Things You Think of While Staring Out the Window on A Long Drive

I just returned from a month in Albuquerque. Returning home is always bittersweet, on the one hand you are home and you get to sleep in your own bed. On the other, you have to leave behind something. I left behind my oldest son, Gabrial who is now 18 and beginning college. He is living with my daughter Hannah and her husband and child. So I know he is safe, but it is my first son leaving the nest is stressful. I have three more at home, and saying goodbye to my oldest was harder than I could ever have imagined, it was heartbreaking. Lots of tears. So, beginning the sixteen hour trek home was a somber one. The car was quiet for a while, all that was heard was some sniffling. It was an event I had been dreading since our arrival in Albuquerque. But, I had to rip off the band-aid quickly so we didn't drag out our good byes. Hugs and kisses and off we went. Looking back now, only four days later, it still stings. But, I am so blessed to have such an amazing family and I know he will mature and grow so much between now and December when we get to see him again.

When you are riding in a quiet car, you tend to stare out the window, a lot. I just meditated the best I could and let all the thoughts and ideas just flow over me like a gentle breeze. I had so much on my mind, saying goodbye, starting another school year and getting prepared, and even just adjusting back to being in Texas. It is over 5,200 miles in elevation from Albuquerque to Houston so it takes its toll on my lungs. It is interesting travelling back down to sea level, it is right about El Paso when breathing gets easier. But when I get into the final stretch, in San Antonio, my ears pop and the density of air molecules becomes lessened and the humidity kicks in and I know I am close to home. A lot of new ideas for my classroom came from this journey. I am so excited to implement them next week as I set up my classroom. I am definitely back in teacher mode, this is my first blog in over a week, after a full year of daily writing, I needed a break. But, after a few days of mulling over my vacation and adventure home, I knew I had to write a blog post.

The first epiphany, that inspired my classroom design, came with a change of name of the EDISON board to COLLISIONS board- seeing as my class mantra/tag line is collidingwithscience. The set up will be the same, like a murder or crime scene board, but with a more purposeful and relevant name. This will be 1/2 of my back wall. The other half of the back wall is going to be a community board, like in a college quad where students can post advertisements for team members, they will pin their calling cards (personal learning cards, logo included). I will also put some advertisements for jobs etc. This will be a haberdashery of papers and business cards. It should look messy and communal. The front wall will be a 'now showing' wall. Including a marquee I will make from cardboard and hang on the wall. Each unit students will write a tag line and brief synopsis of the topic, like a movie plug, and post it up there. I will also have students create the "movie poster" or topic drawing, to hang with it. The objectives in I will... and We will...statements as required, will be embedded on this wall as well. Finally, the show times will be posted too, class times. All three boards will be updated by students. These three walls will set the tone of communal involvement and student-centered design.

It is amazing what floods in to your thoughts when you are staring out a car window for hours at a time. Switching to teacher mode helped me focus and become more calm and centered about family. Finding the joy in trying new things is something I look forward to every day. With Gabrial being in Albuquerque I know he will be experiencing new things and having exciting adventures that he otherwise would not be having. He is growing up and needs his freedom. Just like our students need to not simply be taught knowledge, but be provided with opportunities to find their own wisdom, so do our children. Sometimes the best way for our children to find this wisdom, is to leave the nest. At least his new habitat is with family and only one state away.

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