Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Slice of Life: Pay attention to the big picture!
Every Tuesday, the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants.
Next week is my vacation week, and for a few months, my daughters and I have been planning out how we are going to have one daughter, a senior, revisit colleges, while another daughter, a junior, visits some schools for the first time. I concocted an elaborate scheme where Clare and I would fly to Atlanta, rent a car, and fly north. Meanwhile, my husband and Julia would head to Virginia, then meet Clare and I in Pennsylvania, give us the car, and get on a plane to go to Emory. They'd fly home, and I'd pick them up. (Are you paying attention to the verb tense? You should be.)
Yesterday, I put up all the games and matches on the family whiteboard. "I can't believe how many games and matches you have over vacation," I said. "There usually aren't any."
"Coach said there were no matches at all over break," Clare said.
Julia wrinkled her brow. "Mom, we're not off next week. We're off the following week."
She started to laugh. Clare started to laugh too. I started to sweat.
In eight years, our two towns have never had a different April vacation, but somehow, I missed a key detail. We do NOT have the same vacation weeks this year. Yep, we have to have the same vacation in order to figure out the flight details and the rendezvous time frames.
I share this story because it's funny and it illustrates the mistakes we all make, but also, I got really used to making educational connections last month during the Slice of Life Challenge. How many times do we teach all sorts of details, all sorts of strategy lessons, all sorts of revision and editing skills, but students haven't made the connection of the overall purpose of the unit or the writing piece? It's always important to establish the big picture before spending too much time on the details.
For me, the good news is the flights were cheap, and I now have a week to catch up on life, which I could actually use. Julia will still make it to revisit schools. And Clare? We'll figure out another week to take a college road trip.