Just read an NPR author interview with Mo Willems. He’s working as the first ever Education Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center. How super cool is that?!?!!!
Mo said he hoped to entertain and inspire — adults and children — to create. Love that! Me too.
He goes on to suggest that if you want your kids to create, you’ve got to create. You don’t have to be good at whatever you choose, you just need to do it.
I laughed out loud when I read this:
I think sometimes the greatest thing you can say to a kid if a kid says, “Hey Mom, will you do this for me?” or “Make me a sandwich,” or something — say, “Not now, I’m drawing.” (Mo Willems, NPR Author Interview, July 2, 2019, 5:07AM)
Can you imagine saying that, or hearing it? Such a simple sentence with a ton of meaning. Mom draws, and is into it!
What if we, as educators, took Mo’s advice to heart about all the subjects we teach? How might we share our love for all the things we are teaching — even if we’re not super good at some of them?
It’s interesting to consider, isn’t it? I do math — sudoku, cooking, dice games, building, art, measuring, dominos, counting, figuring stuff out, playing instruments. I read — books, magazines, blogs, knitting patterns, prayers, journal articles, art books, music. I write — letters, poems, journals, blog posts, affirmations, lists. I experiment — cooking, building, art, gardening, finding new ways to get places. I’m passionate about all these things and do them all the time. I know this, but I’m not sure all my students know it.
These are important skills, loves, and activities, for me, and for my kiddos. Sharing that with my kids in real, touchable, seeable, experiential ways would be super! I think the power is in being a fellow learner and lover of all these things, not just doing these things as their teacher.
Have you ever thought, wondered, hoped about this? Have you ever considered being that mom/teacher who says “Not now, I’m doing math … reading a story … building a castle.” Or maybe even the one who says “Not now, I’m doing math … reading a story … building a castle … wanna come join me?”
Hmmmm! LOVE IT!!!
Now to ask questions, use my imagination, imagine possibilities, and try new things. Now to find the things as yet unseen — time and opportunity!
If you feel like it, join me!
Here are some of my beginning questions:
- How might I find the time in my day to share my passions with my students?
- How might I be a mathematician, scientist, artist, reader, writer, builder, maker, side by side with my students?
- How might I rethink our schedule to find time?
- How might I use independent work as a time for me to be a learner/worker alongside my kids?
- How might I tweak/use my language to share more about what I’m doing?
- How might we all share things we’re doing outside of school as mathematicians, scientists, artists, readers, writers, builders, and/or makers?
Love to have you join in this wondering-questioning-problem-finding-and-solving conversation!