“Lessons in the Family Orchard”: A Poem for the Mother of My Child

Happy Mother’s Day to one and all! To new moms, veterans, step-moms, mothers-to-be, mothers-in-waiting, motherly figures, single dads acting as mom and dad, and especially to those whose moms are no longer with us and those mothers whose child is not able to celebrate with them.

I rarely post personal work on the blog, but today is awfully special as it’s my wife’s first Mother’s Day as a newly minted mom. Below is the poem I gave her this morning. Enjoy!

Lessons in the Family Orchard

In elementary school, we learn about plants

and trees and their anatomies. Not

in detail, like the process of photosynthesis.

We learn about roots,



Roots that dig deep into the earth;

branches that stretch into the open air;

leaves that color the sky.

We learn to admire trees for their age,

their colors, their breath of life. And

we see them as emblems of our own family.
We learn to trace our family’s roots,



Roots that ground us to traditions;

branches that grow our legacy;

leaves that lead to new life.

I have learned to see you as our tree,

steadfast against the elements. You

continue to grow, reaching new heights.

I have learned about your roots,



Roots that hold fast to us;

branches that protect us;

leaves that gave us new life.

You will learn to watch her grow in our

orchard only to start her own. She

will thrive in your umbrage day and night.

You will teach her about her roots,



Roots that tell her she is known;

branches that show her reach;

leaves that lead to legacy.

She will grow, fed by your love–both pruning and watering;

she will love, led by your example–both truly and deeply–

just like the roots, branches, and leaves

of her mother.  

-W. K. Jones


The Reading Process Paper: Trying to Encourage Student Metacognition


Where did January go?!

I have been busy getting all my ducks in a row so I can begin data collection on my study for the ol’ dissertation. So far, everything is looking good. I have IRB approval, I’m moving ahead on my proposal edits, and I’m hoping in a few weeks I’ll be defending my proposal. By mid-February I should be off the ground and running. Wish me luck!

Today’s post is really dedicated to what Sheridan Blau (2003) calls a reading process paper. I did this assignment with my students last year, but I did not write about the experience. Inside, I will lay out the process and how students work through interpretive struggles with reading a poem and how ultimately the practice promotes metacognition. Continue reading

New Publication in GCTE’s ‘Connections’


For those that following me on social media in any form, you may have already seen me post about this, BUT I wanted to document the accomplishment on the blog. I was thrilled to hear a few months ago that my two submissions to the fall edition of Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) Connections were selected for publication. Continue reading

“Poems… Nah”: When Students Surprise You


The poem above I got as part of a poetry portfolio from a young lady in my first period class this past Wednesday. The portfolio required these students to produce eight poems: a sonnet, two haiku, narrative, dramatic, lyric, free verse, and an acrostic. Upping the difficulty is the requirement that each poem had to employ no less than four poetic/sound or literary devices. (A difficult task in a haiku I assure you.) The poem you see above was not written and put into the portfolio to meet a requirement though; no, it was in addition to–it IS a poem she proudly handed to me and said, “I wrote an extra poem. Just so you know.” Continue reading

Hello Poetry!

An intriguing site was brought to my attention by a young lady in my PBL class today–hellopoetry.com

She knows that I write poetry and asked if I had ever heard of the site. Well, as it turns out, I had not. After looking at it today, I joined the site to start exploring it further, but I can immediately see the possibilities for teachers and poetry units/projects. This is certainly I will point out to future students who decide to focus on poetry this particular site as a way to connect with amateur as well as professional poets.

If you have some time, enjoy writing/reading poetry,then take some time to see it for yourself.

A big thank you to my student for introducing me to the site/community!