Friday, October 25, 2013

Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye

It was Naomi Shihab Nye week with my 8th graders; every day we read one of her poems.  Here's part of one I didn't read with them.  It's from her book, Fuel, and it's written in the voice of students.

Morning Glory


We're fat with binders and forgetting
We're shaping the name of a new love
on the underside of our thumb.
We're diagnosing rumor and trouble
and fear.  We hear the teachers
as if they were far off, speaking
down a tube.  Sometimes a whole sentence gets through.

But the teachers don't give up.
They rise, dress, appear before us
crisp and hopeful.  They have a plan.


This is so appropriate for this week.  It reminds me, too, of this quote I wrote down while I was reading Time for Meaning: Crafting Literate Lives in Middle and High School, by Randy Bomer:

"Over and over again, I make the teacher's mistake of assuming that time begins the moment my students cross the threshold of my room.  But if my class is to tell the truth about literacy, I have to guard against that mistake and keep in mind that each student's whole life outside this room is what he or she will use to make meaning."

Oh well, we teachers don't give up.  I'll be at it again next week. 

And here's today's roundup, hosted by the amazing Irene Latham.  It's her thousandth blog post!  Head on over to congratulate her and read what everyone else is posting.


Irene Latham said...

How wonderful, a Naomi SN week! Everyone should have one of those. FUEL may be my favorite book of hers, though it's an impossible choice. I really love the poem "Fuel." Thank you for sharing, Ruth!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thank you for the Naomi Shihab Nye poem! I was just telling my students about one of my favorite poems she wrote, "How do I know when a poem is finished?" from Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets. I'll have to find FUEL.

Tabatha said...

I followed the link to Fuel and it struck me how very many books NSN has written! How does she do it?

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Yes...we always have a plan! I love Nye, so real and filled with the generous spirit that infuses her poetry. Thanks for sharing this one, Ruth!

jama said...

Love her work and hadn't seen "Morning Glory" before. Wonderful! I'll definitely have to look for FUEL. And thanks for being you, a good teacher, and for not giving up!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

If this is Naomi Shihab Nye week, what's next week? (I'd hate to be the one to have to follow her!) Glad to hear you're "crisp and hopeful" with a plan of your own.

Janet said...

I wish I could have heard your class discussing this poem. And I love that idea of crisp and hopeful (and persistent) teachers with a plan.

I'm curious about the book -- going to follow the link. Wish you could teach my 7th grader!

LInda Baie said...

Another good book of Naomi Shihab Nye's to find, Ruth. The poem is great-teachers I work with will love it. I love the quote from Randy Bomer too. We teachers want the students to 'be' with us, but mostly they are spending time elsewhere.

Violet N. said...

Sounds like she had their (the students') number. Love the lines:
"We're diagnosing rumor and trouble /
and fear..." Parallel realities.

Mary Lee said...

HA! So very true. I don't give up, and I'm hopeful, though more frumpy than crisp. And I don't. give. up.

Catherine said...

Randy Bomer's last line, "...keep in mind that each student's whole life outside this room is what he or she will use to make meaning." is so true! Keeping it in mind while we're making those plans will make school a better place for everyone!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Your students are fortunate to have you as their teacher. To have Naomi Shihab Nye and discuss her poetry with a group of middle schoolers - that's something I'd love to hear. :)

And yes, these teachers. They always always have a master plan. :)