Saturday, July 31, 2010

To Plan or Not to Plan

The Pros of Planning

I can go both ways, I like making lists, I like post-its and paper clips with notes attached to them, I like dreaming up new projects. I also wake up some days and just "feel like an adventure" as my children put it.

This has been a week of decisive "lesson" planning. I first made the decision to make time to plan, doled out one-two hour spots for each of the three older children to be in charge of the two youngest. I included the young lady, Melanie, who came back from France with us. She was not quite ready to leave us for a home where English only was spoken, so she is still with us. All the better for my own offspring, who continue to speak French every day with her.

After much administrative nonsense, I was able to settle down, finally, yesterday, to organizing one first project for Alienor. I chose "Keepers of the Earth" for Native American stories, a book we had loved a few years ago. I have my own copy of it now, so I am not under a deadline to give it back, and I can put in my beloved post-its and they will stay. (I use the ones Melisa Neilson recommends: duratabs, I think they are called, they are half the size of a regular post-it, made of some unfathomably non-environmental friendly material, but hard and durable, and can be written on. Lovely stuff, my lesson planner/daily diary from last year looks like a picture of organization, in color!)

I spent an enjoyable hour reading over the stories I remembered sharing with the older children and settled upon one to begin with. I reread it a little more carefully and chose from among the many project ideas proposed with each story, noted the materials I would need to find before beginning and took the kids to the park. I felt that something small had been accomplished that morning. Sort of like Piglet sweeping out his little house before leaving for his walk with Pooh.

The weather was perfect for a walk, two good friends called before we left and joined us there, it was a gorgeous day. We had the park all to ourselves. I knitted, chatted, helped Melanie with her burgeoning knitting skills, and then had an unplanned hour-long bathroom outing with Alienor. She was not feeling well and not willing to go home, we were stuck. Some time into the wait she called from the other side of the stall; "Mommy, tell me a story." Well, we were alone and it was not the nicest place in the world to be when you are feeling bright and chipper, much less not so sunny. I told her I had a new story, I did not remember exactly how it went, but if she wanted, I would give it a try. She did. I told her the legend of the young brave and the great wind eagle that he stuffed upside down into the crevice of the mountain and how he thus learned the importance of the wind through its absence. When she finally emerged, she said, "that was a very good story, mama." One of my first thoughts was "darn, so much for that story, I'll have to learn another." Then I was grateful to have had a new one to keep her amused instead of horrified by the bugs and dirt in an outdoor facility, and glad for the captive audience, lol! Since then, I have realized that a good tale bears repeating, and that we will both enjoy it just as much when I recount it again.

I have also realized how powerful a tool a good story can be and I plan on learning more to keep in my stash.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Angela! Is that Gluskabi and the Wind Eagle? I did that story last year in music therapy with my students. There are 2 songs that go with the story, and we sang them accompanied by students playing our new large table drum. Great story! If you don't know the songs, we can sing them together sometime:)Hope to see you all when you get a chance. Allison


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