Saturday, January 28, 2012



I have a $10 garage sale desk that I hope to repaint this winter to use in my "someday classroom."  I think a personalized, hand painted desk and a chair with a seat covered in a happy fabric will be much cozier than the standard issue institutional desk and chair.  While searching the internet for ideas for painting my desk, I stumbled across a free book download.  Apparently, the author is a substitute teacher who is also an artist.  He sketches the desks of the teacher he fills in for, and this book is a compilation of those drawings.

You may find it here:

At first, to me, the black and white sketches seemed vague or nondescript.  But as I looked closer, I saw distinguishing details such as sticky notes around one teacher's computer screen, a sketch on a pad on the art teacher's desk, and what I believe was a cow-print mug awaiting another teacher's morning brew.  I loved the little details and insights into the character of the individual who "belongs to" each desk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tales - Spelling Mississippi

My nine year old son is "touring" the southeastern United States for Social Studies in third grade this year.  I had the opportunity to present the first lesson of this unit as I substituted for his teacher last week.  It's funny how so simple a thing as learning to spell Mississippi can transport me to childhood.

My mind takes creative license with the past so that all of the memories of a particular person, place, or time are rolled together into an beautiful collage - edges muted, corners softly turned.  So it is, in the Tennessee summers of my childhood, that I learned to spell Mississippi from my paternal grandmother on the front porch of a cabin, while simultaneously shucking corn and snapping beans.  "M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I, hump back-hump back-I," Mamaw voiced the rhyme she had learned in her own Alabama childhood,  as we enjoyed the easy breeze that characterizes the "down home" vacations of my memory.   I`m pretty sure we took turns twisting the handle on the old ice cream maker, right after dinner, as we chewed sassafras leaves like chewing gum, and my Papaw called me Pumpkin Head (as he called my siblings and cousins too.) In my memory anyway, it all runs together that way.

I'm sure those third grade students last week believed I was thinking of how to spell the other states in the southeast region as we proceeded, but in my mind, I was on a front porch many miles south of our northern classroom... and many years ago.

Photo by Aisling, March 2010

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Meditation - Connection

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. 
We are but one thread within it. 
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together. 
All things connect.”  
~ Chief Seattle

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a time and place to think deeply.

Photo by Aisling, August 2011