Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's Happened: I Looked At the Calendar And I Went Into Panic Mode. Phew!

There's a place in every semester when a student comes into the office to ask about the final project and you think, "Wait. We have at least 5 more classes, no?"

Nope. The semester is winding down and I am thankful for these students being on top of their game more than I am. There's so much more that I want to accomplish, but as we head towards the final lap, it's time to target the course objectives so that students know exactly what they're supposed to do.

This, however, didn't solve the dilemma of a community art project that I like to assign each semester, especially in collaboration with a service-learning course. I like to leave gifts to the teachers who were kind enough to lend their expertise and students to my undergraduate and graduate courses.

Bring in Ralph Fletcher and what I now know he dislikes about the 'condensing' generation - that is, shrinking information to a Tweet, a Bumper Sticker and a 6-Word Memoir. I understand that...we want kids to develop their thinking, so minimizing it to a fast-pace, scroll-down meme-world is troublesome. Even so, my misreading of a chapter in his book led to some of the most interesting insight my undergraduates had to offer. This, and a poem a student scripted during a poetry workshop last week has me envisioning a collaborative art piece.

My model is above: Ubuntu. That's my bumpersticker and what I stand for. I am, because we are. It sums everything up in my world, emphasizing community in relation to the individual. This morning, I'm giving my undergraduates the challenge to do the same - to take their bumpersticker motto to actually create that bumper sticker. They don't know it, but I'm going to collage their work with my students poem, with my Bumper Sticker poem written from their bumper mottos, to create a piece of art for the school we've been working with.

Ah, but that is for next week. This week, we need to get on top of all we've learned from participating middle school workshops and begin transitioning their thinking with a teacher-identity cap. I want them carrying forth National Writing Project standards and celebrating all we've experienced this semester.

But I also am in need of sleep. My nostrils don't know if this is sinus season or allergies so I wake up with a plugged head followed by hours of absolute dripping. I guess this is because it's still snowing and the pollen count is extremely high. The whole seasonal thing is totally wonky.

Today, when teaching ends, I need to sit on my but and get on top of grading and editing from last summer. It's getting ridiculous how there's only 24 hours in a day.

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