Archive for November, 2020

Upon Re-Entry

November 17, 2020
From a flower fairy

I’ve been here.

I’ve returned to school after a devastating loss before, and I did it again today.

Days like these are strange, tiring and full of uncertainty. Will I be able to hold myself together? Can I make it through? Do I have it in me to accept the “we missed you’s,” the knowing eyes and nods, and not break down into a blubbery mess?

I felt like one of those candies – the cherry cordials. The one with the waxy hard shell and the super gooey insides.

I hate cherry cordials.

Had it not been for the “soft landing” gifts my colleagues left me –

had it not been for the air hugs I was offered in the hallways –

had it not been for texts with little more than a heart or the word “hug” –

had it not been for friends to arrange dinner, or a bottle of wine, or an errand –

had it not been for supervisors who offered grace and assistance beyond what I could hope to expect –

had it not been for family members who gave unconditional support and validation –

had it not been for the notes of sympathy from students of mine who just wanted to reach out –

had it not been for flowers that awaited me after a long drive home from the funeral –

had it not been for my husband and son, whose physical presence at that funeral meant more than I could say –

had it not been for the power of hugs when they are discouraged but so desperately needed –

had it not been for a family not my own to take me as one of theirs in a time I felt utterly alone –

had it not been for friends who held me in love and compassion in those early nightmarish days –

this strong shell, already cracked to pieces, most certainly would have shattered.

Encouraging Signs

November 10, 2020

It all started with a super-cute dog video.
(Go ahead and watch. it’s only about a minute long.)

And then a question. “Is this language?”

Boy oh boy, did THAT ever stir up conversation. For me, as a teacher, this could not POSSIBLY have gone any better.
I wanted students to be engaged from the get-go. Check.
I wanted them to be excited to talk about big ideas. Check.
I wanted them to be curious about stuff they didn’t know. Check.
I wanted them to have conversations about difficult things without getting into arguments. Ch-well, no. We have some work to do on that one.

But the fruits of their labor are spectacular. Small groups worked together to develop rules for what language is. Here is their work, collected together:

Rules for Language:

Only represents part of communication 
A code that uses sounds, symbols, signals
Has to convey meaning and be understood by who is using it
Needs to be consistent
Set grammar and structure
Many people share
People can both understand and talk back
It can be translated to other languages
Doesn’t have to be spoken
Don’t always need a recipient-can just be for self-expression
Verbal language involves phonics, structure
The symbols and codes can change, but people need to know about it
People have to USE it
Requires socially shared rules

Whoever said that 10 year-olds are not ready for thinking about and exploring big ideas, I offer you THIS as evidence to the contrary.

And this is only day TWO of our work together. Am I excited to see where this goes? Maybe a little.