April 2021

A Poetry Freebie for YOU!

A Poetry Freebie for YOU!

In honor of Poetry Month, we want to make it easier for you to introduce, incorporate, or increase your poetry instruction. This resource gives you ideas on how to get your students in the mindset to create or analyze poems, including fun activities to get them in touch with their five senses, when and how to use MI Write, some activities to do virtually with your students, as well as a few places to go to find age-appropriate poems to use.  

We not only want to provide you with helpful resources, but we are also here to support you as the whole person. That's why this resource also includes some places to go on social media that will inspire you this month and any month. Maybe the inspiration this month leads you to write some of your own poetry. Maybe you spend a little more time outside, enjoying nature. Perhaps you have a picnic with your kids or close friends. Whatever it is, we hope it's amazing! You deserve it! 

Make poetry easier in your classroom!

This document includes external links to help you find what you are looking for. The links are listed below for your convenience: 
Elementary school poems
Middle and high school poems
Instagram poets
Twitter poets
The Poetry Foundation

Jacob and Jordan: Your MI Write Team, Part 4

Jacob and Jordan: Your MI Write Team, Part 4

Jacob Wilson is our Operations Specialist and the one who gets your accounts up and running. He’s been with MI for two and a half years now. 

 Jacob Wilson

What do you love about your job? 
The ability to help clients on a daily basis. I have a passion to serve others and this role allows me to do just that. 

What is your degree in? 
I have a B.S. in Global Studies. 

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you’ve ever had? What made it weird or interesting? 
I worked for a landscaping company one summer and thought I was mainly going to be cutting grass and working on flower beds. Little did I know, I would be put with the crew that mainly did full-size flagstone patios and walkways on top of the regular gardening you might think of. It was a new skill learned, so I can’t be upset about that. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
I really want to get into the mission field by way of disaster relief aid and/or clean water initiatives.  

What has been the hardest part of the COVID-19 pandemic for you? 
Not being able to get together with family and friends as much. 

What is your proudest accomplishment? 
Completing a semester abroad in Thailand, running soccer camps for kids. Thai is by far one of the hardest languages I have tried to learn. 

What is your favorite family recipe/tradition? 
Mexican lasagna or coffee cake. 

Jordan Garnett
Jordan Garnett has been with MI for almost three years and is the Content Manager for the team. 

What do you love about your job? 
I don’t do the same thing every day. Yes, I’m always writing emails and blogs and working on social media posts, but the content is always different. Some of the tasks I get to do are like puzzles that I have to design, build, and then put together. Also, I love going to conferences and meeting people… back when that was a thing that happened. 

What has been the biggest obstacle in your career?  
When I was given this position, I had zero content experience. I was previously a classroom teacher. I knew things about writing and the English language but nothing about marketing and managing social media. To learn more about it, I went to some conferences and I’ve listened to podcasts and attended webinars. I’m constantly looking for opportunities to learn from the experts and expand my own knowledge base. 

What is your degree in? 
Middle Grades Education, specializing in language arts and social studies 

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you’ve ever had? What made it weird or interesting? 
My first job was at a restaurant here in Durham when I was in high school. My title was "phones person" and I did exactly what you would imagine what someone with that title would do. I answered three phones, taking delivery and pick-up orders, and sometimes even personal messages for the employees. I worked closely with the kitchen staff and the delivery drivers, which made the time pass quickly on boring nights. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
I'll be a marketing director, or a Showrunner as one speaker at a conference called it, and running my own content team. 

What has been the hardest part of the COVID-19 pandemic for you? 
We had our first baby in March, just as everything was shutting down, and there are still family members who have not gotten to meet him and that's rough. Also, I miss hugs. 

What is your proudest accomplishment? 
Surviving, I mean teaching, for 5 years in a middle school. Lots of people do it and stay in it a lot longer, but one of my education professors and the principal I did my student teaching under didn't think I would make it through the first year, and while my first two years were tough, I hit my stride in year 3 and soared! 
Also, pushing my body to its physical limits by growing and birthing a tiny human is certainly something I am proud of! Plus, he's pretty cute. 

What is your favorite family recipe/tradition? 
My favorite family tradition is just getting together and eating! My mom makes my favorite slaw! (see part 3 of our Meet the Team series) 

Students and the Pandemic

Students and the Pandemic

We’ve learned how teachers have grown even more flexible with virtual school and that parents have pulled out most of their hair trying to keep their kids on task in Zoom lessons. Our general appreciation for teachers has deepened significantly. But what have students been doing over the last year? Struggling. Making it. Missing teachers and friends. Growing.  

To get an idea of how they are feeling, we interviewed a sampling of students ranging from 4th grade to college freshman, asking the same four questions we asked teachers and parents. Some of their answers certainly surprised us; others, not so much. 


What has been your general experience with school during the pandemic? 

Ansley (12th): Online school has been very hard for me, learning how to work the computer, submitting my assignments, and just learning in general has been very hard and stressful. 

Cadence (7th): I don’t like it. It’s hard to focus and I much prefer to be in-person. 

Makayla (college freshman): This year for school it’s been hard, especially with having to zoom and not seeing the whole class face to face ever and then constantly having to just readapt the whole year. It has been a challenge. 

Francis (4th): Overall, this year has been good. 

Chris (college freshman): My general experience with school this year has been very different. I’ve been at home and in PJs more than I’ve stepped on campus.  

Cannon (12th): It has been rough and very hard. 

Saylor (4th): Pretty good, just harder and I miss the teachers. 

Maddy (12th): It’s okay but I wish we were learning in person. 

Suttyn (4th): I hate this school year. 

Did you catch that, teachers? Your students really miss you! They may not show it or say it out loud, but there’s something to be said for these kids to rather be in class than on technology. 


What is the best part of virtual school this year? 

Ansley: The time we have off the computer so we can do our own thing for a couple of minutes out of the day. 

Patton (9th): Still being able to play lacrosse. 

Cadence: Getting to know the teachers was easier online, and in the first couple of weeks, there wasn’t much to do.  

Lili (8th): Not having to deal with all the kids I don’t like, and getting extra time to do assignments. Instead of an hour, I get all day. 

Makayla: The best part for me is just being able to still have school and things did not have to be canceled! 

Francis: The best part has been getting to stay home and have help from my mom. 

Chris: The best part is probably being able to lay in bed while my professor is giving a lecture. 

Saydee (5th): Being with family all the time. 

Saylor: Being able to stay connected even though we are not at school. 

Maddy: I get more freedom to do other tasks throughout the day. 

Sawyer (5th): The only good part is that we can wear our pajamas every day. 

Shyann (8th): Not having to get ready in the mornings. 


What is your biggest challenge this year? 

: Turning in work. 

Makayla: My biggest challenge for this school year was knowing that it would be different and not wanting to be. It just made things more difficult for me because I had that attitude. 

Francis: The biggest challenge is not being able to do PE in the school gym. 

Chris: The biggest challenge for me is actually keeping up with school work because there isn’t any teacher to remind me, “Hey, you got this to do.” It’s strictly just me. 

Cannon: Actually learning the content. 

Saydee: Staying focused. 

Maddy: I have had a difficult time with time management and being able to retain the information that we are given. 

Shyann: Getting school work done. 


What do you hope to take away from 2020?  

Ansley: I hope that I will be able to remember the good parts of my senior year. It might not be a normal senior year, but it’s better than not having one at all. It’s been very stressful but I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life. 

Cadence: Quarantine is for our safety. 

Lili: Good grades. I definitely appreciate being able to go to school now. 

Chris: I hope to take away all the screen time with school. I personally really miss face-to-face. 

Cannon: More self-worth and feeling of purpose, as well as better physical health. 

Saydee: More focused on goals in class and at home. 

Saylor: Hoping to learn more self-control and time management. 

Maddy: To never take what we have for granted. 

Sawyer: Being more attentive and responsible for myself. 

Shyann: Getting more flexible and diverse. 

In the not-so-distant past, there was concern about the physical weight of backpacks on our students. This year, that weight has shifted to their mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. Schools were shut down, moving to online instruction, which challenged technological limits. A nationwide quarantine was put into place, putting strains on social lives. Every day, there was something in the news, on the radio, and all over social media about growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, racial injustice, and the increasing political tensions in the country. Despite the challenges brought to the surface by 2020, we’ve continued to see resiliency in our students. We see the triumphs. We see the growth. We see the next generations realizing their voices and their strengths. We see the future.