Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 76, Wednesday, January 14

At the start of class this morning, I noticed that one of the girls kept slowly stirring her hot chocolate for what seemed like several minutes as she was reading her book. Round and round went the spoon as she stared at the page. I couldn’t help but think, as I watched her, that perhaps the story she was reading was swirling her thoughts around just like she was doing to her steaming drink. She was folding the hot chocolate over on itself, again and again, and the words on the pages were softly folding themselves over inside her. Perhaps a gentle blending was happening inside both her brown mug and her young mind.
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I noticed an atmosphere of coziness as the 8th grade classes were doing their first podcasts of the year. I asked four students to discuss last night’s reading in “Of Mice and Men” while sitting at a small table with a microphone, and the four of them looked like close and comfortable friends as they chatted about the book. Of course they were nervous because of the microphone and the newness of the activity, but there was still a snug and pleasant look on their faces. There was a welcoming feeling to the seven-minute discussions, as if all ideas could feel at home in the conversation. The occasional bursts of giggles only emphasized this ambiance of relaxation and wellbeing.
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I’ve been moving around the classroom more lately, sitting or standing here and there among the scholars, and, not surprisingly, it’s opened up new perspectives for me. I wonder why I don’t do this more often – I mean move among the students the way I might travel around in a forest, getting new viewpoints and seeing things in fresh and novel ways. If I visited an exotic island, would I sit in one place for the entire visit?

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