Thursday, April 30, 2009

Experiment 4.16 -- What Are You Doing?

During our April 16th session, we learned the "what are you doing" performance/improv game. Students took turns acting out the directions given by their partner, while still performing the one given to them. This generated a whole list of interesting verbs, which we then turned into poems we considered "versions of me."

Here's a great poem by Nicole:

I am drowning in my own
sad disposition of hate and anger

I am giving birth to life; life that
cannot be put back.

I am riding a dragon to the never
ending story.

I am spinning in a tight circle.

-- by Nicole S.

I'm playing football with the Michael Jackson glove on
I'm fighting a snake
I'm having a seizure
I'm singing
I'm skipping around
I'm lying on hot rocks

-- by Danielshe

Experiment Always/Never @ Crown April 30, 2009

In today's workshop, students broke up into gender-specific groups and had to come up with 10 "rules for being a guy" and "rules for being a girl" -- not necessarily that they agreed with, but ones that were understood as part of our culture/society. Here's an example of what everyone came up with in smaller groups:

Rules for Being a Girl

cross your legs when wearing a skirt/dress
dont' be too loud
keep your appearance up
never slouch
don't gossip
never be alone with a boy in a room
no fighting
don't have a lot of boyfriends
don't be nasty
don't be fast
don't do drugs
don't drink
respect yourself
girls mature faster than boys

Rules for Being a Boy

be strong
don't cry
be respectful
talk proper
be helpful
be all you can be
be a role model
be a leader
don't hit girls
keep a hair cut
don't skip or scream
take out the garbage
never cross your legs
don't wear make up

As a class, we read Jamaica Kincaid's famous piece "GIRL" -- about what it was like for the writer to grow up as a girl in Haitian culture. We briefly discussed the meaning of her words and experience and now everyone's assignment is to turn their group rules into individual poems that begin with:

This is how to...

This assignment is due next week. I look forward to reading these powerful poems!

Experiment Chalk Out Loud April 30, 2009

Today, the amazing Algebra students worked together to piece together a small spoken word piece related to thoughts/feelings on RULES. We returned to our chalk talk days to select interesting lines and bits of text. Students memorized their lines and work in trios to set an order to their lines. Here's a copy of our script in progress:

BOYS: Promise
GIRLS: Commitment
BOYS: Participate
GIRLS: Community
BOYS: Function
GIRLS: Discipline
BOYS: Oath
GIRLS: Directions
BOYS: Boundaries
GIRLS: Repercussions

RODNEY: Silent reading – it’s a waste of 20 minutes because nobody silently reads 4 real.
DEMARIO: Look both ways – or you will get hit by a car.
JOSHUA: [------]
TYRELL: I don’t like the walk the dog rule, but I have to do it or else she’ll pee everywhere!
LEROY: I hate it when other people don’t do the dishes.
KHARI: It’s hard because sometimes I want to learn from my own mistakes -- not from yours.
TATYANA: There are different things that might happen to you when you don’t follow rules or by not listening. People have their own ways of dealing with it – depending on what they did or done.
DENEISHA: I got in big trouble for leaving my little sister at home while I was out with my friends. She was only 7 years old!
DANIELSHE: My mom slapped me for lying to her and she stopped giving me money.
SHIARA: I love school. To me, it’s not a waste of time. Do you like it?
TYLEISHIA: I hated it when I was your age, teachers were bossy, but now…I have good memories.
FELICIA: I hate school too. Sometimes I think about dropping out – at least most of the time!
JASMINE: Even though you are legally grown, at that age too much freedom could be a problem.
BOOKER: Stop looking at me, alright?
CARNAIL: Even though I don’t like rules, I think that we should have them for a lot of reasons.

Students also swapped invented directions for writing poems today and have one week to complete the assignment devised by a fellow classmate. I can't wait to see how this goes! These students are brilliant.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Experiment One, Two, Three @ Crown April 23, 2009

When Elly Goodman, a theater artist and educator from Scotland, came to visit us in Chicago, she taught us a great theater warm up where two people count back and forth up to 3. Then we replaced one with a snap. Learned that pattern. Replaced two with a clap, learned that pattern. Last, we were asked to replace three with a move/sound of our own. The students @ Crown really enjoyed this game. So today we turned that theater exercise into a poetry exercise. Students started with three words, and then step by step substituted one word for another until they created an entire sequence of poetic lines.

free police station
stay police station
stay in station
stay in the game

by Kewon P.

pretty good eat
mad good eat
mad sing eat
mad sing adventures

by India J.

dead hate forgotten
tears hate forgotten
tears die forgotten
tears die before laughter

by Nicole S.

young, smart, fly
young, cool, fly
young, cool, stop
young, cool, stop hating

by Jiome S.

pow, stop dead
bang, stop dead
bang run dead
bang run cry

by Deandre F.

care friends trust
happy friends trust
happy boom trust
happy boom an angel

by Tyleisha L.

love hurts slow
falling hurts slow
falling happens slow
falling happens fast

by Jasmine H.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Traveler Poem -- April 22 @ Columbus

Thanks to the amazing poet, Elspeth Murray, currently residing in Edinburgh, Scotland, who tipped me off to the work of George MacKay Brown, we read "Beachcombers" and followed his form to write traveler poems of our own.

The Scary Desert

Monday I saw snakes hissing at me.
They were following me and they
were hissing so they can eat in half.

Tuesday I saw a camel stampeding
at me so it can trample me.
I ran so I couldn't get trampled.

Wednesday I saw some spiders.
They were shooting webs at me.
But this time the spider got me.

Thursday I saw a big hole.
I stepped inside it and a tarantula hit me.
I was hurt bad and poisoned.

Friay I saw a rattle snake
rattling its tail.
It was coming toward me, I ran away.

Saturday I saw a lot of
animals attacking.
That was a scare.

by Adam W.

Incredible snippets:

Friday I saw a space
I realized it was mine.

Sunday I found myself
in a bowl that was much bigger than me.
It was all filled with gold.

by Vitaliy D.

Watching movies, hitting
the t.v., I saw a ghost
in the wrestling ring.

by Sebastian G.

Tuesday I heard
a song
kiss me through
the phone.

Monday -- I was on an island, lost.
I grew a long beard. I had to
bite on it to cut it. Then I
could not do anything. I could not
eat, catch, fish, or sleep.

by Brandon

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Experiment: Rule-Making/Team Work @ Crown April 16, 2009

Today, the algebra/theater group broke up into two teams. Their challenge was to devise a series of directions for the other team that would result in some sort of poetic outcome. The group decided to split according to gender -- boys and girls in two separate teams. They had 4 minutes to devise the directions/rules. Once devised, the teams swapped directions and had an additional 10 minutes to execute the directions given to them.


1. Walk the circle (there was a circle in the room drawn on the floor). Find the diameter of that circle and that will equal the # of words per line.

2. Think of your birth month. The number of letters in your birth month is the # of lines in your poem.

3. Then come up with 3 emotions and that is the poem's theme.


I was mad at my friend because
she lied and made me feel sad.
But now she apologized and we're ok,
Not doing great, but I'm not mad.
She left me hanging in the dark
And now our relationship has a spark.
Now it's over, we talked it through.
But now our friendship is seriously true.

written by Tyleisha

I hate being this way, I cry and

Everyday I look into different
parts of my life.

It's full of silent dark. When
you look

into my eyes, I feel hurt and
despised. So

go away, leave me alone and don't
call my

phone. Today is not the day
So go home.

written by Shiara

Depressed, you could say, is how I feel.
Excited is how I feel the day after that.
I'm sad the days I can't have my way.
Today is the day I can't have my way.
So how do I feel? Well, sad of course.
I can't recall a time where I was depressed.

written by Tatyana

Look and stare and wonder why
sad, upset
Do you know why you are really mad?
Cheer up -- get glad, about the things you do
Sad, cheer up, get glad
Stay on your head

written by Jasmine

I am so mad right about now.
I am so mad that it makes
me sad, I hate being sad, man.
I'm so sad until I'm just mad.
I don't know whether or not I'm
more of mad or more of sad.
I'm sad and mad to say that
say that I'm indeed confused today.

(9 lines -- 7 words per line)

written by Denisha


Add up all the # of letters in each person's name in your group. After you do that, you must then divide that number by the number of people in your group. Then when you have figured that # out, then figure out what position that # is in the alphabet (ie: 7=G). Then write a poem beginning with that letter as a group.


Total # of letters in all the group member names = 42
Divided by 7 people in the group = 6

Friday is fun
for friends
who like to
fry french fires
on a freezy day.