The Framework of Sustenance: A Pie is More than Fruit and Crust

The Fibrous Nature of Things
To peel or not to peel, that is the question. To remove the fibrous layer or to let the coarse, pulpy skin help the produce, keep its shape and firmness, as it bakes. It may be the inside of the pie, the woody, wiry, mantle of deliciousness, yet it is the star. Thickness matters. Flavor matters. Tartness and consistency matters. A bark-like skin, will be tough and inedible. But, a thin, sweet dermis, will bring forth the juicy, liquid of nature. As it oozes out, it creates a semblance, of freshness and time. It requires the season, to mature and ripen. Only a moment to enjoy its nectar.
If the fruit loses its texture, the filling will be soft and mushy. If the crust does not have enough fat content, if it was not rolled our properly, it will not be flaky and buttery. It will be dry and crumbly. Flavor and taste, both emerge when the details are emphasized. When patience is given to the ingredients, the process and the assembly, perfection is more likely. Whe…

It Speaks Volumes: Collaboration is Noisy

A Clamor of Collusion

It is a joyous moment for me, when I witness a cacophony, of collision and teamwork, with my students. Fraternization can be boisterous. In fact in my classroom, if it is quiet, students are taking an assessment. Babel and bedlam are expected, in the confines, of room 1161. In fact on my door it says "Excuse the noise, there is learning happening in here."  When visitors pop in, they are often surprised at the synchronicity, of volume and motion. There is a semblance, a flow, that lures students into, a sense of community and partnership.

When organized and structured pandemonium, is the norm, creativity and independence become a touchstone. The more I can engage my students- not with a teacher led hook, but with immersion and movement, the more they will take ownership, of how they learn and grow. When students are faced with choices, challenges and the freedom to network- they embrace their role as learner, leader and partner.

A Frontier of Fraternizat…

Impulse, Stimulus, Allegiance: It All Comes Down to Time Itself

Tall Sequoia's grow tall and strong, because they bend with the wind. Their priority, survival. Their design, sustainability. Rigidity, can cause them to crack and cleft. Yet, flexibility allows them to crook and arc, wobble and teeter, when necessary. It's impulse is to photosynthesize, germinate and cultivate, a niche for itself. Stimuli are constant: water, light, temperature, touch. A continual response system allows these successful plants, to anticipate, propagate and reciprocate with ease. They have endured climate change, deforestation and attack from local flora and fauna- but, they remain, steadfast, deep rooted and towering over the younger, more vulnerable greenery. It is all about stamina and perseverance.

Impulse and stimulus, for us Homo sapiens, will only take us so far. It will spark curiosity, increase enthusiasm, cause engrossment and attentiveness, but it will be temporary, if the allegiance and adherence is waning. It is one thing to have skill, it is anot…

You Can't force It: When Creativity Gets Lost

Resistances confront you. Anxiety sets in, when you become conscious, of how much you are avoiding preparation. The sheer thought of writing, shuts you down. You get stuck trying to prove to yourself, that you still got it. The proving ground, enlarges, each blade of turf standing on end, just waiting for the 'cleat' of inspiration to crush it. Yet, no indentation occurs. Only a silent breeze, causing it to waver. Both extremes present themselves, they always show up. All in or avoidance.You can let things percolate, which seems lazy and evasive, or you can ninja attack it. However, too many swipes at open air, not making contact, can set things, even more off course. There are many tough drill instructors out there, ready to redirect and guide you. But, you have to be your own. That is the only way innovation can set in.

Something has been afoot recently, not distraction per se, but a density that feels suffocating. You need general maintenance. A reboot. A shut down. This is…

The Entanglement of Vines: The Density of Seclusion

It is nefarious and perverse. It can cause anxiety and loneliness. But, worst of all, its vicious depravity, its intentional dive bomb, can lead even the happiest of people, down a dangerous path. Seclusion. Isolation. Division. A confinement of identity. When we feel like we are quarantined and forced on a different trajectory, as those around us, we tend to lash out. Our instinct as humans is to belong. To feel apart of a community. To be accepted by our peers and colleagues. To embrace camaraderie and collaboration. When we feel betrayed or forgotten, we no longer behave like a member of the populace. We become citizens of our own, insulated, abstract, reality and this can cause us to act, in very scary ways.

Quietly or actively, calmly or violently, we react. It may be a disheartening thought nagging us, luring us away from stability. A voice of discomfort and doubt that may linger, a little too long. If we ignore it, it festers. If we attack it, often, a darkness creeps in, makin…

Seeing Past the Score: Looking Out for the Underdog: Snip It #27

There have been many underdog stories, over the last year or so: The Houston Astro's winning the World Series and the Eagles taking the Super Bowl victory, from the Patriot's. It happens all the time, this empowerment that pushes, a team or individual forward, sparking confidence, motivation and drive. The determination that overcomes even the strongest of talents. I see it every day in my classroom. When the soft spoken, understated students, become the leaders of the team, of their own volition. The moment something sinks in and solidifies, and students, who are struggling, get an A on a test. It is a beautiful thing to witness, as an educator and as a fan.

Underdog usually has a connotation, of a weakness or inferiority, in some way. To me though, an underdog has the chops, skills, and mindset, to conquer anyone or anything in their path. All they are lacking is opportunity. Somewhere along the way, they missed a chance, they were overlooked or forgotten. It only takes one …

Dichotomous What? Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans: Snip It #26

Classification is always a fun unit for me and my students. They come into 7th grade already understanding the six kingdoms and we get to delve more deeply into the levels of taxonomy. We also get to investigate how dichotomous keys are used to classify organisms. Dichotomous keys can be tricky and daunting, depending on the difficulty level. So, I always start out with a straight-forward, tasty one. Well.... tasty or icky, to be precise.
We delve into our first classification lesson, by using Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, from Harry Potter. Each table group gets ten different beans, some yummy, and some not so yummy. I sort them the night before, making sure to have similar colors and patterns, to throw them off. They have one of each, tasty and yucky, for most color patterns. The legend tricks them into thinking they have cherry or watermelon, when actually they have dirt or sausage. 
They won't know which flavor they actually have,  until after they go through the key …