March 14, 2017 - Michael Salinger

Shanghai American School – Pudong

The bus waits for none.


Barbara and Sara release her new book – The Enemy

But we couldn’t wait to get back to Shanghai American School’s Pudong campus.

Sara and I are spending a whole month here in the bustling mega city. Two weeks at each campus of SAS. We begin on the Pudong side of the river where our hosts are the ever-hospitable Barbara and Tim Boyer and the devilishly precocious Kimbra Powers.


Trying on some emotions for size.

We’re holding up in an Airbnb halfway between the two schools so we bounce in on teacher busses for our days at school. We’ve worked four times now here and the teachers and librarians are friends who we look forward to seeing again. The campus is familiar and it really feels like we are picking up where we left off the first time we disembark from bus number nine.


Finding the poetry in our novels.

Jumping back into Shanghai American is like jumping into a fast running river – you get swept up in the busy-ness. There is always – always – something going on. Over achieving is the official sport. The Boyers were getting ready for a big robotics tournament, which they were hosting, with multiple participating schools to be held over the second weekend. Students were just returning from Model UN competition in Italy, we attended a meeting of the poetry club and a subsequent performance, battle of the books – a round robin tournament based on March Madness in which the 64 most checked out books from the library duked it out for bragging rights – a visiting print maker was on campus, we had a book release party for Sara’s new novel The Enemy, and thrown into this mix – a couple crackpot poets from Cleveland Ohio.


We worked with students from third to tenth grade this trip on everything from public speaking to recipes for dystopia, from self-description through simile to finding the poetry in our global issue unit and in the middle school we hosted a raucously successful Haiku Death Match pitting academic house against house. Pumas, Dolphins, Bears and Falcons squared off in fast-paced 17 syllables verbal bouts ending with the Dolphins claiming mantle of yokozuna!

I managed to get out for a bike ride with English teacher/cyclists Brady Riddle – we celebrated my birthday at a swanky Indian restaurant, visited Kimbra and her family for a home cooked meal (thanks to Simon) and in general got treated like rock stars for our whole stay.


On to the other side of the river now for a couple weeks at Puxi side of SAS – fortunately for us we get picked up at the very same bus stop. Yep – it’s a lot like coming home.


Tim (left) heads of the Haiku judging.

And, so far – we haven’t missed our bus!


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“Sara and Michael bring infectious energy and joy leavened with deep knowledge of best practices in literacy to their work with children and teachers.” Ellin Keene – Author of Mosaic of Thought and The Teacher You Want to Be
“Sara and Michael bring magic, and a contagious love of words to both students and teachers alike!” Georgia Heard - Author of Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School More testimonials...