Happy New Year!
No, really! It's a brand new year at VMCCA! We should be getting out the party hats and noise makers, and just going to town! For so many reasons! Here, I'll list them for you!
1. We are back in our own building, and ALL the classrooms are being utilized, again!
2. I took 11 GREAT students to the Global Student Leadership Summit in Milan, Italy, and we (meaning they, and of course, YOU...VMCCA!!) made quite an impression while there! We had 4 students on four of the finalist teams at the Summit, and one of ours was also on the winning team! When our students kept getting up to go and be in the finalist presentations, someone looked over at me and asked, "Who ARE you people!?" I laughed and said, "We are VERNON MALONE!"
3. We had a blast looking at an eclipse, yesterday! It was AWESOME!
4. We are going to be welcoming a new Captain to our ship...the awesome Abby Stotsenberg!!!
5. We are going to ROCK school-wide PBL's, and OTTER, this year!
6. Let's just face it...we love our school, and it's great to be back!
So, break out the happy dances...we are back and we are going to have a great year! Now, let's get to it!
...graduates. It's a simultaneously wonderful and horrible event. Graduation means that all these people who we have spent so much time with, worked & sweated with, taught and learned from, and ultimately, came to treasure...they are leaving us. They are taking that leap, soaring out into the world. I find that I love and dread this time of year.
However, we all have a role to play. A huge part of me is envious, because it's a beginning, and how many of us would love to have a do-over with the knowledge we have now? Raise your hand! I know I am one of them. Of course, I know that I am who I am, now, because of all those experiences from my inauspicious beginning. I might be someone very different if I had a do-over. So, if I want to see any changes in who I am, I can have a mini do-over, right? One can dream!
However, right in front of me, these graduates are beginning to morph into those people. Sign my yearbook, Ms. Ray. Come to this presentation, Ms. Ray. See what we have done. Leave a mark for our future. I constantly tell my only Media assistant of 2 years how much she will remember my words in 20 years. She swears it's not true! I think that she will be surprised. It is my hope that my words will have a positive impact, and be remembered as such.
One presentation included a gift to a teacher that I had a hand in helping them create. A tripod completed on the Makerbot. GIS students learn to measure with precision, and so, this is a symbol of looking ahead, and seeing what could be by measuring what is now, and figuring out the tools needed to make a change. So, the horizon we see, now, will be forever changed by the students who are leaving us. We will watch from here, and applaud them as they go.
I came to work this morning and in my email there are advertisements for Living Social. Most, if not all of them, are offering mani/pedi's, hair styling and permanent makeup...
Is the universe trying to tell me something? >:-\
I don't know if I've told you before, but I was born and raised at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a good thing, too, because it seems that when you aren't born into a family with a lot of money, you spend an awful lot of time in places that require little to no money to get into, and what better than the Smoky Mts, right? There are places to go hiking, climbing, swimming, rock skipping, camping, tubing...it's a veritable amusement park without all the cost or fancy decor. I loved it. I still do.
Recently, we took my Dad back to see it through a driving loop known as Cades Cove. When I was younger, there were fewer cars driving it. Most people took their bicycles through. It's a an area where people settled and farmed nestled in this little pocket (cove) surrounded by mountains. Protected. It's a part of the National Park Service, now, and as such, there are homesteads, cabins, a mill, and other features, that are preserved as they were. He had not seen it in a long time, and we had a great time remembering him taking me there as a child, and now, my taking him there, and his being surrounded by grandchildren. It was a kind of neat, zen-like, circle of life kind of day.
So, now, it's Friday, and I find myself channeling the mountains, again. Wishing I could wake up to the smell of that ancient forest. Hearing the river as it winds its way through the mountain, crashing over the worn river rocks as it goes. Seeing the wildlife. It's what I miss the most about "home". If you ever get a chance, get thee to the mountains, and take a trip through the cove. It will be well worth your time. And the Absent Minded Librarian? She is there, in her heart and mind, today. So, go easy on her...
For those of us who are older, that expression can conjure up movie moments that include Frankenstein, or even a mummy. Things that you would not expect to move and act do, and it can be very frightening for those who see the unexpected get up and walk around. Especially if it seems that these entities are "out to get you". Clearly, in a zombie movie, they are, so...better start running, eh?
However, it is spring, and things that have been lying dormant are now waking up, like tree buds and small insects. I have to admit it was not fun playing catch with my son in the park, the other day, just due to the sheer number of gnats that I think I swallowed. Extra protein, right? Blech!
I am thinking about ideas, though, and how we plan for what is happening right now, in the classroom. Yesterday, Dr. David Kroll came to speak to a large group of our students about Henrietta Lacks, and her still living cells. This idea was hatched out awhile back, and the behind the scenes work is just now coming to life in many ways. It's alive in the imagination and thought processes of our students. Dr. Kroll was most impressed with their presence, as well as at the questions they asked. This can only happen because this idea was allowed life, and was shared by the team that put it together. Learning is a living entity, when done correctly.
So, looking to the future, and making plans for what comes after, is really important. Your life has a life, for lack of a better way of putting it. Instead of sitting back, and letting life "happen" to you, take the initiative to make a plan that you can breathe life into, and see what comes from that! It's important that you take the opportunity to bring your dreams out to share, and pretty soon, you will be able to say "It's Alive!", as well!
People often say that if you were ever a fly on the wall of their car, you would think they were crazy. I think that this is true of most of us! I would take it further to say that if you were ever a fly on the wall of my brain, you would say the same thing.
SO...I was driving home from school the other day, and as I was going down Western, I turned to the left to see all these wonderful rays of the sun filtering through the clouds, and down to the ground. It was really such a phenomenal sight that I immediately thought of a song. The song ran through my head, and it matched the vision, and it was just kind of like one of those perfect moments that sticks with you. Nothing significant happened, and yet...it did.
And then, left field comes into play.
The thought ran across my brain that I wondered if cave men made music, or sang. And if so, what kind of music might that be? Did they have instruments? From there, my brain streaks over to Phineas & Ferb, and the cave man song, Zubada (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67Rpm6w6viM). I love this song! I want it for a ring tone!
Back to the original question about cavemen, and did they sing? Which leads to why do we sing? Why do we make music? Why did the song that jumped into my brain make the visual display of sunlight more relevant, somehow? How can I make Zubada my ring tone?
A moment in time, where the brain goes wherever it wants to. What happens in your car on the way home?
Every morning on my way to work, I drive by the silhouette of a cathedral as it is being built. The sky is just beginning to take on light when I am driving in to work, everyday, and when I make that left hand turn and go past the build site, it really is quite picturesque as I take it all in. A couple of years ago, there used to be a small brick building there, but eventually, the Catholic Church began to develop the land (ie; tear down the small brick building) to erect this giant cathedral.
I have to admit that, at first, I was not impressed. There were piles of dirt everywhere. Now, the child in me wanted to jump on those piles, and roll down, or play king of the mountain, make mud pies, build a dirt fort...but that's about as far as my admiration went. I could not understand why tearing down a perfectly good building was necessary, but I was not aware of the plans at that time. It was not note-worthy. It was not aesthetically pleasing. When they poured the concrete, I yawned.
Then one morning, I was driving past and I began to see these iron "I" bars begin to reach up for the sky. There were cranes, and workers, and suddenly...life. And, to my surprise, in the early morning breaking dawn, it was alive! I have now become fascinated to see the progress every day, so much so that on Wednesdays I bring my son over, and we get out of the car and walk over to the edge of the work zone to get a closer look. He is not as fascinated with the building. He loves the cranes and other equipment. I, however, am fascinated with the "bones" of the building.
There was first the middle section, and then an offshoot wing. The support beams began to connect the other beams, and I saw the sanctuary begin to take shape. Eventually, there was an offshoot to one side, and I thought that was all there was to it. But I soon realized that what I thought was just one wing was actually a cross wing. I learned this quite by accident, one day, on the way home! As I soon learned that I could see this building taking place from another angle, on a different road, I began to appreciate that I didn't quite have it all envisioned. Perspective taught me that what I saw on one side looked differently from another. WOW!
Then, a rounded dome began to take shape, apart from the building itself. Will this be hauled up by the crane once it's completed? I don't know. I am dying to know! Recently, a small shaft with a smaller domed shape went up near the entrance. Is this a bell tower? Will it stay where it is, or cap off the dome? I don't know! I am dying to know! All I do know is that I just learned yesterday that I can see that small bell tower (that's what I am calling it!!) dome from S. Wilmington St. when I cross over the bridge going back into downtown Raleigh...yet another perspective!
I realize that this may not be as fascinating to some of you. However, I think to myself that we are all like that cathedral. We start out with the bare bones, and no one knows, in the end, how we will turn out. How it is all put together. If we stuff ourselves with cheap materials, will we crumble during bad weather...say, a bad day? How will we reflect when others see us, from our various perspectives? We are so like that building in so many ways, from what we are made of, to what materials we use, and who we allow to work on the job.
I think to myself that I will be a little disappointed once all the skeleton is done, and the walls begin to close out the light of the dawn as it shines through it in the early morning. I think that when it is done, I will find myself visiting it, and going inside, hoping to find the skeleton, again. Hoping to see the bare bones of it all. To see how we all begin, again. To see rebirth. Because, for whatever reason...on a daily basis, the rising of this cathedral calls me to momentarily take stock of myself.
When I was younger, I used to love picking up Reader's Digest. Now, you might say, "Of course you did...you're a librarian!", but if you've read any of my earlier posts, you would know that I didn't plan to be a librarian when I was younger. I just happened upon it, like a good book. (hehehehe) Now, I DID like the stories that could be found in each edition, and I do love to read. However, the thing I got really geeky about in each Reader's Digest was....wait for it....
Yes, I would race to the page where there would be a listing of words with 3 possible definitions, or meanings, of each word. I loved this, because it was a test of my knowledge. Was I smarter than the editors of Reader's Digest? Could I guess the meaning of words I was unfamiliar with by comparing the unknown word with other words that sounded similar? How high could I score? It was always a head rush to beat the page!!
I know, I know...signs of future librarian job skills, and I didn't even recognize it!!! LOL
At the same time, I would also try very hard to get to the Living section of our newspaper, because I LOVED doing the crossword puzzle. It was important to get to it as quickly as possible, because I was in fact racing my mother to get to fill it in. It was a dance we danced...who could get there first, could she finish it, and if not, could I?
There is a lot of power in words, and in knowing what words mean. I often tell people who use certain words that they really need to make sure they understand the meaning of the word before they make use of it. We all are guilty of using words whose definition we have little knowledge about. I still find that I pull out the Reader's Digest, and the Living crossword puzzle to this day, because I am just fascinated by words and their meaning. In that same tradition, I have begun placing crossword puzzles on a white board in my Library Media Center for anyone who might be interested in it to solve. So, go ahead, come on by, and explore the power of words!
So, we have made it into 2016!! We survived being on the naughty or nice list, and we came back to Vernon Malone, ready to start off a fresh semester! So, why do I still have a list that I keep having to check?
What list, you ask? The To-Do List!! I made it a priority this New Year to keep a closer account of what needs doing, and making sure it gets done. New Year's Resolutions have a way of sneaking up on you, don't they?
I have to admit...I am already behind. It started out well enough. I created a list of things that needed to happen on Monday, and at the end of the day, most of the items were checked off. Two were left. No big deal, I thought...I'll just transfer those items to the next day, and begin again! :-) So, the next day, I created a fresh list, and added those in. Trouble was, so many things that were NOT planned began to take over, and at the end of the day I found that I had only been able to accomplish the completion of ONE of the items on my list! As Bill the Cat would say, "ACK!"
Sidebar: If you don't know who Bill the Cat is, then you need to stop reading this blog right now, and go read some old Bloom County cartoons by Berkeley Breathed! Go on...GO!
So, what was going on?
The truth is, no matter how planned out the day may be, so much will happen that is NOT planned. The trick is to be flexible enough to make sure that you are still doing what needs to be done, but also available enough to do what is needed in that unplanned moment. If you waste time lamenting all the things you put on your list, but ignore all the great stuff that happened in spite of that list, you are missing out on life.
I am not saying that the list is unimportant. We all need to set priorities. What I am saying is that life is messy, but that it's okay that life is messy. I like to think of my list as the broom. I don't sweep every moment of my life, but there are times that progress can't be made unless I bring out the broom, and clean up a little. And when you realize that you've marked everything off that list? What a sweet feeling!
Meanwhile, Happy New Year, and on we go...
There is something to be said about looking forward to things. We look forward to all sorts of things. I had a student come in and begin to open boxes from our recent book order, simply because he had been waiting for a book to arrive! Students from 1st block left to go on a field trip, and there is also anticipation in that, as well. A little something out of the norm, so to speak.
I've been online looking at the new Convergence schedule for this Fall. Convergence is a professional development opportunity for Media & Tech folks, and it happens twice a year. Being a "lone librarian", I look forward to these times where I can get with my people, and have some fun learning and sharing. I think that it's necessary to get out there and spend some time with others in this way. I am looking forward to providing some professional development for my colleagues during one of the sessions. Scary and exciting stuff!!
Beyond that, however, it is a quiet day...and it is Friday. We've been looking forward to that, all week long!
Happy Friday, everyone!