by Brett Vogelsinger
Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, released a book this year, Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks For Me & You, that compiles his ongoing series of tweets to start and finish the day. The book jacket explain, "He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda' audience grew, these messages took on a life of their own," encouraging many others to face their own personal set of challenges and joys each day.
Here are two sample pairs, republished in the book, that give you a flavor of these morning and nighttime tweets:
They will move the goalposts.
They will upend the board when they're in check.
Life WILL be unfair.
YOU keep going.
They will change the rules on you.
There will be chutes lurking after ladders.
Life's not fair.
YOU keep going.
Words fail us, often, but when we put 'em together the
right way they can pull boulders out of us.
Keep working with 'em.
Tomorrow we take pen to pad, move mountains.
Get some rest.
I recommend buying the book, for teachers will likely find multitudinous ways to work these quick words of wisdom into classroom experiences -- just typing that last pair made me realize what an excellent bookends those tweets would make to a classroom writing workshop period. But here is one idea . . .
After reading one of these pairs, invite students to write a "G'day" or "Good afternoon" or "Hey there" post in their notebook. What encouragement do they need at the moment? Write to give themselves that little pep talk and keep it brief.
Next, you might ask them to consider: Who else could use those words today? If your school permits academic use of cell phones in class, give them the opportunity to snap a photo of their work to text or tweet to someone else they feel could use this encouragement.
Brett Vogelsinger is a ninth-grade English teacher at Holicong Middle School in Bucks County, PA. He has been starting class with a poem each day for the past six years and is the creator of the Go Poems blog to share poetry reading and writing ideas with teachers around the world. Find him on Twitter @theVogelman.