What if Kids Could Vote?

The Polls opened at Centennial today!  See here as our Deputy Returning Officers and Polling Clerks guide students through the process.  About 60 kids voted today, about 30 left to vote tomorrow.  Results will be released on Friday and as always it will be very interesting to see how the results between the student and adult vote compare both locally and across the province.  Regardless, I have been very impressed with the sophistication and maturity of the discussions around here.  Engaged citizens, that’s what we’re hoping for.  Hopefully you’re seeing this at home.

Take them with you when you vote!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finding our Voices

Folks at home,

I could not be prouder of the students for the work they have done over the last week and today as Members of Provincial Parliament.  In my role as Speaker of the House, I was not able to take pictures, and also I forgot.  But today we debated Bill 118, which proposed to change the structure of the school year so that holidays were spread out and students were in school over 12 instead of 10 months of the year.  Not only were individual speeches very well done, I was particulary impressed with the active listening during our session today, with students responding vigorously and astutely to the ideas of other MPPs.   Here are two samples from both sides.

From the Member for Rainy River (the Minister of Education):

Mr speaker.

I am the member from Rainy River, in the red party.

I think the school year should be spread over the year. It would be better for both the kids and adults. They will have more time and more relaxing time.

My first example is for older people, like teachers. Teachers have to work and work all day or night. They won’t have time to rest except for the long break that’s only once! If we spread it out they will have breaks to work they can do it on the breaks. It good because they can do report cards and more to.

Forgetting is another reason too. They will forget and think about how awesome it was on their vacation was.  Also they will forget thing like how to do long division, strategies to math and other thing, school rules and other things.  Forgetting can really be a concern because about ⅕ of the year they spend time learning the same things.

My third example is that, the kids would get really jittery and they could go crazy at the last day of school. The teacher would probably take as much work on a regular day then the last day of school!(because they are so excited for the break).  The day when they get a week off they will not be so excited.

My last example is a debate. We will try it for one year and see how it goes. The kids and parent would not have to worry if they don’t like it. We could see how it goes because in the summer the kids could get more active, also they can get all the seasons we don’t have to skip any. If you’re not getting this then you will get this. We could try and if it does not work then we will go back to normal. We could do a vote to see what the citizens think. It’s always good to try something new.   

So my opinion is you should spread out, I feel like it’s a good idea   

And, from the Member for Moonbeam, in the Official Opposition Party:

Mr. Speaker,

I am the member from the blue party and I think we should not spread school through the summer. I think this because kids need a summer break without teachers.  

When kids have too much knowledge it tends to ‘slip out’.  During school, kids are stressed about their grades and Upset because of the people. During the summer, Kids aren’t on school Electronics such as iPads and Chromebooks. During the summer kids can see family and friends that live far away,  and they can travel.

Summertime gives teachers a break from loud, noisy, and disrupting kids. (;when i was a young child I was none of these things;).  

I get why  you think this would be a good idea,  when kids get a break they will be feisty on the first day of school, Yes it would be easier. But,  if we don’t give them a summer break they will grow to hate school. Then kids wouldn’t want to go to college or university or become a teacher because they don’t want to make kids feel how they felt. There be no big jobs because nobody would want to go to school for them.  having no summer break would have a big impact on the kids futures. unless you want to be the cause of all of their life going down the drain, you will not make this law. Thank you.

Thanks for engaging in conversation about voting, sharing your views–it makes for great conversation here at school, and the students are so fired up with ideas.  Some of it can be a bit overwhelming, and I am conscious of the risk that things in their world can seem bleak.  My purpose is to help them to see that they can use their voices to influence change.

Leading us to the last big assignment of the year (weirdly, there may be big spaces between the pieces, not sure why):



























We just got this today, and there was lots of excitment.  Tomorrow I will begin meeting with each student to ensure their topic has a focus (ie. perhaps “car idling” over “global warming” or “shelters” over “homelessness”) and seems manageable.  Then we’ll talk about gathing and organizing research and how to write a letter that makes people want to help instead of just making them mad.  This is not intended primarily as a “home” project, but some elements may make their way home.  You are of course welcome to engage in the conversation, bounce ideas around.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.



Student Vote, 2018 – Homework!

Hello folks at home,  

This year, the Junior classes at Centennial will join thousands of other young people across the province in participating in the Student Vote.   (Click on that link to learn more).  This project was started a number of years ago because a) it was shown that engaging people as youth led to long-term involvement in civic affairs; and b) youth participation in elections is often very low.

Our students are going to try and weigh the issues and the candidates and make an informed choice. The issues are complex, and I work very hard to keep my own opinions to myself, playing devil’s advocate as best I can.  

But you don’t have to!  As part of this process, I am asking students to initiate a conversation at home.   Obviously, you get to choose what you speak to your child about, but here are the questions I’m encouraging them to get your perspective on:

  • Do you usually vote?  Why or why not?
  • What are the issues that are important to you?
  • Are you voting in this election?  Why or why not?
  • Who are you voting for?  Are you deciding because of:
    • The local candidate?
    • The leader?
    • The party?  
    • The platform?  
    • Something else?
  • If you are undecided, why?  What are you thinking about?


  • If you are from another country:  What is your experience of elections and government in your country of origin?  How is it different, better, worse in your experience/opinion?

Finally, we will be voting on June 4th, with real ballots, voting booths, etc.  The results will be officially submitted to Elections Ontario and will be tabulated along with other results across the province.  If you are voting, I encourage you to take your child along to let them see the process in action.  


Ask your kid about the following:

Instant Parliament

Ask about our instant elections over the last two weeks, in which students have been transformed into Members of Parliament (Federal and Provincial) and been presented with bills.  Currently, there is a bill before the House about re-organizing the school year to span 12 months instead of 10.  Members of the Government will be arguing for the bill next week, Members of the Official Opposition will be, well, opposing the Bill, and MPs from the smaller parties…we’ll see how they decide to vote!  I have a feeling their decision will seal the fate of the bill as law or not.

Government Homework

As the Ontario Election launches, we will be participating fully through Student Vote.  Each student has brought home a sheet that asks them to find the names of various individuals in our different levels of government, as well as the candidates.  (Of whom I hope to have a couple visit if they can find the time).  Please have this sheet back by Friday, as complete as possible.

Gary Rasberry and Songs of Protest

Today we had a visit from Gary Rasberry, who is performing in the Open Voices concert in June.  As we began to explore the question, “How can we use our voices for change?”, Gary kindly agreed to come by and help us delve into how music has been used to express political and social statements.  He played “What if Kids Could Vote?” which he wrote a couple of years ago while working with my class and which the kids have been learning with Ms. Roebuck.  He also taught two older classics, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”


And, in a different light…


We’ve been experimenting with meditation and mindfulness for several months now.  Having begun with “Andy” at Headspace, we’ve moved on to just having music.  As per several students’ request, here is a sample of mindful music we’ve been using to have some stillness each day:


City Hall

City Hall was a fun day. I always forget to take a big posed group shot!


Students have a sheet they were supposed to be filling out through the day (and may have).  They are to:

  • Fill it out the best they can (getting any help they need/can find).
  • Talk to you about the day.
  • Get you to sign the sheet to say they told you everything they could about City Hall.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Surprise Field Trip: Queen’s Coastal Engineering Lab

If your students told you what we did yesterday, there is a chance you may think I’m crazy.  Yes, we were supposed to go to City Hall.  Yes, we did postpone that trip because of the weather forecast.  (Which hopefully wasn’t a surprise to you because you got my note on this blog; see below if you did not).

But everything turns out!  Because we didn’t go to City Hall I got to say “yes” to a local walking trip that I had said “no” to because we were going to City Hall!  (You signed permission for local walking trips back in September.  Thanks for your trust).

Built in the Sixties, the Queen’s University Coastal Engineering Lab is located in a big warehouse building near Richardson Stadium–we can see it from the schoolyard but would never have know what was going on in there.  Then Melissa Hudson from Centennial’s Parent Council showed me an article about the place and said, “It’s right over there!”  So I called Geof Hall and after many emails (and a couple of phone calls before school in  the morning) we went.

Aside from how totally cool the place was, it was very cool to meet and hear from actual scientists doing actual applied research–on preventing the effects of a future Hurricane Katrina; on tsunamis; on oil spills in rivers–in a laboratory that doesn’t look like what we think a laboratory looks like.  People who live inquiry:  asking questions; working with others to find answers; discovering new questions.

Here are some of the student reflections from the outing, and lots of pictures that follow.

Today we went to the coastal research lab. While we were there we learned about rivers and coastlines. In one spot we saw a beach on a lower scale that they would continually spray water on to see how long it would take to break the beach.

After we went to the beach wrecking place we went to a river simulator. There we experimented with what would happen if you put your finger in it. Someone put their finger in and it jumped up (the water jumped). Then we saw what happens when you raise a jump at the end of the simulator. When it was raised it made the water jump up into the air to get over the wall.

Then we went to an oil spill simulator that simulated an oil spill.  While there we saw that when you put dye into the rocks at the bottom of the river the dye would float straight up through the rocks and down the river’s current.      – Jacob. G

Queens Coastal Engineering Lab

This tuesday our class’ trip to the City Hall was postponed since we thought there would be inclement weather during that day. Turns out, there wasn’t.

The city hall trip now moved to next week’s tuesday. So today, since the trip is moved, we went to the coastal research lab at the back of the school on the other side of the street.   Mr. Geof Hall was our guide through the lab. There, we saw simulators that copied things that the ocean did but in a smaller scale.

One simulator would show us what would happen in a tsunami but in a smaller size. There were tons of machines that we tested with. In the middle of the lab was a sand molded coastal line. In front of it were these huge machines that made tiny little waves and sometimes big waves that were a reasonable size for the coastal line. They used this space to analyze if the buildings and homes near the shore were good enough for the waves and if they could use improvement.

Another machines showed us what would happen to the water if there was an oil spill. One thing that I have learned during our field trip was that, rivers couldn’t be on a straight line. If a river was on a straight line, over the years the river would get kind of curvy.

-Geoilli Catedrilla (*^*)

Today we went to the coastal research lab and the people there  were working and studying on how oceans and lakes work. And they were also studying on how to help stop tsunamis.

We also looked at how rivers work they had simulations of all sorts and that is what I remember. -vagn

The first thing we did we looked at balls that resembled Gravel.  Did you now that if the side of the Ocean (the coast) collapses if it might create a Tsunami?  They put a load of gravel up in the box and when it is dumped down it hits the water and makes a tsunami.   We went to a thing that looks like a fish tank.   The water went down and it made a diamond shape and when I got to the end it made a wave when we can put our hands in it.   After we went to another thing that look like a fish tank too and it had rocks in the bottom and tubing and a person put dye in it and then it was imitating oil.   And Geof Hall told us everything.

Hope orr   :3

A Field Trip  April 17/2018

We went to a science lab. The scientists do stuff with water. They want to fix the water in the  ocean and lake. Geof Hall told us about the water. He was working with a river simulator. When you turn a crank the blocker goes up and the water goes wavy. One of the tanks we went to the water went up and down. But we learn about rivers.  If you put the river straight it doesn’t want to be straight; it wants to move in a snake’s way.

Hailie lynn Mahoney

A Unexpected Trip

On Tuesday April 17, we were surprised to see “Field Trip Queens Coastal Research Lab” On the daily board at noon, we walked over to the Queens Coastal Lab. It took us about 4 mins. to get there because it was right beside Richardson Stadium.

When we walked in the building it was big and dusty: exactly what I expected. Jeff the tour guide took us upstairs and brought us to a classroom upstairs where we could look down and see the whole building and so many pipes.  Upstairs we all took a seat and he talked about the machines. We could see and he talked to us about how rivers and coastlines don’t run straight.

Then he brought us downstairs to the tsunami machine. It was basically a long diagonal stripe from the ceiling down and at the top was a metal box which they would fill it with rocks and dirt. At the bottom of diagonal piece was a long glass piece running down the the lab, and it was also filled with rocks, and when it was in use it was filled with water and it would come tumbling down making a mini tsunami.

He brought us to another glass piece that did not have a lid on the top and he filled it with water. And there was a hole in the ground where the water got pushed in to and there was a piece of metal at the end that you can lower and raise, and when we raised it the water tank would raise with a slower flow and when we lowered it the water ran faster and lowered the water.

Then he brought us upstairs and showed us a room we could not go in, but there was a window hole we could look through and it was a pipe room representing the city pipes and how they would look. We could not go in there because it was to loud and very cold.

So he took us to another long tank which had a ton of rocks in it and there were small little tubes on the bottom side of the tank and the lady inserted blue food colouring with a syringe and that represented oil spills and how to clean up the spills  in ways and see how the oil moved around. This was a great

                                 By: Zoe!

Today we went to the water place, there we learned about drinking water, how water flows and river things. At the start we went up to this little building and we learnt that rivers do not flow straight they go in curvy lines, like a snake. Then we went to a place where they make mini tsunamis. We could not see it in action because it takes along time to get ready. Next we learned about coastal lines. The people who run the place don’t use it much but it will make certain sizes. Then they sculpted a beach made out of sand and the waves will come at it.  

Next we did this thing where water will rush and we would use this thing and it will go high and low. If it was low it would go fast if high it will go slow. We saw something called a water vortex.

We did more than this and I had a good time.

Today, we were supposed to go to City Hall for our field trip but sadly canceled because of the weather .  But when we saw what was on the schedule it blew my mind!!…

It took us about 5 min. to get to the research centre to get started for experiments. The first thing that happened was we met a guy named Geof Hall that would be our guide, first we explored the river and how no river could be straight. Then we looked at tsunamis and things to do with waves. At the end we had questions and answers. And that was the best trip.


Today we went to the coastal research lab as a field trip. In the lab we were looking at water facteris with pipes and water systems with geoff hall. What we learned is that water never flows in a strait line it will always be  in separate lines. And what apart of there job was is to find out why it will never flow in a strait line. I thought that it was cool that they were able to control the water with the machine. I also thought it was cool that they understand so much about  the very important element water.

Here are my questions for you [Geof]:

  • Do you put sea salt in the beach water you use to do experiment?  if sea salt was in it what do you think it would be used for?
  • How did you feel when you were presenting your job to us and what you do at the lab?
  • Thank you for everything it was cool

                                                                  from kayden roker

On April 17 my class went to an unexpected trip to Queen’s Coastal Engineering Research Lab. It was a very short walk. When we got there we met Geof Hall a scientist at the lab. We went in the building and it was nothing like the lab you would imagine when someone  said “lab”. He talked about what they were doing and trying to figure out. They were trying to figure out why water doesn’t stay in straight line and go in curves.

They did big experiments with huge machines. There was a tsunami type creating machine. We looked in a room that was the water pipes in Kingston. He asked us do ever think about the water that you drink straight from the tap. The pipes that send the water can have bad thing growing in it.

We went to an river simulator. The water had a pattern. When someone put their finger the water bounced off the finger. There was turning wheel that made the water go higher into a wave type. After that we went to a oil spill simulator. There was rocks and gravel. There was dye in the water to show you what would happen if there was an oil spill. The dye would go straight up and go with the current of the “river”. Then we went back to school.                                          

                                                                                                                      By Jyotsana

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


We went to coastal research lab and there we learned about rivers, oil spill’s, and drinking water. The man that planned this is named Geof Hall is nice, he taught me on many many things. We learned about water pressure and other things like oil spills. We learned a lot from this. I had lots of fun and I’m pretty sure it was lots of fun for the rest of the class. I hope we can go again someday. We learned a lot and we had lots of fun.

By hannah

Today we were surprised of the sudden cancellation of the city hall field trip. fortunately we had the field trip replaced with another trip this time it was local,the trip is to the queens coastal research laboratory where we were going to meet the professor who took us in a tour around the research center.

We first started in a room with desks and boards I think it was a room for lectures and to share ideas after an experiment,at first it did not seem like I had thought I thought it will be like the ones in the California institute and Florida university,Geoff Hall the professor talked about how water and soil could deform the shape of the river next he showed us a machine that simulates the conditions of a real river and right next to it is a machine that simulates conditions of a tsunami and left of it was scale simulation of a beach it is used to simulate tsunamis ,flooding and landslides the break that was made out of calcium, just above it was a place where they were seeing how build ups occurred in our tapes and how effect the and more effective ways to treat it another room right next to it was simulating the chemical build up in a tape.

We spent the final bunch of our time making coastal experiments the first experiment was to see how pressure affects fluid flow speeds significantly we first started with a big glass tank that simulates water pressure the more water in it the more pressure, then there was a narrower quadrilateral glass tube a little gate connected those two tubes when we open the gate the water races out the speed and the force of the water depends on the pressure of the water in the first tank the third gate can adjust a metal plate to distribute the water by letting the water bounce of the plate to make it flow upstream which makes a big wave that surprisingly flows upstream instead of towards the gate,the next experiment was about extracting oil from a river incase of a oil spill but we did not use real oil in the experiment, in a calm lake\river we realized that the oil\chemical was making the water flow more chaotic and that the chemical was all together because oil did not interact with water much it seemed as if it was flowing  upstream and the gravel was being picked up by the stream.

After that we had time for questions at the lecture room and then the trip was over but enjoyed it very much and it was just behind the richardson stadium and hope we could visit another time.

From Adham   

Today we went to the Queen’s  and after we came we saw water.    And we saw water go fast because the man pressed the button and turned the river on.  We see a rock and sometimes the water went very fast and the rock moved. I saw and my class saw it and the water was very cold and fast.

Abbas Hasan

We went to the queens coastal lab we got told a lot about water presure river, and oil spills. But first we were trying to figure out why rivers curve and don’t go straight.

We looked in a room full of pipes .we did not go in it because it was to loud. Geof hills asked us about drinking from the tap. The pipes can have bad stuff growing in side of them.

After we went to the river simulator and when you put your hand in the long tube not that full of water behind your hand goes a wave. And there is a wheel  that controls the water. Then after we went to the oil spill simulator in the bottom of the tank there was sand and rocks. there was blue dye to show you what would happen if there was an oil spill. The dye would go to the top to go with the current  of the river after that we walked back to school.

By: jadis

We went to A place called the queen’s coastal laboratory, it was pretty cool to see the really big machines do the really weird research on rivers.The hydraulic jump thing that controlled the water was cool when the water came high enough to touch. The water bounced off of are hands!       

The next thing we saw was a landslide or tsunami simulator, what it did was it simulated a tsunami or a landslide by filling a big box with small bags of sand and pebble witch when to much was applied a sorta piston would fall and would fall down.The next thing would simulate Hurricanes.

-Noah s

April 17 2018

Today at the Queens coastal research lab we learned about tsunamis and we learned about underwater earthquakes and so many interesting things about water it was awesome because  they do water tests to find out why water does not like! to go in a straight line and we learned that they simulate tsunamis and huge water tornados and that they are trying to find a way to pick up oil more efficiently with food dye i had so much fun there i want to go again sometime.

    -Edan A.J Chase.

Today we went to the Queen Coastal Laboratory and learned about how rivers move. First we sat down in a room Above all the water equipment and talk about how rivers never stay in a Straight line. After that we went down to look at all of the equipment. The first thing we looked at were these balls that were replacing the gravel and rocks.

Then went and looked at a fake beach were they would have this machine that would send out waves.

After that we went up in a room and looked through a window where we say a bunch of pipes we couldn’t go in the room because it was really cold. Then we went and look at river convention where we controlled how fast and slow it went and we gotta control a wave which was really cool after that went and say how die and oil moves around in water. After that we went back up above all equipment and asked some questions.

By summer        

    Today we went to a Coastal Research Lab.  When we got in, Mr. Caldwell brought us up the stairs to a little classroom.  When we sat down, a guy (Geof Hall) told us about if you made a straight river =, it would turn into a curved river because rivers don’t like to be straight (that’s one of the things they’re researching) and the current would change the height and shape at the bottom of the river (rocks and sand) so the water height and shape would change.  There was also a mini tsunami maker we couldn’t watch because, it would take to long to set up.

   The next thing we looked at was a big area that had a recreation of a mini bay/shoreline and a machine that created waves but, there was no water in it because it would be like a tropical climate.  Next we looked at a room through a door window of a mini pipe recreation of Kingston. We weren’t allowed to go inside because, it was dangerous and cold. After, we went to a straight glass container thing that was about 7 meters long.  A guy flowed fast water into it and the water bounced off the glass walls to create a kind of a pattern. The guy put his finger in the water, and the water just shot up around his finger and then back down. Then he went to the back of the glass thing and cranked a gear and then a small wall came up and instead of the water stopping and rising higher, it bounced back and ran over top of the water the opposite way of the current.  Some people got to crank it to. After that, we looked at what oil spills would look like with food colouring in another glass tank with water and rocks.

                                                                                                             – Maia

A Great Field Trip

By: Brian Murphy

I loved the trip to queens. They had a ladder to climb to the tsunami tank. They had a pump to blow the water to the valve. The water went very fast into a tank. The water got really high. They closed the tank door a little to make the water in a connected tube go higher. The water was making waves going back and forth. My favourite part was the pump when it made the startup sound. It wasn’t loud at all.

      Today we went on a surprise field trip to the coastal research lab. We learned lots of new things. We were shown things we did not know. We had time to look around and time to talk in a little upstairs area. We saw things that recreated a replica of things that involve water and the way water affects other things.

    The first thing we talked about was the way a straight river would move the dirt or the stone and make it curved. They didn’t turn on the system that showed that but Geof  Hall the guy that walked us around and showed us some stuff explained it enough that I understood it without the system that showed it.

    The next thing we checked out was a mini version of a beach that showed the effect of waves on sand. We couldn’t be shown that he said that it was not used often and when it was used it was only for big projects.

  After that we checked out a little recreation of  the piping we have in kingston it was in a little room that we were not aloud in because of dangerously cold temperatures.

  then we went to this area that was a long narrow cubic tube that we made water come rushing through and there was a thing at the end that lifted a little wall that made the water tumble back over itself.

  Then we checked out the area were someone put dye in through these tubes that led to the gravel that was in the tank with water and that dye came through in weird places.


 We went on the field trip to queens.  They were studying water. They were studying ocean, lakes and rivers.  They are doing tests with the water. They were adding blue dye into a river water to show what oil can do.   I like the trip because it was by my house and I could walk there. Sitara


Jokes and Poetry

Well Joke and Riddle Week is past, and I have to say we did pretty well.  I expect there are still jokes to be told.  Though I am terrible at remembering jokes–and tend to remember the terrible ones–I think my favourite that came in last week was:

If you are Canadian outside the bathroom, what are you inside the bathroom?


That joke is built for students of this age (and my age, apparently)!  Hopefully some good ones came home as well (especially my awesone penguin joke).  The world could use more jokes, and I think our delivery improved.

And this leads us to Poetry Week!  I hope that everyone has a poem or two to share (and what better thing to do on a miserable day than practice poetry recitation).  Today was supposed to be a practice day .  With the field trip postponed, we’ll get to it.

If you have a poem you love or remember from school, SHARE IT BELOW in the comments!  (Oh that reminds me, Jacob wanted to see the poem by Pablo Neruda about socks, because he, among others, thought it hilarious that a poet would write such a thing.  Here is that link).

I love poetry because it can be so many things, and is often a puzzle to be worked at.  We have read and written a variety of poems over the last while.  Some have been funny, some odd, some beautiful, some utterly baffling (at first)–all helping us to tackle the wide-open question What is Poetry?  Here are a couple that we’ve looked at, for (perhaps) your own enjoyment (or bafflement).   Go ahead and ask your child “What does that mean?!”  They may have an answer.


Climb Mount Fuji

O snail,

   But slowly, slowly.

–Kobayashi Issa


As soon as Fred gets out of bed,

his underwear goes on his head.

His mother laughs, “Don’t put it there,

a head’s no place for underwear!”

But near his ears, above his brains,

is where Fred’s underwear remains.

At night when Fred goes back to bed,

he deftly plucks it off his head.

His mother switches off the light

and softly croons, “Good night! Good night!”

And then, for reasons no one knows,

Fred’s underwear goes on his toes.

–Jack Prelutsky


The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
— Robert Frost
 Mother to Son
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
— Langston Hughes
We read this book about the marvellous E.E. Cummings.  I find the book wonderful partly because it introduces the poet’s whimsical word play, but also because it highlights the bravery of giving one’s life to a pursuit one loves.
Image result for ee cummings enormous smallness

2 little whos
(he and she)
under are this
wonderful tree

smiling stand
(all realms of where
and when beyond)
now and here

(far from a grown
-up i&you-
ful world of known)
who and who

(2 little ams
and over them this
aflame with dreams
incredible is)

— e.e. cummings


And my personal favourite (and possibly Tanner’s also, you’ll have to ask him yourself after he’s read the poem about socks):


The Uncertainty of the Poet

I am a poet.

I am very fond of bananas.

I am bananas.
I am very fond of a poet.

I am a poet of bananas.
I am very fond.

A fond poet of ‘I am, I am’ –
Very bananas.

Fond of ‘Am I bananas?
Am I?’ – a very poet.

Bananas of a poet!
Am I fond? Am I very?

Poet bananas! I am.
I am fond of a ‘very’.

I am of very fond bananas.
Am I a poet?

Wendy Cope



City Hall Trip postponed!

Hello folks at home,

Our City Hall trip tomorrow was supposed to include an element of wandering about and hopefully eating outside.  The hideous weather this week, along with renovations at City Hall that have made possible lunch spots unavailable, seem to make it more logical to postpone.  Derek Ochej has graciously arranged to do the whole thing next week, on

Thursday, April 26th. 

 Same timing, same plan–hopefully better weather!