Inside American International School of Lagos

school is an island on an island.  Surrounded on all sides by walls with
rolled razor wire on top, the school sits on Victoria Island, part of the
seamless sprawl of 20+ million people that is Lagos. Teachers live within the
school walls in an apartment building actually

Inside Harare International School

Wading in the first day. 
Wee mistake on the airline reservation. 
We arrived at 10:00PM on the night before our first 7:45AM
workshop.  What part of “one day lost in
transit” we failed to comprehend is a mystery. 
Luckily due to the kindness and efficiency of librarian Melissa Chifokoyo

Outside Harare International School

Cave paintings are a perfect metaphor for Zimbabwe, both are
written in layers over thousands of years. 
With a little Photoshop help, the layers become even more striking. 

Hiking up, way up, something like 1200 feet,

Everyday’s an Audition: Tryouts

I wrote this poem for my daughter Katie when she tried out for a play.  She wanted the part of Peter Pan.  She got the part of the crocodile!  She also got a lifelong friend out of that little production and I think if you asked her, she’d say the experience was a

A Library Poem: The Poetry Friday Anthology

I was so excited that Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell chose my poem to illustrate a brochure about their fabulous resource, The Poetry Friday Anthology.  In case you haven’t heard about it, it contains 36 poems for each elementary grade level so teachers can introduce a new poem every Friday all year

What’s Real? A Poem About War.


Pictured between reruns

and what commercials want to

explodes another war

in some far place

          that I can’t spell.

To me,

war appears as broken bodies

burning buildings

and smoking gas,

interrupted by

Emily, Julie and me.

It was a winter day in the late seventies.  I had been struggling with the joyless parts of stay at home mothering and not particularly well.  I wasn’t fitting in with my new neighbors, the junior women’s club, or
the corporate wives’ club.  I didn’t play
bridge that well and I never could manage

Poetry Feelings

Poetry is a way to express feelings.
Poetry rhymes, it’s for girls, it’s boring.
It’s too hard!
Writing poetry is not part of the new standards, no can do.
I like reading poetry, but I’m no poet.
Poetry is something we do after the testing, so can you

Bury the Beret! Nurturing Artists in the Classroom

Is artistic talent inborn or can we cultivate it?  I have always of an artist as one who
envisions what wasn’t there before and, through knowledge and experience, makes
it happen.  In an article I wrote years
ago, The Poet as Patriot (Journal of Children’s Literature, v23 n2 p42-46 Fall

Having Principals

I first met Principal Seamus Marriott and his wife
Theresa in Wisconsin at a Walloon Institute and later traveled to work at his school
in Shanghai, then in Cairo, and most recently in Balikpapan. Not only did he
invite us to great locations, he helped us plan side trips, introduced into
other schools,

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