Thinking About…

This stretch between Thanksgiving and the winter break might just turn me inside out if I allow myself to get “overwhelmed” with everything that’s to be accomplished. We have about five weeks remaining in the semester. In that time, we’ve got to sprint through Frankenstein, I’d like to have kids do some independent work by posing their own questions, pursuing their own lenses as they read and some other ideas I’d like to try…

But we’re also finishing up Macbeth. At one point in time, kids had simultaneous projects going on and I was feeling unsettled. I knew that because while they were working on something, I was reading recipes on food blogs. That’s usually what I do to find a moment of clarity: read recipes. There’s something so soothing about measures and baking and temperatures.

On Wednesday, I had kids watch Thinking About You from Brave New Voices and write a response about what they were thinking about at that moment. I told them, honestly, that I was thinking about what mattered most and what was most important.

I told them I wanted them to create excellent Macbeth final projects. That I was thinking about my concern that I was asking them to do to much at one time, that I worried we were going to compromise quality. I had to remind myself that the time we have remaining still matters. Above all, I was thinking about excellence–honest excellence–and making sure all kids had a chance to shine.

I tend to have moments where I have to stop myself and check in. That’s what I did on Wednesday. I told the kids where my head was at and then I adjusted the timeline to allow for an additional day for them to make any necessary changes/adjustments/whatever last-minute things they needed to do in preparation for today: The Shakespeare Festival.

They’ve uploaded their films onto our Macbeth You Tube channel. I couldn’t help myself: at 4 a.m. this morning, I watched bits and pieces of all of their films and they are–as I’d hoped and expected–brilliant in all kinds of different ways. And later today, we’ll eat some food, watch the films and debrief the experience. We’ll enjoy the time we have, knowing that–because I created more time for them–they, yet again, return the favor with excellent demonstrations of what they’ve learned.

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