Wednesday, January 16

Whatcha gonna do?

Love this poem today:
The Wind Doesn't Know what to Do But Be Blue.

by Simon Ortiz from his book "After and Before the Lightning" written during a residency here at Sinte Gleska University on Rosebud.

The wind is blue
this morning
so blue, ooooing
at a lonely corner
of the house.
Look at the sun.
at the sun.
But pays no mind.
Just so blue, it says,
just sooooooo bloooooooooooo
Blooooooooo oooooo oo ue

Whatcha gonna do.
I don't know.
Whatcha gonna do.
I don't know.
The blues are blue.
The blues are blue.
The wind is blue.
It goes oooo.
It goes oooo.
Whatcha gonna do.
It goes oooo.
The blues go oooo.
I don't know.
That's what I'll do.
That what I'll dooooo.

I still have one section of Comp I that I'm re-teaching this semester for a few students who weren't enrolled in it last semester but should have been (don't even get me started on scheduling insanity around here). This semester I'm starting with descriptive writing and I'm cutting out all the get to know you/ goal setting/ what is writing? crap that I did at the beginning of last semester so we can get strait to writing and producing finished pieces asap. I'm thinking that the best way to get kids to think of themselves as writers is to treat them as such rather than spending lots of time talking about what writing is, why it's important, blah blah blah. So I just cut to the chase on day 1, gave them their notebooks and we started writing. Descriptive writing is definitely a good place to start. It has so far been far more successful than starting with memoir/ personal narrative. Memoir is too personal to start on with these students, they don't trust easily, especially not teachers and white people, so naturally they don't want to share much about their own lives just yet.

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that today we read several poems from Simon Ortiz's book and then we all went outside and sat in the medicine wheel painted bowery (pow wow grounds) outside my classroom. The temperature today was about -5 with wind chill. They were not very happy with me. But it was super fun. I love being a crazy teacher sometimes. They did some pretty good writing too:

"My ass is cold sitting on the yellow of the medicine wheel.
I see the white on the ground.
I see the brown of the grass dying as I sit out here on the cold.
The noise of white cracking as I walk through the cold.
The sun shining down on me as I write in the cold.
My hands are going to fall off as I write through the cold."

"With a depressing look the the tree branches move back and forth from the force of the wind"

"It feels like I'm at a wake. Too cold to write so laters.

"I think I'm getting old with the weather that's so cold.
Wind blowin', just last night it was snowin'.
So it creeped up on us like a mole.
Up is dark, dark as coal.
Down is hard, crunchy, white, blowin', but it's only snow,
but it's still flows from up high and rolls down low.
I sit and shiver
the branch on the tree quivers as I shiver
my liver has never been so shivered."
(Elias is a rapper-- he can't write without rhyming)

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