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Tattoo

Matthew, a fast sneakered ten-year old, beat me to the playground this morning. Better to say he bolted across the blacktop. I didn’t try to keep up. He jumped on the monkey bars, and grasped the high bar with his left hand. With blond hair, wiry frame wriggling in a Captain America t-shirt, and near-shredded […]

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Box

At times, the hilltop itself speaks to me. Monday morning, for example, when I walked through the school’s front archway before sunrise, I spotted an epigram engraved into the stone above: “Education is bitter but the fruit is sweet.”  How had I missed it? The engraving had to be as old as the building itself.  Then, […]

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Time

Tuesday morning, I scooted my way into school just before sunrise and from the start, I got little signals that the day would bring something different. For example, I fumbled in the dark to get my key into the lock on the school’s front door. Then, fingers of sunlight extended across the pre-dawn sky and a […]

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Revival

Raymond, stout little boy with a loud mouth, popped off first: Dead rat in the trash can! Dead rat in the trash can!” The scream caught my ear. And even from across the playground, I could hear and see him pointing into the dented can. He kept up the racket: Dead rat! Eww! Six seconds later, two children ran […]

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Grape

I sat across from a row of kindergarten boys in the lunchroom today. They came skidding in along the linoleum and then went piling onto bench seats. I watched as they popped open lunch boxes. All of them waved but they didn’t want to talk. Time to eat! I knew most of their names as […]

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Animal

Victor, a first grader, came to school this morning dressed sharp in a bright red shirt, new sneakers and stiff new blue jeans. He bopped more than walked, bounding in rings around his mother who trudged next to him, eyes down on the cracks in the pavement, wearing her weight like a woolen shawl. The […]

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Pink

Viviana cries every day. This morning she came to me with wet cheeks. She started early today, said I to myself.  Once sobbing started, she could continue for a long while. What is the matter sweetheart? Between sobs and sucking in air, she told me that Alvin, a square-jawed, pebble–eyed, unsmiling brick of a fourth […]

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Paunch

Today, at lunch duty, I stood between two long lunch tables. On both sides sat several dozen five year olds. My task, opening milk cartons.  Child hands carton up, I take carton, do the slow peel back of the spout. Then, I return carton to the closest hand. Next? As I opened the sixteenth or […]

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Dancing

Last Thursday, several fifth graders and I came together on the upper playground. I had a project in mind and hoped they might help get things started. We stood in a small circle and I put it to them this way: I want to create something called a labyrinth here. I need your help. Can […]

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Up

Yard duty Monday morning began with clouds punching across a square patch of blue above our playground. Then, in the span of half a recess, a storm front arrived in full and paused overhead. Temperatures dropped and I turtled up in my big coat, preparing for the wait-and-watch. If a storm broke, I would rush the children […]

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