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,

International School of Rumbai, Sumatra: Not just Monkeying Around.


Ever look out at the sliders, swingers and tag players on a
lively playground and think, what a bunch
of monkeys?

At the International School of Rumbai, playground monkeys
are not just metaphorical.  The school’s
campus, carved from the jungle by an oil company (now

Pasir Ridge International School

Coming around again to something brand new is traveling to a
foreign port and being met by familiar faces. 
Didn’t we meet before in Seoul? 
Didn’t we have dinner in Kota Kinabalu? I remember you from Cairo!

Michael and I

Changing Perspectives

When Michael Salinger and I were teaching in Morocco, we were introduced to a new fashion trend.  Teen girls were wearing the shortest of short shorts over tights and patterned stockings.  They obviously had studied the student handbook, which probably said “no bare legs up to your bum” or some such language, and

Baby Talk 2013

I recently wrote on a friend’s Facebook wall, joking about emotional displays in public, that I had thrown up while watching Bonnie and Clyde. True story, no flu symptoms. 
I have no trouble suspending disbelief in a movie. If someone sets a table for tea, I

Hate Was Not his Normal State

War is the Fiercest Art
The Luc
Bat poet knew

His country broke in two, therefore

He had to go to war.

His wife and child, heartsore,
waved bye.

The poet dared not cry.

He needed a clear eye to spill

Blood, strangers he must kill

Art for Malala


I received this email from a teacher I have corresponded with in Pakistan, who is looking to create the “the longest and most colourful card in the world’s history” for injured student activist  Malala Yousufzai.  Will you please help her reach her goal and have students email their artwork to her by October

Lies My Teacher (almost) Taught Me

I began by writing poems for my kids, envisioning a single collection for all ages, to be read by families, preferably fireside.

I have no idea where this fantasy originated since as a single parent, after I was done working overtime to make ends meet, after the kids’ play practices

The Poetry Friday Anthology

If you are looking for age appropriate poetry to share with your students, check out this new anthology ed. by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  It contains one poem a week for 39 weeks for each grade level, K-5.  Poems the kids can relate to, current, challenging, and engaging.  Poems for sharing and to provoke conversation