The House on the Highway (2017 early draft)

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transport1

Rain again.

Pre-school day.

The boy is sleepy

But becomes alert when reminded

Of school.

He’s dressed in minutes

His cowlick sprayed out

My shirt is stained

But I cover it with a sweater

That wasn’t tight last month.

 

Coffee.  The boy

Asks for a leftover doughnut.

We say goodbye

To a sleepy mama.

She Misses

Coffee but rubs

Her pregnant belly and Ooohs—

She mumbles something about having a lot to do.

 

Will the missus miss us?

 

We’re a mile away from her

And home when

The first red light stifles

Our progress

Toward timelessness.

I hate being late.

Rain hardens, stiffens,

Strengthens.

The sky sends pellets

And creates tension inside me

While each droplet is just doing its job.

Green light.  No movement.

The head of the driver in front of me is visible

In the side mirror.  He’s

Clearly looking at his phone.

I honk and say something

The missus wishes

I wouldn’t say when the boy is around.

Or ever.

Seconds pass.  The guy looks

Up and eases forward.

Waveless.

My tension heightens.

No recognition of fault.

No request for my forgiveness.

 

Another point-eight miles of green lights.

The next stop is my our turn.

The left-turning lane fills behind me

As the rest of the east- and west-bounders

Pound down the splashy path.

A long, loud transporter

Booms by on the right,

Bearing a modular home.

Look at that house, I say.

He of course looks for a stable structure

Off the road

Whoa, he says, in wonderment.

Is there people in there, daddy?

Not likely, I say.  But I can’t stop thinking about

Its future inhabitants.

 

Where are they at this moment?

Waiting at the lot?

A few cars behind?

Boxing up picture frames

And kitchen utensils in another area code?

Did they pick the color?

Is this their forever home?

<<EEEEEP!!!>>

Will this rain ever quit?

<<BLAAMMM—BLAAMMMM!!!!!!!>>

The impulse to turn around has never been stronger.

The missus misses us.

We miss her.  Work should wait some days.

Daddy?

Yes?

I’m glad you’re taking me to school today.

My son really says this just like that.

I stick a sleeve out my window

To wave my apologies to the cars behind me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Impromptu Poem (4/25/2017)

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Here.  Read this.

Read the part below.

The poem.

I’m reading–actually skimming–through student poetry submissions

It’s an expected lot hyphen hyphen (dash)

Some are printed requests for the healing to begin;

Others are verse about how quote funny unquote quote life unquote can be;

A handful of energetic pieces that st-

re-

tch imagination

(s) dot dot dot

So far just 1 has grabbed me

1 just slapped me upside my head.

The poet wrote

about how consumed we are with ourselves

and how little w-

e

talk

and

share

and

love

and

be

in this oneandonlyworld

You see there were 4 stanzas

And Line 2 of Stanza 1

Became Line 1 of Stanza 2

and so forth

while keeping the fl-

ow

and never losi-

ng or dis-

connecting

And I think it’s the strongest so far because that’s what poetry should do,

friends.

It should turn our chin toward the sun

And our eyes away from the coals

It can warrant warmth

And suffocate sadness

And it can be structured

or

not

Because poetic license allows you

to walk down the escalators sometimes

even if they’re pushing you

before you’re ready

 

IvyLearn F2F Training in Fort Wayne

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The IvyLearn superusers and LMS experts have begun training at multiple campuses in Region 3 (Fort Wayne)!  Candy S. recently sent invitations to many upcoming training sessions.  Faculty, adjuncts, and staff can also contact one of the superusers to set up a time to train one on one.

Go to the Superuser List (statewide) to access the superuser list for Region 3 or any other region.

Date/Time

Topics

Location

SuperUsers / LMS Experts

Tuesday

March 7

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 7

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 7

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 9

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: Basic Navigation, Profile Set Up, and Notification Adjustments, Syllabus Updates

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 9

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 9

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level 2: Transitioning Content from Blackboard to IvyLearn

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 21

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Level 1: basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 21

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC1480

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 21

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

David Jones

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Thursday

March 23

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Level II- IvyLearn Transitioning Content/Uplifting

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Thursday

March 23

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Tech Center

TC 1480

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 23

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Level I- IvyLearn Fundamentals: Basic navigation, how to add content, vocabulary, and basic functionality

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann

Date/Time

Topics

Location

Tuesday

March 28

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Faculty Connection- The Grading Center:

Coliseum Campus

CC2366

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Steve Lively

Tuesday

March 28

12:00-1:00 PM

Blackboard to IvyLearn: What are the differences? Come find out!

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Tuesday

March 28

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content:

Coliseum Campus

CC2374

Theo Eagleson

Heather Copen

Frank Garro

Phyllis Wiegmann

Thursday

March 30

8:00-9:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

9:00-10:00 AM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Tech Center

TC1400

Theo Eagleson

Lindsay Adams

Krystyl Dumas

Steve Lively

Thursday

March 30

12:00-1:00 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Student Life

SL129

Heather Copen

Thursday

March 30

3:30-4:30 PM

IvyLearn Fundamentals- How to Import Content

Coliseum Campus

CC2308

David Jones

Theo Eagleson

Nicole Treesh

Phyllis Wiegmann

UWT #3 – And This One’s Important!

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It’s been far too long since I provided my half-dozen readers (exaggerated for obvious reasons) with a fresh Unsolicited Writing Tip.  This is #3.  To find the first two, you will have to do some deep, Other-Net surfing.  Or click below.  It might come up automatically.

Today, a student cornered me (I really must stop exaggerating) after class and asked if beginning a sentence with the word “And” was acceptable.  I immediately thought of Mrs. Thompson, my fifth grade teacher.  She fit whatever you picture in your head to be the classic grammarian schoolteacher.   Mrs. Thompson also despised what she called “prison talk” among the boys at recess.  In those days, we were entrenched in insulting one another by lassoing one another’s maternal caretaker in a buffet of situations and twisted imagery.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie Finding Forrester (starring James Bond), here’s my very similar take:

Starting with any coordinating conjunction [and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so] is, from a technical view of writing, impossible.  One cannot “coordinate” anything if the first part isn’t there. You can’t plug your phone into a steel wall.

Yet, our language is far from a stagnant one, right?  For God’s sake, “howbowdah” is (probably) going to make it into Webster’s online dictionary next week.   Things change.  Language evolves right along with the species.

The point the young writer makes in the movie when told by Connery’s character that he’s breaking a firm rule is this:  Starting a thought with a conjunction can intentionally bring attention to it and thus impact him to the point of an awakening.  In street terms, your reader will get “woke” (I know I’m probably not using that right.  And I also know that a vast majority of you have ceased reading.)  The key–Rob Brown’s character and I agree–is that it should be used sparingly at most.

When I taught younger students, I discouraged the use of this technique, though it rarely arose in student writing.  As writers develop their voice into- and throughout adulthood, however, I think it’s proper to encourage experimentation and a general toying with our gorgeous language.

But it needs to stay within reason.  Students should still exhibit Standard English in their major works.  Perhaps more leeway would be afforded in a creative writing course.  And some professors have probably stopped caring about those types of rules by now.

Professional authors in multiple genres do it, so wouldn’t it be a bit hypocritical of us to suggest that it’s never to be done?   I think we can ease up on this one with the caveat that doing so cannot become a regular act.  And it must have impact.  So, try it out once or twice in a rough draft.  But no more than once in a final draft.  I hope you don’t get my fifth grade teacher, though.

There you have it.  If you have found this commentary useless, I’ll end with this tip:

 

So is your mom.

 

Canvas – A new LMS at Ivy Tech Community College

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This will be brief, and it’s really intended for a very specific audience out there.  I am one of about 80-100 full-time faculty members from Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana who will be asked to lead training seminars with other faculty and staff throughout the state.  We are a state-wide college with campuses in over a dozen main campuses around the state.

Our college is switching from BlackBoard to Canvas in the coming months.  If anyone out there has college/university experience with Canvas and would like to offer information that might be useful for me, my department and other colleagues, I would greatly appreciate it.

Specifically, I would like to hear what students and faculty (adjunct or full-time) like and dislike about Canvas.  Feel free to post comments below or send me an email.

Teachers: Discourage White Letters!

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Teachers: I was just reminded of something I recently learned from one of my college freshmen: Students have been (and will continue to do so) writing X amount of nonsense words at the end of an essay, then change the font color to white. This means the word count you see (grade?) will be larger than what they actually constructed.

Of course this is ridiculous, but then again, so is assigning a word-count minimum (in my opinion).

We need to stop the “easy-to-grade/penalize” mentality of counting words, correcting spelling, and writing in missing commas. Instead, work with young people to develop their thoughts in a clear and organized manner.

If you are reading this and you plan to use this in a future paper or assignment, please re-consider.  Your teacher may dock you for not meeting some arbitrary number he/she established, but you can continue in life knowing that not every one of your readers will concern himself/herself with how many words you can write.

When it comes to your words, quality will always outweigh quantity.

Jokes with My Son

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My four-year old son has discovered jokes.  At first he was trying to repeat the ones he’d heard on a cartoon.  Then, he began creating some, uh, original comedy.  An early example was this:

Q: What do cows eat for breakfast?

A: Cow poop!!

I laughed because the punchline was unexpected, which is of course an aspect of comedy writing.  However, I tried to steer him a little by picking up a kids joke book.

Example from book:

Q:  What do angry rats give out during the holidays?

A:  Cross-mouse cards!

This is an antiquated and extreme stretch of the pun.  Young kids in America rarely know the word “cross”.  And no one send cards anymore.

So, I’m trying to up his game a little.  He likes fast-food roast beef (We only go 1-2 times a month I swear!) so I gave him this one:

Q:  Where do pirates like to eat?

A:  Arrrrr-by’s!

He spat out a sympathy laugh and stared at his hands for a moment.  Then, he repeated his current original favorite:

Q:  What do panda bears eat for lunch?

A:  Human brains!!

This could take a while…