You know, most people go back at some point to visit their childhood in some way….maybe it’s taking a trip to their home or town, riding by their elementary school, looking through a box of toys, or seeing a favorite book in a bookstore. I recently took a walk down memory lane, revisiting myself as a beginning blogger..and as I grew. I reread posts I had written as I began posting, and in the years since. All I can say is WOW– doing so really made me pensive.
Those posts shaped my recent Classroom 2.0 presentation (Voices of Learning) as I realized I have learned, in the past few years, from some amazing people. I also think, just as we often revisit a favorite book, we should revisit favorite, or meaningful posts from time to time. One problem is that there are so many NEW ones to read all the time….and having the time to go back and reread old ones is time we often don’t have…or don’t take. In this busy world of ours, how many of us take time to reflect and remember and revisit who we were–or where we were in our thinking journey– several years ago?
I remember that as a child I used to go outside after dark and lie on the diving board of the swimming pool in my backyard, looking up at the stars. I’d sometimes contemplate the universe, but more often than not, I’d just muse through my thoughts or relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. (I was one of six kids and shared a bedroom with my sister, so solitude was a luxury I often didn’t have.) I remember in college finding places on campus where I could walk alone and enjoy the solitude, looking at nature’s beauty wherever I could. And, I vividly remember sitting on my deck on the night of September 11, 2001 and looking at the night sky and coming to a new realization of how many of those normally seen lights at night are airplanes–because there were none moving that night. That alone impressed upon me the seriousness of the 911 attack. I sat there and wondered about other night skies people must have watched in fear or with intense emotion, and felt connected, in a very weird way, with historical events as I never had before. Solitude, time for reflection, and introspection is incredibly powerful.
I saw that power last week when doing the silent chalk talk with my kids. After the quiet reflective activity, their writing was, quite simply put, amazing . They’ve all raved about that opportunity, and asked for more like it. Finding the questions that will allow that introspection is my challenge. But I know the power of that time–and will set it up so they can feel that power and rejuvenation–and I will look for other ways to provide it. Solitude, time for reflection, and contemplation is powerful.
And so is revisiting your history. I’ve taught in 6 different elementary schools in our county over the years, if you count summer school. I’ve been in every grade from K-5, including combinations classes of K-1, 1-2, 2-3 and 4-5. I’ve been a resource teacher in 3 different schools, working with most of the teachers on each staff. It’s been a wild roller coaster ride, but what I realized as I was revisiting my blogs and remembering my past, was that I have always loved working with kids, and that love is still there. I have often closed my door so as to avoid the adult drama that comes in any job, but my classroom, no matter which school, is– and always has been– a haven for me.
Rereading my posts has helped me to revisit some of my basic beliefs, examining who I am today in relation to where I’ve been and where I’ve come from in my thinking journey about education. Big ideas I’m mulling over tonight are the concepts of space and solitude and time for reflection and how we provide that for our students throughout the day. In this busy world of ours, do we give our students peaceful time, quiet time for their thoughts, restorative time for them to reflect, remember and revisit events in their learning and their lives? Do we take it for ourselves?
I’m rethinking my classroom…remembering how often my K kids would get under tables, or find a nook or cranny to climb into when they had “Book Look” time, or even during nap time. I’ve made those nooks and crannies in some ways this year, and I watch my 5th graders seek those out.The other day, one actually curved a beanbag around himself to make his own nook. I think of the emphasis on “campfires, caves and watering holes” our county has in conversations, and I’m thinking the cave is perhaps the most important. Reflection is restorative. Quiet gives our brains an opportunity to slow down, reset and rejuvenate. I need that, so when do I provide that time for my kids?
I bet if I asked my kids their favorite time of the day many would say our quiet reading time…I think I’ll ask them and see.
So when’s the last time you slowed down and revisited your history? When’s the last time you took time to be quiet, listen to your heart and breathe slowly? When’s the last time your kids had a chance to do that during the day?