Tag Archives: PEN in the Community

Creating a culture of kindness

Art by Carissa

I do not care about your hate. Tell me what you love, what difference you make. This is the lesson to be learned and the example to be set. To those motivated by fear, division and doublespeak, stop and think. What wounds do you heal? What bridge do you build? Now is the time for Loveworks, an afterschool leadership training program for middle school students. I am honored to volunteer as a mentor. The foundational lesson in my Loveworks Story Express series considers the power of the primitive reactive brain. […]

Yoga in the Classroom, part 2

Mr. Decker's ELD Class

The morning after the November 8 election the Northwest Classen hallways were ripe with sorrow. “How is it?” I asked. “Everyone is in a state of shock,” Mr. Decker replied. “Half the students in my previous class stayed home.” We watched his English Language Development students enter the room in silence. I considered the Maya Angelou poem Human Family we studied the week before and the closing lines: “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” I surveyed the somber faces then asked, “How do you feel?” In […]

Yoga in the Classroom, part 1


I was shocked to learn that the majority of students in OKC Public Schools receive food assistance, meaning they live below the poverty level. I asked a yoga friend, who teaches English Language Development at Northwest Classen, my old high school, if it was that bad. “It’s probably closer to 90%,” she said. “Our students rarely have guest speakers. Why don’t you teach a class?” I did not hesitate. After reviewing their English textbook I outlined a six-week program entitled Writing for Results and entered a classroom filled with polite […]