#SOL15.Scrambled Eggs & Some More Things

SOL

I was gonna write about how my day was scrambled. Starting with having to wake when a perfectly good rainstorm was carrying-on, down to the last few hours of catch-up for time lost…

Then, I realized that this is the eve of the last day in March–which means that the SOL challenge is nearly complete, and it also means I’ve nearly completed it.

I’ve never written more consistently. I’ve hated diaries for that very reason.

My aunt, who used to teach creative writing told me: “Write every day.”

It took this challenge to make me understand that the value is consistent practice. I can actually chart similarities in posts, ones that took a turn, words that seem to be on the front-burner of my mind.

But in the case of SOL, the greatest gift is the community of slicers, cheer-leaders, fellow-writers with an eye for writing and a thirst to discover. That’s been the best part–the comments that encourage and invite.

So while today felt a little like scrambled eggs and I got scrambled and tangled all up into myself! I can also think on the fact that eggs taste good! Now, where’s the bacon?

#SOL15.Time.Machine

SOL

If I could go back in time, I would write down every single funny remark, delightful realization, confusion turned laughter, turned hilarious laughter.

I would capture each moment and preserve it and the memories that surround it. I would label each snapshot, write each student’s name, and remember each face.

If I could go back in time, I would pause and write what happened instead of having to pause to piece together a memory.

I’d have more than the few that I remember.

When B told the entire class that M had her independence taken out. It was her appendix.

I remember that M told me I could do “The Rock eyebrow” because I could life my left one high. I think The Rock used it for intimidation. Mine demonstrated facial-curiosity.

I’d film the moments that were so funny, that I had to leave the room, hide my laughter, cackle and snicker in corners because my kids were so spot-on. Or off. Often, they were just off…

Oh, we’ve had the best times!

Learners became friends

Classmates transformed into the same

After a year, sometimes sixth months, the classroom morphed into a family room

The ease and camaraderie emboldened

Fear and uncertainty faded away

I’ve always liked the second half of the year better.

The part beyond routines and procedures, where students self-govern.

My favorite is when they govern each other

“Hey, be quiet y’all!” “She’s quiet, you know she’s getting mad!”

The statement alone, made me not mad.

If I could go back in time,

I would.

I would teach them all over again, except better.

Of course, if I could go back now, I would adopt them all.

Fill in all the spots and spaces I was at a loss for then.

Different years, so good for various reasons.

If I could go back, I’d pack hugs and a pen.

I’d type it all down and label it.

I’d have it all here for review…

#SOL15.Battle

SOL

Part of the battle is just finding a suitable topic.

After having had your day.

When routine beseeches pajamas, covers, sleep

And there is still more to go.

Will it be something I experienced today, or some musing I conjure on my decline into a world filled with dreams?

The hardest part is convincing myself not to nap.

Not to give in.

Worse when it’s really late.

I’ve typed with my eyes closed as a happy medium.

It happened again tonight

After a too relaxing bath and soft sheets.

Pounding out the thoughts

Ticking out the letters

A light tap-dance across a keyboard

Beckoning for coherent form

Stealing time from slumber

To gain another slice.

#SOL15.I.Fully.Expect

SOL

I took a photograph I had of T and affixed it to a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records he had brought in for sharing. I fully expect him to be a record-breaker–so why not put his picture in now?

I fully expect to see C on Broadway–what better place for a person whose very presence brings joy? She has the range of depth and emotion at a young age. Joy bubbles from her soul!

I fully expect to see J as an engineer. He has the patience and the method to figure it out and do it right–do it well.

And even if I’m not right about where they land, I am right that they will land

On two feet

Solidly.

I am right that they will all work doing what they love.

I am right that they will maintain their joy.

#SOL15.Breathe.Into.The.Pain

SOL

I just wrote about learning.

About hopes and dreams

And it was sweet.

Idealistic

But learning sometimes hurts

Lessons can be painful or unwanted

I see this, occasionally.

Liken it to how a chiropractor assesses, adjusts, cracks.

Some things that need fixing must be cracked first.

Over-dependency

Needing attention, c – o – n – s – t – a – n – t – l – y . . .

Sometimes too much independence

Often, not enough

Sometimes too much trepidation

Often, not enough

Sometimes too much talking, yelling, calling-out

Sometimes, not enough.

There is no one equalizer,

But there are thousands of unique ways we all must grow

Stretch

Lean into the uncomfortable.

Breathe until it becomes bearable

Comfortable.

Feels good.

Bonsais get clipped

Trees pruned to produce more prolific fruit, flowers

But when we speak of school, we idealize constant joy.

I teach Kinder-GARDEN

Gardeners grow things

Use stakes as scaffolding for plants

Enrich soil so nutrients are available

Adjust placement for sun or for shade.

Make adjustments that may strike roots into shock before they fill with nutrient-rich futures

Even the most beautiful petals have roots in dirt.

It’ll get a little messy sometimes

No need to worry about the dirt

The discomfort

We’re working on a bountiful bloom.

Breathe into it.

It’s gonna be all right.

#SOL15.Fantasy.Revisited

SOL

Somewhere in the middle of these stories,
I get up and either coax or fuss my kids back to bed.

Whatever works, backrubs, out and out threats

Different days, different means.

I say that to acknowledge that while it’s not the fantasy

It is at least getting done.

And though the journeys vary,

The destination has been met

Some journeys pleasant strolls alongside green pastures—still waters

Others, shadowed valleys.

Yet.

Yet.

Yet—the task accomplished

The proverbial pen has been swung

Ink spilled into thoughts, words strung together

For something coherent, light

Incredibly in or far outside my own reality.

Not always linear

Rather, rarely liner

But, here.

Sometimes it really isn’t about the journey

Journeys can be awful, stressful, cumbersome, un-fun adventures.

Makes me think of tumultuous seas…

Wave after wave of “Are we there, yet?”

Wave after wave of take me back home…

Adventures so long that you fear it’s your only reality.

Sometimes, it’s simply about the destination.

Peeling the layers until all you have is a refined arrow that will fly directly

where intended

Sharp

Straight

Slicing through muck, mire

Slicing through resistance.

Here.

And destination is the goal.

#SOL15.Dandelion’s.Dream

dandelion

Today, we walked.

The sunset beckoned and we leaned in

Out of the house

Into the world

Across streets

And into a grassy meadow.

Paths diverged

Creeks emerged

Exposed roots bode welcome as water trickled below.

Come, beckoned a leaning tree with outstretched hand

The grass–red carpet beneath our feet

Rolling landscapes unfolded

Discovered that pine straw is the perfect padding for forests

My favorite part was the forest

Darkened crevices that the children called spooky.

Yet, the shadows gave shade.

Soft padding beneath our feet

We emerged,

Energized and calm

Ready for rest

We prayed.

Thanked God for cowboys and our walk…

And we will rest

Beneath the trees

On beds padded with pine

We will float on a dandelion’s dream

Blown into eternal love

We will listen for the next time she calls

Beckons us into her bosom

Embraces us with warmth

Shows up at our door

We will go to seed with the dandelion

And plant & love in fertile ground

#SOL15.Mama…

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.23.49 PM

“Mama, why can’t we see kisses?”

“I don’t know, what should they look like?”

“Hearts!”

It was just an elevator ride. A stolen moment. A stolen kiss–several actually. Stand-up cuddles between picking her up, racing the streets, and dropping her at rehearsal. I couldn’t resist. Her toothless smile so sweet!

There was victory in arriving with time to spare, and a long road of rehearsal, traffic, the evening’s activities ahead.

Needed a moment

A kiss.

And when I kissed her, she burst with wonder. Sweetness! Dreamy-curiosity. I wanted to catch it–the moment & the dream therein.

Why can’t you see kisses?

I’ve given it thought, now:

Because our eyes aren’t wide enough to see love.

You have to feel it!

#SOL15.Branches.Become.Roots

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 2.06.58 PM

My son has taken an interest in the Jackson Five
Completely outside his generation, he dances, sings, commands
“Sit down girl! I think I love ya! Yeah, Get up girl!”

It’s a sweet, precious mess!

As he figures the tune and makes sense of the words, I try to guide him by stating the actual lyrics…

“Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmatic are the branches of the learning tree!”

But, they’re not, anymore.

Reading, Writing and math are clicks away to an iPad saavy generation
and learning we would have called rote still is, but with lights, bells, whistles and digital games.

None of it is bad.
We all learn.

But I’ve noticed a shift in how I think about what I teach and what I want for my children to learn.

I chatted today with a mother who was a former classroom teacher. She and her husband made the decision to homeschool their four children. I confided in her that despite all the curricular improvement and invention I’ve ever seen, I recently worried who would teach my children not to mix bleach and ammonia when cleaning.

The lesson, a little much for a three-year old, but it did cross my mind when I saw ammonia in the grocery store.

Which brings me to 21st Century Skills. There’s a nice set of the skills and definitions here. But what they seem to call for is not just simply knowledge, but utilizing the knowledge to make the best decisions—even if the decisions are innovations.

And, that now, is what is expected.
The branches have become roots.
Use what you know to make a decision.

Rote knowledge no longer the sweet spot
Marked off by the latest, greatest Junior Jeopardy winner
How to utilize that knowledge lest you become in a jeopardy of your own.

It’s great.
Discernment can be taught.
Best if practiced routinely, but boy!
What a leap!

All along Bloom’s been shaking his head, I’m sure.
It’s what you call “good sense” or “common sense” but I like the way it’s articulated

I’ve seen all kinds of reform come and go
Each promising to heal the ills of the education system

I lived through watching teachers
Lament writing objectives.
Certain they crawled with irritation as the first few minutes of their precious teaching time was rerouted to us students scratching the objectives into our “objective” notebooks. Trees never been wasted for such frivolousness.

Then they checked those notebooks—for points.

Not sure if I got more take-away from learning organization or becoming obsessive.
Either way it happened.

It’s not the framing that was the problem—it makes sense to frame what you’re teaching so learners know what to expect.

It also makes sense to have buy-in because what you’re doing is what’s best and not simply what’s mandated.

More mandates would come.
I suppose it’s what to expect.

Ask a surgeon for an opinion, she’ll recommend surgery
A government will govern, just the same.

But these skills are fluid,
Giving you parameters with which to approach an issue
To see the boulder in the street not as a roadblock
But as a challenge that requires your best attention—your discernment.

When I read them I want to shout them from the mountaintop
To adults, mostly:
Adapt to change, be flexible, manage goals and time, work independently, be self-directed learners, interact effectively with others…those are the life & career skills, and there are more.

Also, they encourage me.
I have to learn them, too.
I wasn’t taught them formally, but life has thrown a few at me.

Unlike my middle school teachers, life wasn’t required to neatly print the lesson that was to come on the chalkboard in front of me.

But I wish it were.
I wish I were taught formally.

I haven’t seen a curriculum that effectively does.
But I bet I could write one.
There’s enough here for a lifetime of learning
Which means it’s good.
It’s flexible and allows opportunity for growth and consideration at each step.

It’s a good way to start the week.
To think about the skills my young learners need to have in order to courageously face the world as it grows.

And as the world grows beyond the generation in which I was taught, I do want to keep up, keep learning, thrive in the change, revel in the past—use wisdom to know the value in both. Grow the web of my own learning.

From floppy disks to clouds
From feverishly copying notes down from a chalkboard to snapping a quick photo of what I need to remember.
From the fresh smell of encyclopedia to having to discern which website or YouTube video will best fill the gap in my knowledge.
What exciting innovations!

And through it all and despite it all,
I’m still likely to teach my kids not to mix ammonia and bleach!

#SOL15.It’s.What.You.Do

SOL

My grandmother often said, “It’s not how much money you make, it’s what you do with the money.” Isn’t that always the case—not what you have but what you do with what you have?

Attitude and action weigh more heavily than the resource alone.

I keep thinking of this.

How do you handle unsavory information?
Information that dampens your mood
Saddens your imagination.

This wasn’t what I expected.
Why didn’t anyone tell me?
Why didn’t they predict this very moment three years ago, so I could prepare my emotions to react with ease?

It isn’t what you have—though what you have is amazing, nice, comfortable.
It is what you do with what you have

How will you be in this moment?
Handle it?
Live through it?
Live in spite of it?

I assure you, it’s not what you have.

It’s how you are.
And, for that matter—how are you?