"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Daily Life, 21

Been thinking about the fact that, in only writing posts from conversations with my students, I'm leaving out the other half of our community: adults.

So some of my posts are going to reflect how the grownups are thinking and feeling, as we go through this journey called 'education' and 'educating', together with our kids.

If you prefer to read only the kid-conversation posts, it's easy to spot them: they'll be the short ones. (Because, as one of my 4th graders commented the other day, "Grownups talk a lot".)


After school on Friday, at the copier, 5th grade teacher sifting through math workbook pages and looking distressed.

Me: Sally*, is something wrong? You look upset.

Sally*: Oh, I don't know. I just think this math program isn't right for my class. It goes
too quickly and is too shallow for them to really grasp concepts. Besides, there's too much stuff in here--they need to focus on one or two skills at a time and get really good at them.

Me: Why can't you do that?

Sally*: Well, the district is setting the guidelines for everyone in math, and we have to do what everyone else does, so that it's supposedly 'equal'. But come on, these kids do not need more worksheet pages. They need to be doing hands-on work, and learning to ask questions, and to be creative. It's frustrating to be told what to do, when what we're being told to do doesn't fit our students' needs and is actually counter-productive. It's educationally reckless.

Me: Hmmm. Any idea how you're gonna handle this?

Sally*: Well....I have to follow the curriculum, it's my job. I have to teach my kids what I know they need to know--that's my mission. There must be an answer in here somewhere...I'm just going to have to look harder.

*Sally is, of course, not this teacher's real name.

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