Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Round-Up

If there is one consistent and common complaint I get about this blog, it's that people find it hard to keep up with the sheer volume of words I spill here, so I'm going to try something a little new and see how it goes. Since blog readership is notoriously low on Fridays anyway, I thought I'd try dedicating this day to giving everyone, including myself, a chance to catch up.

So here it is, the first in what may or may not turn out to be a regular weekly digest of what's gone on here this week:

In this post I tell a pair of parallel stories, one from school and the other from the wider society, in which those in authority react to bad news by defensively circling the wagons in an effort to cover up and deny failings: "This is what comes from a culture in which we've come to believe that mistakes are shameful, that transgressions must be punished, that we are bricks in a hierarchical pyramid rather than equal members of a community. It makes people conspire to hide things, to lie, to cheat, to circle the wagons out of fear, when the natural response should be to say, "Oh no, this is not good. Let's work together."

I discuss my classroom planning process and how I try to approach it as a daily experiment, one in which I try to prepare for every eventuality, but very often fail: "I typically arrive at school 1.5 to 2 hours prior to class time. I tell myself it's because I hate the feeling of being rushed, but it's really because I like having the luxury to stand amongst the things I've prepared for the kids and imagine the many ways they might choose to play there.

The children at Woodland Park don't have a lot of experience in the teaching style called "direct instruction," but in this post we proved we can manage it if given the chance and a little help from a great horned owl: "It's not so much that I don't appreciate that there could be some value for some children in direct instruction, it's just that I've found that no matter how many times I tell kids, "2 + 2 = 4," they won't know it until they've actually discovered it for themselves through a process of play-discovery known only to themselves."

This is the story of my friend Charlie and how as a 2-year-old he found his own special way to show how much he loved me: "Circle time was one of the few parts of the day when we knew we could count on him to keep his hands to himself. That's because he was busy biting me.

Humans can hardly think without resorting to metaphor, and there is none more profound than the Winter Solstice: "The word 'solstice' comes from the Latin phrase for "sun stands still." We spend the rest of the year in motion, moving forward, making progress. But if we can hold still long enough to listen, we hear winter whispering to slow down, take stock, cut back, rest, tend to the core of what makes life worthy of its name."

Perhaps we aren't the first to invent this very fun full body sensory experience, but we did invent it. What a great time we had slamming our bodies into the gym mats, but beyond that, there are some very interesting comments at the bottom of this post that explain why it's more than just fun: "Who wants to knock it down?"

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
Bookmark and Share

No comments: