Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Playful Choices

Tuesday is the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. 


Playful Choices
I began reading the sample chapter from Purposeful Play, by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli and Cheryl Tyler, last night and it made me think about the choices I made during my vacation last week.
Last week was school vacation week in Massachusetts. My to do list was long and filled with lots of yard work, home repair projects, and visits with the baby.  Yes, I also had a separate school to do list that I brought home with me with hopes of tackling a few items on that list.  
Vacation took on a life of its own with lots of fun.  It started with a quick and unexpected trip to Maine for sightseeing, shopping, lobster eating, chatting and fun. Later in the week I got to visit with my granddaughter a few times, enjoyed bathing her and taking her on her first carriage ride.  Oh how I love pushing carriages!  I came home with enough energy to work in the yard, removing a few big straggling bushes, building a stone wall, and creating new flower beds.  By Sunday night I was exhausted but fulfilled, especially as I looked at my transformed yard, and crossed off home to do list. I crawled into bed early to get ready for a new week at school.
As I arrived to work yesterday and sat down to look at my school list, I realized it was long and untouched.  So I began tackling the items.  I was on fire and quickly and efficiently completed four items before the children arrived.  I was positive and upbeat in what I had accomplished and I could greet with the teachers and students with a renewed sense of hope and energy to face the first day back at school.  
My playful time during vacation did not seem to interfere with my school to do list, as a matter of fact I was more focused than ever.  I recalled a quote from the sample chapter of Purposeful Play that was ringing true to me:   
“Play has an essential role in fueling our happiness and intelligence throughout our lives and that it is as essential to our health as sleep and food. Great thinkers and philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Rousseau, Freud, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Einstein have put forth their thinking that play is not frivolity but essential for the development of the mind and human spirit.  Play connects us to the world and to each other and offers unlimited possibilities.  So come.  Let’s play.”  

And play I did!  And I am better for it!  I can't wait to read the rest of the book.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vacation?

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for hosting Tuesday's Slice of Life.

It's school vacation week in Massachusetts and when I woke up I realized it was Tuesday, Slice of Life Day.  Vacation is always about questioning balance and this vacation is no exception.  Today's post is filled with the list of questions that run through my mind each and every vacation. Behold the list: 

Vacation?

Time for Questions:

Rest from work?
Time for play?
Window view
Rethink work-life balance?  
Read?
Relax?  
Yard work?
Write?
Family and friends?
TV?
Ball Games?
Travel?
Clean house?
Organize?
Sew?
Another coffee?
Plan?
Snooze?

Lists?
Exhausted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset?


Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset?
Last week the wind outside mt house was blowing hard and wild.  Tree branches were bending to the ground and limbs were getting knocked down. I looked out the window and noticed that my fence was leaning in one section and with the wild wind expected to continue for a few days, was at risk for causing more sections to domino downward.  Oh no! I didn't know what to do. But I did know that doing nothing would certainly mean that the fence would blow down flat.  
I felt annoyed at the situation and looked away from the window hoping beyond hope that it would all magically fix itself. I was acting like a baby with an out of sight, out of mind mentality.
Later that day as the wind died down I ventured outside to take a look.  I was feeling a bit more brave and reminded myself that I can fix this. I recalled telling my son so many times that he didn’t get his engineering know how from his father, he got some of that from his mother too!  I stood tall thinking with an "I can" attitude and thought about possible ways to fix the problem.
Link to image (by Sylvia Duckworth)
As I walked to the backside of the fence I realized the problem was with the post and I needed something heavy to push up against the base.  I went into the shed and found a heavy 4x4 block and returned to the post and placed it at the bottom.  But the post just went back to a leaning position.  Not wanting to give up, I went into the garage to look for a longer board to prop the fence section up with. BINGO!  I found one in the corner.  I came around the corner, pushed the board into the ground and then leaned it into the fence section.  Voila!  Success!  Mission accomplished!  My fortitude and can do attitude paid off and now I had averted the domino disaster of the entire fence blowing down in the wind.     
Walking away I was thinking about a graphic that I had seen on having a growth mindset. Once I found the image again I started to realize that I had said many of the statements on both sides of the fence (pun intended!).
When I first looked at the situation my fixed mindset began with rants such as:  “I’m not good at this”, “I give up” and even “This is too hard.”  
But then when my growth mindset attitude kicked in I said:  “I’m on the right track.”  And “This may take some time and effort.”  And when block number one didn't work I found myself saying: “Good thing the alphabet has 25 more letters!”
Having a growth mindset that day was certainly the key to getting my fence standing upright. Maybe I need to print this out and keep it at my desk so I can more readily move to using that growth mindset at school too!

When have you needed to think using a growth mindset lately?



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Jewels

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Jewels

This morning I woke up to another frigid day.  It’s April in New England and while I know that the weather can turn on a dime, I did not expect to awake to 19 degrees and 6 inches of snow on the ground.  
But as I lay in bed looking out my window, my eye captured a little glint of light, a jewel clinging from a branch.  It was a drip of ice catching the sunlight just right and it was shining at me. I smiled at the beauty and wanted to jump up and take a picture.
It was then that I realized that once I changed my perspective, my attitude changed as well.  I wasn't looking at a frosty morning, I was looking at a beautiful gem glimmering in the early morning light.


This glimmer of a jewel had me asking several reflective questions that I pondered as I got ready for the day.  
  • How often do I let my first impressions cloud my view and not allow me to open my eyes to the garden or the jewel in front of me?
  • How often do I move so quickly through my to do's that I fail to stop and talk to a child, or to a co-worker, and really listen to his/her concerns?
  • How often do I only hear the whining and not focus on the pain behind the cry?
  • How often do I overlook the sadness or the frown on a child's face because I have work to complete, instead of asking how they are?


Today I commit to finding the gem in the people and situations that are placed in front of me. I need to stop,  look twice, change my perspective and see the jewels that are right in front of me.