In the spirit of the season I have been reflecting on the good fortune that I have had in the last year. And since I tend to think in lists, here are a few things I am thankful for:
- I am thankful for professional colleagues who are supportive of my ideas no matter how crazy they seem at first. I feel failure is just succeeding in finding things that don’t work, and they are patient with me as I wade through the mess of technology that is out there and attempt to bring them the best of what I try.
- I am thankful for a district that feels that technology is important. I know this because every year new teachers receive SMARTboards, laptops or tablets. They feel compelled to try new things because they know that I will help them with the transition. Their faith in my ability to help them is both terrifying to me and incredibly precious to me.
- I am thankful that I have a crew of students who come to school each day wanting to learn more. They come to class with an innate sense of wonder about the world around them and they feel my classroom is a both a great place to learn and a place where they can safely learn from failure.
- I am thankful for a supportive community. It takes quite a town to look at a classroom full of half-dismantled computers, telescopes, shovels, comic books, rockets, and a growing collection of ukuleles as a nurturing environment for their children. This town doesn’t judge a book by its cover or a teacher by the state of his room. They understand that classroom may be messy, but so is learning.
- I am thankful for the ability to work with a great publication like Weekly Reader, and the droves of teachers who read my blog (I hope) and put up with my ramblings. I know that even through you might not understand all the nutty things I promote or talk about, you at least appreciate the enthusiasm that everyone who works with children shares.
- I am thankful that the Pack is 10-0 and all is well in the world.
Thank you, good luck, go Packers, and have a great Turkey Day.
Wisconsin lives and breathes football. Anyone who has seen the Green Bay Packers play—or seen droves of fans sitting in sub-zero cold to cheer on their champions—knows that no mere dome can contain our dedication to this noble sport.
So it is with Greenwood. We may be so small that even combined with our neighbor, Granton, we are only Division 7, but through the fall and into the looming winter we are now 12-1 and we’ll be sending our champions to Madison for a shot at becoming State Champion. Driving into our town you would think that we have gone a little crazy; every road for miles is strewn with homemade billboards declaring this “G2″ country.
We had a pep rally in the elementary school. The team was cheered on by our elementary students who had worked together to develop an choreographed cheer that included every grade. The players spoke to our students about good sportsmanship, healthy eating, and exercise. They even rode the buses with our little ones—a big deal particularly for our kindergarten students, who don’t seem to see any difference between this and the Super Bowl. After all, they are playing in Camp Randall, home of the Wisconsin Badgers, legends in their own right.
School has been called off on Thursday and declared a “field trip day” so that our students can ride the bus down to Madison. The 4-hour ride back will either be a caravan of victory or the longest, quietest 4-hour bus ride our students will ever have.
I am not a huge football fan. Part of it comes from being the son of a coach and never being all that competitive. I was more interested in forensics, Frisbee, and hanging out with the band even though I had no talent for music. But there are things that as a native Wisconsinite, you cannot let pass without losing your mind a little bit. For instance, it is our custom that every household have a grill and know how to use it; every car must have a bag of cat litter and a blanket in the trunk; and every man, woman, and child must lose their minds when the Packers get into the playoffs.
Having a Korean exchange student in the classroom, we had to explain football to him and how it fits in Wisconsin; why it is so important to us. We are an underdog state in many ways, lacking the size of Illinois and Minnesota; we feel the need to constantly remind everyone around us of our toughness. Our kids play football and basketball in the snow, going outside for recess in well-below freezing temperatures. We have a tendency to take that which we are mocked for and wear it like a badge, knowing that it makes us strong. No other team has anything resembling the cheese head as a symbol of proud self-deprivation.
Our joy was reflected in the great story run by Weekly Reader online, written by a student reporter who attended the Super Bowl. The only complaint my kids had when we read it: “THAT SHOULD BE ME!!!” This lead to a project by some of my students to document the craziness that has infected our fair state, created by using our library’s digital and Flip video cameras. Stay tuned for that.