Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 1

Today, the richness of the response to Graves' "Testing Is Not Teaching" suggested that the book is still relevant.  We were inspired by his words and had a lot to say about his ideas regarding long, slow thinkers (maybe you were reminded of a long, slower thinker you know and love) and the shortness of time in the classroom.  Like Ken Robinson, though we were inspired by his words, we were also frustrated by the lack of answers.  How do we find the time we need to teach well when time in the classroom is so short?  How do we address the shortcomings of our school structure when we are so busy addressing the needs of our individual groups of students?

Though we might not have answers to these questions, we do have answers to other questions. Questions like, what is the recipe for those scones?  (Plus 1/3 c. chopped crystallized ginger and 1/2 c. chocolate chips).

The experienced google docs gang threw out some some really great ideas for using this tool in the classroom -- and for troubleshooting some of its pesky quirks (thanks, Alberto, for shift-command-V!).  A thoughtful conversation about the pitfalls of technology, student and teacher choice, and differentiation ensued.  As in all things, balance is key -- and for those of you who cringe at the thought of a digital portfolio, paper is a-okay.

...lemming, nasturtium, hermitage, metastasize, cajole, incredulous Frank, Ethel Gannaway, under a mushroom, beside a tyrant on a balcony, "who ate the last oreo?", spilling soup, looking for a parking spot in midtown Manhattan on a Friday night...   Don't forget all those wonderful ideas from the Writer's Toolbox!  They may come in handy tomorrow when you are on the town for the writing marathon.

In the fuggy heat of the afternoon, we sweated over our writing.  Even with the air conditioning, staying comfortable was a challenge.  But the energy -- the writing energy -- in the room sucked us along its stream, taking us to the forgetting place, where external discomforts become minor and the interior life finds its way to the page.  Soon, the day came to a close with the word-playful "Bulbous Bouffant" and a simple exit slip, which if you didn't get a chance to respond to before you left yesterday, you will find here.

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