I woke up today after whirl wind of recent days past. ECOO, EdCampSWO and back to the school house and family! I am always tired at days end. Its the kids and my kids that bring me great joy that I do not realize my fatigue until 9 pm at night when I K.O. in 3 minutes flat. This morning I woke at 5 am to head out to the gym to realize it was snowing. Falls first snow. It has been amazing to me since I was a kid. I get real joy out of listening to the kids oh and ah at the window. I decided to stay home from the gym and wait for them to wake up just to hear them this year. It was as I expected. Zoe threw on boots and took Hawksley Sirius (the dog) out for a run in the snow. The flakes were huge here in Essex County.
When ever this happens for the first time I remember the words I heard Taylor Mali speak at Learning Forwards Annual conference in 2010. He blew me away with this one and I have never forgotten. So today to honour kids, snow and learning everywhere I picked up the P.A. handheld and read Undivided Attention to the entire school with no intro or warning. I share it with you here. Enjoy.
by Taylor Mali
A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,
tied up with canvas straps—like classical music’s
birthday gift to the criminally insane—
is gently nudged without its legs
out an eighth‐floor window on 62nd street.
It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers’ crane,
Chopin-‐shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second‐to‐last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over—
it’s a piano being pushed out of a window
and lowered down onto a flatbed truck!—and
I’m trying to teach math in the building across the street.
Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long‐necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.
Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-‐falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers’ crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.
Let me teach like the first snow, falling.
Mali. Taylor. “Undivided Attention.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-‐887012-‐17-‐6)