work and to Meg Griffin’s stellar production skills, “210 East Rosedale” -- is quite simply beautiful. While the authors and artists featured in PAWLP’s journal explore a variety of themes, the collection proves how interconnected our lives and experiences are. Each piece of writing connects the reader to the writer, and the authors’ biographies also connect the reader to the writers in a personal way. We include each author and photographer’s email address, and we encourage you to reach out to let your friends and colleagues know how they touched you with their work and writing. Please consider submitting your work for our winter/spring journal. We welcome new authors and returning authors. We are excited about what may come next.
Making It: A Success Rita Sorrentino Making It: A Success Last year I had a unique opportunity to participate in Project Make across two Writing Projects. Connecting with PAWLP coordinator, Patty Koller, and partnering with a PHILWP Teacher Consultant, Hope Sabatini, I worked with third graders at the Overbrook Elementary School eager to make it through the winter months with some engaging projects, especially since the school was slated to close. (Subsequently, the school was taken off the list.)
Stitch Up Some Learning This is no laughing matter, but Hope Sabatini kept her third graders in stitches, literally. With needle and thread, scissors and glue, felt and embellishments, her students made heart pillows for Valentine’s Day for one of their Make It projects. As the Computer teacher at Overbrook Elementary, I partnered with our third grade teacher to have students document and reflect on their projects. “My students were eager to undertake a new skill and gain experience by making a holiday gift,” said Mrs. Sabatini, who planned and provided time for the projects. “The children voted for the projects and I think that gave them a sense of ownership. They enjoyed making something from start to finish.” The determined third graders realized that it took time to learn the ins and outs of the process. “Practice did not make perfect, but practice and encouragement helped them learn from mistakes while finding their own method for keeping the needle and thread together and moving in the right direction.” With the exception of some pricked fingers, this project was a true labor of love as students demonstrated in their writing. • Some kids teased me that boys can’t sew but I finished my pillow and I am proud of myself. I didn’t give up when the string kept getting out of the needle. I’m ready for another sewing project. (KC)
• I learned how to do something new. By the second day, I was more comfortable with sewing. (KJ) • This was not my first time sewing and I enjoyed doing this project. I think it is good to make something and not always going out to buy it.(SB)
A little bit of making each day is what kids need to do in school. I hope the whole school should have a ”Make It” fair. (JS) • The hard part for me was the sewing small stitches around the heart. Big stitches leave too much space and the stuffing can come
out. This was my first time sewing and now I think I can make something at home by myself. (DS)
Stitching up these hearts not only gave students confidence in learning a new skill, but also a curiosity about how things are made. ‘How did they make that?” is a new favorite question in Mrs. Sabatini’s class. On a recent trip to the National Liberty Museum, students were very curious about exhibits and artifacts, asking many questions about materials used. They were like insiders, who had learned by doing, picking up skills along the way.
Making It: “For the Birds” Reading about the difficulties animals face finding food in winter inspired another project in the classroom. Mrs. Sabatini said, “There are many trees in the school neighborhood, and their bare branches prompted students to A Bird in the Hand
question sources of food for birds during winter months.” After a little research, they found out that birds could benefit from supplemental sources of food. As a result, the “Bird Feeder” project took shape. Students made posters requesting paper towel or toilet paper tubes and unfinished jars of peanut butter nearing expiration dates to be donated to their classroom. “During this project, students followed a set of printed directions and improvised as well,” noted Mrs. Sabatini. The students did most of their writing in the computer room. Their writing revealed how proud they were of their efforts to use recycled materials and create bird feeders for winter food. They were anxious to report about their finished projects and their stance on making things. Writing from experience was not a chore. Not once did I hear, “Do I have enough?” or “I can’t think about what to write.” They worked on their writings with the resolve of a reporter, reminding each other of steps along the way. Their writing was a natural extension of their projects, like two sides of a coin. Mrs. Sabatini also noted the rich conversations during and after the project. They were amazed how the seeds actually stuck to the peanut butter, and they offered problem solving techniques to those who didn’t like getting sticky fingers.
Making It: For the Birds – Mrs. Sabatini’s Class Room 7 Grade 3
When you make things you do get your hands dirty and it is OK. (SW)
I really liked making the bird feeder the most. I used a paper towel roll, spread the peanut butter and rolled it in the pan full of birdseed. The birdseed stuck good. (NK)
Students talked about how the outdoor feeders had changed and wondered how long they would be hanging. This project showed us that kids make connections through listening, speaking, writing and making. It was a privilege working with Mrs. Sabatini. Summing up her reflections, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was very proud of how my students worked diligently, shared materials, asked for help when needed, and graciously assisted each other. My classroom actually had a calmness when we were working on projects.â&#x20AC;? These beginning steps make for successful learning in and out of the classroom. Rita Sorrentino is a recently retired teacher from Overbrook Elementary School. Rita jointed the Pennsylvania Writing Project in 2004 and Philadelphia Writing Project in 1994. She received the Award for Excellence in Podcasting from the Office of Educational Technology, School District of Philadelphia (2013). Rita hopes to find new pathways in working with teachers and students for using digital tools for reading, writing, speaking and listening. email@example.com
Poppies out the Window
Tales Out of School By Donna Searle McLay My Brief Career as a Superhero
My job at Reynolds Junior High School involved teaching reading to seventh and eighth graders, many of whom did not want to be there, much less read anything. Fortunately, there was a textbook with short, interesting selections, so we had materials to work with. But one could never anticipate the unexpected (which is, of course, what makes it unexpected). For instance, there was the day I spilled my coffee at breakfast.
A little background â&#x20AC;&#x201D; For about five years before our latest move, we'd lived in an affluent suburb of Reading, PA. While we lived there, we shopped for bathing suits at the Dolphin Swim Suit outlet store in a neighboring town. The suits wore like iron, and the sleek fabric streamlined our competitive swimmers. The manufacturer used leftover yard goods from last year's suits to make women's underpants that sold for a dollar a pair, and I stocked up on these bargains. Back to that fateful breakfast in the spring of 1979, when I was eating my oatmeal, drinking coffee, and reading the paper. Five minutes before I needed to leave, I reached for my cup without taking my eyes off the newspaper. I knocked it over, spilling coffee on the front of my best green slacks. I raced upstairs to change into a pair of orange sherbet-colored slacks and hurried off to school. As we began the school day, our routine was to listen to announcements from the office over the PA system, and then rise to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner. After this, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d note the lunch count and send it to the office with the list of absentees. But this morning was different. As I stood to write down absent students, I heard a disembodied female voice from the back of the room: "Wonder Woman!"
Oh no! In 1976, Bicentennial fever had overtaken America. I was wearing the signature fabric from that year, red, white, and blue stars and stripes. My underwear showed through the polyester fabric of my slacks! Word spread like wildfire, and students in my classes spent the rest of that miserable day trying to lure me out from behind my desk while I tried in vain to keep them on task with their reading. Today I would stand there, make a funny remark, and carry on. But I was too young to have that kind of chutzpah, so we struggled through the day. And I learned the importance of the last look in a full-length mirror before I went out the door. Mirror, Mirror 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 Calkins 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
A Screwdriver, a Hammer … and a Pen By Kathleen S. Hall Scanlon
The only hand tools my father gave me were a screwdriver and a hammer. As a child, I had wanted to build a covered wagon one day, suddenly, inside the family garage, but when I asked my father if I could borrow his tools, he shook his head. “Nah, you don’t need any of that. I don’t want you near the work bench.” I felt crushed; I only wanted to craft fantasy into reality. “But – I’ll be careful….” “I said ‘No.’ Go play in the basement.” He was right, of course. I didn’t need the wagon at all. I just wanted to build it. And I wanted to try out his hand tools: the saw, hammer, and nails. Just basic carpentry, nothing complex. I’d offered to draw out my design from memory, but still, he frowned. Head down, I exited the men’s club that would have welcomed my younger brother. I never pursued the thought again, at least not at home. Decades later, as a teacher, I took two introductory “shop” courses during consecutive summers at our district’s vocational/technical school. While I toiled as an English teacher at the local high school, many of my students were Vo-Techies, proud of their practical skills. I watched my lazy English class sophomores and juniors snap into professional demeanors whenever I entered their “other” home school, where I admired their expertise in areas from masonry to plumbing, electrical repair, cosmetology, and the culinary arts. Kids who slept through English grammar lessons poured school-roasted coffee as if they were maître d’s pouring the finest Turkish blends. Wide-eyed, I noted brick walls stacked with precision, as well as beautifully upholstered furniture. I paid for a VoTech crew to reupholster my own sofa, clawed by my relentless feline.
As a regular English teacher, I once dared offer my teaching services to the VoTech principal, Gerry C— as a challenge. “I plan to become the first Vo-Tech English teacher in this building,” I grinned. “Kathy, I want you on our team!” Gerry turned to a colleague, growling, “We’d save money and waste less time if we kept the kids here all day. Most of them want that, anyway!” I surveyed the large banquet room at our current brunch meeting. At least twenty students served, bussed tables, and poured beverages. Gerry beamed like a proud father. That summer, I signed up to study electrical wiring just as my students did; the following summer I chose a teacher version of their upholstery class. I must admit I had feared electricity. Our electric shop instructor assured us none of us would electrocute ourselves, at least on his watch, so I trusted him. He confided to me privately that only the “brightest, most motivated” studied electricity. The future electrical engineers and electricians generally chose top-level math classes, so I occasionally taught them in my advanced placement English classes. At the other extreme were the upholstery students. They usually came from the ESL classes, teens who enjoyed working artistically with their hands. One of my eleventh graders had presented “How to Make a Button” to his class the previous year, and his obvious pride before his peers had moved me. His upholstery teacher had lent the young man their button-making machine for the afternoon, and I observed the student’s countenance transform entirely into a serious professional as he created furniture buttons for a sofa his class was reupholstering. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“You’re married to this woman?” Gerry the principal taunted my then-husband, before an enthralled educator audience viewing filmed scenes from content area
teachers engaged in technology shop classes. One shot zeroed in on my mouth, one jaw cheek bulging with upholstery tacks. I smiled wickedly directly at the camera as my tongue adroitly hoisted a tiny tack up to a classic tack hammer, which magnetically grabbed it. That summer, several female content area colleagues and I had fashioned mushroom stools, simple hassocks that required our using a band saw and a foam cutter. And I’d felt relaxed with those big power tools! Granted, they did not require the finesse necessary for wiring a light. The previous summer, I had noted fragile beauty as I threaded the black, white, and green wires, while creating a mushroom stool had seemed easy – until I began the project. At the end-of-year Vo-Tech brunch, I considered an interesting fact. Until a few years earlier, I had never owned any hand tools, other than writing utensils. Visiting my parents one late fall weekend, I complained about my cold classroom. The temperature, I assured my parents, remained under 65 degrees every day, all day. Despite wearing sweaters and sweatshirts, my students and I had begun turning numerous shades of blue and purple. My mother asked if I could regulate the heating and air conditioning, modern conveniences we school inhabitants had yearned for over the twenty years I had taught in the high school. “No! Isn’t it stupid? I mean, they want to save money, but they crank the thermostat down SO low we’re all human popsicles!” My parents chuckled. My father, suddenly embarking on an unknown mission, stepped out of the room, wandered downstairs and crept out the back door. “What’s he up to?” My mother, prepared to serve dinner shortly, suggested I “wash up while he’s puttering.” “Sure.” I disappeared. When I emerged into the living room, my father had returned. “Here, use this to turn up the temperature.” He handed me a mini screwdriver. “What is it?” I imagined electrocution as I inserted metal into a wall niche back in my classroom.
He scowled, raising one eyebrow. “It’s a screwdriver. Stick it into the control panel, and you can turn down the air. Let me know if it does the trick.” “Ha!” I felt important. “This is the first tool you ever gave me….” “Is it? Well … I figured your husband had tools.” Now it was my time to scowl. I raised an eyebrow back at him. A few years later, my father handed me a tack hammer one day. “Can you use this? I was sorting through some extra tools – I have too much junk.” I laughed. “Wow – my first hammer! It’s tiny!” Usually he handed me books he’d discovered at used bookstores. He explained the tack hammer versus the claw hammer; then, we discussed the virtues of the ball-peen hammer – a real thrill. My ex-husband and I, sometime later, exchanged our final Christmas gifts, following a cordial dinner and income tax meeting at our former house. I had brought him a big bag of Kona coffee, reminiscent of a Hawaiian vacation during the waning days of our mutual affection. Next, I unwrapped his gift: a pink plastic case filled with pink-handled tools. Functionally full-sized, they impressed me: a flat head screw driver, a Phillips screw driver, a wrench, standard and needle–nose pliers. I almost cried. Now, many years later married to the wonderful man who taught me how to shoot a Paslode cordless nailer, I still have – and we both use – my girly pink hand tools. My mini screwdriver from my father currently rests inside my center desk drawer beside a sixteen-penny nail, nestled among purple and black pens, highlighters, erasers. And my trusty tack hammer performs utility missions. It occurs to me that my father really has given me many tools, in the broader sense, in particular an appreciation for reading great literature. He has also instilled in me a penchant for writing. My father is the best writer I know personally. Through my adolescence, despite occasional oppositional energy between us, he encouraged me to apply myself while composing, and never to settle for less than my best effort, ever. Now I pursue my greatest passion, spurred by voracious reading, collecting an arsenal of books, and amassing countless writing tools. I enjoy testing both pens and pencils to build sentences, remodel paragraphs, trim copious phrasing, and upgrade
mechanics. I often draft rough copies and notes by hand inside my leather writing journal. With my laptop word processor and my graphite handwritten editing notes, I labor to produce quality work and meet deadlines, just like my husband, a general contractor, and just like my father, who built me a beautiful oak classroom lectern that recently retired along with me from a thirty-five year teaching career.
“By the work one knows the workman.” Jean de La Fontaine’s words inspired my Vo-Tech English students in a “Work” unit I taught for a number of years in the course Contemporary Themes in English. They demonstrated their understanding of Fontaine’s observation to me during class discussions, and when they hosted my colleagues and me at their Vo-Tech school. And my father, who gave me the tools to love literacy, recently observed while visiting my attic, “You have surpassed even me. Kathleen, you have too many books!” I admonished him that he is responsible for my notorious obsession. “You gave me the genetic tools!” And we grinned the same grin. A screwdriver, a hammer, and a pen: all the tools I need.
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 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
An Open Letter to the Pope and Ponyboy By Rachel E. Nichols
Not too long ago, I participated in many of my usual year-end rituals. Perhaps most familiar to teachers everywhere, I cleaned out my school office (and straightened up my house); I got a pedicure, a haircut, and a facial; and, I stayed up reading for most of the night all week long. Come mid-June, it doesn’t matter how tired I am in the morning—I have 8 weeks to catch up on sleep, but I cannot start the summer with any physical or mental clutter. As the hours of spring were dwindling, I also realized that, in addition to those self-centered to-dos, I feel compelled to share words of gratitude, and I do that by writing letters. At the close of this school year, I wrote to a dear friend and treasured colleague, thanking her for understanding me, and for getting me through, every single day. I wrote to my Principal, expressing gratitude for his faith in me. I wrote to a student, sharing how enthusiastically the faculty responded to a video that he had helped me edit. And, I sent a note to another teacher, praising her not only for her skillful artistry but also for knowing—and loving—the sensitive perfectionist who is my son. In this era of quick digital communication, I do not shy away from a thank you text or an appreciative email, but for the messages that matter, I still use pen and paper, as I have for over 40 years. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In early October, 1979, Pope John Paul II came to visit Philadelphia. My father was determined that his family would get a chance to see him, no matter what it would
take. So we staked our camp on the corner of Cardinal and City Line Avenues at 5:00 AM and we stayed there all day long. I don’t recall everything that went on between the four Nichols siblings, ages ranging from almost 11 years to 18 months, but I do recall a lot of whining, some hair-pulling, a little Mattel Electronics football, and one delicious, saucy Hero, Jr., that I bought all by my nine-year-old self when my Dad sent me and my brother a few blocks away to Geno’s while he held our spot. Back on the corner, I was bouncing my baby sister on the barricade, her white curls flinging up and down, when everyone suddenly crushed forward. A reverent silence engulfed us all. I lifted Emily up and held her out over the bar so she could get a glimpse. The police officer who had been standing in front of us moved over and our view was clear. Apparently, so was his. In his open vehicle, the Pope gestured with his hands folded in prayer and then he reached toward us. With his left hand nearly touching Emily’s head, he used his right hand to bless us with the Sign of the Cross before opening his eyes and smiling right at my dad. Not one for crowds, my mother had sent a rosary from Fatima in her stead, so all six of us were blessed by the Holy Father. About one-and-a-half years later, Pope John Paul II was shot while moving through a crowd in an open car in St. Peter’s Square, much like he had done that day in Philadelphia. At age 11, I had the good fortune of not yet experiencing death in my family,
so when I heard this news, it was the first time I felt the suffocation that is grappling with the mortality of a loved one. Bereft, I kicked out both of my sisters, isolated myself in my room, and sobbed on my bed until I succumbed to sleep. I don’t recall whether I prayed or not, but the Catholic school girl in me says that I must have. When I woke up, I somehow knew how to cope with my grief: I wrote him a letter. The first draft of this missive, its rough copy written in precision penmanship on loose-leaf, reveals that I began with a profound opening line: “Dear Pope John Paul II, I am sorry that you were shot.” It went on to thank the pope for visiting us, for blessing us, and for being a leader of the Church. My dad and I, and probably my siblings, walked the letter to the Villanova Post Office where I bought an international stamp. Then we got peppermint stick ice cream at Howard Johnson’s and we walked home. By seventh grade, I was completely in love with words, so most waking hours were filled with reading and writing. And being that I was eleven, I was also inclined to fall in love with boys—but only imaginary ones, the boys I met in books. And that’s what happened when I met Ponyboy. A sensitive boy who reads poetry, is loyal to his friends, stands up for justice, copes with loss, and then writes about it—could there really be people like this in the world? Between S. E. Hinton’s characterization and my imagination, I was already hopelessly enamored, but it only got worse when, two years later, the movie came out. C. Thomas Howell—even the actor’s name was mysterious! Believe it or not, the Ponyboy of the movie might have been even dreamier than the Ponyboy of the book. If you haven’t seen the 1983 Francis Ford Coppola movie—or if you haven’t seen it in years—go watch it. You will be in awe of the physical and
cinematic beauty that is The Outsiders on film—and you will stop judging my thirteenyear-old self for being superficial. So, as you might guess, I dealt with this confusing experience of unbridled emotion in my usual way: I wrote Ponyboy a letter. I worked on it all night long. Then, since he was a boy, I showed it to Jeff to see how it might go over. That was a mistake. (Never ask your brother if a love letter is any good; it’s just not worth it.) Anyway, since Jeff laughed at it, I thought it must be pretty good because he didn’t get me at all, nor did he know anything about love. The only boy who mattered was Ponyboy, and I knew that he would understand. True-to-form, this letter also began with a statement that belongs in a collection of the Greatest First Epistolary Lines Ever: “Dear C. Thomas Howell (aka Ponyboy), You must have read The Outsiders, because you are a really great Ponyboy.” I felt immensely grateful that the actor had not only preserved the essence of my imagination, but that he had—somehow—deepened it by oozing emotion from a face that was as beautiful as the persona it stood for. We were united by the poetry of Ponyboy. In both cases, I had not expected a response; the very act of writing the letters had served their intended purpose of connection. Nonetheless, I was elated when, months later, each recipient wrote back. One letter was typed on stationery embossed
with the Vatican seal and the other was handwritten on a post card (which was enclosed with a signed 8x10 glossy black and white headshot). This is why I write letters during the last week of school, and whenever else I feel compelled to do so: people deserve to know how grateful we are for how they affect our lives, and my words are truest when they are on paper. The connections that I felt with the leader and the character/actor during my adolescence were one-sided, but the effects of that letter writing are embedded in my soul. The Robert Frost poem that figures so prominently in The Outsiders is a meditation on how an Edenic ideal must give way to earthly beauty, and, ultimately, to death—what some call a “moment of transitory perfection.” Through corresponding with Pope John Paul II, my faith in God was manifest, and by communicating with Ponyboy Curtis, my faith in humanity was reflected. And, so, it is through my letters that I strive to honor those transitory moments that come closest to perfection, because some things gold can stay, if only they are written down. Rachel E. Nichols, a 2013 PAWLP Fellow, is a teacher in the Lower Merion School District. A secondary teacher of English and gifted support for over 20 years,Rachel is proud to live and work in her community. She studied Art History and Women’s Studies literature as an undergraduate at Duke; obtained a Masters degree in English Education from Villanova University; and earned an Ed.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy at Penn GSE. Rachel enjoys conducting classroom research about adolescent writers and identities and traveling to see Pearl Jam. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cent’anni, to a Family Gypsy By Brian Kelley
Drawn to a line about memories and photography in the short story Clean Sweep by Joan Bauer, I am reminded that I often reflect in silence over photographs of my ancestors. In the story, the narrator, Katie, says, “you can hold a photo of a person you loved, but it isn’t alive.” In isolation, the line is sobering and cold; however, it does not change how I feel about my family photographs. It only makes me cherish them even more. In them, I see my grandparents and their tired postures but content and happy eyes. They pose side by side, forcing themselves to stand without ache or fatigue, but it is there. Yet, joy radiates from these Italian farm people turned into new American city people. Having food and opportunity had that effect. True, photographs are not alive, but that does not diminish their power to remind me, to make me painfully aware, of my life, how I continue to live it, and the people I come from. When I look at a previously unknown (to me) photograph of my young aunt, Conchetta Quattrone, in a modest white traj de flamenca, I see a part of her I never knew. Sitting on a wrought-iron railing, her gypsy’s posture and wickedly fun smile compliments the hint of bare leg exposed beneath the ruffled dress hem. A single image—a thousand unuttered words—gives me pause, and makes me miss her. Like a mosaic, we are all made up of many pieces. The best any of us knows of another are only fragmented, single pieces. It is
what makes long-lasting and committed couples so special—they grow to see the myriad of colors and shapes take form—they see the entire portrait of pieces the man or the woman in their life. Of my aunt, I knew the fragments of her only from when I was born (1968) until she passed (2005). Looking back, her portrait is one of great contrasts. She helped raise me. Lunch waited for me as I walked to her house everyday from elementary school—we did not stay at school for lunch. Often, she toasted tomato sandwiches with a little vinegar and oil soaking through the hard, crusty bread. When I returned home for the day, later in the afternoon, she sat on a folding chair on the front stoop and watched for me in the distance through the traffic, brick, and asphalt of city streets. I knew the sad parts of her, living alone in a row house that once bustled and burst with the noises of five brothers and sisters along with the aromas of herby, Italian cooking—I remember seeing her white hair as she sat alone at the front window as I shot bottle caps or swung a broomstick at a rubber ball with friends. In her 60s, she passed the hours completing crosswords or watching the passersby until family returned to the house. Now, I see her as the young woman on the railing who simply grew old passing the hours between meals when she would rejoin her brothers, nieces, and nephews around a table of good food. I knew the active and selfless part of her that volunteered for politicians she believed in, and good causes that moved her. She wanted me to find a record of Happy Days are Here Again so she could play it again and again and again when a fellow Italian, Frank Rizzo, was re-elected for a second term as mayor. Oh, would she have loved to share a braciole with him! I knew that part of her that argued with her brothers, and that same part sometimes grew sour at me and my mother. I knew the piece that protected our loving cousin, Josaphine, her neighbor, dearest friend, and closest loved one. They ate at least one meal together every day for more than fifty years.
I knew the part of her that aged and that loved the color red and always embraced her loyalty to the United States Navy and the United States Marines where she made a career, friendships, and a brief marriage. I knew her when she spoke her mind or sometimes spoke without any mind at all—her bawdy outbursts making a room of family simultaneously blush and burst with tears. I knew that part of her because it was so bright, and red, and gleamed with her name and face. That part of her is forever washed onto others—that part of her still makes family remember her with wry smiles. We remember her for being able to make us exasperated and amused—and that made us feel very alive in our skin. She was honest as daggers and as loyal as a book. And I knew the part of her who spoke hard and pointed words aimed right between the eyes, and her stubborn, tough Italian shell, impossible to penetrate--but the complimentary side of her was there too. I love having lived to see the fragment of her that I saw smile, genuinely happy to see family, often around a meal around two tables pushed together around neighbors popping in and being invited to sit and join us around her yelling over the cinder block walls of her yard, to her neighbors, and passing plates of pasta and meat, sharing what she had made and served to a house full again—she loved that—around and around and around—food and family, family and love, and the power of sharing what you had and passing it on to everyone and anyone, around and around and around. So, I am not quick to dismiss a photograph—any one photograph could be a fragment of her that I did not know, a fragment I can polish and set into place in my life with the other colored stones of my memories. Otto Frank once said of Anne, “I only came to know my daughter through her diary.” Similarly, a photograph is a diary entry—a thousand unspoken words. In this case, those words are captured above in soft grey, satiny white, and a smile. We are more than the sum of the memories of others—we are the shattered fragments spread throughout all of our relationships—no one person can sweep together all of our shards and dust of life into one complete portrait. Yet, this photograph of my aunt is an artifact I am proud to hold and read and wonder and love.
Translated, Cent’anni means a hundred years—often used as a toast, loved ones say it as a wish that they may share another 100 years together. With writing, I toast the memories that my family shares of our aunt, and I toast the fragments of her still alive within us as we walk our own paths across the countryside and around the world. With eyes wide open, I understand that I too am a varied and complex collection of fragments—some in the form of words as I continue to grow as a writer. And, like the joy in my aunt’s face, I spread my written fragments willingly and freely without regret or fear. Cent’anni, Conchetta—Cent’anni.
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
His Master's Voice by Diane Dougherty "A puppy! For me? Thank you, Uncle Guilio." It was my sixth birthday, and my Uncle Guilio surprised me with a tiny black, brown, and white warm bundle of fur. My own puppy. Just for me. When you are the youngest of ten children, you become accustomed to hand-me-downs. But this puppy that I named Sparky was mine and mine alone. I adored that dog. I took responsibility for feeding him, training him (though truth be told my mother really made the difference there), and loving him. I tried wheeling him around in my doll carriage, but that was one thing Sparky refused to do. Still, I enjoyed his company, and I even taught him to sit on the porch with me. The fact that he was attached to a leash tied to a porch post had nothing to do with it! Sparky and I were inseparable that entire summer. He followed at my heels as I waded in the creek. He chased after balls as my friends and I played in the field. He sat under the table at my feet at meal time hoping for a morsel from my plate. I loved to show him off around the neighborhood. Sparky was as friendly as he was handsome. On a cloudy September morning, I left home for the first day of school. When Sparky tried to follow me, I chased him home. "No, you stay here!" I wagged my finger at him. He whined and kept following until I picked him up, carried him into the house, and shut the door behind me. I trudged to school without my faithful companion. In those days we all returned home for lunch. When I slammed open the screen door, I called for Sparky. No answering bark welcomed me. "Where's my dog, Ma?" I could see that my mother was busy getting lunch on the table and didn't want to be
bothered. When she didn't answer me, I ran out back and searched. No Sparky. I was becoming frantic when I spied my dad's milk truck turning the corner. He was home for lunch, and there perched on the step by the open door was Sparky. "Daddy, where did you find him?" "He's been with me since I stopped by the house this morning after you kids left for school. He likes riding in the truck." My dad smiled. "Come here, Sparky," I called. He jumped off the truck and ran towards me. I bent down to pet him, but the minute my father approached us, Sparky left me and trotted beside my dad looking up at him with eyes that can only be described as filled with pure devotion. How could it be that in one morning my dog could so completely switch allegiances? I tried mightily to win Sparky back to me. Even though he still sat by my feet at the table, and followed me up to bed at night, when my father left in the morning to deliver milk, Sparky joined him. When my father drove out to the farm for milking, Sparky went with him. And whenever we were all together, Sparky's preference for my father was apparent. Sparky lived for sixteen years. I was a senior in college when my dad called to give me the bad news. Though I had lost Sparky already all those years ago, the break in my father's voice as he told me about their last trip to the vet, made me realize that Sparky had chosen his master well. Diane Esolen Dougherty is a retired teacher from the Coatesville Area School District where she also served as department chair in English. She is a teacher consultant for PAWLP and lives in Downingtown with her husband Joe. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflections from the Dock
History Comes Alive By William Bell
As a teacher, I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t recall much from my first few years of school. All I have are fuzzy memories of creaky desks, penmanship lessons and Sisters in tall habits.
Yet one day in my first few months of Kindergarten stands out starkly in my mind. The teachers woke us from our nap that Friday, (yes, nap time was a standard part of our day), assembled all the students, and dismissed us earlier than usual. They didn’t say anything to us, but outside, anxious mothers and older siblings grabbed little hands tighter than usual. I was delivered home just a few blocks away. When I walked in, I saw my mother and a neighbor sitting side by side on the sofa, sobbing. In the corner, our small black and white television showed muted, flickering images. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “They killed the President,” my mother replied haltingly. This remains the earliest memory that I can identify, and I can see it clearly 50 years later. I have often struggled to get my students to appreciate the dynamic flow of history. The entire concept of history itself is tricky for teenagers. Their sense of time is compressed; anyone older than them is “old” and anyone older than their parents is “ancient”. To them, the Internet is the most significant historical development of the last 500 years (maybe it is), and LeBron James is the greatest athlete who has ever worn
shoes (maybe he is). When I have assigned research projects about great 20th century Americans, they pick Tiger Woods or Madonna. Their idea of a historical mystery is not who killed JFK, but who killed Tupac. Students can understand the importance of history. It is what makes up their memories. We all own a personal history, a Teacher’s Perspective
family history, a world
history. This is what creates the reference points in our lives. History is nothing more than the imperfect recollections of our shared experience. As Voltaire said: “History is fables agreed upon.” We breathe history, we don’t just study it. It happens all around us every day. It is intricate, subtle and inevitable. And it stays with us forever. We live in a time of fast changing and tempestuous events. History is the ongoing struggles of individual people and mighty nations. The Presidential elections of today, and the natural disasters of last week will fill chapters in tomorrow’s books. What I seek to do is to bring to my classroom a small understanding of history as humankind’s ongoing shared experience. It tells of successes, wonders and failures. We retell it for comfort, like an old but treasured family story. That family is us. It is that kind of history that makes up my first memory. Many years later, I can close my eyes and still see it.
I can also still see the morning one of my students (who later served a tour of duty in Afghanistan), rushed into my room to tell me that planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. We shared that experience that awful day: class memory, national memory, world memory. History suddenly jumped off the page and slapped us all in the face. I went home that September afternoon frightened, angry and confused. Once again, horrendous images emanated from a television in a corner. I sought out and hugged my 3Â˝ year old son a little tighter than usual, fearing that perhaps his earliest memory had been formed that day. 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 Platoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Locker (http://platoslocker.wordpress.com/). He lives with his wife and sons in Delaware County.
Colorado Flower Garden
One of Her Own By Deanna Brown What a woman will do for a baby of her own is virtually boundless. Expecting mothers willingly forgo their figures and celebrate accumulating baby pounds, boldly ride a hormone induced rollercoaster where they often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t recognize, nor even like, themselves, and bravely quell the fear that their bodies have been hijacked, at least for ten months, by a complex pool of dividing cells that hopefully will grow into an image similar to their own. These women are acutely aware that everything they do, eat and breathe during the critical ten months (because a pregnancy is really ten months long, not nine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; trust me, do the math!) of development has a direct impact on the growing body within their own bodies. This responsibility is filled equally with awesomeness as it is with anxiety. To have a little someone so fully dependent on your every move, your every choice, brings out the warrior in a woman unlike anything else. Suddenly, women will brave a cold without medicine, deny themselves the sweets they usually find comfort in, flaunt their natural hair color, even the early grays, and stop insisting that taking the stairs instead of the evaluator constitutes as exercise. Morning sickness (another erroneous fact about pregnancy since the nausea can strike at any time in the day), random aches and pains due to stretching ligaments and a growing uterus, stretch marks, breathlessness, hemorrhoids, varicose veins and the notorious labor and delivery that has become every motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frontline war story are just some of the sufferings an expecting mother will surely endure for her child.
And yet, none of these travails have stopped women from wanting or desiring to bear their own child. Funny how most of us ladies run from a spider or refuse to plunge the toilet we just clogged, but we are more than willing to round off ten months of severe discomfort with hours to days of excruciating pain for the precious sound of that baby’s cry. Like I said, a child of our own brings out the warrior in us. It’s part of our feminine makeup. It’s stored within our heart and soul. And that is why it is so emotionally painful for women, like myself, who long for a child of their own, but are unable to conceive naturally. Infertility seems to have become a bit of an epidemic in recent years, yet we know it has been recorded as far back as Biblical times. I remember reading about these barren women when I was still too young to have my own desires burning in me. Women like Sarah, who longed for a child with her husband, Abraham. She prayed for her womb to open, but the years withered by and when she turned 75 years old, she finally gave up hope of ever conceiving. Distraught over her loss, she encouraged her husband to go to their servant, Hagar, so that he might still have children, even if it wasn’t by her. I knew too of Rachel who was deeply and passionately loved by her husband, Jacob, but watched fruitlessly as his other wife gave him son after son after son. The only thing that seemed to make the story more unfair was that the other wife was Rachel’s sister. I knew the stories by heart, but not until I was confronted with my own barrenness did I search for these women in my reading so that I could ache alongside them. With the emptiness of my own womb overwhelming me, I too cried out with Sarah
in jealousy when she watched Abraham rejoice over the son the servant bore him. My heart broke with Rachel as though I was the one who watched my husband receive babies from a woman he did not love, but who also was not defective. These women were no longer fleeting characters in a Bible story. These women were me, and their stories were parallels of my own pain, my own struggle, my own selfblame. Kindred by our desire to be mothers, I followed Sarah and Rachel’s example of prayer, but I also had something extra they didn’t have. I had modern science on my side to help me take an aggressive approach to conceive. I went through IVF. Let me pause for a moment to clarify this choice. In no way was my decision to go through IVF indicative of a lack of faith in God’s power or timing. I had spent the entire IVF process praying for the Lord’s will to be done as He would have it because I was and am a firm believer that IVF without God’s blessing would be futile. As it would turn out, God used the IVF process to strengthen me in ways I could not foresee at the time. I am also a firm believer that God has given us the Earth to explore and advance from it. In fact, I think God is the most advanced and ingenious scientist of us all. Our modern science is merely a speck of His omnipotence, but even a fragment of God is infinitely more powerful than we can comprehend. The advancements in IVF have made it much easier, though still not easy, for today’s infertile couples to have children. When I say easier, I mean that the national average of IVF cycles that result in a pregnancy is 46 percent. This means out of 100 cycles, 54 of those women still are unable to conceive, at least right away. And of that 46 percent who did conceive on the
first try, only 40 percent of them will actually have a live birth. Still, without IVF, the chances of a pregnancy for these couples are much, much slimmer. The difficulty with IVF isn’t just about the percentages, either; it’s about the process in preparing for an actual cycle. Having done one Clomid and two IVF cycles in attempt to conceive, ten months of my life were completely monopolized by roughly 100 doctor’s appointments, 167 hours of travel time to and from the office, over 100 blood withdrawals, on and off bed rest, a long series of tests and screens for abnormalities, and a continual reliance on 9 different hormones that were either injected, inserted, rubbed, or swallowed. Needless to say, to commit to this process I had to leave my teaching career and my classroom behind. Both my arms are scarred from the blood withdrawals, which at different stages during the process were as frequent as four times a week. I have, however, since gotten over my aversion to needles and my husband became such a pro at giving injections that I would place my money on him in a game of darts any day of the week! And romance? Forget romance! All the playful jokes people make about the fun in trying and practice makes perfect became almost asinine to me. Through a great deal of the process, my husband and I were actually prohibited from making love; it was almost laughable that sex became counterproductive at making a baby. The Clomid cycle wreaked the most havoc with my hormones and I did not conceive. With the first IVF insemination, I had a chemical pregnancy with twins. I lost them in week five. It broke our hearts to be so close.
And trust me, the irony that this whole process of IVF took the same length of time it would have taken to complete an entire pregnancy and have that baby cuddled in my arms does not slip my mind. But what can one do with such irony, but to tip her hat and say, “Touché.” Going through IVF was a personal choice for my husband and me, and one I prayed on deeply. I can’t say that I was ever emotionally ready for the process, even when I was in it. Every possible test for future concerns, chromosome abnormalities and genetic disorders was administered because we were classified as high risk. We found out an intense amount of information about what was wrong with us or what could be wrong with us that with each passing test, the odds of us ever conceiving seemed to stack against themselves. It got to the point that I began to marvel how anyone can do this, as in get pregnant, naturally. Like these women on TV who have eight kids and counting. You’ve got to be kidding me - I just wanted one! The wait for these tests was tedious beyond words because everything going forward was depending on the results. And it never seemed to fail that when I was in one of these precarious states, waiting for yet another test result to come back and tell me one more obstacle that would stand in my way of having a baby, that I would be confronted with the unfairness that the desire for a child does not equal the ability to conceive one. For instance, my neighbor, who my husband and I swear keeps a pointy hat and broomstick stuck away in her closet (and I don’t mean for Halloween), coolly told me in passing that she was pregnant only a few months after I had confided in her about how
much I couldn’t wait to start a family and she had retorted with how much she could wait. Or I’d be confronted with advertisements for ludicrous shows on TV that glorified casual pregnancies and exploited the innocence of children like Teen Mom, Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers and Tiaras and Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I remember crying after catching a glimpse of a show where a boisterous woman getting her nails done complained to the nail dresser that she wasn’t sure if she loved the guy and if she wasn’t so drunk that night she would have insisted on a condom, but here she is pregnant and she doesn’t know what to do. Her nail dresser nodded in acknowledgement and consoled her client by reminding her that abortion is still legal. Even out in public, I became unbearably aware of the abundance of mothers who took for granted what they had in their little ones. What should have been benign places, like the mall food court where I watched a mother berate her toddler for spilling fries on the table to the point that the little girl became hysterical, were now mine fields full of reminders that others had, and many took for granted, what I most desired. It didn’t make sense. Here I was, a willing lab rat with an aching heart for a child of my own, and I was surrounded by women who obviously didn’t want what they had nor appreciate their own pregnancies or little ones. Maybe because I was so raw from my own longing, but all of a sudden the world seemed abundantly populated with ungrateful mothers. I burned inside trying to figure out how women like these was deserving of something so precious, but I wasn’t. Anger and jealousy stirred in my heart and no matter how much time I spent turning these questions over in my head to make sense of them, I couldn’t find where any of this was fair. My mind became obsessed with
figuring out the reasoning behind God’s choices as I dwelled on my own inadequacies. I was much like a dog chasing her tail. This got me nowhere, fast. Who was I to ever question God and His reasons, especially when He had always delivered me? So many times before, I had not understood the means by which I traveled until I reached the end and then I saw how brilliant God had orchestrated the events in my life to draw me closer to Him and to break me open into a better version of myself. Despite knowing full well that He provides exceedingly, abundantly above anything I could hope into existence, I allowed my self-pity and indignation to divide me from Him. It became clear to me that if I was to survive this process without a bitter heart, the focus had to come off me and be placed back on Him. Like Abraham who unquestionably was willing to sacrifice his son, Moses who unquestionably knew God would help him lead the Israelites, and Job who was asked to unquestionably trust there was a reason for his suffering, I needed to reaffirm my trust in God’s will to provide and stop trying to control with my questions what was not mine to control. So as I went through the second IVF cycle, I cleared my head and reverted back to my examples of longsuffering men and women in the Bible. I kept faithful in my prayers. I prayed boldly at His feet. I waited in stillness. I trusted with abandon. And just as Sarah and Rachel were evidently blessed with sons, here I am, five months and three days pregnant with my own son and you truly couldn’t pay me enough to go back and do any of this any other way – not even naturally. Nothing I
endured, nothing I gave up, even teaching, could replace the feeling of knowing my son is doing belly flops inside me right this instant. In looking back, I see there were many blessings to IVF that have become sacred to our son’s story. For instance, how many parents actually get to see their child as an embryo on a big television screen and watch as it’s implanted? My husband and I not only know the exact day of conception, we know the exact hour. We spent that hour after implantation fully immersed in each minute, praying and holding each other in the stillness of a quiet procedure room, surrounded by white walls, bright lights and instrumentation. No, it wasn’t romantic like I had always imagined conceiving my child would be, but it was based around something far deeper and better than romance. It was based around raw faith. Never will I forget how my husband held me as I laid by the table, our hands clasped in one another’s as we cried in laughter because we both knew within the deepest sinew of our bodies that God’s presence was with us. We knew then, without waiting six weeks for a pregnancy test, that He had blessed our efforts. Through IVF, we were privileged to be able to watch our little embryo from the very start and now, at a little over five months, we have had nine ultrasounds and enough pictures that I was able to start filling up his first baby book. We have heard his heartbeat on eleven different occasions and were able to find out his gender at only 14 weeks. We have a personal relationship with the doctors and staff; they became a second family to us. This process has given us no shortage of testimonies to share with others, and one day our son, too, about how God is not limited to the box we often put Him in. For instance, when my husband and I first decided to go through IVF, one of our biggest
concerns was how our child would be selected. It distressed us to think of a doctor or a lab technician assessing our little embryos to see which one qualified to be our child, and which ones didn’t. After retrieving my eggs, we found that I had more eggs then usually expected from the stimulation cycle and our choice seemed even more impossible. How could we pick one child and discard the rest? But with all that worrying about choosing the right embryo, it would turn out that God was going to do the choosing for us. Only one embryo remained of the twenty we began with and that one embryo was our only hope of getting pregnant before we would have to do it all over again. Within three days, we went from too many choices to only one choice. The doctors were nervous that we had lost 19 eggs; there were no backups. But God only gives the best and that one embryo was all we needed. I had wanted our baby to be God’s choice; He not only narrowed down our choice, He unequivocally selected this child for us. Yes, I am pretty certain our boy has already cost us enough money that we could have paid our mortgage bill in advance for two years and taken a great vacation to boot, but never would I take any of this back. I willingly put myself through this once and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Why? Because this child is my heart’s desire. And because this process, as extreme as it seemed at times and as frustrating as it was that I couldn’t do naturally what some other women do on accident, has been an act of service to God and has been a milestone in my relationship and faith in Him. I have learned the power of prayer and the
quietness of patience and the depths of trust. I have learned to be still and to wait on the Lord. I have learned to put Him first. I know my husband and I are closer than ever, I am more resolute in my faith than ever, and my heart is more joyous than ever. And I know, without a moment of doubt, this little boy I so look forward to meeting in five months is a blessing and a gift straight from the Lord.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!â&#x20AC;? Psalm 113:9 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. email@example.com
Mystery of the Deep
Starbucks Spoken Here By Bobbie Wade “I’d fancy a cuppa meself, Guv.” With that a crusty character in a British novel slakes his thirst. There would be no question of what it’s a cup of; it’s tea of course, the national beverage. The British are generally considered the arbiters of taste and decorum where tea is concerned. Rightly so, the language of tea is part of the fabric of British life, not just part of their lexicon. We Americans have our own equivalent of this od-world ritual. We order coffee. Ordering coffee in America is as fraught with complexity and nuance as requesting tea in Britain. In fact, mastering the challenge of ordering coffee in this country is a good deal like becoming fluent in any language. Let’s look at that most American of institutions – Starbucks. Let us speak of speaking Starbucks. Like a Brit who discriminates between Llapsang-Souchong, Earl Grey, Darjeeling or Orange Pekoe, the Starbucks patron scans an array of choices including but not limited to Cinnamon Dolce Latte, Iced Hazelnut Macchiato, White Chocolate Mocha and Skinny Vanilla Latte. The less adventuresome patron will stick to the same order every time he enters a Starbucks, thus avoiding the hazard of ordering incorrectly and drawing scorn Barista Invitation
from a harried barista. But the coffee
explorer, the plucky tourist in this landscape rich with hot and cold running caffeine, will need to learn the language.
Here are the secrets of speaking Starbucks. The process is just like learning any other language. First there’s essential vocabulary. If you were planning to travel to a country where Spanish is spoken, one of the first words you’d learn is baño, Spanish for “bathroom.” You can see the utility of learning baño. Oddly, if you travel in Great Britain, ostensibly an English-speaking country, you need to remember that loo is British-English for the “bathroom.” In the land of Starbucks, some essential vocabulary has to do with the size of the cup of coffee you wish to order. The Starbucks word for small is tall. The Starbucks word for medium is grande. The Starbucks word for large is venti. So now you’ve learned some important vocabulary. Tall means small, grande means medium and venti means large.
Next, we need to think about syntax. When you speak Starbucks the words that make up your order must be spoken in a certain order. Just as you would not say “the bathroom where is?” you must be careful not to say you’d like a macchiato hazelnut
venti iced. If you think about the transaction from the barista’s point of view, you will understand the importance of wording your order in order. And really, thinking about a transaction from the other person’s point of view is good practice for life in general, isn’t it? First, the barista needs to know what kind of cup to pick up. So, if you’re going to have a cold drink say that right up front – ICED blah blah blah – so that the barista knows to pick up a plastic cup. Next, the barista needs to know what size cup to pick up, so you say the Starbucks word for the size drink that you want. So if you want a large iced drink you start out by saying iced venti. Now the barista knows which cup to pick up and he or she can begin to think about what to put in it. If you’re like me and a venti cup of Starbucks regular coffee will have you doing a good imitation of Saint Vitus’ dance for the next three hours, then it’s crucial that you say “DECAFFEINATED” next. So far we have a tall, cold decaffeinated drink: ICED – VENTI – DECAF… (It’s permissible to abbreviate decaffeinated in spoken Starbucks). The next thing the barista needs to know is how many shots or which syrup will make the exact fancy drink that you have in mind. This is where you say flavors like cinnamon dolce or caramel. And you can add refinements, like “TRIPLE SHOT” if you’re looking for a ten-on-the-Richter-Scale jolt. This is also a time to customize your drink by adding some descriptors like “extra foam.” The name of the drink comes last: latte, espresso, macchiato, mocha, cappuccino or americano. So, if you’d like something big and cold and decaffeinated, perhaps you’d like an iced venti decaf nonfat, no-whip mocha. That happens to be my favorite Starbucks drink. I’ve given considerable thought to whether I ought to be saying “iced venti decaf SKINNY mocha.” Perhaps there’s some social implication attached to saying “non-fat, no-whip” as opposed to slipping in “skinny,” just as there is a social nuance attached to expression in any language. Last summer I heard an Englishwoman announce “I am going down to the sea.” We Philadelphians say “I’m going down a shore.” If you’re walking down Broad Street and you hear someone announce “I’m going down to the sea” you know they’re not from around here. See? Nuance. Learning the nuances of a language requires an immersion in the culture. Learning to speak Starbucks is good practice for learning any language. The process is
the same: learn the vocabulary, mind your syntax, immerse yourself in the culture and pick up the nuances. Before you know it you’ll be ready to take on French or Urdu or maybe Western Punjabi. Start with a venti triple shot skinny latte in your hand and you’ll be chattering away in no time. Bobbie Wade (Writing Fellow, 2010) is in her 22nd year of teaching second grade in the Radnor Township School District. She loves encouraging seven-year-olds to read and write, but is also passionate about teaching math. She has taught math methods courses at Cabrini College and Rosemont College. Bobbie graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia with honors in English Literature. She earned her M.Ed. at Cabrini College. Bobbie’s two grown sons are her greatest source of pride and joy. She lives in Paoli, and if you look up some back issues of Main Line Today, you might find a couple of Bobbie’s essays. B32755@aol.com
Beach Butterfly Convention
Common Core State Standards Reading Unit Plan Nonfiction Texts: Reading to Analyze and Writing to Explore in the Age of Common Core By Adrienne Darreff Reilly
Worn spines embossed with a golden alphabet and hardback book covers proudly waving the flags of countries from around the world are among the common images conjured by the word nonfiction. However, nonfiction extends far beyond the encyclopedias, country books, and other texts students check out when assigned a research report. Nonfiction is a vast genre, presenting information in varied formats. Because of the breadth of nonfiction twenty-first century learners will be faced with throughout their education, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) call upon teachers to increase the quantity of nonfiction students are exposed to in the classroom, especially â&#x20AC;&#x153;considering that as little as 7 percent of current elementary school instructional reading is expositoryâ&#x20AC;? (Evenson, McIver, Ryan, Schwols, & Kendall, 8). However, an increase in the amount of nonfiction students read is not the only task teachers are charged with moving forward. Teachers also need to increase the complexity of texts, the amount of explicit instruction students receive on text structure, and the close reading of informational texts. While these are not novel ideas, consistently addressing each may be a shift in mindset for many. Under the CCSS, nonfiction can no longer be an isolated unit paraded out prior to standardized testing, nor can it be a set of resources students only associate with research reports or end of
unit projects. Our vision of nonfiction and its role in the classroom must be revised in the age of Common Core. In The Core Six: Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core, Harvey Silver, R. Thomas Dewing, and Matthew Perini discuss the absence of a “magic bullet” in education. They caution that even the Reaching
most refined, researched strategies on their own will not increase student engagement or learning (8). The magic bullet metaphor is one I believe can be applied more broadly to the CCSS as well. The standards are not in themselves a solution to education’s shortcomings or a simple to-do list. Successful implementation of the CCSS requires educators to reflect on the practices currently employed and revise them where necessary to better meet the needs of our students. For me, that begins with modifying the type of nonfiction I expose students to, increasing the amount of nonfiction in my classroom, and adjusting the manner in which I instruct students to read informational texts. These three components are addressed in the unit plan I designed to introduce nonfiction to third grade students. The accompanying reading unit plan, which spans four weeks, seeks to marry the strategies Central Bucks School District mandates third graders be instructed on in the opening month of school, namely metacognition, schema (i.e. making connections), inferring, and determining importance, with the high-
quality nonfiction and the close reading strategies needed to address the CCSS, as well as develop better readers and deeper thinkers. Prior to developing my unit plan, I paged through my lesson plans from last year to reflect on my instruction of the same unit. I realized my strategy instruction relied heavily on fictional texts, in the form of picture books and novels for read-aloud, with the occasional nonfiction article from Scholastic News peppered in throughout. However, unlike the fictional texts I carefully aligned to each strategy, informational texts were haphazardly selected for their length more than their content or structure. I picked articles that allowed students to apply the strategy taught in the time allotted. My use of informational texts was an afterthought. My primary focus was fiction instruction. A shift needed to occur moving forward. Nonfiction needed to come to the forefront in my classroom as I developed instruction aligned with the CCSS. Making nonfiction a dominant feature of reading instruction is one of the ideas addressed by Timothy Shanahan in “The Common Core Ate My Baby and Other Urban Legends” (11). Clearly the new standards involve more than just reading novels, stories, poems, and plays and interpreting literary devices. And well they should. If one of the purposes of reading instruction is to empower students to learn, then even a cursory look at a high school or college curriculum (or the reading demands of a typical workplace) would suggest that literature makes up a small portion of what most people read. By using the phrase “more than,” Shanahan lets us know that literature is not banned under the CCSS. Instead, we must strive to have the amount of time students spend
reading fiction versus nonfiction better mirror the real world. At the third grade level that translates into a reading diet that is 55 percent fiction and 45 percent nonfiction. To meet this goal and increase my third graders’ exposure to nonfiction, within my unit plan I substituted literary nonfiction and informational articles from sources like Scholastic News and National Geographic Explorer for the fiction I previously used for modeling strategies. My selection of informational texts within the unit has become more thoughtful than in previous years as well. Each text selected connects to concepts presented in other subject areas and possesses varied text features for students to begin to utilize as a means of gathering information. I made a conscious decision to stop randomly selecting informational texts on topics on which my students will possess little or no prior knowledge, and thus stop setting them up to struggle. In Close Reading of Informational Texts: Assessment-Driven Instruction in Grades 3-8, Sunday Cummins refers to this as handicapping (11-12). …we are handicapping what the students might be able to do if they were able to access the knowledge being built during content area instruction. If, instead, we use informational texts related to the content-area unit during the literacy block, students will be able to activate knowledge they are currently immersed in developing and using at another point during the day. The literary nonfiction picture books I selected, such as No Buzz to be Found: Insects in Winter by Linda Glaser, and articles, like “Incredible Insect Mouths” align with students’ learning in science about the life cycles of butterflies and insects. Thus, I am
allowing them to expend less energy figuring out what the subject of a text is and focus more on deepening their understanding and analyzing the text structure. The ongoing, explicit instruction of text structures, meaning the organization of information including text features, is To Do
another element within my unit plan that had been lacking. Before the CCSS, as a text feature presented itself in an article or textbook, I would give a brief aside on the purpose, ask a quick follow-up question to check understanding, and move on. My focus again was fiction driven. Instruction on literary elements was more valuable (and engaging) in my opinion than lessons on text structure. However, I now understand that my students need to possess prior knowledge about the organization of nonfiction to tap into each time they encounter an informational text in order improve their comprehension of the material presented (Cummins 12). As a result, within my unit plan I devoted whole lessons to text structure, focusing on the features authors employ to relay information. In the opening week of my unit students will have the opportunity to notice the unique features of nonfiction, such as subheadings, bold text, and diagrams, and discuss their purposes. The above shift in instructional design will frontload my students with the prior knowledge necessary to tackle increasingly more complex informational texts throughout the year.
The final shift in practices reflected in my unit plan is the inclusion of explicit instruction on close reading. Close reading, as advocated by Cummins, refers to the detailed observation of a text at the word, sentence, and paragraph level over the course of multiple reads (8). The idea of reading and rereading a text, combing over the words, was something I recognized as valuable for myself. However, I ignored its value for younger students. I held the belief that in order for students to accurately demonstrate their comprehension, they needed to be confronted with a cold read, t ifhat somehow rereading gave them an unfair advantage. However, quick, cold reads accompanied by a series of comprehension questions or similar tasks do not represent the type of reading students will be required to tackle in college or the workplace. Keeping in mind the end goal of college and life readiness put forth by the CCSS, my unit introduces my students to close reading from the onset. Each week steadily builds on the steps of the close reading process introduced in the week prior. For instance, familiarizing students with the notion of reading for flow is the focus in week one, followed by previewing the text in week two, and explicit instruction on coding the text across all four weeks. With this change, I want my students to understand that rereading and slowing down to think about the authorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s message is not the mark of a struggling reader. It is the mark of a successful reader. As teachers, we all strive to set our students up for success, and the CCSS gives us a framework in which to accomplish that goal. But the framework is not enough. What is needed to accomplish this goal is an open mind and an honest self-evaluation. With regard to the reading standards outlined in the CCSS, I now accept that not all nonfiction is created equal, nor is all reading instruction. Yes, encyclopedias, country,
animal, and planets books will remain a facet of nonfiction students will be exposed to during their academic career. However, the implementation of the CCSS affords us all the opportunity to enhance students’ experience with nonfiction. As I increase students’ exposure to informational texts, as warranted by the CCSS, I want my students’ view of nonfiction to change. I want them to see nonfiction not as a resource to be skimmed through to complete a project, but rather as a vast genre that requires the same attention to detail as reading a Harry Potter novel. By revising my practices to regularly incorporate thoughtfully selected informational texts, increasing my explicit instruction of text structure and features, and applying close reading strategies, my third grade students will begin to build the skills required of them as adult readers. The implementation of the CCSS and the development of my unit plan represent the beginning of an era where fiction and nonfiction are on an equal playing field in my classroom. Bibliography Cummins, Sunday. 2013. Close Reading of Informational Texts: Assessment-Driven Instruction in Grades 3-8. New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Evenson, Amber, Monette McIver. Susan Ryan, Amitra Schwols and John Kendall. 2013. Common Core Standards for Elementary Grades 3-5 Math & English Language Arts: A Quick Start Guide. Denver, CO: Mid-Continent Research for Educational and Learning. Glaser, Linda. No Buzz to Be Found: Insects in the Winter. 2011. Millbrook Press Scholastic News April 2013, Edition 1 Vol. 69 No.7 (accessible online at http://sni.scholastic.com/SN1/04_04_13_SN1/book#/2) Shanahan, Timothy. “The Common Core Ate My Baby and Other Urban Legends.” Educational Leadership. 70.4 (2012/2013): 10-16. Print. Silver, Harvey F., R. Thomas Dewing, and Matthew J. Perini. 2012. The Core Six: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Adrienne Darreff Reilly has been an elementary teacher in Central Bucks School District for seven years, teaching at both the primary and intermediate levels. In addition to her work in the classroom, Adrienne teaches staff development workshops on best practices for small group instruction and literature circles in reading. She has also obtained her reading specialist certification and became a PAWLP fellow in 2012. firstname.lastname@example.org
At The Getty By Don LaBranche
The Baroque brought emotion and drama to the narrativeâ&#x20AC;Ś
I might have been content to remain bituminous, to live quietly as a crushed bio-mass facing away from the up-swell of the rising tidal sea but for this slow tram ride to the high Getty: pillar of light in the daytime and pyrotechnic storm by night where wealth and art recline alike alongside Potipharâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife, long-legged athwart her bed of earth, her heels brushing Santa Catalina, her hungry eyes cast their shadow over Joseph.
KITCHEN STILL LIFE By Don LaBranche
After the pressure cooker blew Her screams brought her boys on the run Brought them to the kitchen Where she leaned into the stove, her mouth wide open
Kitchen Sink Tomatoes
Her head thrown back like a she-wolf Howling in white-knuckled panic, holding tight to the potâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Handle, doing the wrong thing to escape the deluge Of boiling red sauce like arterial blood or a geyser Of volcanic flotsam; after they found her there At the stove, shrill and her right foot stomping Under the back-splatter off the ceiling, an eruption Splashing back to drench red her face and tightly curled hair They took her stiffened arms and pulled her away From the stove and the pot that burst, away from the eruption, Her boys pulled her to the sink, to the cleansing tap water They bent her over into the flow of water and with their hands Her boys washed away what burns and burns.
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 Ripe Tomatoes
March Madness By Kathy Barham I am the naysayer, the narcoleptic in the stands still hung over from springing forward. Immune to the commerce in the trees, outbursts of forsythia, mayhem of blossoms and rush of bumblebees,
I lumber along, recall falling back and its sanction to sleep. I am a she bear, unaware, still dozing, an earthworm, disenfranchised and exposed, recalling the cool subterranean,
the rooty odor of exile. I am Eve, pre-Paradise-until recess is over and droves of seventh graders, oxide-scented, stampede in, boys slap-boxing boys, girls cavorting in short shorts.
Kathy Barham completed the Writing Institute in 2011 and recently retired from teaching English at Conestoga High School in T/E School District. While there she developed a course called The Writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Craft in which students wrote and workshopped creative nonfiction, short stories, and poetry pieces in progress. She currently coaches high school students on their college essays and works on her own poems in progress. She has published poems in American Poetry Review, The Drunken Boat, Spillway, Mad Poets Review, Poetry Ink and other journals. She enjoys having more time to spoil her cats, Kramer, Ringo and Elliott. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Plunge By June Shultz
Long hot walk; flirty talk in late Spring; Sunday date to Slippery Rock Creek. College students taking a dare to swim at the popular drop-in hole; acidic creek moving slow. “Eat your skin away!” my friends say. “Maybe so,” got to impress the new beau. Wearing my favorite two piece suit; Red Cross Instructor Patch for all to see— Covered now with shorts and a tee; Sneakers sticking to asphalt tar.
Chorus of “Hellos” greet as we romance Into the willow shade, Fraying rope holds a swinging swimmer, Vaulted from a bent branch perch; Dropping into the deceptively Innocent-looking green-gray water, Sparkled by a sunny splash.
Check friend out in his boxer trunks; Muscular legs, slightly bowed, Trim waist topped by defined chest, Waterfall
Face with even grin, sensuous lips, Blue eyes crinkled in amusement And that blond straight fringe flopped hair Brushed across his forehead—quite suave.
Rollicking now up to the rope tree stance; Jumping not good enough— he must take a chance, Gripping the twisted strands with practiced hands, Flipping upside down to swing out and daringly dive Headfirst into the murky green; Followed by clapping and chanting—“Do it again!” These first impressions very keen.
Decidedly worth this chance trip; Taking a rousing swimming dip. Many dives and dripping suits later, Both satisfied with the dazzling day. Headed back home with a bouncy step Sun dipping down, Winking its delighted approval On the too short stroll back to campus. Cascade
June Shultz (Writing fellow 2000) directed a preschool—teaching the 4 and 5 year olds, taught HS English, 5th grade, and 8th grade MS Language Arts over a span of 36 years. Writing and reading are her first loves, followed by travel, rails to trails biking, and spending time with her 5 year old grandson. She currently holds multiple positions in the Keystone State Reading Association. She lives with her husband of 46 years in Strasburg, PA. email@example.com
New Mexico Memories by Sandy Connelly Santa Fe is the color of pottery and greets us with its bold blue sky, vast as an ocean, our upside-down welcome mat. In San Miguel Church, I rang the church bell648 years old. Each gong is a boomerang, a legend, a promise that I will return. Back on the road we pass mountains, desert, a cow. The van once squashed with strangers has quickly become merry, filled with hats and chatter and laughter and sometimes even singing: one is silver and the other, gold… We all made new friends. Taos is a sigh of contentment, a town reclined amid mountains, and filled with bright colors and soft-spoken artists; Taos people do not compromise tranquility for convenience. Dusty Taos Pueblo, where traditions and tragedy are unearthed for us. Only five dollars to take pictures of the bell tower and old churchyard— scant remains— ravaged by history. Albuquerque is a shiny city, hard and tall, Much more metropolis than Milagro. New Mexico is both a crossroads and a layering of cultures. Spirituality resides here, but not just through retablos and santos; it’s in a winding staircase, a spoonful of dirt, the smell of bundled sage.
A Summer Wish
This Cruel Summer A Pantoum* for Sandy By Janice Ewing We shade our eyes from the harsh glare longing for the gentle scent of violets
From the harsh glare of a relentless sun the scent of violets holds us still
A relentless sun of this cruel summer holds us still gasping in its grip
This cruel summer we shade our eyes
Sandy Connelly 1973 - 2013
gasping in its grip longing for violets
*A pantoum is a form of poetry, originating in Malayan literature, that includes a specific pattern of repeating lines.
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&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Reading Specialist Certification Program. She is interested in professional growth through collaboration and in helping others to find and sustain their writing identities. firstname.lastname@example.org
Remembering Sandy Connelly 1973 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2013 by Janice Ewing Sandy and I first met in the Teachers as Writers class in 2005. Her love of writing, teaching, and, most of all, her family, was clear to all of us. We reconnected in the fall of 2011, when we had the opportunity to co-facilitate a teacher inquiry class for PAWLP fellows. We found that our interests, personalities, and skills complemented each other well and our collegial partnership grew into friendship. Sandy was diagnosed with cancer during that fall semester. Our conversations, still about writing, teaching, and family, now also included pathology reports, chemo schedules and potential wig colors and styles. Through the difficult months that followed, Sandy was relentless in her pursuit of treatment, and her determination to maintain her family and professional life to the greatest extent possible. Sandy, Mary, and I had started a tradition of meeting for lunch and bringing poems to share. That is how I will remember Sandy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; smiling, caring, filled with poetry.
Photography Credits Window Seat, Teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Perspective, Reading, To Do, Boys, Boy Waiting
Tricia Ebarvia has been teaching English at Conestoga High School in the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District since 2001. Over the years, she has taught world, American, and European literature, as well as AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition. Tricia has taken several PAWLP courses and completed the PAWLP Reading and Literature Institute in 2008 and the Writing Institute in 2011. In addition to her love of reading and writing, Tricia also enjoys taking photographs and looking at the ways in which the visual and written worlds intersect. email@example.com
Pumpkins for Sale, Waiting for a Drink, A Perfect Web, Hide and Seek, Follow the Leader, A Bird in Hand, Mirror, Mirror, Letter, Dearest Mother, Awakening, Irish Summer, Mysteries of the Deep, Cascade, Arizona Summer, Cemetery Gate
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&#x20AC;&#x201C; 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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Poppies Out the Window, Colorado Flower Garden, Barista Invitation, Starbucks Mural, Beach Butterfly Convention, A Summer Wish Kitchen Sink Tomatoes, Reflections from the Dock, Starbucks Mural, Stars and Stripes, Waterfall
Patty has taught elementary school in Ohio and Pennsylvania for 35 plus years. As a PAWLP Fellow, she has facilitated a variety of courses for teachers over the past 20 years. Most recently, Patty has been teaching PAWLP courses for youth and teachers at Longwood Gardens, where she gets to combine her love of teaching and nature. Patty also teaches courses in literature for children and the teaching of reading and writing to undergraduate students at Wilmington University in Delaware. 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