Lunchtime

Stepping out clumsily towards the line

Walking briskly with friends

Stamping heavily to the playground

Jumping happily as the ball bounced

Running hastily with a lunch bag in hand

Stepping boldly after the meal

Strolling casually as her friend waits

Galloping excitedly to the four-square game

Dodging carefully as the ball is thrown

Standing alertly as the ball passes the line

The playground teemed with activity

I watched carefully, noticing the different movements around me.

On duty this afternoon, aiming to conjure a slice, I saw legs many pairs of legs. They moved in different ways. I told myself that will make an interesting slice. So that is how the idea of the poem came about.

Sunday

As I rise on this day

Wondering how the

Week will begin

In two minds

Still needing rest

But rest interrupted

Mind wonders ahead

What’s the week ahead holding?

Good times or bad

Pinching myself

Hold positive thoughts

Days will come and go

As always, the week will

Work itself out

My role is, only to

Give the rolling days

My best self

Till we meet again!

Waking up on Sundays sometimes has a bitter, sweet feeling. My dilemma. Do I rest longer? Should I just wake up and get on with it? I had planned a different slice, but my conundrum led me to this simple poem.

A soothing Golden Shower Plant from my sister’s garden.

A few of my favorite things…

As I am home alone this weekend I have been thinking about some of the things enjoy doing. Here are a few of my favorite things;

Reading– I love a particular genre, realistic fiction is my go to, I am sometimes drawn to memoirs. I stray a little but that’s okay. I just have to read. My professional books really pull me away from fiction during the school year but I try to make my weekends count. I joined a book club and the discussions are really stimulating.

Writing– I try to write daily, I aim to be a better writer. I write with different groups, for different purposes and in my different roles.

Rendezvous with friends- This has now got to be planned in order to have many of us present. Recently, my classmate from my secondary school (a friendship spanning over forty years) just planned a rendezvous, no fuss, just sent us an invite to ask us what to be prepared for our visit and that impromptu visit was just great. No frills, our host made us welcome. We stayed for over six hours chatting and reminiscing about our school days.

Plants-I guess I am converted as I did not appreciate plants as much as I do now. I’m glad I have encountered a whole new world of nature. It is enchanting to say the least. I am learning slowly to tend to the plants I own and nurture them with good soil and daily care in the act of growing green fingers.

Music – I enjoy a certain beat, the rhythm of the 70s and 80s disco music. I love highlife (Ghanaian music) the lyrics in the local languages are proverbial and teach you so much. These days I have been drawn to some ‘Afro-beats’ which seem to appeal to different ages, with its complex rhythms.

Maybe cooking would have a place here, but is not exactly a favorite!

These are a few of my favorite things.

Reading Our Environment

This spider caught my eye.

The beautifully crafted, ornate spider.

I followed it and visited a STEM classroom where it was designed and manufactured. My teacher colleague demonstrated what the spider actually does and shared the different lessons that were taught as part of the process of crafting this beautiful spider.

I was intrigued, by the LED diodes eyes, the different parts, the copper strips the switch and the place the battery sits. There was a circuit within this Art piece. Just amazing. Our hallway is strewn with the spiders…taking over our school!!!

Of course the daylight and the place they are displayed does not make it possible for this exposé, but I was served with this because I inquired and followed my curiosity. The attraction actually led me to the STEM room.

This is a slice I needed to write, as it opened my eyes to what we can learn if we ask questions and read our environment.

Photographs shared with permission.

A Few Good Comments

“I need to work on that!”

“I didn’t do well.”

“It looks like I did not do enough.”

” I need to work on organisation.”

These are a few comments from my students after they self- assessed their writing pre-assessment, using a checklist.

I noted the power of self assessment today as my students now know exactly what they will be learning about the topic and what they will be taught.

There are many benefits to students’ self-assessment. I was glad to hear the comments, especially as I’m now planning my lessons and can use all the qualitative information including their comments to inform my planning.

Images, Words and Experiences

I’m reading, Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move by Nanjala Nyabola). This insightful book I’m reading has really got me thinking. I’m only on chapter three but I am very engaged and really thinking deeply about many of the topics and how they are impacting the experiences of the author.

For my book club, I have to read a couple of chapters and I can’t wait to steal a bit of time during the day to read. It’s great when you meet a book that you do not want to let go of. This one is doing that to me.

I read a few pages this morning when my students were reading independently and the part I read got me thinking about the ‘power of societal photographs’. The photographer, the one that consumes it and if there is a person or people in the photograph; the effect it has on any members of the group.

This made me think about the way words can have an effect on both the speaker and the listener, particularly words that are meant to have an impact on another. Whilst reading, I thought of many examples of photographs that shared the the wrong or perhaps a “single story’.

There will be a lot to discuss when my book club meets, as we also bring our lived experiences to the discussion.

A Piece of Good Fortune

Sharing details of a lesson, by phone, with a student from my Reading group, led me to the help I was seeking for my next steps. My student had missed the lesson and I called to offer a session on what had ensued.

At the end of our discussion, his mother (whom I had never met) asked to chat with me. After a long conversation, I found out she had just published her first picture book. I was amazed. She shared her process with me and passed on the details of her agent and publisher.

This was somewhat overwhelming. My research for a while had been a search for an agent or publisher, one that catered for local writers.

At the end of the call, I was quietly elated and wondered why I had made that initial phone call after all.

A Bonfire Night

On our drive through the serene, leafy campus on our first ever visit of the school year. I noticed a ten foot high (it looked that high) planks of used wood piled up into a tidy cone-like shape.

Interesting! It’s a shame I missed my photo opportunity.

“A bonfire?” I asked surprised.

“Yes, I hear there is going to be a bonfire night,” my sister answered, as we drove past.

An interesting celebratory feature. I honestly do not know the purpose of bonfires except…

Oh! When we had our thirtieth anniversary at my high school (boarding) there was a huge bonfire as part of our celebration. We sang our school songs and chants and on our procession had our individual torches which eventually lit the massive bonfire.

In the West African evening heat, the purpose of the fire was definitely not to warm us up. The excitement around the bonfire was thrilling. The chats and bonding with very old friends was igniting just like the splinters and sizzles coming from the fire. We stood behind the metal barriers placed a couple of metres around it, after it was lit.

At the boarding school, this may have been one of their celebrations. Where students could bond and socialise, participating in a ritual together, to build community and carry on the tradition of the school. This rather symbolic one, celebrating Ghana’s Independence anniversary could represent many things.

The burning of something insignificant could symbolise the end or the beginning of an era. Or a revival of what is going on that is working such as “let’s do it better”? I am guessing here and I quite like this innocence I am bringing to this topic because I know I’m going to explore the real meaning and significance of this memorable event. As I was looking at photographs on the free site to choose from, I noticed how striking a bonfire can be and how majestic and controlled it looks. Could this be celebrating beauty?

My young E , whose first year it is at the boarding school, may never have experienced this before, I wonder what her thoughts are about the whole event, too!

Celebrations All Around

As we celebrate Ghana’s Independence day anniversary today.

I chose to inform my Saturday reading class, yesterday, about this exceptional children’s author, playwright (storyteller) and generally an Arts advocate. It was our short history lesson and they participated by interacting with her play and taking notes.

My initial wondering was to find out how much local children know about the many local writers and playwrights. Efua Sutherland , a Ghanaian, was an amazing woman, her achievements spread all over our land, but believe it or not she is not as well known amongst the local children.

It made me glad we were able to celebrate her especially on such an occasion (Ghana’s Independence Day Anniversary). This introduction was crowned by playing an interview of Efua Sutherland recorded a while ago. The children heard her speak about one of her areas of focus, which was advocating books that allow children to appreciate their identity. This is now a common discussion topic and shows what a forward thinking individual she was, even in the late 1950s to the 1990s. She had many other important accolades.

We also read part of one of her rhythmic plays, Tahinta and pointed out her parks in the city with one formally named after her, in the central area of the city (Accra).

My writing journey has sent me, making many discoveries and this is one of them.

My Soothing Visits

Once or twice a week, after a hard day’s work, I seek my brief respite at my sister’s commercial garden. Coincidentally, it’s only a five minute walk from my school, as fate would have it, in this vast city, this is where the garden surfaced.

What this visit sheds on me, I cannot describe with words. On every visit the plants would have transformed growing lusher and lusher. Her comment is the attention the plants receive.

I know the corners of the garden well. I can tell when plants disappear or appear. It’s really interesting. I once thought of the corners of the garden as if they were stories. Just like stories that are modified all the time. During each visit, I can write a different story about the same corner of the garden. The plants grow, find another home or just blossom.

I have written before about my struggle with keeping plants healthy. I need to spend enough time to learn what plants need (the tricks of the trade).

What I do well with is, taking photographs and just enjoying the ambience that emanates peace and quiet, as the variety of tropical plants whisper mellow words to me.

This garden is in a slightly built up area and actually appears as a surprise to many who dare to venture in. I guess it’s not only a surprise to people but to the colourful butterflies that have found a home. Nature can be truly enchanting when nurtured.