Saturday, August 11, 2018

The End of an Action Packed ABL Week: The Start of a New Chapter in the DJHS- ABL Story

Although I'm not a Math teacher, I read stories in numbers. So let me throw out a few, that tell their own story.
5th August, Sunday: The ABL crew and around 25 teachers in a planning meeting, 12.30 to 5 pm.
6th and 7th August, 2018: 5 ABL facilitators team teach with 21 teachers in DJHS across 26 divisions (Grades 3 to 10) and all classes more than once. Average class strength -35 students. Integrating Art, Music, Drama and Writing across the curriculum.
8th August, 2018: Team teaching (Primary and Secondary sections) 9am to 3.30pm  in DJG.
8th August, 2018:   4.30 to 6.30 pm - 120+ parents and their children: Reading, writing, sharing.
10th August,  2018: 77 teachers. 17 different schools, reading, writing, sharing.
11th August,  2018: 94 students, 9 schools, reading writing and sharing.

A few quotes, questions, comments from students, teachers, facilitators:
"When is the next ABL conference?"
"Ms Lee, in the next conference, I want to work with Rich."
Thank you Miss, for letting us be a part of this Peace Conference.
" Why didn't you include all the Science and Computer teachers? This isn't fair!"
" I shared my writing for the first time."
I've never done anything like this."
"I didn't know I could write!"
"This is so much fun. Not like other boring workshops."
"Spectacular."

And finally a two line story from a student that sums up our Writing for Peace Conference.

'Ammi' took me to the mosque on Friday, my father took me to church on Thursday. 
The prayer I heard was the same.

To everyone who was a part of this week and worked to make it happen, 'Thank you'. I am blessed.

Student Workshop Draws 94 on a Saturday!

This post is by Rich

The 2018 ABL-DJHS Writing for Peace Student Workshop was originally scheduled for Thursday, 9th August, but concerns about violence forced it to be rescheduled to Saturday, 11 August. There were 102 students pre-registered for the Thursday event, who expected to miss a day of school to attend. When it was re-scheduled for Saturday, I was concerned that far fewer students would come, on their day off.

I was wrong. Ninety-four students from eight different schools from around Mumbai came, on a Saturday, all in school uniform! Registration was scheduled to begin at 9am. I arrived at 8:15 to find about 30 students outside, waiting to enter. One teacher who brought a small group told me that they were worried about being late due to Mumbai traffic, so they left home at 6:45am, to make sure they were on time.

The Teacher Workshop was a day earlier, on Friday 10th August, and for the Student Workshop, we essentially ran the exact same event, with small tweaks here and there to accommodate the age group (Grades 6-10). Lee, the master of organization, had set up 11 groups, with students mixed up by school, so students sat at tables of 8-9 with students from other schools. Each group had 2 writing leaders, who were older (Grade 9-10) DJHS students, trained by Lee to help the group. The Writing Leader model was developed at ABL in Lawrence in the summer workshops there, where Lee has served as a director over the years.



The event began at 9:15, and Lee's two brilliant 10th grade students, Berhanuddin and Madeeha, led the room thorough a series of Peace Games, designed to help students think about privilege and their values. At 9:45, Lee and I introduced the day, and explained what the ABL Peace Literacy Network is all about. At 10, I led the room in a short writing exercise (I love, I wish, I dream) and invited students to share at their tables. At 10:30, Alan took over the mic and led students through the Writing about Peace protocol developed by Lee. Another sharing session followed.









Next, Lee led a Two Sentence Story exercise. The morning ended with Alan leading the room in a singing of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

At 11:35, students signed up for their afternoon workshops, choosing two of the four: Social Justice Theater with Julia, Imagining Peace Through Music with Alan, Peace through Art with Ingrid, and Identity Writing with me. After lunch, we all taught two workshops back-to-back, from 12:45-3pm.

At 3:10, we gathered back in the assembly hall. Writing Leaders were directed to help participants identify one piece of writing to include in the anthology, and one piece of writing to share with the whole group. We then called up each group in turn, asking each student to share one piece. A wide variety of student writing was shared, including writing from the morning prompts, as well as all four afternoon workshops. The Two-Line stories proved especially witty, but all the writing was great.






At 4:30, Alan's music groups took the stage to sing their re-written versions of John Lennon's song "Imagine," with lyrics they wrote.



At 5pm, we distributed t-shirts and certificates, and had the final big group photo.











We four presenters from the US were given more wonderful gifts - all week really, people have been giving us gifts. It's a little embarrassing, actually. Teachers and students alike are incredibly grateful, thoughtful and polite. Many asked when we are returning. My repeated message is that DJHS does not need us to continue the work. Plans are already underway for Family Literacy Nights twice a year. The teachers of the school have the capacity to do ABL-style workshops for students and teachers themselves. They have more power than they imagine.

One student was especially touching He remembered our 2015 visit well, and had kept his notebook with signatures from all of the presenters. He told me, step by step, the workshop I had presented back then, and how it impacted him. He was in the fourth grade then, and is a seventh grader now.




I was especially impressed with the burgeoning leadership of the young people during today's event. I believe that Berhanuddin and Maheeda are capable of hosting a Family Literacy Night and doing workshops for other students right now. The other Writing Leaders are hard-working and thoughtful writers. I challenged the students to think of themselves as leaders of India right now. They are not preparing to be leaders someday - they can lead today.

And so my time in South Asia has come to an end. I write this post at 7pm local time in Mumbai. In a few hours I leave for the airport, to catch a 4:30am flight to Dubai, then on to the US. I suspect that my next post will be written from my home in Andover, MA. It will take some time to process all that has happened in the last few weeks.

My colleagues are remaining for a bit. Ingrid plans to spend the next two days exploring Mumbai before flying home on Monday evening. Alan is scheduled to fly home Monday evening but hopes to extend his stay by a day or so. On Monday he will return to DJHS, and to the DJ Girl's School, to teach and share some more. Julia will co-teach with math teachers at DJHS on Monday and Tuesday, then fly to Barotta, a 2-hour flight from here, to do a three-day workshop on Shakespeare, as part of a group she connected with as a Fulbright Scholar a few years back.

It's time for me to pack up the many gifts, and prepare for the trip home, my heart and mind full.

Thanks for reading,
Rich

























Friday, August 10, 2018

Teacher Workshop Imagines Peace!

This post is by Rich

The ABL-DJHS Writing for Peace Teacher Conference took place on Friday, 10th August, hosted by the Diamond Jubilee High School in Mazagon, Mumbai. The indomitable Lee Krishnan organized the event and made sure everything ran on time, a truly remarkable accomplishment!



We welcomed 77 teachers from 17 schools to the event, including schools from all around Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Gujarat. Some teachers traveled 19 hours by train overnight, arriving just before the 9:15am start of the day. They teach Grades PK-10, and various subject areas. It was a privilege to work with them.



The room is a large space, with circular tables holding up to 10 people per. Lee pre-arranged the tables into groups (Group 1, group 2...), purposefully mixing up folks from different schools. The event began at 9:15am with "Peace Games" led by two of Lee's students, Burhanuddin and Madera, who earlier this year attended the Seeds for Peace student conference in the US. They led the entire assembly in a series of "Peace Games" having to do with identity formation and privilege.



At 9:45, Lee introduced the event, explaining the partnership between Andover Bread Loaf and Diamond Jubilee School. At 10am, I took the mic and explained the philosophy of the Bread Loaf International Peace Literacy Network, and explained our Six Rules for Writing (Be kind, write in any language, speak your truth, don't fear mistakes, share - if you want to, have fun) and how they embed our philosophy. I then invited folks to complete a short writing prompt: I love, I wish, I dream - one line each - and then invited them to share at their tables.

At about 10:20, Alan took the mic and led folks through the next writing prompt. Developed by Lee, it's the same prompt we used for the Family Literacy Night: Peace means, Peace looks like, I want Peace because, Our world needs Peace because, Draw a picture of what Peace looks like. Participants were highly engaged in writing. At 10:45, we invited folks to share, and a large number did.



At this point we were well ahead of schedule, so Lee took the mic and led folks through a third writing prompt: the Two Line story. it was pretty powerful. At 11:30, each of us four US teachers explained our breakout sessions for later in the day. At 11:40, Alan took over again and led the entire 80-plus people in the room in a three-part harmony to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." It was a great way to end the morning.

We broke for lunch (spectacular as usual here in India), then at 12:55 convened in our breakout rooms. There were two sessions, the first from 1:00-2:10, then the next from 2:15-3:25. Teachers signed up for two of the four workshops, and presenters presented twice in a row.

My first group, from 1:00-2:10, had about 25 participants. I led folks through a 5-senses poem, first inviting them to make a list of their favorite places, then pick one, then use the five senses, plus emotion, to describe that place. We stood and partnered and shared, and then moved on to the big prompt of the workshop, and extended "I am from..." poem.  I explained to the group that our philosophy begins with the self and its relation to community, then moves out to the surrounding world. I guided folks through a 12-line extended "I am from..." model, ending with three lines, "I dream... I will..."  After folks wrote, we shared in pairs again, edited, then shared as a group. Lee ensured that we ended on time. My second session had 11 participants, and proceeded similarly.

At 3:25 we broke, and re-assmbled in the auditorium for sharing and feedback. Lee asked each group to come to the stage in turn - so all 10 members of Group 7 stood on the stage, and each member shared a piece or a reflection of the day. Folks shared a lot of writing, and spoke about how they had been impacted by the event. Most folks wrote and shared in English, but quite a few wrote and shared in Hindi, and some in Marathi. We collected feedback forms asking folks to explain what they can take back to their classrooms, and also collected one piece of writing from each person, to use in the eventual coffee table book about the conference.



My colleagues also presented successful workshops. Julia did workshops on Social Justice Theater, in which participants posed in situations of conflict, then proposed solutions. Ingrid refined her Imagine a Country workshop, in which participants imagined a utopia, then discussed how to make it a reality, turning imagination into action. Alan used John Lennon's song "Imagine" as the basis for his workshop. Participants wrote new lyrics, and weaved them together into a new song, which they performed at the sharing session. It was pretty cool.




About 5pm, Lee and Nutan Iyer, principal of the school, passed out certificates to the participants, and the day ended with samosas and tea.

This evening, Diamond Jubilee took us out to dinner - the four of us from the US, and all of our partner teachers, and supporters. There were about 35 of us in all, at a bar-b-q resteraunt at the Atrium Mall. I ate so many appetizers I was full before the main meal, but  I did manage to squeeze down some dessert, and a bit of the birthday cake were ordered for Ingrid, whose actual birthday is next Thursday.

I was thrilled to see Lee's husband, G.K., who joined us for dinner. I've met him several times before. No surprise, he is a genuinely wonderful man, who devotes his life to social justice causes. His organization develops platforms that use technology to enhance maternal health and child care. One of his current initiatives is a software platform that point-of-caregivers can use to help diagnose and treat patients - a database, resources, and information-gathering instrument. His organization has developed it, and is working with the Indian Health Ministry to distribute it. Another initiative puts TV sets in the waiting rooms of pediatric clinics, providing valuable and needed medical information to mothers of young children. They have already installed over 1,000 sets. All of this, and GK is also just a really nice person.




Overall, quite a day. We were sad that our friends from Karachi, Mohsin Tejani and Basil Andrews, who had hoped to attend, were unable to secure visas in time, and also missed our partner Brendan McGrath, who headed home on Wednesday evening. But we are happy to have made new friends and feel positive about the impact of the conference.

Tomorrow, Saturday 11th August, is the Student Workshop. We plan to re-run the exact same program we ran today, slightly modified for the Grade 6-10 students who will attend. At last count, there were 102 students signed up. Several teachers who attended the Teacher Workshop today plan to return tomorrow, to do the workshops they did not get to attend today. Several other teachers who were unable to come today plan to join us tomorrow. Folks are eager for PD!

Tomorrow night, after the student workshop, I will head to the airport, as I have a 4:30am flight out of Mumbai on Sunday morning to head home. It was be bittersweet. I have finally become adapted to the sleep schedule and diet here, and every day brings new adventures and joys. But I also miss home, a little bit.

Thanks for reading,
Rich





















Thursday, August 9, 2018

Karachi’s Great Good Place

On my first day in Karachi, I went to visit a cafe/bookstore/gallery/performance space called T2F (The Second Floor). It would not seem out of place in Seattle or Brooklyn or New York, but it was a surprise to me being in the middle of this city. Please note that I have no problem expressing thoughts that reveal my ignorance of cultural matters, so if the reader thinks an observation like that shows my deep limitations, I could not agree more. It may, however, seem understandable when you realize how deeply conservative the government is, and how deeply revolutionary this space is.




Its founder was Sabeen Mahmud, a progressive human rights advocate and social worker. She would be a force in an culture, any country, but in Pakistan she was extraordinary.

Sitting in the cafe, listening to the conversations and feeling the energy of the youth,  strongly reminded me of Lawrence’s El Taller. It reminded me of a space for youth run by ConTextos in San Salvador. It reminded me of the Great Good Place.

Ray Oldenburg’s book is titled, “The Great Good Place: Caf├ęs, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community.” It posits that a healthy, vibrant society needs a third space - separate from home and work - in which a sociable environment leads to an interchange of ideas. History is replete with these spaces and the incredible impact they have had on large-scale events: the tavern during the American Revolution, the London coffee house during the Enlightenment and the agora in Greek democracy.

I came to the book through my friend Rich, who was a co-manager with me at a Borders Books & Music. This was back when Borders was a bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan that opened stores around the country which reflected their independent book seller values. My job was as the Community Relations Coordinator, a role in which I helped create a community of book, music and coffee lovers through live music, poetry readings and book signings. In those early years, though profit was important, it wasn’t the only thing, and Rich got me to believe that we were helping create an American Great Good Place.

Sabeen, and those who helped her create T2F, knew instinctively that a space was needed to stimulate dialogue, to foster a passionate, civil debate about the problems their society. Like J. S. Bach with Cafe Zimmerman and Karl Marx at Museum Tavern, she felt the creative, furious energy that comes from a space where discussion flows freely - and then she went about to create it.

mural outside T2F
Too many times, bold and challenging thinkers are directly confronted by the problems that they are trying to solve. It was just so for Sabeen, who was murdered by gunmen on April 24, 2015. She was driving home with her mother from T2F, where she had hosted a controversial discussion concerning the Balochistan separatist movement. A province in Pakistan that is rich in natural resources and devoid of any political control over its area, Balochistan and its independence is a topic bursting with anger and indignation for someone like Sabeen. The killer was caught, though the circumstances behind what is thought to be a direct targeted killing is murky at best.

You can read more about this miraculous person and the time leading to her murder here: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-life-and-death-of-sabeen-mahmud

Today, life at T2F goes on, with a heavy sense of her presence. The walls leading up from the ground floor gallery space to the 2nd floor cafe are littered with aphorisms of independence, feminism, self-love and love for Sabeen, all written by patrons, most of whom probably had never met her. There are tabla and guitar classes, book clubs and a popular open-mike night (which I will participate in later in the week). Most importantly to us, they will be the host space for our culminating event, Arts without Boundaries.

Knowing her only through articles and the sense-memory of this establishment, I feel confident that she would love the thought of what The School of Writing is doing with Pakistani youth. At the end of this week, these walls will be filled with the students’ photography and the air thick with their voices. Voices that Sabeen worked hard to amplify.

We hope that even a few hours in that space, new to most of our students, gives them a confidence in their ability to change their world.

As Sabeen said, “...you can’t let fear control you, you’ll never get anything done”.

mural outside T2F (note tabla and other instruments)




Wednesday, August 8, 2018


This post is by Rich



Historic!  The first-ever Family Literacy Night in India took place on Wednesday evening, 8th August, from 4:30-6:30pm, in the spacious auditorium of the Diamond Jubilee High School in Mazagon, hosted by AKES, Principal Nutan Iyer, and the indomitable Lee Krishnan. Longtime ABLer Brendan McGrath served as host. The room was decorated with peace-themed art produced by our own Ingrid Hess. The staff of DJHS did a great job recruiting, encouraging, cajoling. People began to arrive about 4, and by 4:45 I counted 113 in the room. More kept coming - final total was over 120. Participants sat at 15 round tables arranged around the room. Teacher, parents, and students were present in abundance.



Nutan began the event by welcoming everyone, then Lee explained what ABL is and spoke briefly about the conference, before handing the microphone over to Brendan, who got things rolling. For a warm-up prompt, he used a model we learned from Rex Lee Jim. He asked people to pull out their mobile phone, and find the fifth photograph in its storage, then write about that photograph. After 10 minutes or so, he invited participants to share at their tables. Then Lee said the first three students and first parent who came forward to the stage was invited to share. Perhaps 20 students and 10 parents ran forward, hoping to share!



We head from one parent and 8 students, then moved on to the main prompt of the evening.

Lee had developed the prompt, and it was spectacular. In keeping with the title of the conference, "Writing for Peace," the prompt was five lines, each written in both English and Hindi:

Peace means...
Peace looks like...
I want Peace because...
Our world needs Peace because...
Draw a picture of what Peace would look like

We passed out handouts to everyone, and invited them to write. Parents and children wrote and talked about peace together.



Then we began the main sharing session. A huge group of students lined up to share.



There were so many parents who wanted to share that we decided to set up two sharing lines - students on one side of the stage and parents on the other side. We alternated readers - a student, then a parent, then a student, then a parent. About 20 parents shared, including 3 fathers, and about 40 students, all sharing about Peace. It was a remarkable event.

When it ended, there was much hugging and photo-taking. Us folks from the US were treated like celebrities, signing autographs, taking selfies, posing for picture after picture. It was a little embarrassing. Brendan did a good job on the microphone explaining that we hadn't done much, just shown the model, and that the parents, teachers, and students of DJHS really made it happen. A couple of teachers asked when we were coming back to do this again, and I told them they don't need us to do it. They can see the model. They can do it again without us.

After the event, several DJHS teachers served a special meal. I don't remember the name exactly, but it involves a small piece of Puri bread (think of a little cup made of bread) that you fill with a corn meal, then a spicy sauce. It was delicious!  I ate far too many.

Many thanks to Lee Krishnan, who conceptualized the event, and did the work to make it happen. The DJHS community was thrilled. I've seen a lot of Family Literacy Nights, but I've never seen so many parents share. It was a special night we shall remember.

I write this entry on Thursday, 10th August. The school is closed today and the city is in partial shutdown because of a political protest by a Maratha group taking place all across the state of Maharashtra, and particularly in the city of Mumbai. A similar protest took place last Wednesday. At issue is benefits and guaranteed government jobs (called "reservations") for the Maratha community. Negotiations have been ongoing but are incomplete. The protesters have pledged a peaceful event, but many schools, business, and organizations have chosen to close out of fears of violence. And so we Americans are spending the day at the YMCA Guest House, relaxing and writing and thinking. I certainly hope there is no violence today, and that all is clear for the Teacher Workshop scheduled for tomorrow.  If you want to know more, check out the Times of India https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/protesters-disrupt-road-traffic-in-maharasthra-over-maratha-quota/articleshow/65332496.cms

Our dear friend Brendan has headed home - family and work obligations require him, and so he took a cab to the airport late last night, and a 4:30am flight today heading back to the States. We shall miss him, but he certainly made a big impact!

Thanks for reading,
Rich
















ABL is an acronym that every student and teacher in DJHS understands perfectly.
"Miss Lee, when are the ABL guys coming to our class?" This was a question I was asked  many times in  the weeks preceding the Writing for Peace Conference, and  on Monday morning, the 6th of August, beginning at my 7am  volleyball practice.  It continued through the 6th and the 7th. After the team teaching, my students  had a new question. "When are the ABL guys coming back to our class?" On Wednesday, 8th August,  the question changed to, " Ms Lee, Why aren't the ABL teachers here yet?" 
Many of my students remembered the first conference in 2015, Writing for a Better World. They remembered the prompts they had written, the things they had done and three years later they still talked about Rich, Ceci, Alan, Brendan, Pat, Mohsin and Rex. 
The 'Writing for Peace' Conference in Mumbai, was approved without hesitation by our Principal Nutan Iyer and our  Management, (AKES,I) before I came to ABL last summer. It became the South Asia Peace Literacy Conference when three old friends, Rich, Mohsin and I had 4 hours to talk and plan on the coach back from  Bread Loaf, Vermont to Andover. 
Invitations were sent out in February 2018 and accepted. I think I drove everyone crazy with requests for information on visas and travel plans. Unfortunately, Ceci, Pat and Rex couldn't join us this time)
Mohsin and Basil Andrews from Karachi, still haven't got their visas. We miss you all!
So right now, as I write this, Alan Nunez, Brendan McGrath, Ingrid Hess, Julia Perlowski and Richard Gorham are in Mumbai, enjoying a well earned 'breather' thanks to a political protest and rally. 
Despite landing in Mumbai on the afternoon and late evening on the 4th, and Ingrid and Brendan early in the morning on the 5th, we began with a planning meeting that started at 12.30 pm on the 5th, which incidentally was a Sunday and ended around 5pm. 
This year the ABL team taught 26 different classes, with 21 different teachers from Grades 3 to 10, on the 6th and 7th of August.  Most classes had double periods and all the classes had more than one team teaching lesson. Our Primary Section works for 8 periods a day and the Secondary for 9. 
Do the Math.
Music and Math, Science and History and English, Writing across  the Curriculum, Dance, Theatre, Art across subjects...you name it, we did it in two action packed days that flew by. Both days ended with an intense Debrief Meeting over lunch where each facilitator and partner teacher shared their experience of what they had done that day.
On Wednesday, for the first time ever, we hosted the Family Literacy Night. There were 120 + parents and students ( Grades 3 to 5), and many teachers who stayed back or returned to school in the evening.  We wrote, read, shared our memories and our thoughts about Peace.  Brendan did a great job hosting the event. 
Tomorrow we have the Teacher Workshop where we have 75 teachers from 17 other schools and on Saturday the Student Workshop where we have 102 students registered.
An action packed week, learning, laughter, a few tears, with crazy schedules for the ABL team... We are still smiling. 
This is the power of ABL. 


DJ Girls School

Posted by Rich

With all due respect to Lawrence High School, Phillips Academy, Northern Essex Community College, and the U-Mass system, it is very possible that my favorite school in the world is the Diamond Jubilee Girl's School in the Dongri neighborhood in Mumbai.

We headed to the Girl's School today to co-teach classes. The school was purposely founded to educate Muslim girls, at a time when Muslim girls had few educational opportunities. Over the years it has continued to serve this population, and has become very successful. The school serves 1,044 students, all girls, in split sessions. The morning session runs from 6:50am-1:00pm and serves grades 5-10. The afternoon session from 1:00-6:20pm serves grades K-4.  Nursery school is split into morning and afternoon sessions. The building is well used, and FULL with 40-45 students per class. In most classrooms, you could not add another child, because she literally would not fit. All of the faculty are female. It is a place of female empowerment. Nearly 100% of their graduates from 10th grade have gone on to higher education. Many end up attending university, and alumnae have become doctors, teachers, and engineers. The girls are all part of the first generation in their families to achieve these levels of education. I remembered my visit there in 2015 fondly, and the teachers and some of the students remembered us. The students presented us with hand-made book marks and gift bags:




I co-taught two classes. In my first class, with Grade 9, I partnered with Tasnim Shikari, who like me is a 25-year veteran teacher. In this class of 45, the students are organized into groups, which have group names. One group of particularly sweet girls had named themselves "The Silent Killers." I asked about the name, and one said, "We do our work silently, but give a killer performance." Their group name sign has a skull on it:





We read the poem "Somebody's Mother," then I led a writing workshop in which I invited students to write about someone they know who should be celebrated, but is not. Students wrote eagerly, then we had a sharing session. Many students wrote about their parents. My favorite was a girl who wrote about the street sweeper, who every morning cleans the street in front of her house.

My afternoon class was with first grade, with Farheen Shaikh. She is a second year teacher with great potential.




We worked on vocabulary associated with rain, and had the children use their bodies to represent the words:






My colleagues, meanwhile, did some great work. I was able to watch Ingrid teach a brilliant lesson. First she drew on the board, a map of a mythical country - her own, fictional country. Then she said that in her country she wanted to have schools and books, so she drew symbols to represent schools and books. She asked students what should be in her country, and one called out, "Parks!" Ingrid said she thought that was a good idea, so she added parks to her map. Once she had created a map of her own fictional country, she asked students to do the same. Students then created maps of their own fictional countries, with the things they wanted in it, and for the things they didn't want, they drew a symbol of it, but then put an X through it. It was a brilliant lesson that got to the heart of social justice quickly.




I also watched Alan present a lesson on letter writing. The students did it through song - he composed a chorus, had students write lyrics, and then assembled it all into a song:



I also briefly watched Brendan teach a poetry workshop to second graders:





I was sorry I was unable to get to Julia's classes - all reports are she did great work. The students, teachers, and administrators of DJ Girl's School could not have been kinder, more welcoming, or more grateful. We were feted with presents and thanked more than we deserve. I hope I am able to return someday.

Thanks for reading,
Rich