SOL23 Collaborative Joy #20

Usher talks about making music as a way to “just be joyous

Then he talks about life as a collaborative process.

I woke up this morning with an idea: collaborative joy. I have an upcoming keynote and today I realized that collaborative joy is the theme. That’s what I want us to think about, focus on.

Who do we become in joy? I notice how my students create joy in our classes. It can be so easy for them sometimes. Today I played a simple game with different students and got a taste of their special flavor of joy. The pleasure of play that doesn’t seem to cost a thing; where it’s fine to hoot and laugh. That’s a source of delight. A highly social delight.

Collaborative joy – creating, building, experiencing joy with others. Several examples come to mind: Every Awesome Gym Day I have ever hosted for kids, my generous “work family” in the PE department, my dear friend and DEIJ co-facilitator Meredith – her friendship and commitment, the household I’ve built with my teen over the last 2 years, teaming up with my adult son to buy a house this year, the world of reading and writing I share with many friends across several time zones… I could go on.

How good that feels to list all these sources and resources of collaborative joy in my life! As much as I appreciate alone time, this list makes me realize how delighted I am to be in good company.

Collaborative joy – the potential exists in all of us to create and claim it at different stages. Maybe by professionalizing collaboration, we’ve made it just another work task. We do it because we’ve been told to.

When we watch kids on a playground, that’s often another form of collaborative joy – or pairs snuggled up with favorite books in the library or being silly with a best friend at lunch – all shared, co-created forms of pleasure and delight. Loud students in my school are often happy students who just can’t contain themselves. There may be more joy in schools than we as educators give ourselves credit for – and maybe that is not credit we deserve. But I’m pretty convinced that children find it easier to access and spread.

Who has their eyes peeled for joy in our schools?

I do now. Very curious how this keynote idea will turn out.


SOL 23 Coming Down #19

After every big event, there’s an aftermath. There might be an afterglow, but that only lasts so long and then it’s ‘back to life, back to reality…’ You return from the trip. There’s laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to prepare. Elsewhere you were amazing and lively. Now back home, you are in recalibration mode trying to match up the outward facing do-it-all with the work-a-day muppet who really would rather just hibernate and read for the next couple weeks (months?).

I remember this feeling from when I was a competitive runner. After the race and awards ceremony; after the celebration with teammates and the long drive home, the reality of the return was always sobering, and then grounding. Grateful to live in a world where I get to do and be both, to rise and also land again. With no broken bones or deflated ego. I’ve learned to prepare for what I know is coming.

I write it out. I listen to music or I enjoy quiet while I manage a few mundane tasks at a time. The aftermath is space to manage and sort through emotions; to process our latest feats. My body is exhausted – in a good but very real way.

Just in case you were wondering (I know you weren’t but never mind), my come down music choices are a series of Tiny Desk concerts: Usher, Anthony Hamilton, and Anderson .Paak.

SOL 23 What I said #18

Friends, I said, please also remember that you can step back. Sometimes you’ll need to step back and let somebody else fight that battle. You deserve time to rest. Times when you can say, “Fam, I need y’all to take care of this one…” Don’t feel like you have to fight every battle for every person every time. Do what you can, when you can, where you are, I said.

Talking to students, talking to myself.

SOL 23 Much, Much and More #17

Much so much too much and much to celebrate
much to process so much to be grateful for
much so much too much noise yet much worth hearing
much to contemplate much to wrestle with
much more to eat, drink, consume, more calories, more snacks
so much of everything, so much more of everything than normal
Much so much too much and much still to sleep on.

Much - such an unlikely word. 

SOL 23 Ready or not #16

Today I learned that Professional Learning Communities are focused on learning and results.

My best friend and I are sharing a room at the conference hotel. I am happy and feel brave again.

We’ve enjoyed a stroll through the old town of Vilnius, had a couple of glasses of wine, will put the final touches on our presentation slides before bedtime, I guess.

It dawned on me yesterday that I don’t love being in a place where more people recognize me than I can reciprocate.

My strength is connecting with people, putting them at ease. Our workshop tomorrow will be a chance to share our successes but also to have folks engage with each other. We simply provide the structure.

I expect to sleep well. Me and my girl will prepare and then giggle into the night. We’re having a PD sleepover, long overdue.

SOL 23 Close call #15

I was tossing a slice idea around before getting up this morning. I know it had to do with word associations and words with multiple, often unrelated meanings. I can’t remember now, 12 hours, 1 time zone, 2 flights later, what exactly those words were.

The thrill of arriving in a new place, hugging the women I’ve come to know through screens for the last 2 years followed by the incredible relief of being in a room by myself with quiet, my laptop, and the internet. A blueberry muffin and water for dinner. I will be happy not to see another soul tonight. I’m saving myself for all that tomorrow holds.

“Mutuality is the basis of security,” I heard myself tell my adult son, encouraging him to get to know some neighbors on his block. I said it, believe it and also have to ask, how well have I practiced it?

Those words… what were they? Perhaps they’ll come to me again before the month is out. Close, close, closed? Call, call?

I also owe someone 1500 words today. I have 1300. But I’m not sure they’re the right ones for the occasion. Do I need to dress them up or tone them down? Rearrange them? toss them out and start over? (Absolutely not!) Maybe read aloud to hear if any of it makes sense. Yeah, I’ll do that.

SOL 23 Slices of slices #14

Now that we’re almost at the halfway mark I notice how my mind is primed to slice, if you will. I wake up with phrases I hope to get down. There’s almost a rhythm to my writing and commenting. That’s not to say that I’m in the zone but it feels easier, with each passing day. So today there’s the beginning of a poem.

Take these parcels of breath I made for you
so bright, colorful and light
Breaths bound in a sturdy latex
just for you to bandy about

That's where I'm leaving it for today. No idea if I'll finish it or what "finished" looks or sounds like. And that's OK. That's writing, I guess?

On the other hand, I reformatted an older blog post to submit as my writing sample for a summer workshop. 

And the teen just delivered a lecture on how he finds the equity/equality illustration a gross over simplification of both terms. (like, dude is very fired up on this one...)

So yeah, so many slices unwritten, unfinished. And yet, here they are, slices of slices.


SOL 23 Random At Large #13

Would that I were not but I am 
to talk 
of the random
pieces of a day:

What in the world?
It's just a burning memory but more depressing

Kids these days seem to be
full of burning memories

That was then this is now
a hope I have, a concern I have, a tension I'm holding, plus a joy
Let me tell you
a feeling, a question, a wish

Two breakout rooms, an announcement, release
a walk in the woods
a commitment to no cooking

Spent at the table still
tossing out words, feeding machines
that spill out yet more words.

Every day has an end
the kids are alright
Let's call this one done.

I'm out.

SOL 23 Mixed Bag #12

Note to self: Topography of a tired face.

Note to teen: Skating – back by 10am

Quote on dog eared page: “Whenever people keep being given a platform to say that they have no platform, or whenever people speak endlessly about being silenced, you not only have a performative contradiction, you are witnessing a mechanism of power.” – Sara Ahmed, The Feminist Killjoy Handbook, p. 28

Notes in the margins of my reading for a course on Capitalism: “takes a lot to make a lot,” “the basis of trading or bargaining – self interest,” “work as generally alienating for worker,” “work as necessary to satisfy external needs”

Notes on house repairs: porch roof, front porch beam, windows capped and sealed, condensate pump adjustment

Notes in my journal, March 1st: short termism is a problem. Talk of happiness, joy, well being. So much talk, very little movement.

What do your notes tell you?

SOL 23 Task and Avoidance #11

Task AssignmentAvoidance strategy
Complete report card comments, enter these into gradebook.Go grocery shopping, twice. Two different stores at different times of the day.
Draft and publish this month’s SubstackListen to a colleagues podcast that barely interests me. Scroll Twitter.
Add conversation protocols to slidedeck for Monday’s Collaborative meeting*fingers in ears* Lalalalalalalalalala
Put away dry clothes, hang up freshly washed clothes.I’ll make dumplings to go with the gulasch. How do I make dumplings again?
Proofread colleague’s comments by MondayMonday is ages away! It can wait! *scroll Twitter*
Do the reading for the online course on Happiness and Capitalism which meets tomorrow evening. Maybe I should learn how to play an instrument. Maybe handpan is worth trying? Look there’s a workshop in April!
Clean up the kitchen.But why? It’ll only be a mess a few hours later?
Finish drafting the book chapter on ed tech.But I have to write my slice and the comment on the other slices…