I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.
The last time I wrote was about going home. I did, and had a marvelous time with cousins, my brother and sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, and of course it was fun to travel with my daughter and the two grand-girls!
Remember this? That bindweed takeover in the flower bed outside my own garden.
And what it looked like after cleaning most of it.
And, now, the next pictures, what it looks like about six weeks later.
The bees are prolific, and very very busy!
And what does this have with school? Since I'm no longer teaching, this time of year still challenges me to muse about what I'm going to do to empower my students to feel competent, able to accomplish what they set out to do. And I know this is what you've been wondering and planning about, too. I've read your posts, admire the thoughtfulness of teacher writer/bloggers. They are aiming for good things!
So, one idea. This gardening I've been doing as I wrote before is not what I "need" to do. I'm not in charge of this particular garden plot, but I do pass by it every day when I walk to my car. I love flowers and I love that they can sustain a habitat for bees and other insects, and for small mammals. And I wanted to make things better, to help the flowers, and then the habitat, and to make the neighborhood prettier. It hasn't been easy. After that first huge weeding I've taken about a half hour every day to catch those little sprouts before they strangle. I've researched and found that it may take about three years to finally see (only most) gone. Unless I move, I won't quit.
That is my story, a little story of persistence, and a story of big reward. I've thought of how I might translate this into the classroom. At any age, from emerging writers to the older ones, can they not discover their own personal stories? They can interview family members, parents, siblings, grandparents, or neighbors to find a story of persistence and success. They can share it in a verbal story, create a video of that someone telling the story, and they can write and illustrate with sketches or photographs. Of course there are famous stories of those who haven't given up. Many picture book biographies have been published in recent years. Yet, finding someone you know seems better to me, seems as if it will be more supportive that if you know someone personally, it means you too can persist and succeed.
I've had fun in the past supporting oral interviews for quite a few topics. It is motivating and is something that helps children learn about their families, neighbors and others in ways they may never know until they explore. I hope that some of you will think about it and perhaps include the experience in your classrooms.