Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thank you, Laurie B...

Laurie, who evidently checks my blog more regularly than I do of late, checked in some time ago to see how things are. Thank you for that, Laurie. It was the impetus I needed to take the time to put it into type.

Here are the latest happenings in my world:

Wifeness did a lot of studying of history to prep for the MTEL (Massachusetts teacher licensure tests), and also to bone up on all manner of arcane and obscure knowledge so she could do well in her Jeopardy™ tryouts. She says she totally kicked the MTEL in the arse. As to being on America’s most popular trivia game show? Well, we’ll see if the phone rings (they say that, once you’ve made it to the contestant pool, your odds are 50/50).

Things around Wayfarer House are coming into bloom. There is green everywhere—except the lawn. Observe, by way of analogy:

What one might expect in a lawn…

An example of what we have…

We’ve managed to pull the weeds out of the soil, and the grass is slowly poking it’s way up, but I fear it will need some serious love to get that manicured fairway quality lawn that will bring the property values in our neighborhood up, instead of down.

I just finished a proposal to present at the Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum event this November in Charlotte, NC. It’s the result of some recent research I’ve been doing into Carol Dweck’s work on intrinsic motivation and with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on the state of high performance he calls “flow” (which all started after reading Josh Waitzkin’s book, The Art of Learning). Tell me what you think of the idea:

Revealing the Mystical: The Zone of Creativity and Excellence in the Classroom

Elite athletes call it “the Zone”: That enigmatic state of performance and focus where we feel relaxed, alert, and fully engaged. When we are in this place, we can internalize interconnected knowledge in profound, meaningful ways. In this seminar, we will explore a practical, incremental approach to teaching and learning that develops the Zone, so that focused, creative and lasting learning can take place. Activities help participants examine ways to draw on the individual personalities and passions of teachers and students, respond to the ebb and flow of classroom energy and design lessons that emphasize depth and encourage expression.

This past weekend, we were all about tearing down and rebuilding our side porch. We put out a call to local Wayfarer Community members for help in doing it Amish-style (like a barn raising). Uncountable thanks go out to Matt, Wheeler, Karla, Heather, Mark and SiSi for their work on the porch itself, and to a great many people who worked behind the scenes to do food, cleanup and kid care. I was aware of Wifeness, Bessy, Maeve, Caleb, Alex and her family, and Lisa, but there are undoubtedly others I did not see because of all the sawdust flying about. It’s not 100% complete, but it looks really good and I am quite proud of it, and of the fact that doing it the way we did, with our little community coming together, worked so well. I look forward to returning the favor for each and every one!

There's more to tell, but it's bedtime and I have a busy day tomorrow. I said I'd try to do two posts a week. Let this be the first. I'll work to have the other up this weekend.


Mrs. Chili said...

Hey! Welcome back! I've got you on a feed-reader, so I didn't have to check back to find out if you'd posted again. I've been THINKING about all of you (Beanie keeps growing out of clothes, so I've got quite a pile for the Wayfarer girls). I'm glad you're back at blogging; I've missed you.

You've been busy, huh? I'm jealous of the porch (we're approaching the 3 year anniversary of the addition and we still don't have one). The lawn thing? HIGHLY overrated. Get some pretty ground cover that doesn't need to be mowed (violets are a nice choice, and phlox are pretty, too).

Love to the whole Wayfarer clan!

Kizz said...

Welcome back!

Are you "developing the zone" or are you helping students figure out how to find where their zone is and get into it on command?

Laurie B said...

Hey Mr. Wayfarer! Welcome back.

I am so impressed with your taking on the translator role and also that of your being a child advocate. Good on you, Brother.

Every kid has a voice that needs to be heard. I am so glad that you are willing to use your language skills to be sure that the listening part is an option.

I am so glad that you have adopted this new role. You will (or have) already made a difference.

I adore that you and wifeness are educators. Your proposal reads just fine for me, I hope you get some funding.

The explanations of education were way beyond me but mrschili and others will pipe in.

Welcome back, for sure.