Fun: Poem a Day Challenge: Shady Poem



Dear Reader:

For many Floridians, thrill seekers flock to places such as Disney World, despite the heat, the crowds and the expense. Below, you’ll read a poem I’ve written in the National Poem a Day Challenge 2012 (see It’s regarding an important search in the aforementioned Magic Kingdom.


My “shady” poem

Under sunny skies in Florida

I am on a quest

Shade is but my only goal

There. I have confessed.

No Mickey Mousing here you see

I am focused still

Shade is but my only goal

Inside shops I catch a chill.

No respite on the beach as well

I will not collapse

Shade is but my only goal

It’s not a tourist trap

Forget the pool and water park

I will seek, then I will hide

Shade is but my only goal

But I have I been denied.

I simply want a shady place

I am on a quest

Shade is but my only goal

So I can take a rest.

 Photo used by permission


Fun: On Being Taught


Tonight is one of those nights that pumps me up enough to keep me stoked and ready to end the school year strong. I only have two of these nights per year. It’s not that there’s a limit, it’s just that the writing, the practicing, the rehearsing, the auditioning, the judging, the coaching from local Toastmaster members and the stage experience happen once in fall and once in spring.

I’m referring to our Writer’s Readings. Tonight was the Spring edition – a recital of sorts for the 6-8th graders selected for the show. Each of the 70+ students was required to audition in front of his or her peers. Each received an evaluation of their audition from three judges. Twenty-six were selected.

Mrs. Barker wrote the best script ever. Mrs. Farrell – another colleague – directed backstage and had amazing results. I drew stage diagrams for scene changes and mic placement.

Stage lights came up, went down, mics were moved, turned off and on at appropriate times and more.

The best part? All of the performances and technical aspects are executed with excitement and laser beam by students who range in age from 11 to 14.

Simply put, I stay constantly amazed.

The stage manager, Makenzie, made my job smooth. She asked great questions and made sure she and her crew understood what needed to happen – one more time. I appreciated that especially since I’m so focused on the students on stage, throwing lines if they pause and taking it all in. The technical theatre students learn this maturity from their teacher Abbie Malkewitz. They know how to control a large sound board and all the details that make a show happen.

Whoever thinks middle schoolers have atrophied brains due to video games don’t know the ones I do!

What I really enjoyed was what I overheard. Immediately after the show I watched as other creative writing students flooded a hall outside the theatre to find their peers and congratulate them. Not only did I get to see students present their original works, but I heard the squealing of excited classmates, laughing and proudly proclaiming their happiness for those who had been on stage earlier.

I think those of us who are adults could learn big lessons from overhearing this exuberance! Cheering on others makes you feel great as well.

I thank my students for those types of encouraging gifts.

That’s why it is worthwhile for me to answer an obnoxious alarm clock five mornings a week and drive downtown to spend my days in middle school. I’m learning quite a few lessons myself!

Fun (not): 100% Poem


The Scoop:

I am celebrating National Poetry Month by participating in the Poem a Day challenge through Writer’s Digest. This is the 5th year for the challenge, it promotes poetry writing and sharing. Additionally, it’s not so bad for beefing up your own poetry collection. Each day a cool prompt is listed and then you can write. If you choose, your newly birthed piece can be posted and shared with others worldwide. If I miss a day, I get that day’s prompt and catch up. Why don’t you join me? See the link below.

Here’s my effort at writing a 100% _____________(you fill in the blank) poem.

I'm fortunate to teach writing but read the poem to see what happens! Photo credit: Carlos Porto

I’m never 100%

100% of the time but

I don’t discount

my 70% effort on a tiring day

or my 85% on-task behavior

while teaching 100% of my middle schoolers.

They range in attentiveness and engagement

anywhere from 0 to 90% –

with a margin of error of plus or minus 6%.

If I have fortune cookies I use

To reward amazing attitude or preparedness

I find that not even 100% of the students want

The cookies to eat,

but 100% of them

Do want the fortunes

to glue onto who knows what…

The only problem is that

As they leave,

3% of the fortunes land on the classroom floor

and then

I’m 100% responsible for picking them up!

To see more from Carlos Porto click here: