Tag Archives: Christian Barter

On Year 5: August & September’s Poems


This month marked the beginning of the fifth year of reading a poem a day to my students.  All of them.  Every period, every day.  Such a simple thing to do–and yet.  We don’t do it.  We live in a school culture which devalues poems, calls them “hard,” and makes students frightened of them.  That’s a …

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On Year 4: October’s Poems


The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer.  The air grows colder, and I abandon my sandals for socks and shoes.  The boys in my classes are thinking about hunting–some of the girls are, too.  From the windows of my classroom, I can see the leaves turn on the old maples between the school and …

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On Year 4: September’s Poems


Of course, the school year actually started in August–doesn’t it always?  So there’s a bonus poem.  I faced the usual resistance among some of the kids who have never been in my class before:  do we have to listen to every poem?  Yes, I told them–every blasted one.  That pretty much answers that question, came the …

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On Year 3: March’s Poems


March is the most difficult month in school:  everyone is exhausted.  Perhaps it’s because it’s winter’s last hurrah?  However, it’s also, fortunately, the month when spring fights its way in, so there’s something to look forward to.  Ah, and the advent of Daylight Savings Time, when it is lighter later in the afternoon.  My list …

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On Year 3: September’s Poems


Not to mention two in August! Back to school, and back to a poem a day to my classes.  How many times does one have to do something before it becomes a habit?  This will be the third year for me–the third year since I took this one simple idea away from the Frost Place …

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On a New School Year, and the Second September’s Poems


A hundred years ago, when I attended the Advanced Placement institute in St. Johnsbury, Vermont with two of my awesome teaching colleagues, the five-day workshop was presented by a man who talked quite a bit about poetry boot camp.  This was what he called the intensive however-long unit on poetry and analysis that he subjected …

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On April’s Poems


It’s National Poetry Month!  We must throw a month-long party now!  My friends Karen, Teri, Lisa, Diana, Maureen, and a whole slew of other people started the month off right by going to a workshop/presentation by Baron Wormser on Saturday the 2nd, in Hallowell.  What a great way to start this month–any month.  Baron gave …

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On January’s Poems


Back from vacation! The only boy in third period, when faced with Baron Wormser’s poem early in the month, demanded more snow poems.  One of the girls informed him that “those were for last month.”  He said he didn’t care; he liked snowmobiling.  Such is the logic of the 17-year-old mind some days. The reason …

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On November’s Poems


Here we are again, at the end of another month of experiments in poetry.  The students in my classes are all acclimatized now:  we cannot start class without a poem first.  So that’s one mindset down.  A boy in fifth period spent days and days frowning at the poems I read, until one day he …

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