Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-fluff November 16, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:07 pm
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Tight black ball

warm, curled against my hip

tail twitching in dreams.

Serious affection or just fluff?

It’s all the same to me.

 

Essay- When is a Basket Not a Basket? November 13, 2019

WHEN IS A BASKET NOT A BASKET?

© Shawn Bird November 13, 2019

Often, when we work side by side with someone, our learning comes not from the task occupying our hands, but with the stories that come along side.

On Indigenous Learning Professional Development Day, the creation of a lovely small pine needle basket was the least of what I took away.

The elder teaching our class told of gathering the pine needles.  How she wept to discover a clear cut where her favourite trees had been.  She told of saying a prayer during the gathering in respect to earth, and how when we were finished with our baskets, the needles left behind should not go to the garbage, as that impacts our own healing, but that they should be given back to earth, with thanks.

Quietly, at our table, she told our group that what one saw as a mistake, was not.  The elder who’d taught her when she was seventeen had explained they were  meant to be there.  I found a connection in that statement, “Oh!” I said, “Like I tell my English students: it’s about the process. There are going to be mistakes, and that’s good, because it’s part of the learning.”

Her eyes down on her basket flashed.  “English!” she exclaimed.  “I tried and I tried and I tried. But everything was always wrong, wrong, wrong.  Finally, I told them what they could do with their English!”

Then she glanced up, alarmed, concerned to have caused offense.  “Oh. But not like that!”

“I understand,” I said.  “Your stories are in your baskets. Not in English.”

She stitched her basket, silently.

And I saw.

I saw a school system that scarred her papers and her soul.  I saw a sense of never measuring up.  I saw frustration growing until giving up was the best decision to preserve self.

I saw how profound it was that she was in our building teaching us her talent and skill, sharing her art, her values, and her stories with us.

I saw that there are many others in my classroom who share her experience.

I am humbled and very grateful for her teaching.

A small pine needle basket on my shelf is full of new, poignant understandings.

 

Here is the Word Document version for easy printing.

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(Ignore any ads WordPress has added.  I do not endorse them).

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poem-cell phone November 7, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:08 pm
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That millstone

holding you back

begging your eyes

stealing your time.

Can you ignore

a tone or tingle?

Or do you tune out

teacher, text, or talk–

a zombie

tangled in wifi strands

wrapped around

a stone,

glassy eyes held faster

than data transfer speed.

 

haiku-hope October 16, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:36 am
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There on the hillside

A puddle of brilliant light

Sun broken through clouds

 

pondering- suck it up October 11, 2019

I have a smart dog.

He’s a miniature poodle, and we’ve been doing trick training since he was a pup. He earned his first trick dog title at 8 months old.  Now we’re working on his Trick Dog Championship and there are a couple of foundation things I realize I had not taught him. Since they’re needed for his championship video, I had to teach them.

Last night, I decided we would learn “hold an object in your mouth.”  There are a couple of options to show this. He could walk with me with an object for 10 seconds or stationary hold something for 6 seconds.  First, I tried just having him walk with his ball.  He is capable of holding a ball indefinitely, but, he wants to give it to me to throw, so keeping it and walking up and down the hall at my side did not work.

I switched to the dowel.  Holding a dowel is a foundation for carrying a dumb-bell which is a basic competitive obedience skill. I had been shown how to teach this and had a dowel, but I had never tried it with Kiltti.  I filled a bowl of Cheerios (our training treat) and called him over.  I attempted to put the dowel in his mouth.  He was having NONE of it.  He ran off and refused to come to me.  Evil lady with nefarious plotting in mind!

I went and got a leash.  He welcomed the leash, and then regretted it when I led him back to the couch.  I looped the leash around my leg, and we tried again.  I opened his mouth and set the dowel behind his canines. I gently held his bottom jaw and told him how talented and amazing he was.

His eyes told me he was not stupid enough to believe any nice things I was saying. I let go the jaw, he spit out the dowel he was given lots of treats.  We spent about 2 minutes on this, with his occasional attempts at escape foiled by the leash, and then he was released to go play ball.

An hour later, I picked him up and we did it again.  This time I didn’t have to hold the bottom of the jaw.  I told him how brilliant he was as I lengthened the time.  2 minutes and many Cheerios later, off he went.

Third time, no problem. I filmed him holding the dowel on his own for 12 seconds, twice the time required.  He still thinks this is a stupid trick, but he does it.

This is such a metaphor for some of my more recalcitrant students!  They spit out the dowel of whatever lesson we’re working on.  They don’t care that it’s a building block that is necessary for something they will need to do later on.

Those students who will give a couple of minutes get the task over with, are free to move onto things they enjoy more.  The next time they try the task, it’s easier.  Still not thrilling, but again, it just takes a small effort of cooperation to get it done.  Those kids get a decent report card.  No missing assignments!  In my class, that invariably means at least a B.  Their reward is success!

But those kids who are still feverishly spitting out the dowel?

The obstacle only gets larger when you fight it.  Growth comes with trying new things and trusting there’s a reason to know something, that knowledge is power.

Learning how to ‘suck it up and get it done’ is a valuable life skill.

Here is a scintillating video of Kiltti holding his dowel. 🙂  Excuse my voice. Still dealing with a cold. 🙂

 

poem-listening October 8, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:14 pm
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I hear you in the rain

pouring over me

cold,

drenching.

I’m drowning in you.

Upside down umbrella

beneath a drain spout.

See me tap dancing?

Oh, I’m singing

while you’re pouring

turning roads to light sucking ink.

I think the gutters overflow with you.

You’re sheets

fountains

water falls

rivers

you are an ocean.

I float.

 

 

 

Poem- creativity September 25, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:27 am
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The burn is sizzling

Smoke from nostrils, ears.

Instead, I’m here;

I need to fuel flames,

Tend an inferno.

Blaze brilliantly,

But now I must douse

The burn in reality.

 

 
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