Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- scratching January 23, 2019

Filed under: Poetry,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:11 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pens poised,

Paper rustling.

Begin.

Destiny scratched

into this exam.

Future doors open or close.

You can ruin your life!

.

Don’t stress.

Life is not a straight road.

If an exam slams a door,

wiggle through windows,

force up foundations,

drop down the chimney.

Destiny is carved in determination,

not scratched in this exam.

Advertisements
 

Education- Small but mighty learning November 24, 2018

The following article was originally published in The Gateway newspaper, Sicamous, BC, June 2014.  I no longer teach at ERS, but the school continues to engage in innovative programs with some of the most skilled teachers in SD 83.  When I left, half the teachers had Masters degrees and a third of them were published authors!

.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY LEARNING AT ERS.

© Shawn L. Bird 2014

Eagle River Secondary (ERS) has been the educational heart of Sicamous since students began learning on the property nearly a century ago. In recent years, declining enrolment has required the school to become creative in order to offer programs that keep students in town. These successful innovations are causing a stir throughout the province.

The changes have included offering grade specific Core classes (English, Social Studies, Math, and Science) in the mornings and multigrade electives in the afternoons. The electives have embraced the teachers’ varied passions, allowing students to learn through classes in geo-caching, horticulture, international cuisine, cake decorating, hockey, outdoor education and guitar as well as more traditional classes like volleyball, biology and art. Of special note is the Social Justice class, which has students in the community helping at the thrift store and Meals on Wheels, harvesting vegetables for the food bank, gardening, and collecting for various charities.

A new focus on flexible learning by the Ministry of Education became the key to Eagle River’s innovations. The school has been given freedom to develop unconventional approaches to timetabling and course offerings. As a result of the success of these efforts, ERS has been recognized by the provincial government as a flagship school of the BC Ed Plan. Grade eight and nine students have had the opportunity to learn together in their choice of six mixed Science/ Socials classes throughout the school year; grade ten will be added in 2014-15. These courses have provided hands on, project based learning exploring local plants, controversial issues, water, astronomy, sound, electricity, revolutions, world religions, and cultural fashions among other offerings.

ERS is also very active in Career Education initiatives. Students are able to earn credits for their work experience in their jobs outside of school. There are two ERS students working in the community as Secondary School Apprentices, collecting hours with BC’s Industry Training Authority and gaining high school credit while they work as a marine mechanic or electrician. ERS works with School District 83 to provide two other students with dual credits (both college and high school) for career training as an automotive repair technician or a hair dresser. These students do a semester or year of training at another SD83 school, and will return to ERS tograduate with their friends.

Students also have the opportunity to parlay their own interests into Independent Directed Study (IDS) blocks. Students develop a set of learning goals, based on existing Ministry courses, and then leave the building to explore. Presently a pair of students is doing an IDS in fly fishing, learning about insect and fish life cycles, creating flies, fishing, and recording their findings. This is science and physical education for real life! Other students have created IDS courses in music, mountain biking, fitness, and long boarding. ERS partnered with UBC’s Okanagan campus to offer Maker Day. This was a chance to explore creative thinking and problem solving by students and community members working in small, multi-age groups to create prototypes of inventions. Maker Day is a movement dedicated to inquiry learning. Three ERS teachers are working on Masters degrees at UBCO, and the university is keen to have greater involvement with the school.

Eagle River’s innovations are making waves. Schools from all over the province are calling or coming to see what is happening within the walls. With only 150 students in grades eight to twelve, ERS may be small, but it’s mighty. Great things are happening for Sicamous’s kids, and the province is taking

You can find the original article in situ here on page 8. GatewayJun2014-SmallMightp8.

Shawn L. Bird BA, MEd.

 

 

poem-care March 8, 2018

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:40 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

She shouldn’t care more about you

than you do yourself.

Your success should be on your shoulders

not on hers.

She can guide, support, aid,

but you must do the work,

think the thoughts, stretch your brain,

believe you can.

There is no easy way.

You need to care enough to be your best,

trust the tools and safe venue for risk,

let her cheer from the side,

as she watches you ride

away into your future.

You need to trust, this isn’t a place

to stay.

 

poem- Muffin Pantoum December 10, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:25 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s another pantoum poem, written as a demo with a class on Poetry Friday.  This was last block of the day, and one of the students wanted to go get a muffin…  Another laugh filled class as we created this poem together!

.

Muffin Pantoum (C block)

Josie and Ally want a muffin;

They can’t work on empty stomachs.

Without food, they won’t do nothin’.

How about crackers and hummus?

 

They can’t work on empty stomachs

How can we ask them to?

How about crackers and hummus?

As we watched, their hunger grew.

 

How can we ask them to?

A muffin’s not too much to ask!

As we watched, their hunger grew.

They couldn’t do their tasks.

 

A muffin’s not too much to ask!

A morsel would be fine!

They couldn’t do their tasks

Oh, please! Please, let them dine!

 

A morsel would be fine!

They only need a bit of food;

Oh, please! Please, let them dine!

Josie gives us attitude.

 

They only need a bit of food

Without food, they won’t do nothing

Josie gives us attitude:

Josie and Ally want a muffin!

.

(This is quite literal. When we were done, they went off and got ONE muffin that they shared).  🙂

 

Poem-Egger Pantoum December 9, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In our school, the chef’s training kids make ‘eggers’ in the morning.  These are buns with fried egg, cheese, and a sausage patty.  They are a popular fast-food breakfast fare, but I hate them.  Fried eggs are nauseating to me, runny yolks make me want to vomit, the smell makes me nauseous.  So, to avoid calamity, I do not allow them in my class room. Kids have to eat them outside the room. There are huge windows between room and hall, so the class can watch the egger eater outside, like a sad puppy at the glass, waiting to come in.  

Today we learned about pantoum poems, and before they wrote their own, I guided a class written one.  This was what A block English 11 came up with, as one student was barred and then didn’t realise the door was unlocked, so he could just walk back in when he was done eating his egger.  There was lots of laughter, as we wrote it!  🙂  I love Poetry Fridays!

Egger Pantoum (A block’s)

I wanted into English class.

I wasn’t allowed in.

They laughed at me, en masse.

Eating eggers is a sin

 

I wasn’t allowed in;

I walked away.

Eating eggers is a sin.

What a great start to the day.

 

I walked away.

I wandered through the halls.

What a great start to the day,

Trapped within these walls.

 

I wandered through the halls.

I’m chewing very slowly

Trapped within these walls

Eating eggers, I’m unholy

 

I’m chewing very slowly;

Tears are streaming down my cheeks.

Eating eggers, I’m unholy,

The door won’t open for a week.

 

Tears are streaming down my cheeks.

They laughed at me, en masse!

The door won’t open for a week.

I wanted into English class!

 

poem-instructions January 25, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:41 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

So much difficulty

is avoided

when we read the instructions.

If you don’t know what is asked

why do you try

to answer?

.

.

I’m marking exams at the moment and astonished at how often answers in no way reflect the question asked.

 

poem- suspended December 15, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:23 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

We are waiting.

The cloud reclines darkly above the lake.

The snow line drops lower.

The cold creeps and seethes.

Inside, bricks channel the chill.

Children vibrate, “It’s coming!  It’s coming!”

It’s so hard to sit still and concentrate.

Adults sniffle and cough, mutter, “Soon.  Soon.”

They dream of freedom, warmth, of sleeping in.

Christmas holidays can’t come

quickly enough.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: