New Ways of Seeing. . .New Eye-deas.


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If you haven’t seen the video with Sina and Soni in the past couple of days, take a moment to view their X-Factor Australia Audition here: It’s about 9 minutes long, but it will be so worth the view (we’ve been sharing this one in Room 407 as a pre-cursor to planning and drafting our personal narratives). This video might also work well as an introduction to titles like R. J. Palacio’s WONDER.

And, now that you’ve seen it. . .do you see what I see? As a lead learner at the beginning of a new year? Getting ready for the first time to draft our personal narratives? To share our stories together?

It’s the father.

The father gets me the whole time.

He is a stakeholder. Not much unlike the stakeholders that we will work with over the course of the next school year.

They love.

They send.

They watch.

They wait.

If you watched the video, watch it again (perhaps with students this time–I had to turn my back for a moment, but you may be okay). Watch the father closely.

Do you see it?

He is bracing himself against a lifetime of memories and hoping that the arms holding him up will help him to stand tall against the coming moment.

He loves his children. You can see it. He is watching attentively the whole time–from the introductions to the performance to the final evaluation. There are only a couple of moments that we see the father break from this stoic presentation to give himself over to a little bit of emotion that cannot be held back.

Love and levees. . .they have a certain strength. But they also have vulnerability.

The flood tides of emotion are not easily contained.

Do you see it?

There is a certain pride in those eyes. They are looking directly ahead and they will not avert their gaze until this moment has come to fruition.

These are our stakeholders.

They love their children and they send them to our learning communities to watch over them while they wait to hear how their child’s day has gone.

Into a world that has the power of respect and reject. . .include and exclude. . .of elation and evaluation. . .of joy. . . and judgment.

Of affirmation and assessment.

Do you see it?

The father never breaks that faraway stare until the final judge says “Yes” to his children. And it’s a beautiful moment when his children return from their moment to receive his and her father’s affirmation.

This is why we call them stakeholders.

They hold their children dear. And there is a lot at stake.

They have seen the “true colors” within their children. And they are beautiful. . .like a rainbow.

And this is why, taking inspiration from the Leo Buscaglia work that I am reading this week, we will take some time to evaluate the down-drafts of our personal narratives leaving only affirming comments. And we will recognize that red is not the only color that can be used as an evaluation tool.

No, instead we will look for the beauty that comes of sharing a story in earnest. Our final evaluation of the down draft will consist of words like “beautiful,””fantastic,” and “wonderful.”

I want the first paper that goes home to read something like, “Take a look at this. This young person is a writer. This story is going places.”

There’s so much at stake.

There’s beauty to behold.

There’s memories to make.

There’s tales to be told.

Have a great week at school.  And for my friends who are just returning to the classroom for the new school year, may you be richly-blessed within your learning communities.

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