Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teacher Poets: more than a workshop

at Two Writing Teachers!
Unless we have special plans, weekend mornings at our house slither slowly by. Long after Husband has snuck into the computer room, I relish curling up in the cozy covers. Whether I'm drifting in and out of sleep or playing on my iPad, I'm sure to be snuggled up with a serene smile.

But this Saturday was different. With bright eyes, I hemmed in my cozy nest with supplies: iPad, phone, notebook, pen, printed poem. As glittering sun poured in the window, I nodded and pondered as smooth ink danced across the page. Circling and smiling, marking and noticing, wondering and appreciating.

Listening to Billy Collins "workshop" his own poem sent me into ripples of giggles. This was going to be so much fun!

From deep in the words, I surfaced, peeking at the time on my phone. It was almost time! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I wiggled with anticipation as I clicked "play" on the livestream Google Hangout on my iPad and propped it against a nearby stuffed animal, then opened Twitter on my phone. #TeacherPoets, here we go!!!

It. Was. Awesome! The immediate glimmer of excitement in Chris Lehman's eyes sparked an exhilarating hour of thinking and sharing, reading and writing, listening and responding. Even though we were all in different states and only 6 people were live on screen, we all seemed to be part of the same room. Somehow, seeing faces and hearing voices made this so much more magical than a regular Twitter chat. Chris' work became real because we could see the flush in his cheeks and the sparks in his eyes. We could watch ideas forming as he pre-wrote and follow his hand as he captured those ideas with careful words. We could hear the tears lurking in his voice and catch them hiding in his eyes as little moments reminded him of the power of writing, teaching, and learning.

Halfway through, Husband came in with a basket of clean clothes and couldn't hold in his sputtering laughter at the sight of me simultaneously watching my iPad, tweeting on my phone, scribbling in my notebook, and referring to the printed poem. "He showed two of my tweets on screen!" I squealed, and then dove back into the nascent poem pieces taking shape in my notebook.

Too soon, the hour was over. My head was spinning with writing ideas, teaching ideas, and that wonderful sizzle that comes from contributing to an inspiring, encouraging community of learners. My notebook and brain were full, my heart was recharged, and I couldn't WAIT for the next session.

That's how I want my students to feel, and now I have new ideas to help us get there.


  1. It was pretty awesome. I'm looking forward to this Saturday and what's in store. Thanks for the tweets!

  2. "It. Was. Awesome!" You took the words right out of my mouth!! See you this Saturday! :)

  3. so fun! I wanted to join but couldn't make it work this time... hope there's another chance!

    1. There is! The next 3 Saturdays at 11 a.m. EST. :-) Check out Chris' blog for more details!

  4. Terrific you're doing this, Jennifer, with so many slicers! Hope you all share what you're learning!

  5. I loved this!! It wasn't live when I watch but I felt that same thrill. Working on my poem!!

  6. It was absolutely fascinating. You captured it perfectly. For me it was the first live stream and twitter chat ever. The feeling of people being so close (even over the ocean) was strange (in the most positive way.) It was exciting to see Betsy and Michelle on the screen.

  7. I was watching. I love how you describe Chris with his flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes. And the growing excitement in your own voice. And then you relate it back to your students. "That's how I want my students to feel." Exactly. How can we carry this over to the classroom? I wish I could be there this Saturday. I'll watch later, for sure.


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