We’re All Gardeners. May 28 – June 1

“She’s good, all I can do now is leave her alone”. These were the words spoken to me by a parent at Griffiths Stadium on Friday morning as a parent/coach knew her daughter was getting ready to take part in the shot put competition. She knew that her daughter had received all the coaching she needed, and now it was up to her, nothing that could be said was needed as her daughter had been here many times before, and was able to psych herself up, without psyching herself out. The parent knew that her daughter didn’t even want her watching, different than her son who loved having his mom cheer him on and give him feedback. As I watched this it made sense, she knows her kids, she knows their strengths and their areas for growth. She knows when to push, when to pat on the back, when to hug, and when to avoid. Did her kids win every event? No, and that’s not the point. The point is she knows that each of her kids are unique and require unique teaching as she strives to get them to be their best.

Which students in your room need you to push a little more? Which ones thrive when given their own space to think, create, and struggle? Which ones need a little more cheer leading? How do you know?

“Mommy, look at how big these seeds are!” Eva was very excited to help plant the garden this weekend, even if it is a little later than usual. Gardening is my wife’s domain, however she is a firm believer that kids need to get a little dirt under their nails and learn how to grow some produce. It’s something that was passed down from her grandmother to her, and something she has always carried on. I know my role in this process. Prepare the soil, grab a coffee, and stay out of the way (I’m good at that!). The neat thing to watch as our kids grow up is the way Bobby now is able to be independent, and can help with the twins, who are still content just digging holes and using the watering can. As they planted the garden, each kid had a job, Bobby was responsible for the potatoes, start to finish, and he had Charlie helping out covering the holes up, making sure to give them a little pat with his small shovel. Maggie stuck close to mom, asking a million questions and marveling at the size of the seeds. Eva, who had planted before, took care of the beans, peas, carrots, and beets, and in the end, we all pitched in for the clean up.

When you think about the learning in your room, who are the independent leaders that you can count on? How are you stretching them on a regular basis? Who are those beginning learners? How are you meeting them where they are and providing them opportunities to grow? Who are those kids ‘in the middle’? Those ones we might inadvertently overlook if we are not careful. How are you meeting their needs? As the lead gardener in your room, how are you modeling for your kids and how do you celebrate the “learning harvest” that happens every year?

It was an incredible past few days, with our elementary track and field competition on Thursday, to the district meet on Friday, to Saturday’s garden fun, to today’s experimenting with our smoker. What stood out for you this weekend? Will you share this with your students? I wonder what they did, and if they will get a chance to share their stories.

As May turns to June, we are in the process of looking back as we plan for the future. This Monday is another opportunity as Jesse is leading us in some important, big work at our staff meeting. Moving forward we will be asking for your input on our adult learning for next year, and for your feedback on how you felt things went this year.

Until then, here’s what lies ahead for another great week at Waldheim School:

Monday:

  • Staff meeting
  • Classroom visits: what are you reading/writing about, and how is your voice being included?

Tuesday:

  • Classroom visits: what are you reading/writing about, and how is your voice being included?

Wednesday:

  • Fire Drill
  • K & 6 Assembly (1:00 pm)
  • Classroom visits: what are you reading/writing about, and how is your voice being included?

Thursday:

  • Classroom visits: what are you reading/writing about, and how is your voice being included?

Friday:

  • Classroom visits: what are you reading/writing about, and how is your voice being included?

As always, create a great week!

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