The Word Sharer

This morning I feel like Jerome in Peter H. Reynolds’ picture book, The Word Collector.  When Jerome had collected lots and lots of beautiful words, he chose to share his words with others. This morning I am full.  Full of knowledge,  Full of wisdom, Full of ideas.  Full of inspiration. Full of words. I am bursting.  I need to share these ideas and inspirations with the world around me. I want to throw open my windows, and instead of banging pots like the New Yorkers did during the pandemic, I want to yell out tips and quotes and bits of learning!  

I spent this past Saturday on Zoom with the staff (and some incredible alumni) from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  I was among the close to 5,000 educators who had shown up from around the world to learn on a Saturday (For some it was the middle of the night, or the middle of the day, or even the day before or the day after due to time zones!).  Here are some bits of inspiration that I want to share with all of you (some thoughts are paraphrased):

Jason Reynolds:  

Live with humility, intimacy, and gratitude.

Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie:  

Get in the water with your kids: Know your content, expect and get comfortable with trouble. Momentum without joy is a grind!! 

Pam Allyn

Learn to listen.  Learn to see.  Find your voice.

Randy Bomer: 

Teachers need to be thoughtful, adaptive decision-makers.  

You notice more when you know more. 

We need a learning culture that values experimentation, curiosity, and solitude; time to sit and do our own thinking. 

Kate DiCamillo: 

If you want to do something easy, do something else. (Advice from her dad.)

The path is often full of dark stones.  When the dark stones (representing those that have failed at the task at hand) tell you that you can’t make it, plug your ears and keep climbing. 

It’s up to us to unfold our own wings.

Lucy: I’m going to work to be kinder.

When Jason talked about gratitude, he said that he thanks people for showing up.  I’m just so glad I did. 

A Visitor

I first heard him as I was reading and settling in for the night. That deep, soft, repetitive sound that could only be one thing; an owl. I went to the window to listen more closely. Every few minutes, he’d hoot again. I ran downstairs to tell my husband who loves these kinds of sightings. We went out on the back porch to listen. Over and over again, he hooted into the night. He was pretty close to the house. He must have found a nice spot in the line of trees by the stone wall.

I heard him again the next day as I was making coffee in the darkness of the early morning hours. Hoot, hoot, hoooooot. Was he happy and just singing out to let us know? Or was he calling for a mate somewhere, or maybe protecting his new territory? As the sun rose in the sky, the hoots stopped. I hoped he’d be there tonight when the girls arrived home for a fall weekend.

We arrived home after a nice dinner and made our way quietly along the stone wall. The fall leaves crunched under our feet. I worried we might scare off our new friend. We found a spot and stopped to listen. We stood in silence and waited. Had he moved on? We’d had owls before, but they had only stayed around for a day or two. We whispered and waited. And then we heard it. So quiet at first. Just a muffled hoot. Was that him? We waited and listened. Listened and waited. Then a few minutes later, it started up. Hoot, hoot, hooooooot. He was above us. Watching us. Welcoming us home.