Thursday, March 19, 2020

SLICE 19/31- A good day for learning

I guess it's time to admit it. I work a lot-- sometimes more than sixty hours a week. And that doesn't include the evenings at home responding to essays, preparing lessons, talking to parents, etc. And then I do other stuff- Spanish class, Bible Study, Weight Watchers, Book Club, and dog classes. And now, all of a sudden, everything has ground to a halt. I don't have a husband or any kind of significant other. My sons are adults-- they live at home, but they don't spend a lot of time with me. And life is way, way, way quieter than I'm used to.

I'm trying hard to establish some kind of schedule for myself. Every day I try to:
  • read my Bible
  • do housework
  • do financial stuff (taxes, etc.)
  • spend time outside
  • do something physical
  • do some reading
  • do some writing
  • connect by phone or video chat with other human beings
  • learn something
  • practice my Spanish

So far, I think I have been the most successful in the "learn something" category. Today, for instance, I did two big "learn something" activities. First, I watch Ralph Fletcher's presentation on keeping a notebook. Ralph actually did the presentation yesterday, but I was driving the puppy to the mountains, so I missed it. He shared his full-sized notebook and also a smaller "stealth notebook" that fits in his shirt pocket.  Ralph also shared a poem, and encouraged watchers to write off of the first and last lines. Here is my first attempt:

“Football Mom”

Sometimes I remember 
the good old days
watching you
team captain
a red and white flash
flying into the end zone.

And you,
after the game,
shy smiled
king of the field
pushing your way 
through adoring fans
to give your mom
a sweat-scented 
post game hug. 
I still can’t imagine 

anything better than that.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2020

 Later this afternoon, I watched Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher on You Tube. Every day this week, Penny and Kelly have amazingly and graciously gotten together (cross country) and shared their thinking about reading and writing. It's been beyond fabulous; thoughtful and deep and practical, such a sweet respite in the middle of these crazy days. Penny and Kittle have also pulled together an amazing guest list. Today was Donna Santmann, a middle school teacher from New York City, who talked about using notebooks with her middle school students. Donna was down-to-earth and realistic and really honest about her work with her middle schoolers. And she said a couple of things I really want to remember...

It’s eighth grade.They’re little. Let them play.Who cares if they are wrong?

They’re not so deep.
We’re not so deep. 
Most of us are fairly ordinary. 
         Let’s embrace just being beautifully ordinary.

Today was a good day for learning


Elisabeth Ellington said...

Every day has been a good day for learning for me. That's how I'm structuring my days. It IS hard not to have a routine, and having some learning that I show up for each day helps. Amy Ludwig VanderWater's mini-lessons about keeping a notebook are wonderful, and I'm completely obsessed with the home safaris that the zoos are sharing. I am also loving Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle's talks. I'm a day or two behind on everything at this point but that's good since I don't have to worry about running out!

Jean said...

In my schedule everyday
I read Carol's post,
and she makes me laugh and cry,
and really think about life,
and she teaches me
exquisite things
about writing!

Tamara said...

Yet again, you’ve inspired me! I will put Ralph, Penny, and Kelly on my list. The good old days poem is beautiful. I don’t know about you, but for me that would have been one of those moments that was so sweet, but I wouldn't have realized in the moment how important it would become for me. Precious moments, gone far too quickly. Thank goodness it will live on in your writing.