a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Friday, March 3, 2017


I am still basking in the glow of our school's visit with Kwame Alexander earlier this week. Did you know Kwame Alexander is five kinds of magic?

one | Kwame Alexander is the kind of magic that creates palpable energy in a giant auditorium filled with 6th and 7th grade students. From the moment he was introduced, he had our students in the palm of his hand. He brought his collaborator, Randy, with him to play accompanying music while he led students in a sing-along about following your dreams.  

two | Kwame Alexander is the kind of magic that makes a sing-along about following your dreams Cool (with a capital C). In addition to 6th and 7th graders, our audience included a VIP section of 8th graders highly in need of motivation. Although these particular 8th graders wanted to remain slouched down in their seats, with hoods pulled over their heads, and a way-too-cool-for-this attitude on their faces, they just couldn't help but get caught up in the fun.

three | Kwame Alexander is the kind of magic that inspires students to call out in response to him. Somehow, in an auditorium packed with people, he managed to make students feel as if he was having a one to one conversation with each student. Enough so that students were moved to shout out responses to him in earnest. 

four | Kwame Alexander is the kind of magic that manages to pull a potential disaster out of the crowd, put him on stage, and turn him into a shining success. When a VIP 8th grader couldn't help himself and kept shouting out, he pulled the student onto the stage and gave him a job to do. The student read the last line of each stanza as he rapped a poem set to music. Did I mention that Kwame Alexander got this potential disaster of a student to READ in front of nearly the whole school? 

five | Kwame Alexander is the kind of magic that is contagious. Joy radiates from his being. I had one of those silly stuck-on-my-face smiles throughout the entire presentation. Now, when I ask a student who attended what they thought, I get the same smile. It is a beautiful thing.


  1. This is so beautiful to read that it brought tears to my eyes. The kind of tears brought on when something deeply touches my heart. Joy and engagement the best kind of learning. What a gift!

  2. Now I wish I had been thete. Cool structure to highlight him.

  3. Someday, I hope to witness the magic of Kwame Alexander. For now, I will savor your words, because they hold magic too.