Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 5/15-5/21 (DC Edition)

Monday 5/15: Rest.

Tuesday 5/16: Rest. I was supposed to work out but had to pack for DC and lost time.

Wednesday 5/17: Our first day in DC! I never plan to workout on our first day, and this was no different. We got some solid walking in, though.
How many steps are supposed to make a mile? My steps and mileage were drastically different from others' the whole trip.
Thursday 5/18: I did some ab exercises when I woke up and watched my steps throughout the day, but there was no time for the gym or a solid workout.
All that time standing was tough on my feet!
Friday 5/19: I couldn't sleep and woke up before my "go to the gym" alarm (which was set for 5:07am) so I got to the gym early. I asked Stacey if she wanted to join and she said she didn't think so, so I left without her. I did about a mile on the treadmill (if my Apple watch can be believed) and literally cheered a few minutes later when the door opened and Stacey came in!
After the run I did some weighted squats, presses, bicep curls, and planks.

We flew home that evening after a weather-delayed flight. I was home and asleep around 11pm.

Saturday 5/20: I literally slept until 12:30pm and then napped from 3:30-5pm. Major rest day!

Sunday 5/21: Rest. I needed a day of housekeeping after travel!

This week was almost a total loss as far as structured workouts go, but sometimes that happens! This week is the last week of school, and I know it'll be exhausting but I'm planning to get some good workouts in!

ABK

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Five: My Favorite Poems

Last week, our 7th grade math teacher and I were talking about our new math schedule for next year. We're adding geometry for our advanced 8th grade students. We were discussing which of the math teachers would teach it, and who would keep algebra, and she said something I found funny.

"Mrs. B really loves algebra, so she'll probably want to teach that."

Not she loves teaching algebra but she loves algebra. I thought it was funny/odd and then I realized, you know, I love teaching English but I love English itself, too, and many of its various components, like reading, symbolism, and poetry.
So, I thought I'd share five of my favorite poems with you guys for this Friday Five.*

1. La Muerta [The Dead Woman]

2. Cien Sonetos de Amor: XVII [One Hundred Love Sonnets XVII]
I am kind of a fan.
The first two poems are by Pablo Neruda, who is far-and-away my favorite poet. I wish I could read his work in the original Spanish; I have read many translations of his poems but my favorite translator of the first poem is Donald Walsh because of his use of "untamable" in the last stanza, which speaks to me so strongly. Other translations just don't compare.

That being said, it's an interesting practice to read the same poem by many different translators. They each bring a different perspective to the piece.

I am drawn to the visceral and emotionally-charged language of Neruda's political poems, like the first, and his simple, relatable, genuine language in his love poems really resonates with me.

3. the lesson of the moth

The next poem on my list is written from the point of view of Don Marquis's character Archy...so there is no capitalization or punctuation and it's a little stream-of-conscious. I had to read it a couple times to get the idea of who was speaking and what was being said.
I think most people want to be the moth but are actually the roach, including myself.
The act of figuring out speakers and opinions in this poem made the lesson, when I finally got it, that much more poignant. And I find myself wondering...am I the moth, or am I Archy?

4. Home (Bonus poem: do yourself a favor and click for the next poem when you get the bottom.)
Warsan Shire's poem Home came to my attention during the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis last year, as it probably did for many of you. The imagery is staggering and its honesty is brutal. This poem is proves that poems can be beautiful without being pretty.

5. Stone

After Home, it seems apropos to finish with a poem by author Charles Simic, who experienced displacement as a result of war. There is more to us than meets the eye, and sometimes we contain multitudes. Stone illustrates that beautifully. The subject, like the poem, should not be underestimated.

We can be hard, strong, calm, and dark while also being full of fire, light, and resilience.

Speaking of resilience, I'm adding a bonus poem because...why not?!

6. Maya Angelou's Still I Rise is an iconic, unapologetic rallying cry for Black women. I think parts of it can speak to the female experience in general, too. You can watch her recite it below, or search it up in YouTube. There are dozens to choose from, and each variation is powerful and moving.
I love poetry because it puts to words the feelings and experiences that often defy explanation. I love teaching poetry because it can give students that same invaluable skill.

Do you like poetry?
Share a poem that you love from school or your childhood!
What is a line from a song or poem that resonates with you?
Are you Archy or the moth?

ABK

*I'm in DC with my students so if this doesn't link, oops! Also, I would not be surprised if most of you skipped this post because, ugh, poetry, right? What is this, school?! Still, the English teacher in me can't help but wheedle: at least try one. Look at my commentary and pick the one you think you'll like. Try something new!