Four Ideas for New Year’s Writing Activities

BY: LIZ JORGENSEN

Hey there, happy Sunday! If you followed the advice of the many teacher blogs telling you to relax and take time for self-care over break and are now scrambling for some back-to-school lesson ideas… We got you, sis/bruh. Or, if you’re an impeccably focused and responsible teacher who did plan over break but wants to spice up your lessons with some timely writing activities, we got you too!

There’s something about the new year that makes people both reflective and forward-thinking. You go to write the date for the first time in January, and you realize that you’re writing a whole new number at the end of the date; the year is new, why can’t you be new as well?

This leads to thinking back over the past year and remembering the best and worst times of the past year. People tend to think about their mistakes and how they can do better the next year, and people of course make New Year’s resolutions.

And it’s not just adults who have those thoughts—our students are thinking about these ideas as well. With a time of year upon us that is so rife with personal reflection, analysis, and goal setting, how can we not capitalize on that in the classroom?

So, here are a few writing-based ideas that center around the ideas of reflection, goal-setting, resolutions, and the new year in general.

 

I Wish You a Merry New Year

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(Almost) yearly, author Neil Gaiman posts an open-letter-style New Year’s wish on his writing blog. Of course, because he is Neil Gaiman, they are beautifully crafted pieces of art. Any of his New Year’s wish letters, or a combination thereof, would make excellent mentor text writing for your students.

First of all, accessing these letters. Here is an article that posted portions of the letters from several years. If you find one that you like, you can Google it and find the full text on Neil’s blog. Also, here is the full letter from this year.

For those who haven’t delved into the realms of mentor text writing, the jist is that students examine an exemplar piece of writing, notice what makes it well-written, and then use the style to write their own piece. I teach freshmen in my English classes, so they need scaffolding with pretty much everything, and mentor text writing is no exception. Here are the directions I give to students when I have them use mentor texts:

For Mentor Texts, you must write the following:

1) I notice that…

-Write down what you see that makes this a good piece of writing

-In other words, what are techniques that the author is using to make it sound good?

-List at least TWO interesting things that you notice about how this piece of writing is written

2) My Turn…

-Use the techniques you noticed to write your own piece

I actually make them write the number 1 on their paper and write the heading, “I notice that…” and list their techniques, then we go over them as a class. Then, I show them my list, note any that we have already talked about, and also highlight any important factors that they missed. Then, I always also write my own “My Turn” portion to show the students how to use the style of the author to write my own piece. Then, I release them into the wild to write their “My Turn” portions.

Something to keep in mind for mentor text writing is appropriateness of length for writing readiness. It would be very difficult for my freshmen to take Neil’s entire blog and mentor-text it. There’s too much going on for them to hone in on the writing techniques being used. If I use this mentor text writing with my students this week, I will probably pick a paragraph or two for them to imitate. If you teach older or more advanced students, though, you may want to have them write an entire New Year’s open letter blog.

Also, notice that Neil focuses on his wishes for the world for the new year. You could have your students write their wishes for the world, their wishes for the school/community, their wishes for their family, for their soccer team, for an estranged friend etc. Having an option of a smaller focus may also be a good scaffold for students who struggle to think super broadly and feel that writing wishes for the world is too big.

 

I’ve Been to the Year 3000

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Another timely writing activity would be having students write a letter to their future selves. Generally, letters to the future both reflect upon the past and project into the future, which are the exact feeling that a new year stirs up.

To aid in this activity, some lovely people have set up an online version of the future letter concept. Simply type in your email address and your letter, set a date when you want your letter sent to you, and voila! You could specify that students set the date for the last week of school or the last week of 2020 to make the letter more appropriate to the new year specifically.

When I have done this activity with my students, I have written my own future-me letter and shared it with them first. Like mentor text writing, this gives them a concept of what their letter could look like and gives them a high standard of the reflective and critical thinking that they should put into their letter. Also, the Future Me website gives a plethora of examples from people who have volunteered their letters to be shared. So many mentor texts for the win!

 

One Word More, Another Word Another Destiny

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An oldie-but-goodie is to have your students choose a One Word for their new year. This has been an annual trend on Twitter for several years now, but choosing a guiding word for the year as a springboard for writing really never gets old. Just search for the hashtag #OneWord2020 on Twitter, and you will see tons of examples.

When I have used this in the past, I have had my students start by brainstorming about how they see themselves in a new year or a new semester. What are their goals for the new year? Whom do they want to become? In what ways do they want to grow? Then, I have them refine their brainstorming and look for one word to sum up the essence of what they are claiming. We look at some examples on Twitter as well.

I have them make a small poster displaying the word, defining it, and using it in a sentence. They must also decorate the poster in a way that shows how they hope the word will apply to their new year. I then display those in the classroom to keep their vocabular resolution in the forefront of their minds.

Here is a PowerPoint that I used last year for this lesson. OneWord2019 project

 

Information, Information, Information

What better way to start off the new year than with some depressing statistics about how people don’t keep New Year’s resolutions, am I right?

Ok, but for real, analyzing infographics that give statistics about the demographics and success/failure rate of New Year’s resolutions can help people see what is helpful and not helpful and how to have a better shot at meeting their goals, not just at New Year’s, but also in life in general.

Plus, being able to “read” a visual, a.k.a. analyze a visually curated piece for the argument that the creators intended to communicate, is a vital skill in our digitally-driven world.

When I have my students analyze a graph or infographic, we look at it together, discuss it informally, and then I have them write a 5-sentence analysis. Again, keep in mind the freshman factor. Scale up or down as needed for your own kiddos. Here are the directions I give them for analyzing an infographic:

Infographic Analysis Directions:

Write a paragraph of at least FIVE SENTENCES about this infographic.

  • You need to include both observation and analysis in your paragraph.
  • Observation = one thing/fact that you notice.
  • Analysis = something deeper about that fact, such as why it is important or what it means.

Analysis Questions to consider when writing your paragraph:

  1. What could that thing/fact/statistic cause?
  2. What has caused this to be true?
  3. Why is this important?
  4. What else could this tell me about this topic?
  5. What does this remind me of?
  6. How does the layout of the graphic help you understand the information?
  7. What information is NOT shown?

 

So, for the infographic samples. Here’s a bunch about varying statistics surrounding New Year’s resolutions.

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New-Year-Infographic

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And here’s a fun one about the history and traditional practices of New Year’s. For example, did you know that England didn’t replace the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar and adopt January 1st as the beginning of the new year until 1752?? I didn’t. Actually, I fact checked that before I posted this one so as to not spread any fake news on the blog.

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So there you have it! Hopefully some of these ideas will give you a leg up in getting back into the school year grind. Happy 2020!

Liz Jorgensen (formerly Keiper) is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. When she’s not dressing up in togas or running around her classroom with foam swords reenacting Shakespeare, she can be found enjoying the great outdoors, playing guitar, or adding to her rather out-of-control rubber duck collection. You can follow her on Twitter @LizJorgenTeach.

WVCTE is wondering…

  • What are some other lessons that you use to help students both reflect and look forward during the time of the new year?
  • Share some strategies you have used to help students tackle mentor text and infographic analysis.

Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

Teaching & Knowing Who You Are

At last year’s 2018 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention, I was challenged multiple times in various ways. I was challenged to be my most authentic self in the classroom.

By Melissa Elliott

At last year’s 2018 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention, I was challenged multiple times in various ways. I was challenged to be my most authentic self in the classroom. I was challenged to not be “concerned by or consumed by the thoughts of the other.” The first one is actually easier for me. In the classroom, I know- I know what I’m doing. I went into teaching knowing it is how I change the world: my subversive act. Am I living up to those ideals? Truthfully- not always and NCTE showed me ways I can do better. 

            But it is the second challenge that I grapple with on the bathroom floor with a spiral binder an hour before I need to get up to get on a plane home.

            Dr. Christopher Emdin, author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hoodgave the Saturday morning keynote. I had heard of the book, and full disclosure, hadn’t read it. The title seemed abrasive and I’ve seen Dangerous Mindsand Freedom Writersand I get the problem of “white savior” stories. And despite the title, I am not white. 

            Last summer while I was hanging out with a group of college professors I have become friends with over the past couple of years, we were discussing how the larger group met everyone. When it came to me, the professor who had first talked to me said even though I was “mean muggin’” when she saw me she knew I wasn’t white, so she befriended me. I quickly defended my “mean mug.” I was away from my not even one year old for the first time and missing home. The rest of our predominantly white group was more concerned with the “not white” comment. My beautiful smart friend is also not white. She explained “other recognizes other.”

            My story and struggle with otherness starts from my childhood. I was a Puerto Rican/ English/ German/ Canadian Episcopalian in an all-girls Catholic school on Staten Island. I then attended a public NYC high school. But I didn’t fit in many groups there. 

            Yo soy Boricua but yo no hablo Española. At NCTE, I met and heard from Latinx authors but there are challenges with Latinx. As my father and I have issue with the term Hispanic. Hispanics are only Dominicans and Haitians because they come from the island of Hispaniola.

            I am Puerto Rican but even that has complications. My paternal grandfather’s skin was black; my grandmother’s white. But Puerto Rican’s do not use the Afro- identifiers as Cubans, Dominicans, and others do. Naively- and somewhat hopefully- looking for the answer I asked Lilliam Rivera, author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, why we don’t claim the African blood in Puerto Rican veins. She replied, “Racism. We have a problem with race.”

            I get the larger social implications of racism but what does it do for our identity on a personal level? I love talking about my family to students (and I jokingly claim it is why I am not in therapy). At the end of act 2, scene 2 of A Raisin in the Sun, when Walter dreams of the life he wants to be able to offer his son, I share my family’s multiple generations of interracial marriage: my grandparents, my parents, and my husband and me. I share my story with them because I believe once Travis picks his college the little blond-haired blue-eyed girl across the street who has been friends with him since they moved will follow him to school because she at 17 realizes she loves him despite it being the 1960s and knowing their life together would not be easy. Sidebar: I’ve known and loved “I’m in Love With a Big Blue Frog” since childhood because my mom in 1972 was 100% that my dad was just light skinned. He had a 17-inch afro (see 1972).

            Ten years later they have a beautiful baby girl. But I’m not white; I’m also English/German/Canadian. I’m Puerto Rican but I don’t speak Spanish (even though the previously mentioned Catholic school started teaching it in Kindergarten). I’m a New Yorker but I now live and work in West Virginia where my daughter was born and pronounces crayon like crown and I am 55 Strong and while after spending her whole life on Staten Island my mom (and dad) moved to. 

            With all this inside of me I sat in the General Assembly on Saturday morning and had my heart and soul ripped out/torn up/made whole again and put back in by Dr. Emdin. 

            NCTE brings together thinkers, readers, and writers for one transformational weekend. And last year was no different. 

            During the Q&A, I had to use my voice to ask how we, especially those of us who take everything to heart and feel judged, do what he has asked through the words of Toni Morrison to “no longer be concerned by or consumed by the thoughts of the others.” 

            I felt safe in a room of hundreds to ask because Dr. Emdin had started his speech coming from a place of love and his “Pentecostal Pedagogy” resonated with me. He saw I had been crying and affirmed what we tell ourselves about those who try to tear us down; “It is their inadequacies.” He also reaffirmed something I have recently come to realize by telling me to “pour into myself.” Finding time for ourselves as teachers is too often put on the back burner because like improv actors we say “Yes, and…” Yes, I can take over a club/sport/class I never taught before/extra tail gate and what else can I do. 

            New Amsterdam, a new medical drama, starts with a new medical director that repeatedly uses the phrase “How can I help?” And when, spoiler alert, his oncologist tells him the needs to slow down she (and the writers), as my husband noted, missed the opportunity to offer the phrase to him. 

            The question then becomes why at 36 am I still, like Beneatha, searching for my identity. Well that is an easier answer: Lily. Almost four years ago, this wild & wonderful little person was born. And all the insecurities and questions I have dealt with will be again complicated for her. My husband looks like a stereotypical white guy with a beard. However, he is not a stereotype and as was often repeated at NCTE there is never a single story. He is smart and sexy. He has loved me since we met. It took me a minute because I wasn’t ready to be open to the kind of love, unapologetically hopeful, he offered. He is from Northern Virginia and has a Scottish background. 

            My daughter is an Afro-Puerto Rican/English/German/Canadian/Scot from West Virginia. To be able to explain to her what that is and how it will inform who she will become and influence how people see her, I need to know who I am. My parents, while not perfect, made me believe that I was the embodiment of their love. This is how I see my daughter also. But the rest of the world does not always look at you and know you are love. 

Melissa Elliott is a high school English teacher in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Even after becoming a mom, she most clearly defines herself as a teacher. For the past 20 years, becoming a great English teacher has been the focus of her work life. Melissa would like to give a shout out to all of the teachers, mentors, and friends who have helped her on this journey.

Reflecting on Authenticity

By Adrin Fisher

Last week, my older son and I went on a field trip to New York City.  We walked Times Square.  We ate pho in Chinatown.  We experienced a hit musical on Broadway.  We wandered into a used vinyl shop in Greenwich Village where I could touch both side walls at the same time.  We stood in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and we touched the stone George Washington stood on during his inauguration in Federal Hall.  My son hugged me as I cried my way through the 9/11 Memorial Museum. 

That three-day-trip was the definition of authentic learning.  Among many other experiences, my son got a sense of an event that happened years before he was born—an event that stands as a definite “I Remember Where I Was When” for most Americans above the age of 25—by hearing last words, seeing artifacts, standing in sacred space.  As we know, experiences are key to learning.  We’ve got to plug into our schemata—activate our prior knowledge—to create new knowledge, to learn, to grow, to repeat ad infinitum.

What does all this talk of authentic experience have to do with reflection—besides an excuse to post a picture of a memorial and some glass buildings?

I believe that you—teacher friend—are nearing completion of an authentic year in the classroom.  Not a year to write a book about, perhaps.  Not a year when your hair remained neatly in place and your students diligently competed to better themselves and the productive struggle was sincerely, astonishingly, sweepingly successful.  Not a year when you arose from your bed cheerfully each morning with all the essays corrected and all the grades filled in and all the photocopies made and all the solutions lined up in rows.  But rather, you’re emerging from a messy, hard, exhausting, partially successful, authentic school year.  

So, knowing what we know about teaching and learning, I want to remind us of our teaching vows—to be a reflective practitioner. We learn not just by doing, but by thinking about what we’ve done. Try one or more of these techniques to help you reflect on your authentic school year.

Guided Reflections

  1. Read over your lesson plans or planning calendars a prep at a time.  My favorite memory-jogger is the $3 monthly calendar I buy for each prep.  These are invaluable to me, first as a way to organize my year, and secondly, to figure out what actually happened during the year.  My previous calendars help me anticipate the next year.
  2. Look through notes you’ve created on various lessons.  What worked? Why? Would another strategy or another selection have made a difference?  If you’ve not created notes—no worries; it’s not too late.  As you’re reviewing your plans or calendars, I’m sure you’ll remember the positives and the pitfalls.
  3. Take a warm bath—or sit out on the porch—or sunbathe—as a blank slate. Summarize your year in three words.  Then, take it deeper.  Let the year wash over you and seek out patterns.  Did you consistently have trouble with a particular type of student?  What do you know you want to change?  How would a revision of order make a difference?  What have you learned since then that you can incorporate?
  4. Read your year in positive notes and photos.  I’ve mentioned before that I store up positive words from students in scrapbooks. I hope you do the same.  Don’t discount it when a student says you’re the best teacher.  Soak it in.  Be grateful and thankful, and humbled that some kid credits you for making his life better.  That’s something authentic, and you have proof.
  5. Ask yourself a series of questions, and respond in writing.  Google a list of reflection questions (I found a great one on edunators.com) or start with the basics:  What went well this year?  Why did it?  Writing makes it so, so write your answers.

As I start my reflection process for this year, I’ll admit that it was a mixed bag. My seniors were nice, my honors kids had some very good moments and my English 10 kids were fairly engaged.  On the other hand, I felt disorganized and behind the curve all year.  I planned a classroom “book club”  a la Kittle and Gallagher, but I didn’t start preparing early enough with the five novels I assigned, which resulted in me prepping seven novels at once.  That was just dumb. 

When the final bell rings, I’ll be hanging out, hovering over my school year for a while, until I’ve seen what I can see. 

Because I am my own worst critic—and you might be yours—I want to leave you with one last thought from Brene Brown: “Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.” Start your reflection by remembering that you make a difference, an authentic difference, in the lives of very important people.

The senior members of my after-school book club at their last-ever book club meeting. They think I’m the best. I’ll take it.

All the best to you, as you reflect on this year to get ready for what’s next!

WVCTE wants you to contribute to the conversation.  What reflection tools do you love?  What are your highs and lows of the year?  Leave us a question or comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

Adrin Fisher is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. When she’s not stressing about completing the readings she’s assigned herself, encouraging and supporting her colleagues or conferencing with budding writers, you can find her reading with her kids, ogling the peonies in her garden, or taking notes on life in her current composition book. You can follow her on Twitter @fisheradrin

Sociology in English Class: Doing Personal Narratives Differently

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I used to start every semester off with a brief unit on personal narratives. We would read short pieces and excerpts of longer narratives, discussing important themes and moves the writers made in telling their stories, and the unit would ultimately culminate in students writing their own personal narratives. I abandoned this a few years ago, when semester after semester I received flat, lifeless writing that failed to capture anything other than student compliance. I wanted to learn about my students—who they were, what had shaped them, where they wanted to go in life—but I wasn’t getting much depth or substance. It seemed that nothing I did changed the outcome, so I sat personal narratives aside and moved on to other things.

Reading the March issue of the English Journal, I came across the idea of sociological imagination in Shekema Silveri’s “The Courage to See Clearly.” Silveri sites sociologist C. Wright Mills in explaining the concept of sociological imagination as what “enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.” Essentially, sociological imagination affords us the ability to understand how we are shaped by the world and how we, in turn, shape the world. Silveri’s article discusses utilizing literature and writing to expand sociological imagination; her ideas intrigued me, and I wanted to educate myself further on sociological imagination, so I took to the internet and stumbled upon the sociological autobiography.

The purpose of a sociological autobiography is to tell your life story (or a portion of it) while also investigating your “politics of location.” In other words, you critically consider what agents of socialization have influenced you and how: how has being male, female, middle class, economically disadvantaged, aboriginal, white, black, a “visible” minority, able-bodied, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, gay, transgendered, anglophone, francophone, Catholic, Buddhist, Atheist, Southern, Appalachian, fat, thin, geeky, popular, etc. affected your life? How have your life experiences influenced the way you think about these issues?

In a nutshell, the sociological autobiography is a personal narrative with a very specific and important agenda in exploring how the world around us shapes our identities, but also how our experiences shape our perspectives on these identities, as well as how various identities affect our experiences in the world. I love this so completely because this kind of thinking and writing and reading opens us up in so many ways. Not only are we considering all the different identities we associate ourselves with (and the ones others associate with us) and how these influence the ways in which we navigate (and are restricted from navigating) the world, but we are also exposed to others’ differences and become more aware of social issues associated with various identities. This, paired with literature by authors like Rudolfo Anaya, Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, Julia Alvarez, Angie Thomas, etc., as well as a handful of deliberately chosen nonfiction texts, would result in culturally relevant and deeply meaningful writing and conversations.

I know I’m not offering a fully formed assignment or activity your can take into your classroom straightaway, but I am offering you something new to look into—a meaningful alternative to an otherwise empty assignment. This idea is still so new to me, I’m not entirely sure how I will use this in my classroom, but I do plan on developing a unit around the sociological autobiography for the Fall. Perhaps you have ideas about the perfect texts to pair or supporting activities to go along with the writing—if so, I would love for you to share with us!

WVCTE is wondering what new ideas have you come across to bring into your classroom! Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

Sarah Krause teaches Honors Sophomore English and Dual-Credit Senior English at Hurricane High School. Beginning her career as a full-time instructor for Marshall University, Sarah is completing her fifth year in public education. If she is not in the classroom, grading papers, or conducting research, Sarah enjoys working on developing her professional website and blog at www.evolutionizingeducation.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @teachtwdchange.

Looking Back to See Progress

BY: LIZ KEIPER

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

― Søren Kierkegaard ―

While every season of the school year has pros and cons, I often feel that January through March is the sweet spot of the year. At this point, you know your kids pretty well; you know their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, their personalities, what motivates them, and you feel like you’ve built enough of a rapport with them that while they respect you, they still know that you care about them. However, one of my favorite things about the winter months is getting to see the progress that my students have made.

This year, I’m embarking on phase one of National Board Certification. Since I’m working mainly on component 2 this year, I have been collecting work samples of various struggling students all year so that I can study and write about their growth throughout the school year. Because I’m so specifically looking to see growth in the students I’ve honed in on, I’m noticing it much more this year than I have in the past. In the beginning of the year, I sarcastically joked that at least the terrible essays that I was grading would make wonderful NBCT fodder. However, it has been exciting to watch the growth of these students in a more intentional way than I have in the past. It’s like they’ve become my favorite sports teams, and every time they turn in a writing assignment, I’m rooting for them—“Yeah, look at that well-crafted thesis!” or “Using a topic sentence for the WIN!” or “Come on, come one, come on, use a specific example to support your argument! I know you can do it—there it is!! GOALLLLLLLLLL!”

I’ve also had some wonderful interactions with students who at an earlier point in time were real classroom management issues for me. Not that all of my students have become perfect angels in the past six months, but… I do tend to think about some students in the beginning of the year, “This is going to be a battle all year. We’re never going to click. I just need to work as hard as I can to not let them get the better of me.” And, some students do remain a figurative thorn in my side for 180 days, but there are always a handful who surprise me, which subsequently makes me feel ashamed for making foreshadowed assumptions about their lack of behavioral growth. The takeaway: never give up on people, and never give up on students. Some will choose to never rise to the occasion, but some will. Whether or not people change their behavior, it is worth pouring into them.

This sort of reflection reminds me of a growth wall. It can be a powerful tool to show children change over time. Growing up, my mom used to periodically measure us against a wall and mark how tall we were, write our initials, and write the date. It was so fun looking back at how short we used to be! Getting caught up in the whirlwind of life makes you forget how much you have grown because you tend to think of yourself as always being as you are now. Growth is easy to forget about if you don’t look for it.

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January is a time when we tend to plan for the future; we make resolutions, we dream big, we plan to make the coming year great. But I think that you can’t truly plan for the future without also reflecting on the past or else you will miss seeing growth. Your students might not yet be where you want them to be, but think about where they were in August. Think about how they wrote in August. Think about their level of critical thinking, their discussion abilities, even their behavior. Some of them may have grown more than others, but bottom line—they HAVE grown. Use that as a springboard to encourage them to get where you want them to be by the end of the year.

Recognizing growth requires reflection. So, while you’re looking ahead with anticipation to this new year, take some time to look back as well.

I will leave you all with the end my favorite poem about time, past, future, reflection, and growth—“Little Gidding” from The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

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Liz Keiper is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. When she’s not dressing up in togas or running around her classroom with foam swords reenacting Shakespeare, she can be found enjoying the great outdoors, playing guitar, or adding to her rather out-of-control rubber duck collection. You can follow her on Twitter @KeiperET1.

WVCTE is wondering…

  • How do you reflect to see growth in your students? How do you help your students to see their own growth?
  • What are your classroom New Years resolutions for 2019?

Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!