Monthly Archives: February 2013

Solace

Where does one find solace in this world? On Friday I found it in Kindergarten. There was the little ragamuffin constantly pulling up her falling pants. The tooth that fell out in the middle of the lesson. The cheering and excitement that followed for that lost tooth. There was the genuine concern for the classmate who had surgery just days before. There was the elation of creating the letter ‘j’ with play dough. There was laughter, warmth and enthusiasm for life.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty we sometimes face, my time in Kindergarten reminded me of the tenderness, transparency and grace of children. I was surrounded by the beauty of life itself.

If you are needing a little solace, seek out a child: the world just may seem a little brighter.

 

“An Inexhaustible Source of Magic”

There seemed to be a lot of sadness the last few weeks: illness, sudden death, the disclosure of abuse. At these times, it can be difficult to know just what to say to provide comfort to those in the midst of turmoil. And though the right words are sometimes elusive, as Dumbledore once said to Harry, “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

Though words can’t change reality or circumstance, they have incredible power, magic if you will. Words can provide hope in moments of darkness. Words can transform our mood. They can console and comfort. They can uplift and inspire. Words can educate, encourage and defend. Words change worlds.

Drenched in Words

What skills do we want our students to learn in school? Though many immediately come to mind, literacy remains at the top of my list. In fact, most parents and teachers point to literacy as a primary goal.

We must therefore be deliberate in how we teach our students to read and write. We know that high quality instruction is essential, yet so too is quantity. I recently stumbled upon quotations from two writers that reminded me of the necessity of extensive reading and writing. Hart Crane once said, “One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.” And Colin Channer, “A first draft for me is not a table that needs to be sanded a few times and then polished. It’s the tree chopped down in the woods.”

Do we set aside time for our students to read? Do we read to them daily despite the grade level? Do they write each and every day? Are they given the freedom, opportunity and skills to revise and polish their work? Are they reading and writing in every area of the curriculum?

This week, take stock of the quantity of reading and writing your students are doing… be sure they are drenched in words!