I Love Mistakes

I love my job.  It’s different every day.  I get to meet new people all the time.  It’s creative.  I travel to places I probably wouldn’t go otherwise.  So what’s not to love?  The fact that I don’t feel free to make mistakes.  As a teacher I loved experimenting with new lessons or new ways to talk to kids.  I wasn’t afraid of “failure” because most of the time nobody was watching.  And kids are very forgiving.  (Either that or they don’t notice when a lesson is a dud.)

But as a staff developer, I feel like I always have to be “on.”  Always have to be the expert.  So I stick to tried and true approaches.  No-fail lessons.  This year, though, I vowed to change that.  I decided that I would try new things.  Yes, while teachers and coaches and principals and superintendents watched.  I decided to try new ways of being with kids.  I let kids “perform” poetry before rehearsing.  I let students run minilessons.  I allowed kids to share their interpretations of text without making sure they saw “what the author really meant.”

And guess what?  I learned.  I learned that little kids can make music in the moment and don’t always need to practice for their peers.  I learned that a kid’s version of a minilesson is very different than mine, but that my new goal is to get kids to teach minilessons at least once a week.  And I learned that there are very interesting ways to interpret any text, if we just give kids a chance to explain their thinking and don’t butt in with ours.

I also learned that I don’t always have to be the expert.  And that’s very freeing.


New Jokes

Today’s blog was written by my eight year-old son Ari.  I think joke-writing should be a new standard when people get real and revise the Common Core.  What do you think?  

What is the softest drink?  A smoothie.

Where do bad guys go shopping? The Darth Maul.

What do you call a lot of clams on the run? A clampede.

What is a policeman’s favorite color?  Copper.

What did the iphone say to the ipad?  Can itouch you?

Where do cowboy trees hang out?  The branch.



A Peek Inside My Notebook…

I keep a notebook.  I always have.  I love the freedom.  I love the way this kind of writing helps me connect to who I really am.  When I show up at an empty notebook page I never feel intimidated the way I might when I start a blog.  Or when I’m writing fiction.  Lately, I’ve been working a lot, and wondering if it’s too much, because I notice that I haven’t been writing in my notebook.

This summer I’m redoing the exercises from The Artist’s Way (theartistswayatwork.com) (I know this book probably isn’t in vogue anymore, but then again, neither am I.)  All I know is that I can’t wait to get up every morning and write.

Here’s a little peek at something I do often.  I started doing this when life wasn’t so good and I needed a boost most days…

What’s in your notebook?