New Teacher Series/ Question 10: What are the best strategies for teaching writing?

 

Last year, I had a conversation with one of my classes on why writing was so hard.  Here are a few of their reasons:

  • I don’t know where to start.
  • I don’t know where to end.
  • I don’t write in chronological order or in any order that makes logical sense. It’s all over the place.
  • I don’t always write in complete sentences, but sometimes I do.
  • I’m afraid I’ll write the wrong thing and have to do the whole thing over.
  • The choices are overwhelming.
  • Every time I write something crappy, my teacher always likes it. Every time I write something I think is brilliant, my teacher thinks its crap.
  • Because it just is.
  • I have a hard time getting what’s in my head out on paper.
  • I’ve discovered that I really don’t know how to tell a story.

In an interview with the New York Times on the occasion of his retirement from fiction writing, novelist Philip Roth said, “I no longer have the stamina to endure the frustration.  Writing is frustration— it’s daily frustration, not to mention humiliation. It’s just like baseball: you fail two-thirds of the time.” And yet failure is the process by which all writers – novelists, essayists, social critics, screenwriters, journalists, technical writers—meander their grief-stricken way to the finished product. How do we support kids in failure?

Next to teaching (and all things for which there are no clear paths—loving someone, raising kids, grieving, etc), writing is the hardest thing I do and it may be the hardest thing we ask kids to do.  We’re asking students to engage in an activity which requires memory, logic, visualization, vocabulary, plus kinesthetic and cognitive awareness.  Plus failure.

Research on the neuroscience of writing shows just how enormous an undertaking writing is.  Neurologically, writing is a skill on par with someone playing a musical instrument or participating in a sporting event. It’s complex, unique, and only develops through practice.

So while I admit that writing is so incredibly, mind-bogglingly hard, I would argue, the teaching of writing is even harder.  A good high school English teacher attempts to create an environment wherein 150 students (with 150 sets of information and misinformation, memory, value, prejudice, vocabulary, and logic) grapple with the enormously complex task of 1) attaching mental images to 2) the concrete, appropriate words in 3) the best order to 4) move an audience for 5) a specific purpose in 6) a specific, cohesive form using 7) appropriate-to-the-product usage and grammar.

Gasp.

So how are we to manage this Herculean task?

You must be a writer yourself.  I feel everything that needs to be said about the importance of English teachers to be active readers and writers has already been said by great teachers, like Nanci Atwell  (In The Middle) and Penny Kittle (Write Beside Them). Writing with your students makes you humble in the face of the staggering, monumental task you are asking them to accomplish. Writing is dynamic, not a set of static concepts students learn once and master.  To understand the struggles of writing, you don’t have to be a published author, you just have to write on a regular basis. You can’t teach writing from a position of theory.  You must have a process and projects of your own.  If not, you are in an untenable position to support students with the overwhelming number of decisions with which they will be faced.

Move beyond the free write, graphic organizers, and constructed response. If students are to become better writers, they must move beyond teacher-created forms, like the 3.5 paragraph essay and the 6 point essay.  Freewriting and graphic organizers have given struggling writers a great tool by which to get the ideas in their head down onto a piece of paper in the form of words and sentences. But those tools are still training wheels, and writers need to learn how to ride, wide open into the dark unknown. Struggling, then failing, then learning how to struggle and fail smarter is part of the process of becoming a better thinker and writer. If we provide students with the pre-fab forms by which to fashion their thought, they will never have the opportunity to learn from the process of navigating that road alone.   Students must learn to manage the project of their own writing from start to finish to become better writers.

Allow students to choose their own writing projects.  Teacher-created writing assignments come from the brain of the teacher, not the student writer. Writing prompts have a long and gloried history in the English classroom. From “What did you do over your summer vacation?” to the perennial “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” writing prompts have provided reluctant writers a spring board from which to jump onto the often-intimidating blank page.  Being able to respond in writing to an on-demand prompt is also one of the skills we use to measures how students demonstrate their own learning of a concept.  However, real world writing asks students to discover their own reasons to communicate, their own exigence.  We need to teach students to recognize this need and to write toward a finished product. Students must learn how to select their own topics, manage the time to research, draft, and edit a long project, and ultimately, deal with the inherent failure, even while becoming a better and braver writer in the end.

 

New Teacher Series/ Question 9: What are the best strategies for novels?

In the landscape of English-Language Arts, there are different camps for how to best teach the novel, so as with anything, you should read widely about strategies and find the ones that work for you and your students. While I’m a great believer in the power and beauty of classic literature, I believe reading should be a joy and a pleasure, and for some students, particularly what teachers call “reluctant” readers, the classics can be torture.  They become just one more irrelevant thing foisted on them by teachers.

Kids who don’t read well may not like to read because they haven’t mastered the skills to tap into the wonderment and magic of a novel. Maybe they didn’t have positive early literacy experiences; maybe they can decode the words but can’t comprehend the meaning; maybe they were forced to read boring texts and associate reading with suffering and agony. The list goes on and on.  But I firmly agree with J. K. Rowling, who said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t met the right book yet.”

Outside of an AP curriculum, where choices tend toward classic lit, I am a proponent of both the canon and the contemporary – whatever gets a kid to become a crazy-mad reader – comic books, graphic novels, genre fiction, poetry, whatever.  Reading is a skill, like writing, that improves with practice. The more a student reads, the better she becomes at reading.  The better she becomes at reading, the more she will enjoy the experience and become more proficient.  But the first step is hooking the kid, and that hook should be baited with a juicy bite. As he grows as a reader, his tastes and abilities may change.  There’s room for all levels and likes at the table of literacy.  But how do you get kids to willingly join you?

Here are a few tips to get started.

  • Read whole novels, not just excerpts. Teaching students how to analyze and read closely through the use of excised novel passages of no more than 750 words, about the length of a reading passage on the ACT, has become a trend. This practice is not teaching reading; it’s teaching the skim/scan/chunk method of test prep, and it should only be used in addition to reading whole novels.  This practice is like asking kids to appreciate a seven-course dining experience, but only giving them the soup.
  • Teach reading and analytical skills explicitly.   Using To Kill a Mockingbird to study social justice or civil rights is a defensible lesson, but developing reading and critical thinking skills is the primary objective.  Any novel can be used as the text by which students learn to analyze theme, characters, diction, syntax, and structure. Teaching a novel isn’t teaching content alone, but as a corrolary enticement to reading skill and practice.  Questioning, reacting, inferring, predicting, and analyzing are reading skills students will need whether they’re reading Jude the Obscure or  Unwind. 
  • Create a culture of reading in your classroom. Be excited about reading yourself. Constantly share with your students what you’re currently reading.  Share articles, blog posts, videos about popular writers and popular books with your students.  Talk about characters as if they were real people. Model what literacy looks like.  Have a classroom library, and create many opportunities for them to visit your school’s library.  Start an after-school book club. Demonstrate for them that proficiency in reading is powerful personally and politically.
  • Become proficient at Lit Circles and Socratic Seminar. The heart of both of these approaches is discussion.  When you, as a practiced reader, read something that sits your head on fire, you naturally want to share, talk about it with someone else, analyze the whys and hows.  Using Lit Circles and Socratic Seminars in your classroom gives students an outlet and a forming ground for discussing the themes, motivations, and conflicts in the text. The dialogue and debates that both of these practices generate mimic the conversations of practiced and sophisticated thinkers and readers.  I’ve used these two practices to great effect in my regular English classes with texts, both classic and contemporary.
  • Be a literary matchmaker. Know where your students’ interests lie, and then make recommendations to kids of books you think they will like. If students gravitate naturally toward Young Adult lit, use those texts to teach the skills they will need to develop and strength in order to read more complex texts in the future. I loved teaching the classics, but the language can be arcane, the syntax cumbersome, and the subject matter foreign to a reluctant reader.  Bait the hook with their choice of novels, then reel them in with deeper, denser, more challenging reading as they develop their abilities.  Help them create the text-to-self connections that make reading relevant and real to them.

 

 

Personal Universe Deck: An Oldie, but a Goodie

Personal Universe Deck is a great way to tap into kids’ linguistic whimsy and their sense of playfulness with words. Plus kids get a personal deck of 100 word cards they can keep all year long or for the rest of their lives. The Personal Universe Deck as a writing exercise has been attributed to American poet and playwright Michael McClure .  This archived one-hour 1976 lecture where McClure takes poetry students through the process is a must-listen before you lead your students through the process.

This activity has been tweaked and adapted many times to teach a host of writing and language skills.    Sometimes when we have an afternoon where a fire drill, a pep rally, or some school wide test has jangled our nerves and squandered our sacred time, I ask kids to pull out their universe decks and write a poem using four of their cards. Sometimes I ask each student to throw three cards into a basket, then I pull out ten cards, write the words on the board, and we each write a short story or scene based on the words.  The key to doing this well is allowing each student to build her own universe in words. Their universe; their words. I usually take about five days to allow kids to develop their deck.  Each day, as a bell ringer, I take kids through one stage of creation.

 Day One: I ask kids to write 100 concrete, specific words in ten minutes (or longer, depending on the class) that represent their individual, personal, beautiful universe.  All words need to be words each kid loves, words she thinks are beautiful, words she thinks exemplifies who she is, and words that are in some way associated with the five senses.  The words should also represent their good side and their bad side, as well as their past, present, and future.

I model this on the board:  “Okay, start with free association on clean sheet of paper.  Start with the first word that occurs to you.  Lilac. I don’t know why I just thought of that, but my grandmother had lilac bushes in her yard, and I’m trying to keep in mind my past, present, future. Each word needs to have some significance to you, so lilac. That’s a smell word, right?  And now I’m standing in my grandmother’s yard by the lilac bush, and what do I hear? How about thunder? Yep, I visited her in the summers, and storms popped up a lot.  That would be a sound for me. Now, just start writing concrete words and follow the associations.  I remember touching the cool, rough concrete of my grandfather’s dairy barn.  Barn is one of my words.  That might be a touch word for me.  Don’t just write down anything to finish the assignment – find words that are beautiful to you, that represent your universe, that are concrete.”

Day Two: Same thing on Day Two as Day One:  we create another 100 words.  This second day of free assocation will be important when we start the selection process on Day Three.  My philosophy is that each kid needs 200 words to find the best 100 words that represent his life.

Day Three:  I ask students to start weeding and whittling down their words to the essential 100 beautiful, signficant, personal words.  I remind them  the words should not be descriptive of senses, like “salty” or “sweet,” but concrete words like “hot dog” or “custard.” Cut out the vague words and replace them with specific. Avoid “bird;” intead say “wren” or “raven” or “blue jay.” Also, cut out words with suffixes, like – ing, -ly, -ed, -s.

Day Four: Students begin selecting words for categories. Eighty of the words need to be related to the five senses:  16 words for sight, 16 words for sound, 16 words for smell, 16 words for touch, 16 words for taste.   Add ten words for movement. Add three words for abstraction.  Then the last seven words are anything else they want.  Kids can make the below chart in their writing notebook for classification or just number their words.

Sight  (16) Smell (16) Sound (16) Taste (16) Touch (16) Movement (10) Abstraction (3) Anything (7)
             

Day Five: I give each kid 50 index cards, and they fold them in half and divide them into 100 small cards that create their “deck.”  On the back of the card, write your initials or some tag that indicates the card is yours.  On the front of the card, write one glorious word.  Repeat 99 times.  Presto, your Personal Universe Deck! (You can even get fancy and laminate these if you bring your media technician a nice pie and promise to clean her house.)

Teachers, how would you use this in your classroom?! Please share and add your ideas in the comments.

 

 

Teacher As Nomad: Packing It Up Here, Boss

“Are you moving rooms next year?” Shannon, my colleague down-the-hall, asked me on Friday.  I’d been scurrying around before school that morning, packing boxes out to my car.

“Oh no.  Just getting ready for the end of the year,” I said.

“Why do you take down these posters every year if you just have to put them back up in August?” Jenna, my sophomore master of pragmatism, asked me later that day.

“Have I not taught you the value of ritual yet?” I said.

Jenna rolled her eyes.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will probably be holding forth in Room 303 at Lafayette high school for the rest of my teaching career. I love that room. From its roof top vantage point, I can see all the way to downtown Lexington. With three huge windows that look out over a little courtyard, sunrises from the east flood the room on dark winter mornings.

So why do I pack up every single May like I’m leaving the profession?

Because teachers should never, ever, ever settle.  Into a classroom. Into a curriculum. Into a rut. Into a single way of teaching.

Of course, teachers should adopt instructional practices and management strategies that are consistent, proven, and experience tested. But ongoing reflection demands ongoing revision.  We are tweakers, on the move, educational bedouins, sitting up provisional camps in all kinds of unlikely psychological territories.

During my first year of teaching, I heard my principal describe a teacher in my building as someone who “taught her first year twenty-seven years in a row.”  I vowed to never be that teacher. Conventional wisdom says it takes three years for a beginning teacher to hit her stride.  I think teaching is a science and a craft that takes at least ten years to figure out what you’re doing, then ten more years to become sufficiently accomplished. Then your gig is almost up.

For me, taking everything down at the end of the year signals this year is over.  I tried my best.  I failed with some students; I succeeded with others.  I knocked some lessons out of the park; I missed the ball completely with others, but I didn’t sit still. I grew, I learned. Packing up the room, boxing up books, taking down posters is an external ritual for an internal measurement.  The ritual signals the end of a cycle, which promises the beginning of another one.

I’m packing it in for this year because I’m moving on to different territory next year even though I’ll be in the same room.  That different territory will be new students, new chemistries, new dynamics, new lessons, newly-imagined delivery systems for the old conceptual verities.

When I walk back into this same classroom in August, the walls will be bare, the technology will be a tangled mess on my desk, all the chairs will be crammed against one wall, and I will take a deep breath and start assembling.  New year, new students, fresh start.  I will be thinking about every student who will sit in those chairs.  What’s the best arrangement this year? What’s the best book for that kid?  What’s the best way to illustrate this concept or that?  Every year is different. Every class is different.  Every kid, every day.

In this pleasant, creative, energetic environment that I have hopefully and expectantly created, I say Welcome.  Enter in, ye students o’ mine.  No year yet will be exactly like this one. I have made this new space just for you.

 

 

The Body Project

In 1855, American poet Walt Whitman self-published his poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, celebrating the human spirit, the body, nature, the shape of democracy, friendship, and love.  Among the twelve poems in the first edition, Whitman included “I Sing the Body Electric,” a multi-part poem of lists that revels in the body as a sacred vessel of the soul.  The snippets of narratives and images in his poem exist almost as organs and systems within the human body.

For this activity, I asked students to brainstorm some language related to their bodies.  They came up with the typical list:  heart, liver, lungs, spleen, blood, bones, bowels, nodes, cells, matter, muscle, tendon, nails, hair, eyes, nose, skin.

Then we brainstormed about language related to their souls. They came up with:  morality, personality, imagination, maturity, emotions, divine/eternal, vision, curiosity, beliefs, values, ego/id/superego, intelligence, reason, memories, language.

My purpose for the brainstorm was to identify how the duality of our bodies mimics the duality of poetry.  A poem about mackerel is not about mackerel. We are not the total of our glands; we are divine.  A poem is not just a collection of artfully arranged words; it’s a prayer, a lesson, a song about being human.

Secondly, I asked students to pair up and help each other draw the frames of their bodies on a large piece of newsprint.

Once secured on the page, the frame served as a vessel within which students transcribed their own celebration of body and soul, the linkage of the flesh and the spirit, the earthly and the divine.

Written without any drafting or pre-writing, analysis or weighing of poetic or rhetorical postures, these poems emerged over the course of three days of spontaneous writing.  The pieces synthesize song lyrics, spiritual texts, political manifestos, bumper sticker slogans, lines of poetry, battle cries, and original poetic texts.

My goals were: 1) I wanted to introduce them to Walt Whitman’s poem; 2) I wanted them to write spontaneously without regard to analysis, prewriting, drafting, etc. and 3) I wanted them to celebrate their body/soul connection with writing. Here are a few of them:

 

The pieces were a success, so we stuck them on the wall in the center hallway at our school, and I used them for a gallery walk for other classes.

 

Twenty Little Poetry Projects

Wonder how many poems you can stuff in a mailbox?

I am not a poet, but I love the room of opportunites that poem doors open up for writing teachers.  Leave it to a fabulous poem to start many, many conversations about language, choice, authorial intention, image, or persona. Or a hundred billion other things.

The Practice of Poetry is one of those books I’ve used exhaustively over the last ten years to get those discussions started.   The exercises are unique and delivered in such a way that even the most reluctuant student poets can produce something artful.

Because the writing exercises in The Practice of Poetry are written by poets who are also teachers, each exercise comes with an explanation of how the poet developed the exercise and the purpose for which she created it.  In class  Friday, we embarked on Jim Simmerman’s great exercise “Twenty Little Poetry Projects.”  Simmerman states, “This exercise is great for producing free-for-all wackiness, inventive word play, and the sheer oddities of language itself.”   Because I have a mixed bag of writers in my classroom, I felt like this exercise would be great for those who felt stymied by the pressure to sound “poetic” (whatever that means) or any kid out there dealing with writer’s block, or as Simmerman states in the explanation, any one “stuck in a single style.”

The key to doing this exercise is to write all the “projects,” then revise for unity and coherence, looking for the  opportunities for repetition and parallelism, capitalizing on the experimental nature of the activity to have fun and take risks with language and image.  The twenty projects are:

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use of example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of “talk” you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand.)
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun)…
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he/she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a nonhuman object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

The students had a lot of fun doing this activity.  Even though the exercise is a formula of sorts, my students made the poems personal through the use of voice, style,  or mood.   Here are a few selections for your enjoyment.

#1 David, Grade 10 

#2 Marin, Grade 10

#3 John, Grade 10

#4 Katrin, Grade 10

#5 Taleah, Grade 10

 

Twenty Reasons Why I Love Teaching

February 14-22 is #LoveTeaching week, a social media campaign designed to change the narrative about teaching and focus on the overwhelming and abundant positives about this job.  For the last four years, I have been involved with an online professional learning community with three other teachers: Stephanie Smith, Austen Reilley, and Amy Gilliam.  Between us, we cover elementary, middle, and high school classes.  When I heard about the #LoveTeaching campaign, I immediately posed the question to my posse, and here are the twenty things we love most about teaching in no particular order.

  1. When I get my roster for the new school year. I love to pull up our school’s internal directory and check out the kids that will be coming to me in the new year.  Hey, I know that kid from Tardy Table. That kid looks adorable. That kid looks sad.  That kid needs a hug. I have brightness, I have diversity, I have challenges. I have a room full of potential.
  2. The energy of the first day of school. There’s nothing like it.  Everything is possible.  It’s a clean slate.  Teachers and students strive to make the best impression. Everyone is fresh and new, looking and feeling their best.  The pencils are sharp and abundant.  Spiral notebooks crisp and ready to be filled.
  3. My classroom. I love my room, and I want my kids to love it.  It’s warm, inviting, colorful, clean, organized, and there’s always a pot of coffee brewing. I love the three wide windows that let in the morning sun, and I love the energy when kids come in before first block to hang out, joke, gossip, or talk about sports, news, and movies.
  4. My colleagues. Teachers are some of the coolest people I know.  They are tough, sassy, and curious. They are wise to human nature yet eternal optimists.  Always hopeful, always enthusiastic, always learning.  They are my witty, wonderful tribe.
  5. The teachable moment. I have written before that there are few more transcendent moments in a teacher’s life than when she’s standing in front of a group of students, explaining something, and everyone in the room is sitting on the edge of the seats. It’s a beautiful moment of showmanship delivered by a professional, without a lesson plan, without a standard.  It’s the zenith of a teaching life. It’s as good as it gets.
  6. When the light goes on. This is similar to the teachable moment, but it’s more profound because it’s a singular moment of revelation when a kid finally puts it all together. The clouds part and the angels sing.  The ah-ha!  The eureka! When the creases fall out of the kid’s forehead and the eyebrows go up, and she says, “So that’s what you’ve been talking about all year!!” Bingo.
  7. When the lesson plan beat drops. Some days the lesson you’ve planned is interrupted by a fire drill or you run out of time for the lab or there’s a full moon.  But then there are days… Oh, those days when it all comes together.  When the copier, the stapler, the projector works, when your bell ringer is on fleek, when your mini-lesson slays, when they inhale the reading selection, when everyone kills it during the activity, and the socratic discussion nears sublimity, and you have just enough time for the perfect exit slip which they finish with relish and reflection, and then the bell rings.  Oh, and you have planning next.   #GOLD
  8. That kid. You know the one. He’s the shy kid in the back who never does well on tests, but he’s the only one in the room who knows the answer to some deep, existential question about the human condition.  She’s the quiet girl in the corner who shares her poetry with you one day, and its ferocity tears your face off.  He’s the kid who never remembers his homework, but you hear him play the cello at the coffee shop around the corner, and you are transported.
  9. That other kid. She’s so mad at the world.  He’s angry with everything and everybody.  She’s raising her eight brothers and sisters in a double-wide trailer. His parents are in jail. She has no quiet place to read or do homework. He’s moved eight times in the last school year. Help me, this kid is saying to you, but he’s not using those words.  The words she uses are “this is stupid,” “I hate this class,” “you’re the worst teacher in the world.” This kid will break your heart.
  10. Oh, and that other one too. He’s the class clown.  She’s wise to all the futile exercises of the adult world.  And you can barely keep a straight face when you say, “That was completely inappropriate,” because you know in any other circumstance what that kid just said would have been the funniest thing ever in the history of funny things.
  11. When you are more than a teacher.  Maybe it’s the unity of the team or the club, maybe it’s the competition, or maybe it’s the out of classroom experience that draws you closer, but your relationship changes and deepens when you share in their lives outside the realm of your classroom as a sponsor or a coach.
  12. When they seek out your counsel. There are few better moments than when a student seeks out your opinion on a non-school matter.  When they respect your opinion and value your judgement enough to ask your advice on their future, their relationships, or their jobs, that is one of the highest callings.
  13. When you call parents to tell them how proud you are of their child. There’s no better phone call to make then calling a parent, especially one who may never have had a positive phone call from the school before, to say their child stood up for someone less fortunate or their child made good choices that day or their child improved by a letter grade or their child turned in all her homework for the six weeks.  Those calls are the life blood of our work.
  14. When parents tell you how much their kid loves you and your class. My friend and colleague Elizabeth Beck calls this kind of comment “a teacher paycheck.” There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you have made a positive difference in the life of a child.
  15. When students come back and tell you how much they loved your class. Ditto from #14, but better. Especially when they cite specific lessons, short stories, poems, moments from your class that they remember.  There’s nothing better. Really.
  16. When I read an essay and hear a thinking mind behind it. Yes, that’s the goal, but sometimes a correct essay isn’t always one of original thought. So many kids, like so many adults, repeat the same worn-out adages of convenience, the bromides and platitudes of popular opinion, but woah, when there’s evidence of a whirligig mind—musing, reflecting, speculating—yeehaw, I love teaching.
  17. When your kids leave love notes on your white board.  There’s nothing better than a group of high school kids covering your white board with pictures of pigs and alligators and frogs with messages like “We love you, P-Dog.”
  18. Keeping up with your graduates on social media. I have the good fortunate to have nearly a hundred former students as friends on social media. I love watching them grow, travel, earn degrees and new jobs, new loves, get married, have babies, adopt.  When I see them happy and successful, I am happy and successful.
  19. The energy of the last day of school. Like the first day, there’s nothing like it.  A buoyance in every step, a lightness in the air.  Celebrations are soon to follow. The graduates look so pleased, the parents so proud, the teachers so ready for summer. The ocean calls out your name like a lover.
  20. Summer. I’ve never met a summer I didn’t like.  Time to take classes, read books for pleasure, rejuvenate, plan, escape, and come back for the next exhilarating year.