Being a teacher has many perks. Most people are quick to point out that we have our summers off. How lucky. Without getting into it, I'll just say...not really. Not totally off. Nope.
However, we are not showing up to work on any kind of schedule except for the one we set for ourselves. My husband, who completely respects what I do, mistakenly let on, when we first bought our little cottage on the Cape, that I was SO fortunate to be on the Cape all summer.
I quickly reminded him that a day at the beach is no day at the beach. What? All I meant for him to understand is that while we are blessed to spend the summer on the Cape, being a single mom (during the week) of children who were, at the time, 7 and 8, providing 3 meals a day, lugging crap to and from the beach (including these darling little sea kayaks that my sister and aunt bought for them), keeping them lubed up with sun screen, and remembering cash for the ice cream truck, all while keeping up with regular chores including yard work, laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning, and prepping for weekend entertaining could sometimes be LESS than relaxing. Sometimes. But let's be clear. I am blessed and I've always know it.
Today, friends from home visited us for a day at the bay. High tide was early this morning so we got a quick start so we could get some swimming and paddle-boarding in. Once the water receded, the plan was to go quahogging. The mudflats are the perfect place to dig for shellfish, however, some days are more productive than others. Today, we found quahogs aplenty with great ease. In addition, we found a handful of scallops, which I never find. We also went home with half a dozen or so oysters which isn't all that uncommon. When we were finally heading in with our loot, one of the kids we were spending the day with stumbled upon a horseshoe crab. She was VERY curious about it.
I tried to quickly retrieve everything I knew about horseshoe crabs. I shared what I could remember with her. I pointed out some of the eyes. I told her that they molt. I taught her how to pick them up. Some of what I'd learned had gone a little fuzzy. For example, I knew their blood was used in science. It was super important medically but I couldn't remember the details. So tonight, I sat down to research horseshoe crabs. I did this because I was curious and I had questions I wanted answered.
Here are just a few of the things I learned or relearned.
I had an experience on the beach today and I couldn't wait to come home and do a little research. I had questions I wanted answered. For example, I wanted to know why I sometimes see a bunch of horseshoe crabs floating dead in the water when I'm paddle boarding and I wanted to confirm some of the information I thought I knew. I was pretty motivated (not by this blog) by the experience I had and the questions that lingered.
I am going to remind myself of this deep, personal, learning experience as I ready myself to learn about PBL next week. I want to be able to design projects alongside my colleagues that will afford our students the opportunity to wonder about those things that actually interest them. Ideally, they'll then do the work necessary to satisfy their curiosity. I want more of the truly deep, hands-on, student-initiated, authentic, stuff!