It's Day Twenty-Five of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!Tweet at #SOL14
I haven't mentioned all the reasons why I am so interested in the weaving I've started. Part of it is that I had my mother's loom sitting without love in a closet. But the other part is something I did with a class one year. More than one post has talked of the importance of community, and I believe it makes the year with a class smooth as smooth can be. At my school, there is a slightly different challenge in our core classes, that we keep some students and other join us each year. (I taught Advance School classes, 6th, 7th and 8th graders.) That begins the year with "experts" and "novices". Weaving (that word again) this disparate group into a learning, fun-loving, cohesive whole takes activities, shared experiences, learning about each other, learning to love each other. It isn't now the beginning of our school year, so those activities are for another post, but this post is about weaving us together into a memory that will last. Each year, one of the things we did was travel on an extended trip together. That taught us about each other more than most things could.
However, after the trip, the final weeks are bittersweet, winding down, finishing individual unit work, final writing projects, meeting reading goals, knowing we will soon part. Each year I would try to find a way to do something as a class, to leave something behind that would forever mean "that" group, together like no other year, created. Eighth graders are leaving for their individual choices in high school, others will become the new seventh graders, and sixth graders will move in the following fall. This, this group that have forged such friendships, carry the memory of this year, and no other group will have it. So one year, I bought a large loom, and in addition to all the other memories, we created a tapestry of our year.
Everyone was required to spend 30 minutes to an hour a week on the loom. Each could decide what to do. If there was a big idea, it was brought to the group to see if everyone agreed, and who would like to help create it. Otherwise, the peaceful and quiet act of weaving happened in the classroom every day, during all the hours students were there. It became a time of quiet for those working on other projects too. Some became 'caretakers', tying off the dragging pieces at the back, being sure the weft was packed down by the weaving comb. Others sat and took out all the kinds and colors of yarn, arranged them, messed with them. The project was transformative. I've done murals with students before, other art and writing projects, service projects for others and for school, but somehow this was more. Or maybe I'm romanticizing and this was just the class it was meant for. Here's a picture of the weaving, which hangs in my office for those in that class to come to see. Some of the objects are meaningful, some are whimsy, but I don't think any of us will soon forget that spring when we wove our memories together.