Saturday, July 2, 2011

What's in the back of your mind?

Happy Summer! Happy 4th of July! Yes!

My mind is many places at once this summer...I am doing some fabulous professional development for my new position at a brand new and exciting school, the Inspired Teaching School in Washington, D.C.
(I have no doubt that I will be blogging about this endeavor in future posts...)

Today, I am thinking about my mind being in many places at once...and I'm amused at the thought. Isn't this always true of me? Is there a teacher for whom this is not true? Isn't it true of all of us?

It is funny to me, all those threads that I hold onto, all the pieces I am juggling in the back of my mind, fragments of things that I've caught and held onto and don't know quite what to do with....

...children's words...
...small actions...
...profound pieces of information from articles read or workshops attended...
...odds and ends that I'm sure will be great in a future project...

On some passive level, there are so many peripheral things that I am continually putting brain energy into - things that I believe will matter to me "in the future."

These are strands,
future somethings,
that I'm just barely feeding,
fascinated by,
but on a quiet, low-key, backburner...

I am busy and engaged, and yet always "holding onto" morsels in the back of my mind...things I am working on in a passive but consistent way.

For me, these are treasures.

For example, for a long time now, I have been taking photos of interesting patterns, variations, textures that I see in the world around me.... I don't know why. I'm moved to do it. Perhaps I am "channeling" Tana Hoban, whose work I have long admired, whose picture books are an essential part of my preschool classroom. I love the way that she makes the ordinary become extraordinary, isolating different parts of common objects for children to explore.

I know this photo interest was triggered, too, by my preschoolers - because they have pointed patterns out to me, seeing something special in the ordinary...
"Look, Ms. Maureen, see all the long roads on the bricks!"
They have opened my eyes.

And I've found myself messing around with this a bit.

These days, my camera's almost always with me, like my notepad has always been.
I am learning to use my camera a little better...snapping serious end in mind, but enamoured.

I've been a young child, noticing the patterns in things I've seen.

For me, this is kind of a release... captivates me... entertains me... restores me...

I sometimes hear an admonishing internal voice:
What about these photos?
Where will these go?
Will they linger on this laptop, squirming in the back of my mind?

Honestly, I don't know what it is about. Maybe I'll share them with students one collection of patterns....

Are our minds ever 100% on anything?

What about our children?
What "snippets" do children they have on their minds?
What are they beginning to collect?
What are they thinking about?
Do we respect these mental wanderings?
Is there room for them?

What is in the back of your mind as you work so hard at other things?
What captivates you?

1 comment:

  1. Your pattern pictures are so interesting. I have a friend who has been walking through her grief at losing a loved one. She realized she walked with her head down looking at the curb always. She started taking pictures of those curbs where they join the street and the sidewalks. Looking at her pictures, I see whole worlds I have never noticed - both beginnings and endings. Your pattern pictures remind me of her pictures - seeing what most of us never take the time to see.