Harvest Moon & Children’s Festival Sunday at Buddhist Temple in Ventura (via art predator)

Here’s another free cultural event you can attend for class credit. This would be fun for you to take your children too!

Harvest Moon & Children's Festival Sunday at Buddhist Temple in Ventura Here in coastal Southern California, in summer we're often enshrouded in fog and we miss the moon. But once fall descends, we are often blessed with glorious clear sky visions of Moon in all its phases. This particular Harvest Moon has been exceptional all week, and last night's full Harvest Moon was glorious, energizing and inspiring as you can see from this photo by David Pu'u. We celebrated the Harvest Moon by taking the clay Ganesh we made la … Read More

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Today: California Coastal Cleanup Day & Ventura Hillsides Conservancy Concert (via art predator)

Two great learning opportunities for students! Service learning credit or event credit for participating in the coastal cleanup if you write about it for your portfolio. Attend the concert and write about it for event credit. Both activities are really wonderful!

Today: California Coastal Cleanup Day & Ventura Hillsides Conservancy Concert STATEWIDE: California Coastal Cleanup Day 9-noon The 26th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, September 25, 2010 California Coastal Cleanup Day is the premier volunteer event focused on the marine environment in the country. In 2009, more than 80,600 volunteers worked together to collect more than 1,300,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways. California Coastal Cleanup Day has been hailed by the Gui … Read More

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Class Activity Invites Students to Share Food & Stories about their culture

Yesterday was our second day of three days of presentations when students share the story of why they have the name they do, bring in a cultural artifact, and share a food with the rest of the class.

What a feast! We had food from around the world–lumpia, chicken mole, hot chicken wings and more which we ate while we watched the film Food Inc.

I’ve done variations of this activity since I began teaching 20 years ago. The current version builds from an assignment I read about online. My students and enjoy really enjoy it: we become closer and we learn about other cultures in a really fun way. It also helps the students work together in groups and have discussions when they know each other’s names and a little about them.

The activity ties in with essays we’ve read by Eric Liu, Brent Staples, Bharati Mukherjee, Maxine Hong Kingston, Mike Rose, Sherman Alexie, Gloria Anzaldua, James Baldwin, Bernard Cooper, Nancy Mairs, and more. On the midterm, I ask a question about what they learned from it.

A Self-Awareness Activity * Presentations of artifact and food by arrangement

Education is all a matter of building bridges. –Ralph Ellison

Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another. –Mary Catherine Bateson.

Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students.  What better books can there be than the book of humanity? –Cesar Chavez

The more deeply you understand other people, the more you will appreciate them, the more reverent you will feel about them.  To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.–StephenCovey


*To facilitate personal and cultural self-awareness.

*To help you become better acquainted with classmates.

*To give you tools to look beyond stereotypes.


ARTIFACT. Select an artifact that tells a story about your cultural background that you can share with the class. This artifact can be a picture, a coat of arms, or an object (a piece of clothing, jewelry, a tool etc.).  You will probably want to select something that is easy to transport to class.  If possible, choose an item that illustrates something about your cultural background that is not obvious.  We want to learn something about your background that is not readily apparent. If you cannot find a “hidden” part of your background, teach us about what we may not have known about your culture.

NAME. As part of your presentation, prepare to tell us about your name. How does it reflect your cultural heritage?

FOOD. Each person will also bring a family food item to share during class by arrangement.

Turn to your family members to learn more about your background.  If that is not possible, do research so that you have something significant to share with the rest of the class about your cultural heritage. If you do not have an object to bring from home, copy an appropriate picture from a magazine or book, download an image from the Internet, etc.  Remember, the visual component of this exercise is important.

Be prepared to do a 3 minute presentation using written notes to tell the origin of your name, describe your artifact, explain why you selected it, answer any questions, and talk about your food item (when you share it). These notes will be a part of your portfolio. You can write a thought paper on this, but don’t read your TP for your presentation.

When we are finished, we will do an in-class writing activity about what you learned about your background, yourself, and our class from this exercise so you will want to take notes during each presentation. Questions to consider include: *What was the purpose of this activity? *How did this activity help you learn about or increase your awareness of yourself?  Of others? *How does the difference between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you affect you as a student? *What have you learned about culture? Can you draw connections between this activity and some of the readings?

James Hansen: “Just say NO to COAL”

Revolutionary Resolutions #1: James Hansen advocates "Just say NO to COAL"

Just as DARE’s “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign belittles the struggles of drug addicts and avoids the greater cultural and economic challenges that lead to drug use, so does the simple “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” approach to dealing with global warming lack substance as well as any significant signs of success. Here’s the Inconvenient Truth: no matter how much or how often you personally ride your … Read More

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Writing is Re-Writing: Setting the Reader’s Agenda (via TWA)

Writing and revising and rewriting is a lot easier if you have feedback from a reader. But how do you find readers? How do you get constructive criticism? In this blog post, I discuss a process I used to get a very important piece of writing done.

In this second part of this 2 part series “Writing is Re-Writing,” I’m going to discuss setting the reader’s agenda. First, you have to find a reader. Certainly, you can hire someone from The Write Alley; we’d be happy to help you either in person or online. But it’s important to nurture a community of readers from your family, friends, or your Mastermind group, people you can turn to for response. And people you will help in return. A good reade … Read More

via The Write Alley

Writing is Re-Writing: Part 1 (via The Write Alley)

Believe it or not, it can be harder and take longer to write 80 words than 800 words…

“What did you do today?” asked my husband last night as we were fixing dinner. And I had to admit that I’d spent most of the day writing and rewriting a bio for the Women’s Conference. “How many pages is it?” he asked. “I’m trying to keep it around 100 words,” I answered. For a non-writer like my husband, it is hard to imagine spending all day writing so few words. But poets do it all the time, spending hours crafting a few lines, a hundred words … Read More

via The Write Alley

Train Night At The Artists Union Gallery Tues. 9/14


read on the theme of TRAINS!

Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Artists Union Gallery
330 South California Street, Ventura

Hosted by Roe Estep
Open mic follows…

The Painting Locomotive, by Van Gogh

By ellen

Near the end of his life
Vincent said to Theo
I am the painting locomotive
as he splashed his canvass with unbearable blue
slashed the spectrum of hues
from yellow to ochre’s billowing wheat
daubed those black marauding crows
in a feverish race—his eyes
piercing twin tracks of light
suddenly bullet-stopped
like a coal fired steam-engine’s
great screeching brakes.

Excerpt from NIGHT TRAIN

By Enid Osborn

He wanders long and long

the whole long train,

chaste and astonished by their faces, their losses,

and lost in the rhythmic, now arhythmic beat and clack

of the rails, rough and missing

like a faulty heart

The locomotive’s sad herald cry barely reaches him

from another realm, another train

Not this one he prays over,

not this long night,

not this long train he wanders aching through

He is far away from the world,

from the miles of ramshackle track

where fallen spikes lie rusting in the rocks,

reaching for their lost beds,

and the oily, split tyes

yawn in tortured speech

to bear the terrible heat and fire spark

of countless train tons laboring through the night…

Every Tuesday you can find an open mic and every other Tuesday a featured reader or two at the Artists Union Gallery. It’s free–but they often take donations to give to the poet.

To find more poetry, take a ride on the Monday Poetry Train!

Sonnet for September 11, 2001 (via art predator)

There’s been a lot of animosity today it seems–lots of arguing about burning the Koran and whether it is ok or not to build a mosque 2.5 city blocks away from where the World Trade Centers stood. In Michael Moore’s article “If the ‘Mosque’ Isn’t Built, This Is No Longer America,” he argues:

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and a generous people.

I wrote the following sonnet for September 11 on Sept 13, 2001; a broadside of it (as illustrated) was published in ArtLife Limited Editions October 1, 2001.

Sonnet for September 11, 2001 Sonnet for September 11

thursday i listen to radiohead
in a new purple polka dot sundress
& i am trying to feel so modern
i search for more warmth for this sunny day  … Read More

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