One Sunflower

when you’re on a journey, it’s a good idea to check the map occasionally….

So, Wednesday, December 5th was “trip-check” day – if I’m going to stick with that metaphor!   I headed off to the staff work session with a notebook full of data I’ve collected over the semester and notes written to prepare for this meeting.  I felt like I knew where I was going – just like I stated in my last entrythe taxi arrived, I was on my way…. when… 

flat tire
empty gas tank
no $$
lost my wallet

pick your nightmare
it happened

journey derailed…..

The meeting opened with one of our fearless teacher-leaders stepping up to the projector, walking us through her own cycle of inquiry work demonstrating the process we were to use that day.  Her model was clear, her work deliberate and comprehensible.  But when it came time for me to do the same work I stumbled, fumbled, fell…as I wrote about on Wake Up and Write.

In fact, when the break came, I cried.  I stood in my classroom with a fist full of tissues and cried.  I knew I’d been doing good work and I knew my efforts were tied to my goal but I couldn’t figure out how to organize the evidence to substantiate what my gut was telling me.  I went back to the meeting, decided to just start writing everything I knew and trust that the process would right itself if I just persevered.

The pressure is on.  As a staff, we are all to present our cycles of inquiry with supporting data, and to name our next-step goals to each other on January 2nd.  Luckily this meeting was just a warm up, a day to check equipment, make sure there weren’t any holes in the tent, worn straps on the back pack, inadequate supplies of bug repellent.

Oh – and to check maps.

My map!  Of course.  I pulled out my map, (the work on my cycle I had been working on since the beginning of the year,) and checked to make sure I remembered where I was headed in the first place.

This is the process I should have begun with last Wednesday.  I should have gone back and reviewed more carefully the question I named for myself to explore in my cycle of inquiry this year:  I want to explore and learn more about developing effective verbal and visual tools to support my youngest students and those with the least amount of English as they learn the use of drawings to tell stories. And I wanted to increase opportunities for them to demonstrate their understanding.

Once I reflected on my question again and used it to guide my review of the data I have collected, the process was easier, and as illuminating as I had hoped it would be.  My gut was right but I needed the evidence to be right too.  I looked over photos, anecdotal records, videos, assessment scores – yup, check.  Back on track….

Sunday night
full gas tank
$$ in my wallet
patched equipment

I’m on a new flight headed to the tarmac once again.  And this time my map is in my front pocket!

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I’ll be coming around the mountain

It is time again – for the staff at my school to revisit their cycles of inquiry, and process the data/evidence we’ve been collecting over the quarter.  We are part of a grant this year so there is extra money and extra time for every one to do this work which is great.  But of course a different timeline and agenda for the work puts everyone in a tizzy.

I came back from Thanksgiving Break with a pall of gloom over my head as I anticipated the Dec. 5th deadline.  My head was trying to remember the glorious goals I set for myself in September and get back on track with the reflective processes I set in motion in October.  Somehow the month of assessments and conferences in November got me way off the path.

But a short meeting with our teacher-leaders for this process and an email from the principal with some guiding questions to consider has worked like a “trip check” from Triple A.  I think I’m back on track and feeling less like I have a flat tire and more like I’m going for a taxi to the airport.

Of course I’m the one who has to pack and call the taxi — but I can do it, I’ve got the guidance to move forward.

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