3C’s for Sunday

It’s Sunday morning and school is in full bloom and my bucket is full, in fact it’s overflowing. Trying to rationalize how time will be spent between the ‘want to dos,’ ‘need to-dos,’ and ‘have to dos’ is the challenge to leading a balanced life. I am thankful to the time I devoted this past summer break for helping me develop a new habit of starting the day with 20 minutes devoted to thinking about what happened yesterday, what will happen today, and how it will shape tomorrow. It’s in line with my first thing…

my Sunday morning view from the deck…

It takes curiosity to Make the Days Count. I am naturally a curious person and according to my principal in 2014, that’s why he picked me to teach 8th grade science. This is my fourth year as a science teacher and I finally feel like I really know what I am doing. It all comes back to that trait – curiosity and wonder. Last August, in 2016, I wrote a post about the 100 most influential Americans. I promised to reveal who the nine Americans I chose for my classroom were, I never did until this post.

Here they are: Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Elanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, Rachel Carson, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson.

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Shortly after school started last year, I realized I didn’t need nine tables, so I dropped Jefferson and realigned my classroom with just 8 tables. This year, I didn’t need to change classrooms (yay!) so, I was able keep the same table configuration and the same people.

When I selected the people to use in the classroom I sought balance – gender and ethnicity. It’s a challenge with eight people, or even nine people. One could make an argument for inclusion of someone else or more or less, but I really scored with Rachel Carson. I didn’t know it then what a perfect choice she was for my classroom.

Rachel Carson was a scientist. She is the noted American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Rachel Carson’s photo floats over one of the tables in the back of the classroom. Her quote,

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”         Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Is included in the class syllabus. It’s a BIG WORLD out there with many unknowns. It is going to take a great deal of curiosity, grit, and persistence to be successful in the 21st century.

She was a good choice for my classroom.

Compromise….. and the past
It takes compromise to Make the Days Count. Abraham Lincoln wrote,

“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.”

I use Lincoln’s quote often. It’s what Making the Days Count is all about. Be PRESENT – be in the present, it determines the future. We have to know our past in order to know our present because our present will decide our future. It gets back how the choices I make today (see first paragraph) impact my tomorrow.

Today is Constitution Day – September 17, 1787. The U. S. Constitution was a collaborative work, though James Madison get much of the writing credit and is considered ‘Father of the Constitution.’ The ideas of limited government and shared power were Enlightenment ideas derived from writings of the curious Englishman John Locke and Frenchman Baron de Montesquieu. Congress signed the Constitution and sent it to the states for ratification. Article VII lays out the procedure for ratification of the document that it would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. It would take nine months for nine states to ratify the Constitution, but only after a compromise was breached where congress agreed to add amendments to the Constitution, these amendments would become what we know as the Bill of Rights. It takes compromise to live in our world along with a healthy dose of curiosity.

It takes collaboration to Make the Days Count. It’s not just me, but a large cast – my family, my colleagues, my students, and the community all of who are more significant than me.

My science students have been investigating the pendulum in science class this past week collaborating with their table groups. They’ve been working on developing their science lab skills, too. They’re curious and wondering how the pendulum works. This week, they’ll be fitting their data into a graph and writing an equation to test what they learned. I am excited to see what blossoms Monday and Tuesday.

Tonight, The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premiers. I was too young to take part in the war and my parents were too old. We were in the middle. I do recall the nightly news, the angst across our nation, and the legacy of the war. I was in seventh grade when Vietnam fell in March 1975. I remember watching the people fleeing South Vietnam – the helicopters lifting off from the top of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

I’ve been to The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. several times and each time I pause to reflect on those who lay down their lives for our country and what it all means. This summer the Travelling Wall came to Grayling and we took time to pay our respects.

I have seen several of Ken Burns collaborations with Lynn Novick – The Civil War and The War among them – both documentaries are excellent and tell the story the American Civil War and World War II through the eyes and stories of the men and women who lived in the time. I’ve used clips from both documentaries in my history class to relate the story of both conflicts. There is a lot I don’t know and the history of the Vietnam War is among the list of my unknowns. I am looking forward with curiosity to tonight’s premier.

That’s it for my 3C Sunday – curiosity, compromise, and collaboration. Today is gonna be a great day, in so many ways it already is. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count one day at a time, one word which begins with ‘C’ at a time.

What is your ‘C’ for this Sunday?

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