#DigiLitSunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche. Today, Margaret asks us to think about celebrations.
A bleak December morning. On the drive to school, I dodge big piles of leaves left curbside by the army of lawn service folks I had dodged on my way home from work the evening before. Obstacles…there are obstacles everywhere, I think to myself gloomily. I can’t seem to get a blog post started, and an article for Choice Literacy is halfway to nowhere, still.
School begins. We have another week to go before our winter break, but that memo does not appear to have reached my kids. During our usually calm and purposeful “slow start” morning routine, I find one student creating an elaborate Sharpie tattoo on another student, and two others slowing picking apart the straw seat on one of our reading chairs. And then, just as my students begin to get into their research groove, there is an announcement over the intercom: we are in lockdown.
Lockdown over, we slowly find our way back into the writing mode. But, during conferences, I discover that we were not as far along in our writing process as I’d hoped. Flash draft after flash draft reveals big gaps in research needs, although this was the intention behind those flash drafts in the first place, I am discouraged – we will finish this particular unit later than I’d hoped, which means making adjustments to the next unit’s plans.
Josh tells me that he really hasn’t been able to address any of the strategies we’d discussed three days ago to move forward with his flash draft OR his research. Why? I wonder, with an edge in my voice. I guess I’m thinking of Hanukah, he confesses, and if I’m finally going to get the video game I asked for. What is there for me to say? Marissa has a similar confession, but she’s been thinking about baking. She’s been wondering if her grandma will be well enough to bake with her this Christmas, ’cause she always does, and this year she may not be able to. I think about my father-in-law, in the hospital and seriously ill as well, and take Marissa’s hand. We sit quietly for a few minutes, each lost in our own thoughts, far away from the work at hand.
Then, there is a shout from the table groups by the window: SNOW! At some point in the morning, the sky had turned dark and now a snow squall has burst onto the scene. Everyone races to the windows to take in the sight, and I turn the classroom lights off. There we stand, some lean against the window, some teeter on chairs, and one (who I pretended not to see) perches on a table; some chatter away excitedly, and some are content to look on in awed silence.
Someone asks to hear “Let It Snow” and so I oblige. In no time, the reading rug becomes a dance floor. Any hope of regaining writing workshop time is, clearly, hopeless.
Outside, the squall seems to be abating, and a wintry sun begins to appear once more. Inside, however, my sixth graders’ high spirits show no signs of slackening. And, in their happy faces, and their goofy dancing, I stop seeing obstacles any more.
There will be a time to get things done, things have a way of getting done in their time, anyway. A year is ending, a holiday season is beginning…this is the time to wish, to think about those we love, to dance, and to celebrate, even.