Britt Hawthorne is one of my most favorite people to learn from. I follow her on Instagram and am a Patron on Patreon because I appreciate everything she shares. This week she shared a spoken word poem from Phil Kaye called "Before the Internet" that is pure gold to a literacy teacher.
In his poem, Phil shares a small moment. A small moment with his friend during summer back in the 90's before the Internet. It's a perfect nine-year-old memory that I think a lot of students might relate to, even if they are kids living during a pandemic in 2020 with the Internet.
I'm definitely going to share Phil's poem with my students but I'm going to preface it by showing the following clip from Disney's The Jungle Book where the vultures are sitting around trying to think of something to do.
Both the Disney artists and Phil Kaye found something so universal, sitting around with friends trying to think of something to do, and made it interesting by adding super specific details. The vultures joke about waiting for something to die and how they'd be happy about that and Phil talks about watching Indiana Jones and wanting to pretend they could be as cool as he is. Two similar moments with two different stories that make them unique.
It made me think of this poem "Instructions on Listening to the Trees" from Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood. This poem is about going outside and taking a moment to breathe and listen. It's about noticing how we are part of something bigger than us. I think Phil's poem is sort of about this too. It's about recognizing a small moment and writing about it in such a way that it's obvious that he paid attention.
I'm excited to start off the school year with these texts and to invite students to think about their lives and to pay attention to the small moments and to notice the world around them. This year I'm being super intentional about choosing texts that match and pair together to help students think more deeply about the concepts we're discussing and about themselves as learners and humans.
If you have any texts that you think would pair well with the ones I shared here, please share!