Thursday, July 31, 2014

Primary Grade Students Writing in Response to Literature

A 2nd grader's response after reading a fable by Arnold Lobel.

Dear Gaza

Push for Gaza Cease-Fire (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

from Yellow Umbrella

Dear Gaza
      - Hala Alyan

Dear Gaza,
I’m sorry

Dear Beirut,
I still love you like an arsonist

Dear Venice,
When that glassblower put his lips to
the glowing pipe
and I followed his breath into
an ornament
I understood grace

Dear New Orleans,
You gave me swelter and melody and
staircase after the longest winter of my life
You are where I forgave myself

Dear Boston,
I found the bird already dead
Crooked nest scattering
the pavement
and for days all I saw
was that constellation of bones

Dear Aya Nappa,
I cannot hear your name
without thinking war and ship
and two moons before coastline

Dear Tripoli,
It was whiplash
It was awful month
It was season of flinching
I won’t be coming back

Dear Rome,
When I think of my future self
She is walking your piazza
wearing something yellow

Dear Wichita,
I remember the summer songs on the radio
The car rides through the backbone
of your highways
I remember corn fields and pregnant sky
and always a thunderstorm

Dear Gaza,
I’m sorry

Dear Ramallah,
Thank you for the applause
Thank you for the seltzer water
the tableh player
the 3am tomato and bread
Thank you for the balcony

Dear Dubai,
I forgot a scarf
a silver ring
a tube of lipstick
and courage to make a mistake
I found the ring
The rest you may keep

Dear Aleppo,
Forgive me my litter
my uneaten rice
my abundance of light bulbs
Forgive me my bed soft and warm
even in January

Dear Baghdad,
Twenty six years and you still
make me cry

Dear Doha,
With you I am always dreaming of
starlit eels and honey water and swans
bathing in fluorescent sky
I miss those colors

Dear Istanbul,
Marry me

Dear Dallas,
I bought polished pebbles from
your mall kiosks
and pretended I was Aladdin
turning the soil over
and gasping

Dear Gaza,
I’m sorry

Dear Beirut,
You are cherry end of cigarette
You are pulse and tunnel
Freckles and siren
How can you fit so much?

Dear Norman, Oklahoma,
No one calls me Holly anymore
I blink slept woke wanting fairytale hair
for breakfast
loving boys with quarterback hands
and suburban smiles

Dear Las Vegas,
I’d rather not

Dear Brooklyn,
I came to you tumbled and spun
I came to you with 62 books
and the mistakes I’d gathered like splinters
You showed me where to sit

Dear Dublin,

Dear Damascus,
Nothing is as dangerous
as an unlit match
You taught us that

Dear Paris,
By beauty I meant that bridge
Those clouds and the legs my brother and I
dangled over the water

Dear Jerusalem,
Only you know what I am capable of

Dear London,
When I didn’t speak
it wasn’t because I was ungrateful
I was trying not to cry

Dear Gaza,
I’m sorry

Dear Manhattan,
I left a part of myself in that nightclub
like some paper crane with a beating heart
She is crumpled and sleeping
Do not wake her

Dear Bangkok,
I ate your fruit salted
Bare fingers peeling back skin
for shrines of gold and sugar

Dear Beirut,
I bruise as easily as you do
We are both anemic veins
and unbrushed hair and survivor’s

Dear Gaza,
When I come to you
it will be summer
Scorching sun and a music to the
You’ll ask me
‘what took so long’
and I’ll tell you where I’ve been

-Hala Alyan is a Palestinian-American poet

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poetry Break: Horses at Midnight Without a Moon

Blind Faith, III (M.A. Reilly, 2008)

Horses at Midnight Without a Moon

 - Jack Gilbert
Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise 
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing. 
Our spirit persists like a man struggling 
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun.

From Collected Poems by Jack Gilbert. Copyright © 2012 by Jack Gilbert.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Poetry Break: 3 from Billy Collins

Keeping Watch (M.A. Reilly, Plymouth, UK, 2012)

The Lanyard 

                  – Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

The Future

      - Billy Collins

When I finally arrive there—
and it will take many days and nights—
I would like to believe others will be waiting
and might even want to know how it was.

So I will reminisce about a particular sky
or a woman in a white bathrobe
or the time I visited a narrow strait
where a famous naval battle had taken place.

Then I will spread out on a table
a large map of my world
and explain to the people of the future
in their pale garments what it was like—

how mountains rose between the valleys
and this was called geography,
how boats loaded with cargo plied the rivers
and this was known as commerce,

how the people from this pink area
crossed over into this light-green area
and set fires and killed whoever they found
and this was called history—

and they will listen, mild-eyed and silent,
as more of them arrive to join the circle
like ripples moving toward,
not away from, a stone tossed into a pond.

Building With Its Face Blown Off

 - Billy Collins 

How suddenly the private
Is revealed in a bombed-out city,
How the blue and white striped wallpaper

Of a second story bedroom is now
Exposed to the lightly falling snow
As if the room had answered the explosion

Wearing only its striped pajamas.
Some neighbors and soldiers
Poke around in the rubble below

And stare up at the handing staircase,
The portrait of a grandfather,
A door dangling from a single hinge.

And the bathroom looks almost embarrassed
By its uncovered ochre walls,
The twisted mess of its plumbing,

The sink sinking to its knees,
The ripped shower curtain,
The torn goldfish trailing bubbles.

It’s like a dollhouse view
As if a child on its knees could reach in
And pick up the bureau, straighten a picture.

Or it might be a room on a stage
In a play with no characters,
No dialogue or audience,

No beginning, middle and end-
Just the broken furniture in the street,
A shoe among the cinder blocks,

A light snow still falling
On a distant steeple, and people
Crossing a bridge that still stands.

And beyond that- crows in a tree,
The statue of a leader on a horse,
And clouds that look like smoke,

And even farther on, in another country
On a blanket under a shade tree,
A man pouring wine into two glasses

And a woman sliding out
The wooden pegs of a wicker hamper
Filled with bread, cheese, and several kinds of olives.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Curated Bibliography of Texts about Rhizomatc Learning and Leadership

Rhizomatic Redesign (M.A. Reilly 2012)

A few weeks ago a friend, Renee, from NH emailed me to ask if I would mentor her for her individualized learning portion of her dissertation.  She attends Antioch University and is in the process of earning her PhD in Leadership and Change. I was of course thrilled to be a part of this venture especially as she is thinking about rhizomatic leadership which I am keen to think about and theorize alongside Renee.  We will work together for the next 4 to 6 months. Below is the start to some readings we may well do (we'll see what surfaces).  Thought I would share this curated list.


  1. Chan, Kirsten Ho. (2011). Rethinking Children’s Participation in Curriculum Making: A Rhizomatic Movement. International Critical Childhood Policy Studies, 4(1) 107-122.
  2. Cormier, Dave. (2008). Rhizomatic education: community as curriculum. Innovate: Journal of Online Education. 4 (5).
  3. Gough, Noel. (2010). Chapter 2: Performing Imaginative inquiry: Narrative experiments and rhizosemiotic play (pp. 42-60). In Thomas William Nielsen, Rob Fitzgerald & Mark Fettes (Eds.) Imagination in Educational Theory and Practice: A Many-sided Vision. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  4. Gough, Noel. (2006). Rhizosemiotic play and the generativity of fiction. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 3 (1), 119-124.
  5. Gough, Noel. (2006). Shaking the tree, making a rhizome: Towards a nomadic geophilosophy of science education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38 (5) 625–645.
  6. Gough, Noel. (2004). “RhizomANTically Becoming-Cyborg: Performing posthuman pedagogies”. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), pp. 253–265. 
  7. Gregoriou, Z. (2004). “Commencing the Rhizome: Towards a minor philosophy of education”. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), pp. 233–251.
  8. Honan, Eileen. (2007). Writing a rhizome: An (im)plausible methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 20(5), 531-546.
  9. Irwin, Rita L.; Beer, Ruth; Springgay, Stephanie; Grauer, Kit; Xiong, Gu; and Bickel, Barbara. (2006). The Rhizomatic Relations of A/r/ tography.  Publications. Paper 4.
  10. Leander, Kevin M. & Deborah Wells Rowe. (2006). Mapping literacy spaces in motion: A Rhizomatic analysis of a classroom literacy performance. Reading Research Quarterly, 41 (4), 428-460.
  11. Reardon Micahel, Sanzogni, Louis & Arthur Poropat. (2005/2006). Towards a Rhizomatic Method for Knowledge Management. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE MANAGEMENT, 5(5), 159-168.
  12. Reilly, M.A. (2014). To enter stone, Be water: Situating literacy coaching as rhizomatic. Reading & Writing Quarterly:Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 30(3), 293-295.
  13. Sanford, K., Merkel, L. & Madill, L. (2011). ’There’s no fixed course’: Rhizomatic learning communities in adolescent videogaming. Loading… The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, 5(8), pp. 50-70.
  14. Sasser, Tanya. (2012). Bring Your Own Disruption: Rhizomatic Learning in the Composition Class.  Hybrid Pedagogy, 30.12.2012.
  15. St.Pierre, E.A. (2004). Deleuzian Concepts for Education: The subject undone. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), pp. 283–296.
  16. Young, Alex Trimble. (2013).  Settler Sovereignty and The Rhizomatic West, or, The Significance of the Frontier in Postwestern Studies. Western American Literature 48:1 & 2, pp. 115 - 139.
Knowmadic Learner (M.A. Reilly, 2012)

Blog Posts/Web/Prezzi/YouTube, etc.

  1. Academic Papers via the Mendeley Group: Rhizomatic Learning
  2. Cormier, Dave. (2012).  Embracing Uncertainty – Rhizomatic Learning in Formal Education. Available at: [Accessed 13.3.2013].
  3. Cormier, Dave. (2011). Workers, soldiers or nomads – what does the Gates Foundation want from our education system?
  4. Cormier, Dave. (2011). Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach?
  5. Cromier, Dave. & Reilly, M.A. (2011). PlexusCalls - The Rhizome: A New Metaphor for What We Learn and Know. 
  6. Crump, Helen. (2014). Rhizomatic learning: metaphors, synergies and semantics #rhizo14
  7. Gangi, Jane. (201).  A Brief Introduction to Rhizomatics Via Sheri Leafgren’s Reuben’s Fall
  8. Mackness, Jenny. (2014). Principles for Rhizomatic Thinking
  9. Reilly, M.A. (2013).  The Random and the Intentional: Growing a Business Rhizomatically
  10. Reilly, M.A. (2012). Knowmads, Rhizomes, and Minecraft: Exploring the Edges of Learning in a Middle School Classroom (prezi)
  11. Reilly, M.A. (2011). Reimagining Learning as Lines of Flight.
  12. Reilly, M.A. ( 2011). We Are Pando: Rhizomatic Learning.
  13. Steves, Tobey. (2014). Uttering towards otherwise: Students as rhizomatic nomad assemblages.
  14. Stewart, Bonnie. (2011). the rhizomatic learning lens & what rhizomes are good for.


  1. Cambpell, Neil. (2011). The Rhizomatic West: Representing the American West in a Transnational, Global, Media Age. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska/Bison Books.
  2. Cormier, Dave. Making the community the curriculum: Rhizomatic learning in action.
  3. Delanda, Manuel. (2002). Intensive science & virtual philosophy. New York: Continuum.
  4. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. (1980). A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. (pdf)
  5. Deeluze, Gilles, & Parnet, Claire. (1987). Dialogues. New York: Columbia University Press.
  6. Guattari, Félix. (2008). Chaosophy, New Edition: Text and Interviews 1972-1977. Sylvère Lotringer (Ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  7. Leafgren, Sherri. (2011). Reuben's Fall: A Rhizomatic Analysis of Disobedience in Kindergarten. Walnut Creek, CA: Leaf Coast Press.
  8. Maher, Susan Naramore. (2014). Deep Map Country: Literary Cartography of the Great Plains. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska/Bison Books.
  9. Reilly, M.A. (2011).  The familiar falling away: A little book of rhizomes. Blurb.


  1. Humphreys, Chloe. (2012). Mapping literacy spaces in motion: A Rhizomatic analysis of a classroom literacy performance. Burnbay, BC: Simon Fraser University. 

20+ Picture Books About Women Athletes: Bodies in Motion

  1. Adler, David A. (2005). America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle. Illustrated by Terry Widener. Orlando, FL: HMH Books for Young Readers.
  2. Adler, David A. (2003). Mama Played Baseball. Illustrated by Chris O’Leary. Orlando, FL: Harcourt.
  3. Barber, Barbara. (1998). Allie’s Basketball Dream. Illustrated by Darryl Ligasan. New York: Lee & Low Books.
  4. Copeland, Misty. (2014). Firebird. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. New York: Putnam Juvenile.
  5. Corey, Shana. (2009). Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune, & Swimsuit History. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. New York: Scholastic.
  6. Corey, Shana. (2003). Players in Pigtails. Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. New York: Scholastic.
  7. Deans, Karen. (2007). Playing To Win: The Story Of Althea Gibson. Illustrated by Elbrite Brown. New York: Holiday House.
  8. Govenar, Alan. (2006). Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller. Illustrated by Martin French. Somervile, MA: Candlewick.
  9. Green, Michelle Y.  (2004). A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson Paperback. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. New York: Puffin.
  10. Hopkinson, Deborah. (2006).  Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Illustrated by Terry Widener. New York: Aladdin.
  11. Hubbard, Crystal. (2005). Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream. Illustrated by Randy DuBurck. New York: Lee & Low Books.
  12. Krull, Kathleen. (2000). Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became The World's Fastest Woman. Illustrated by David Diaz. Orlando, FL: HMH Books for Young Readers.
  13. Kuklin, Susan & Sheryl Swoopes. (2001).  Hoops With Swoopes. Illustrated by Susan Kuklin. New York: Jump at the Sun.
  14. Lang, Heather. (2012). Queen of the Track. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
  15. Malaspina, Ann. (2012). Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Albert Whitman & Company.
  16. McCarthy, Megan. (2013). Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton. New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books.
  17. Moss, Marissa. (2004). Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books.
  18. Rappaport, Doreen & Lyndall Callan. (2000). Dirt On Their Skirts: The Story Of The Young Women Who Won The World Of Championship. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. New York: Dial.
  19. Rosenstock, Barb. (2010). Fearless: The Story Of Racing Legend Louise Smith. Illustrated by Scott Dawson. New York: Dutton.
  20. Stauffacher, Sue. (2011). Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History. Illustrated by Sarah McMenemy. New York: Alfred Knopf.
  21. Tallchief, Maia & Rosemary Wells. (2001). Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina. Illustrated by Gary Kelley. New York: Puffin.
  22. Stauffacher, Sue. (2011). Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson. Illustrated by Greg Couch. New York: Dragonfly Books.
  23. f
  24. Vernick, Audrey. (2010). She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story. Illustrated by Don Tate. New York: Balzer + Bray.