Photos/Poems From Sixth/Seventh Graders

July 25, 2015


I recently finished teaching a 4-week children’s photo-workshop for the Milwaukee Rec Dept. The main push of the workshop was to encourage a higher level of visual mindfulness in the students -to get them to see more thoughtfully, when it comes to making photos. Each day we would look at photos, make more photos, then import them to the computers at the school and do some basic editing with Google’s Picasa.

I strongly believe though, that no creative venture exists in a vacuum, and the more varied ways a person expresses their creativity, the more their creativity will grow. To that end, I also had the students go through some guided meditations (I read from Thich Nhat Hanh), do some drawing, and write some haikus.

For some students, the form of the haiku was a challenge, but I tried to “course correct” them, and encourage them to see how they could express their thoughts in just 17 syllables. Before they edited their thoughts down though, some of the students >did< come up with some good poems. So, here are some of the haikus and non-haiku poems the students wrote (on this particular day, we were also working on “texture photos”)…


Also, many of the students looooooooved making selfies, but had a more challenging time allowing other students to photograph them. Rather than tell them they >couldn’t< make selfies, I decided to make that a project of its own. One day, students had to choose their favorite selfie … and then draw it with colorful markers, and then make another selfie, but this time with their drawing replacing their face! The emphasis was on just trying their best – as I would often hear “I can’t draw” or “I’m bad at drawing”. I would not accept that – and just told them “It’s not about whether or not it’s accurate”, “just do your best”, “everyone can make a mark – make yours”, “don’t worry – just go for it”.



Briunna is beautiful and sweet

and is wonderful to meet.

She is smart and funny

and is as soft as a bunny.



The texture is rough.

It’s very rough.

It’s orange/red but it’s

always laying down

in its bed



She is so friendly.

She is really wonderful.

That’s why she’s my friend.



It is really rough

now can you guess what it is?

it is the rocks.



has a rough texture

you can build houses with it

has many colors


She’s a funny girl

She is crafty and a dancer

She is my cousin



This shoe has certain texture and image.

It is also certain brand and this is Adidas

and it has bright red color,

it is a color that cannot be wore with everything



day 3110/day 3111

July 15, 2014
day 3110
saw my relatives
at the reunion, and heard
stories from years past
day 3111 
eternal question:
how do I get some buy-in 
from all these students?

day 3106

June 30, 2014
day 3106
I tried to move them,
to share energy with them,
and to help them see

day 3015/Day 3014

January 31, 2014
Day 3015
around the table,
we discussed how comic books
could help the students
= = = = = =
Day 3014
I, without talking,
communicated my needs,
and bought sheets of stamps

day 2885, and the Good Men Project

June 26, 2013
Day 2885
“Please, rein in,” I asked
and for at least three seconds
the girls stopped talking
– – – – –
Also, I recently wrote a guest-post at The Good Men Project, for their “100 Word On Love” series. You can read it HERE.

Day 2800

February 13, 2013
Day 2800
he said, “You sound like
you’re forty, but look like you’re
twenty-five.” I smiled.

Day 2783

January 16, 2013

Day 2783

I asked the students –
What do you write poems about?
“I write about love”