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
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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.

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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!

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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
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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-instructions January 25, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:41 am
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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- deep December 12, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:44 am
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I’ve fallen into a fog

that fills my head with cotton

and adds sandpaper to my throat.

Bed sounds like such a good idea,

but work requires my presence.

Mentally, I’m home, buried under quilts.

Physically, I supervise workers,

who all wish they were home in bed.

We may lack spirit for spirit week;

but today is pajama day.

How apropos.

 

poem- noise November 29, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:12 am
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Wherever I put you

you erupt in explosions of sound

You are a Tower of Babel

oblivious (or indifferent) to the distraction you are.

The constant cries sound like

See me! me! me!

It’d be nice if you looked at others for a while,

perhaps they need to be seen, too.

 

 

poem-worlds beyond June 8, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:10 pm
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There are worlds beyond your doors

and opportunities reaching out to you.

“Future” is such a big word,

and so is “college” if no one has been before.

But you have just as much right

to take those chances, as any one else.

Don’t doubt the power of your ability.

If you choose to do it,

are willing to put in the work,

you can do it:

break down stereotypes,

forge new ground,

accomplish something beyond

what judgmental people

think is all you can be.

What’s your dream?  Fight for it.

 

 
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