#sol16 March 21 A Slice of Synthesis

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 


On my way to school my mind was spinning with all of the inspiration from The Saturday Reunion. I was trying to synthesize it all. I was thinking about love and acceptance of my kids, both at school and home. Andrew Solomon’s words resonated with me as soon as he spoke, and then last night we read Michael Hall’s Red.


Have you read this? I hope you have, and if you haven’t – go buy it now. Then buy a copy for every parent and teacher you know. Or, I guess you could lend your copy out… but wouldn’t it be fun to just start handing out this book about love and acceptance and being your true self? Give it to everyone you know who works with children…

Thinking about Red led me to think about Lucy Calkins quoting Maya Angelou. IMG_7296.JPG

Which of course made me remember the rest of Lucy’s talk,which is only partially represented in my notes:


I started dreaming of the traditions I can start when I go back to the classroom next year. I reflected on my beliefs about reading and writing and how school needs to be an authentic place for challenge and for joy.

As I walked into school, I smiled dreaming up the toolkits I can make, a la Kate Roberts. I was brainstorming skills, strategies and processes that I can pull together, using the structure that both she and Cornelius Minor demonstrated on Saturday. Cornelius reminded us that teachers have tenacity and we need to take what we do invisibly as readers and make it visible for students. Kate showed us tangible ways to do that with purposeful, practical tools.

I made my way to my office thinking about Carl Anderson’s message that assessment means to “sit beside.”

Then BOOM. On a nearby door, I’m hit with another message:


Oh, Pennsylvania Department of Education… Please go to a Saturday Reunion. Listen to Lucy. Help teachers “build worlds in their classrooms,” where students can find their power as readers, writers and learners. Lead teachers “not with mandating, but with influence – bring out the great talents of your people!”

I know it’s just a little yellow sign. But it made me wonder if there is an emergency TCRWP hotline. Kate Roberts? Cornelius Minor? The departments of education in this country could use a little shaking up. I’m not afraid of working hard, and I expect my students to do the same. “There’s no easy in being an effective teacher.” Kate said it. I agree.


So, tonight as H drew a superman sketch, E practiced drawing cubes and Mr. Thought challenged L to draw different emotions, I started taking some more notes on my Saturday Reunion learning.


I know I’ll learn more as I synthesize, and I also know that I’ll never ever get the markers back in order. That’s okay. Learning is messy.


Then before bed, E read me Little Quack. As I listened, I realized Mama Duck has been to the Saturday Reunion. She loves and accepts all of her children. She is in the water with them. She knows her ducklings, and her content. She breaks down the skill and encourages them to jump in, to just start. She even has a mini lesson. (Look closely, and you’ll find some math too.)

I decided that this was the perfect way to synthesize my day, because a book and a bedtime snuggle might be the best tradition of all.


4 thoughts on “#sol16 March 21 A Slice of Synthesis

  1. What a lovely peek into your learning- this helps me feel like I could get this gist of your reunion. Being in Seattle, it makes me feel ask ottos closer when folks like you draw out your notes and synthesize while you blog! Yay you!!!

  2. Lucy is so inspiring. Lucky you to spend the Saturday at TCRWP.
    I don’t think the testing will go away, but I sure wish it would get less and less attention.

    That Simon Sinek quote is a jaw dropper. Thanks for the rich sharing in your post.

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