Beware #SOL18 Day 3

Today is day 3 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.



Beautiful blue

Glimmering in the sand

Waiting for a victim



Balloon like bubble

Filled with gas

Poison or not?



Purple jelly


Long tail waiting



Irresistible to touch




Yesterday I posted a slice about my seeing and learning about a Portuguese Man of War while vacationing on Florida.  I kept thinking how pretty this dangerous creature of the sea was, and suddenly I was writing this poem in my head.

Writing two slices on one topic reminded me of the importance of teaching our students to use one experience to fuel writing across multiple genre.


Learning at the Beach #SOL18 Day 2

Today is day 2 of the month long writing challenge with a wonderful community of writers at Two Writing Teachers.

Learning at the Beach

Did you know that the Portuguese man of war is not a jellyfish rather is made up of a colony of four polyps!

Did you know that the Portuguese man of war has tentacles as long as 165 feet?

Did you know that the Portuguese man of war is extremely dangerous and can still sting you after being washed up on shore?

Did you know that the Portuguese man of war’s top polyp is filled with a gas to help it float?

These are the facts I discovered as I sat at a Florida beach last week.  As we walked down the stairs towards the beach we saw a beach littered with blue water bottles – or so we thought.  We put our chairs down in the sand and walked over to the bottles to get a closer look.  Upon further investigation, and with the assistance of a comment from a fellow beach goer, we found ourselves staring at many Portuguese man of wars strewn across the sands.  We stared in disbelief at these strange beings and then sat down to search on our iPhones in an attempt to learn more about these creatures.

After reading three or four online articles about this scary looking siphonophore (see National Geographic) we felt fairly certain that today was not a great day to test our fate so we made the choice to remain in our chairs and not venture into the ocean waters that day.

Amazing how learning can take place when you least expect it.  We are grateful that on this day our learning kept us out of harms way!

PS – While doing research on the man of war I found this wonderful site called the Beach Chair Scientist. I think I would like to be a “Beach Chair Scientist” someday!

Education = Hope – Day 1 #SOL18

Today is day 1 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.  I am ready and eager to begin!

Education = Hope – A Photo Journal of My School Visit in Haiti

Last month I traveled to Haiti.  The trip was a five day whirlwind of hiking, driving, and boating here, there and everywhere. On our first day we had the opportunity to visit the parish school that we support.  As an educator I was most interested in what the Haitian schools were like and curious to learn more.  This school visit turned out to be one of the most amazing and thought-provoking part of my trip to this country.

The school building itself is constructed of concrete block with open windows to allow the breezes (and mosquitoes and flies ) in.  The tin roof keeps the students dry during rainy season but it seemed to keep the heat in.  The rooms appeared rather dark due to the lack of electricity in the rooms.  None of the students seemed to mind.

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These slates are primarily used by the younger grades, while the older students use pens and journals and a few workbooks.  All of the classrooms had a large green chalkboard at the front.  These boards were utilized in all the rooms we visited. One of the requests from the school leaders was for our church to help fund devices to allow the high school students to begin to learn research skills that would help those interested in furthering their schooling.  I was quite surprised to discover that despite the sporadic electricity in the village there was internet access in the area.

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Outside in the school courtyard kindergarten children were playing on the new playground equipment that was recently purchased by our parish.  It was wonderful to hear the joyful sounds of children laughing and playing amidst the familiar squeaks of the swings going back and forth.


We were greeted warmly by all the students in the school.  In many of the classes we visited, our tour guide and pastor Pere Didier, would call upon one student to greet us in English.  The “volunteers” were always gracious as they fluently spoke their hellos.  I later learned that all high school students leave high school having learned four languages: their native Creole, English, French, and Spanish.

I left the school filled with such a mix of emotions of pride, of wonderment, and of joy.  We were all animatedly discussing the amazing experience when we IMG_8973spotted this sign with the wise words of Nelson Mandela painted across the middle: “L’education est l’arme la plus puissante pour changer le monde” or  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

I found promise in the sign and in what I witnessed.  In a country that is plagued with such poverty, I left feeling hopeful about the future of these students where education is a priority.   After this visit I am more committed in knowing that education, no matter how or where, can truly make a difference.  Education is the key to changing the world!