Monday, April 13, 2015

April is National Poetry Month!

I love poetry. Reading it, writing it, sharing it. Poetry is freedom. Painting with words.

Phillip Shabazz came to work with our 4th grade classes this past week on poetry. My favorite things I learned at school last week? Lunes! Mr. Shabazz came to our school to work with our 4th graders all week on  poetry. I had never heard of lunes before, but he taught us.

Lune: three line poem with eleven words.
1st line: 3 words
2nd line: 5 words
3rd line: 3 words
The lune has a title, a color and an action verb.

One of Mr. Shabazz's lunes:
Scrambled eggs, veggie
sausage, biscuits and gravy, sip
orange juice, good.

Another of Mr. Shabazz's lunes: 
Means trying to
bite my green apple with 
a loose tooth.

And yet another:
Red ladybug lands
on my warm pumpkin pie;
she wants dessert.

My lunes: 
Redbud blooms lacy
pink smoke over new green.
Spring floats in.

Sweet, yellow, cool,
exploding juicy in my mouth.
Drips sticky down.

Try it! It's fun!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This was my March

Wow, March was a busy month! All good things and much appreciated things, but busy.

On the 23rd, I received UNC's 2015 Diversity Award in the Communities category for my work in  my school and district getting more diverse books in our library and educating about appropriate American Indian books, as well as my work with the NC State Advisory Council to create new Culturally Responsive Instructional Resource pages online and advocating for reading of diverse books on this blog.

UNC 2015 Diversity Award recipients with university biggies

I got to hug the chancellor and eat fancy-schmancy, delicious finger foods at the reception. The chancellor is in the front row in the pic, wearing the skirt and jacket. I'm in the back row, second from left. I also knocked over my award right in front of the microphone as I gave my thanks, which I'm sure woke up anyone who had drifted off.

On the 27th, I spoke at the 2015 Native Leadership Symposium as the North Carolina Native Leader Spotlight speaker. The symposium is organized by UNC's First Nations Graduate Circle and holy cow, they do an excellent job! The theme this year was Representation and Empowerment in Indian Country. A huge squeeeee from the symposium? I got to meet and talk with Dr. Adrienne Keene of the ultra fabulous Native Appropriatons blog! Her keynote speech rocked - intelligent and thoughtful commentary on cultural appropriation. I was a little star struck.
I spoke on action leadership - leadership by taking actions to make meaningful change, specifically using your passions/interests as a springboard to meaningful change in Indian country.
I was completely and fully honored to be asked to speak at this well-organized and thought-provoking event. It was a little nerve-wracking speaking about myself (when I present, it's usually in the form of giving resources or talking about a concept or end result), but I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. What a great experience!
My honor gifts - handmade pottery turtle and tobacco

The next day, I had a great time presenting the North Carolina State Advisory Council's new Culturally Responsive Instructional Resource pages to a group of about 20 teachers at a workshop, "An Indigenous People's History of the United States" at the North Carolina Museum of History. I absolutely love giving teachers resources they want and need - and are specifically there to get! 

The next week, during my spring break, I presented those same resources to teachers for three days at the Collaborative Conference on Student Achievement in Greensboro, North Carolina. This conference is a big, huge, hairy teaching conference deal. I'm not sure how many teachers, administrators and other education people were there, but it felt and looked like thousands (at the conference, not in my sessions, thank goodness!).  Although . . . would I like thousands of teachers and administrators to know about those new webpages? Yes, yes, I would. Yep.

Have I mentioned the North Carolina State Advisory Council's new Culturally Responsive Instructional Resource pages enough? Spread the word! Use and enjoy.

Wow, March was a busy month! All good.