Today in my English 9 classes we journaled in response to Ted Kooser's poem "So This Is Nebraska." I used the poem as a springboard to talking about our place--Ogallala, Nebraska. I try to journal with the kids, so here is what I wrote:
"I hate this place," a student declared after we read "So This Is Nebraska" by Ted Kooser. How do I get my students to love this place where rolling hills and bluffs exist--this place where cactus and sunflowers line 10th Street? I love this place and its people. I love the small hardware store that smells of sawdust and nails. I love walking into Hokes Cafe, the bell on the door ringing as it slams shut, where as soon as you walk into the restaurant heads turn to see who has just come in. I love Friday night football games and Thursday night volleyball where people from town gather no matter their differences, no matter what their opinion is on the school bond. When I think of my place I think of cowboy boots and jet skis. I think of the skatepark that sits in the middle of town--an oddity for a town just barely over 5,000 that is dominated by spurs and chaps. Yet it's a beautiful sight to see kids skating in this town--it reminds me of the youth--the people who can make this town great if they only try.