I have been thinking a lot about what I want to commit to for #nerdlution. My first thought was, a writing challenge! But I already write every day, so why do I need a new challenge for something I’m already doing? Sure, I could be more focused with my writing. I could be more specific with a challenge–blogging every day, for instance. I have long lists of blog posts I need to write, and perhaps a daily challenge is just what I need to push me to get those posts written and published.
At the same time, I feel like I’ve already done that challenge with #edBDaily, and maybe something very different would be better for #nerdlution.
My second thought was, an exercise challenge! But I already exercise every day, so… same thing. Sure, I could be more focused with my exercise. I’d like to exercise for an hour a day, and most days I only exercise for 30 minutes. But I am not sure I need a challenge to make that change.
My third thought was, read a picture book every day! Oh wait. I do that every day too.
For #nerdlution, I want a goal that is NOT something I already do every day or most every day.
And this is what I’ve come up with:
Read a poem every day.
One of my takeaways from #NCTE13 is that I need to read more poetry and share more poetry with my students. I didn’t attend any of the poetry sessions (though I wish I had!), but I was inspired by four sessions to rethink how I use (or don’t use) poetry in my courses.
First, The First Wave group. Wow. I didn’t take any notes, but luckily Heather did!
Second, Penny Kittle shared an amazing spoken-word poem by Phil Kaye (which I was able to give to one of my students in class on Tuesday; he is struggling with an essay and “Teeth” was exactly what he needed to help him figure out what he’s trying to do) and then commented that her students write every day on the foundation of the poetry they hear in class. They aren’t writing poetry, but poetic language fills their prose. This notion of writing “on the backs” of the poetry you hear each day is really powerful.
Third, what Nancie Atwell said about starting writing workshop with poetry:
“No genre can match it in terms of teaching craft”
“Poetry helped my students live their lives”
And fourth, Donalyn Miller talked about genre avoidance among readers, and poetry is definitely one of the genres my students in Children’s Lit and Adolescent Lit avoid. Which means they are likely to become teachers who avoid that genre and don’t saturate their classrooms with poetry. I also talk to my students about why it was so important that I shared poetry every day with my students, but I don’t model that in my college classes.
It’s been years since I have read poetry daily or even thought about it very much at all. So that is my challenge: to read poetry every day (I’m guessing that most days, I will read one than more poem, because poems are kind of like potato chips, hard to read just one) and to think about how I can include more poetry in all of my classes.
I also love that this is a SMALL challenge. A haiku is a poem, after all. It’s rare for me to undertake a small challenge, so I think I am going to enjoy this.