The Ingredients for a Family Visit

15 03 2014

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“We are responsible not for the outcomes, but only for the ingredients.”

from Plan B:  Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

After hosting several family members for the past week in our small apartment, the above quote seemed particularly apt.  We added the best ingredients we could to each day;  a welcoming atmosphere, good food, fun activities, and lots of laughter, then hoped it all mixed together into a happy week.  And it did.  Of course there were a few mishaps, as is bound to happen when a group of people live in close proximity for a week.  Lost phones, misplaced, clothing, and plans that did not work out, but the recipe came together, and the overall experience felt like a holiday feast, all of us replete with fun and time together.

We have the usual accoutrements for hosting overnight guests in a small apartment;  an air mattress, and, well, that’s about it really.  If we push the sofas back a bit, the mattress can be squeezed into the living room space, and we can all take turns in one bathroom.  There are a few floor spaces where suitcases can be opened for clothing deployment, and a couple of extra mirrors that can be used for make-up applications and hair styling when the bathroom is in use.  Our washer and dryer sees frequent operation keeping up with the towels used at the beach and pool, and the porch railing serves as a clothes line for drying bathing suits and life jackets, while kayak paddles drip-dry in the corner next to sandy flip-flops.

Conversation, laughter, comfort, relaxation, nature, good food, and times together;  the ingredients for a family feast!

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Testing

30 04 2012

The testing is done, and today I am inspired by the real teaching that can take place once the high-stakes assessments are done. Project- based learning, where students work together balancing their skills and talents to create wonderful learning environments that culminate in products and presentations where kids can show what they’ve learned without multiple choices and bubbled answers. I love the low hum of conversation, the give and take in activities, and the sharing of ideas that builds real-life skills while so much learning takes place. The kids are so much more engaged in this type of learning, and they love to share what they know. It’s so much fun to see the process of discovery. Sometimes being a teacher is the best job in the world!