This Week’s Posts
I hope you have been following along with my back-to-school endeavors to maintain balance so I can do right for myself, my family and my students. If you’re just joining us, fear not! Here’s what we did last week…
Launching a Workshop Model in High School
For the past two weeks, I’ve worked on my new workshop schedule, trying it out with the kids after dabbling during summer school. I really think it will be a good way to keep kids engaged, no matter where they are. They like independence, with just enough support – and not too much talking! We’re going to a reduced day (5.5 hrs) instead of our early dismissal schedule at noon from the last two weeks. In the afternoon, I’ll add more hands-on tasks: digital journaling, garden work, science experiments… Stay tuned.
Getting in that Garden…
We had a few thundershowers this week, so I had to spend less time watering the new hydrangeas that my youngest son brought home from work for me. In the garden, I thought a lot about the things that nurture my soul: teaching troubled teens, spending time in prayer and study, and time in the garden. Taking time to care for yourself is important in unpredictable times such as these. I hope you remembered to schedule it in your day.
I don’t garden because I’m the world best gardener – I’m not. I don’t have a good track record with houseplants, for example. They REALLY must have a sense of humor – and not mind being grazed on by cats. Here’s a shot of my new palm that sits behind me in my office. It just screams, “Please, chew on me!”
I DO love gardening, but not because I raise enough food on a quarter acre to feed my family through the zombie apocalypse. This year, between spring slugs, unbearable heat and weeks with little rain, I have managed to grow salad greens, arugula, a few cherry tomato plants and some herbs. Last weekend, I stuck some ornamental cabbage and kale in the ground, and planted one last round of beans, radishes and lettuce – fall gardening, to the rescue!
Gardening gives me (and my students) peace. Something about digging in the soil, the smell of the basil in the morning, the feeling of the sunshine on my back, the music of the warblers, cicadas and spring peepers. It’s the way a catbird eyes me and follows me as I weed, snagging grubs or beetles that I toss to the side. Kids and adults benefit greatly from getting outside in the garden.
Peace and Gratitude
In the garden, I feel God’s presence. I see evidence of His qualities in what he created: beauty, and mathematics, and patterns, and music, and warmth, and freshness, and renewal. I can talk to Him, and He answers me with a breeze, in a slowly circling buzzard, or a butterfly on a bit of clover.
“Life-fulfilling work is never about the money – when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.” ~ Eileen Fisher, Fashion Designer
School and Life Shopping for the Week
Admit it, teacher-friends: between back-to-school and COVID stay-at-home orders and quarantines, we have all developed a heavy-duty Amazon addiction. Sorry not sorry. I put some items in my overstuffed Amazon cart this week:
- The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Soil Amendments ~ natural ways to feed life back into the soil, in return for sharing its treasures;
- Soul Nourishment ~ ways to make sure that your cup stays full so you can continue to be the wonderful you that the world loves and needs;
- The School Garden Curriculum (which arrived last week!) ~ daily lesson plans to use all year round for students of all ages;
- Ethical Leadership in Turbulent Times: Solving Moral Dilemmas ~ I’m using this book in one of my graduate courses – an appropriate topic for teaching and leading in times such as these;
- The Self Journal ~ my next quarterly planner arrived last week – I enjoyed the Best Self Journal, but I LOVE the layout of the Self Journal.
I’ve also been shopping for my new journaling love: washi tape. If you haven’t starting using it, I will warn you: once you do, you’ll want to put washi tape on anything you write. One of my girls saw me using it, and I just had to give her a roll. She is currently using it to bedazzle her Chrome Book.