I’m sitting in my classroom with half an hour before a meeting, and although I’d really love to write an SOL, my mind is empty. My students must feel like this often, but I need to keep them out of my head for a few minutes. All the teachers I know (and that’s a lot in 43 years of teaching) are constantly mining their experiences for little nuggets they can carry to school. Or maybe we’re constantly searching for worms and grubs of experience to stuff into the craws of our students.
One of my goals for this year is to create for myself, not for classroom usefulness. But it’s hard. Right now, I’d tell a student in my barren state of mind to look at the “life map” in the back of her writer’s notebook. And I could certainly do that and write for a while about knitting, or cherries, or my sons, or New York City.
But that’s not what I want today. I want something unique and personal, an idea I haven’t been carrying around in the back of my notebook for years. I want to open up a new thought like opening a present. Where should I go, though, to find one?