It’s Saturday mid-morning and my plan to post in the middle of the week was foiled, yet again. Honestly, I do have ideas during the week, but I never have time to actually sit down and write them. Looking back on my week, it was a blur. I had to think back long and hard to remember all of the big rocks, small rocks, pebbles, sand, and water, which filled my week to recall all that I did and or more importantly, did not do.
This morning, I slept late. I needed it. Ivy woke me, but I was ready to wake and get moving. Friday night was the daddy-daughter dance and O and I had a great time, we had dinner together, danced, laughed, giggled, and talked. She got to see all of her friends, I got to visit with dads I don’t see often, and it was a great night. When I tucked her into bed, I told her not to get up until I came and knocked on her door in the morning, but she was out of bed and on the couch with Ivy, B, and me and joining in the Saturday morning routine. We made pancakes and set out on our day. Electronic recycling, library books retuned, flowers (for Valentine’s Day) and the auto repair for an oil change. Pebbles. The big rocks of the day and week are to come.
Last week, my students finished their health research books and turned them in for me to read and grade. I dislike grading and I am really not very good at it – it is a rock, but more like a pebble in my shoe. But, that is not my point. Every time I assign a paper, I cringe. I cringe not because it means I need to grade a paper, but it is another time when my students write something that is read by only one person – me. I can’t think of anything that kills writing (or learning) any more than creating a product that is only used to evaluate whether a student has learned a skill or concept, or worse remembered an arcane fact. I know I have to assess their learning and assign a grade, that is my job, but there has to be a better way.
So, when my students filed in Tuesday, I had them place their health books on their desks. The book is really a research paper in a format that looks like a book, we use a series of books called My Health by Alvin and Virginia Silverstein and their daughter, Laura Silverstein Nunn, to introduce the concept and then research and write the book. The book includes everything a research paper includes, except it is fun, even though it is hard work. The kids were excitedly looking at each other’s books while we stapled them together and I got them ready to share. I passed out post-it notes for them to place on the front cover of their book and then then I instructed them to stand behind their desks. I told them to walk around the room while I played music and when the music stopped, they were to sit down wherever they were and read the book at the desk. The post-its were for their comments and I played “Here Comes the Sun” first by the Beatles, then by Peter Tosh, and finished with Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor. When I was done, I shared my Here Comes the Sun post from two weeks ago and I let them know how energizing comments are for a writer, and how I feel when I read your comments, and I think they got it. I collected their books and made notes who did not give me one and we moved on to another part of class and the curriculum. Another rock.
I still have a handful of students, who owe me a book, but I will work on them next week and I’ll start grading the ones I have Monday, after school. I enjoy reading their books and giving them feedback on the process. This particular assignment is more about process than content and it is one assignment they always remember.
And that is where I stopped…… it was a good day full of rocks, pebbles, sand, and water. But, I am glad got the rocks in first. Today was full, too. I am exhausted. All of us are exhausted. W took a nap for a couple of hours and could have slept until the morning without waking, but he’s up and reading another chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird. O is busy playing with her new camera, and Ivy is looking at me as if I don’t feed her, but I do, she’ll eventually eat her food, but she’s hoping for a better deal – scraps from the table or a morsel from O. She’s a bright dog and not much gets past her. It is difficult to believe, but we’ve had her for almost three years – she celebrated her third birthday yesterday – and our anniversary for the adoption is Easter weekend. Oh, the whines!
It’s is Sunday evening and today WAS a great day, tomorrow is gonna be a great day, possibly a million and six times better. I have already jumped up, jumped in, and seized the day. Today was a great day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, sometimes looking back instead of ahead.
What are you looking forward to in the week to come?