Slice of Life Tuesday: Finding a way to fit together for a year of learning.

On Sunday morning, we took delivery of a cord of wood at the farm.  In suburban New Jersey, a quarter cord takes us through the winter quite nicely; there is just enough in a quarter cord to stack on the porch for that Fall into Winter look, and for the kinds of fires we have at our house – few and far between, and mostly over the holidays.  But, when I called around for such a delivery in upstate New York, I was met with, “We don’t do that up here, ma’am.”  So, a cord of wood it was.  The delivery took all of five minutes, and when the truck backed out of the driveway, this is what we saw…


At first, I was uncertain about how to begin.  Each piece of wood seemed to measure the same length, but no two pieces were shaped alike…how to fit them all together?  How to organize all of this?


But, bit by bit, we did:

IMG_2807 IMG_2809

It took time, it took patience, it took more than a bit of finagling; but slowly it all came together and worked. At the end, it wasn’t perfect, but it all seemed to fit together.

For those of you who read my blog, you have probably already guessed at where my mind began to turn through this experience: teaching. Yes, teaching. For this is what it’s like as the year starts. The children come in, they range in ways easy to discern and not, and somehow we work together to finagle a great year of learning.  Bit by bit.  It’s not perfect by any means, and there is much shifting and jockeying and adjusting (there are even moments when the whole thing seems on the verge of collapse), but we make it.

So, here’s to the end of September and the first weeks of school.  We’ve found a way to come together as a group of learners – my children range a wide spectrum of needs and skills and inclinations.  But, we fit together.  We have found a way to do so…and it feels rather wonderful.


17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Finding a way to fit together for a year of learning.

  1. Beautiful connection, and cheers to you & the class for a lovely October! (Having a cord of wood makes me nostalgic. We had a wood-burning fireplace at the other house & a lot of fires.-Enjoy that too, and thanks for a sweet post.)

  2. Oh, all those pieces beginning to fit together. Makes me a bit nostalgic! It will take our once weekly book club a bit longer, but hopefully we’ll be starting to fit together by Thanksgiving when we’ll have completed a round or two of actual Mock Newbery books. Loved this metaphor and the pic of the stacked wood!

  3. I’ve been comparing life to education a lot lately. Scribbling stuff down in my notebook. We get four cord of wood each winter. Ah Maine. 🙂

  4. Yay for the wood to stoke the fires at the farm! You have just begun to stoke the fires of learning in your class. What a wonderful year lies ahead for you and your students.

  5. Love your thoughts – what a beautiful analogy for many things in life, but especially a community of learners. We always have a cored delivered each fall and share it among four neighbors. We love watching the kids problem solve how to divide, move and stack it together. It has become a tradition!

  6. I will keep the image of the tidy wood pile in mind! Today, my classes were a little topsy-turvy. Fall break begins tomorrow. Thanks for providing this wonderful metaphor. Hopefully my classes can restack after the break!

  7. What a wonderful metaphor. Having had to stack 2 or 3 cords ever fall for many years I can attest to the challenge, but also the reward when it was done. Here’s to a wonderful year together!

  8. Tara,
    I look out my windows to the state forest and think of all that wood . . . and that specific vocabulary: seasoned, cord, hard wood, creosote . . . We deliberately chose “no wood” for our new house 17 years ago after 15 years of heating with wood. I don’t miss those days! But I love how you connected it all back to teaching, your class, and learning! CLEVER!

  9. You are a master at extending metaphor to teaching. Love the idea of your students coming together into a imperfect, crooked, stacked pile of wood.

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