Tuesday, September 04, 2018

If I were the man at the pool

What if I was the man by the pool of Bethesda? (John 5)

Laying there for 38 years. There's nobody to help me get into the pool. The only proximal hope that I will be healed. And even that is far away when your community decides the distance is too far to travel. That act of moving me from this grounded mat to the life-restoring pool is too big a burden for them to shoulder. They have all moved on to baking bread, bathing infants, and bringing wares to sell at market. The longer I bake here in the sun, the lighter the burden feels for them. Amazing what time can do. For many, it heals. For others, it commits the pain. Time only heals wounds when they've got healthy people injecting antibodies of community into the pain of another. This replaces the pain with moments of joy. But, for some of us, it only replaces our pain with more recent pain.

So, where does that leave me?

I know. It leaves me stranded on this island of a mat, longing for the life of the waters. Yet, the waters remain a mirage to me, while a reality to others. I hear the cheers of others as they are lowered into the pools and raised with sores healed and limbs moving. I hear the jubilation of family members who thought the prison doors of a stroke would remain forever locked.

Here I lie. 

The scuffles of the poor and lame have become a cadence of hopelessness to me, Until, that is, the swirling fog of dust settles to reveal feet standing at my eye's level. Someone stops. The cadence of passing strangers halts. For me. They halt for me. Certainly I will be asked to move while someone else is brought to water's edge.

A voice.


Both speaking to me. 

"Do you want to be healed?"

I'm not even sure I know. I've resigned to the plane of hopelessness for so long that sitting upright in healing expectancy...I can't even visualize it.

"Get up, take your bed, and walk." 

After this man, those eyes, that offer to be healed, I found myself rolling up my mat. As if I have been transfixed by his presence. I pick up the mat that has held my life in its straw. I actively tell my mind how to move my toes. Movement has been archived for 38 years. 38 years is close to life expectancy for me, but I have very little to expect from life.

Until now.

I put one foot in front of the other; cautious at the potential betrayal of my healing. For so long I have seen and heard victory for others. I have abandoned the idea that victory was for me. My body seems to be the object of other people's gratitude. I've heard it, "I am grateful that my body has not failed me  like that man's on the. mat."

But not today.

Today is victory! It's my turn for victory!

My walking pace quickens as if my synapses have woken and am remembering how to walk. I swing my head around to thank the man and he is gone.

No name.

He simply healed me and went about his day. He restored my body. He restored my life.

I want to know about this man that require me to walk in my healing and nothing else.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Project Based Learning-Creating Books!

**This is a class assignment for a certification I'm getting*

"I'm getting married in white culottes, never working in an office, and I want to be outside." This was my fourth grade checklist for the adult version of me. Thank goodness the school system I was slotted into had a track that held Project Based Learning (PBL) up as a virtue. 

This is my all time favorite Ted Talk. My desire as a teacher is to teach my students to take their peer reviews and teacher feedback not as criticism, but provisions to get them to, "Embrace the Shake." Within writing, this means finding their voice and way of communication that meeting the requirements and yet remaining true to themselves. Some students melt under the fire of critiques. I want to foster a classroom that constantly, embraces the shake, and works through our weaknesses to turn them into strengths.

Image result for refugee camp

PBL encourages the strengths and stretches the weaknesses of each student. In any PBL, there will be sections students enjoy and other sections they merely get through. My hope with this PBL, is that they will learning not only to improve their writing and research skills, but also learn about the world outside of their own.

PBL-Refugee Camp Book

Project Theme and Goals: 

This is an English class project for secondary students. The students will be empathetically researching the lives of children in refugee camps. As a group of 4 they will put together a collaboratively written book of short stories that will touch on key areas of a refugee’s life. 

Before starting, each member of the group will read a different book written by a refugee. They will share with their group things they learned in that book. As a group, they will need to do thorough research on a specific people group who are currently living in a refugee camp. 

The objective for this project is to get the students to understand the lives of other students who are struggling with different and yet, maybe, similar issues. Also, to get them to think through how studying literature can help a group of people in need. The end resulting book should have an underlying theme, tying the entire project together. For example, the theme of hope or family. Another objective is to learn about all the elements, processes, and staging in publishing a book. This needs to be a professional quality book that we would see on Amazon. 

While I am looking for a professional, end product, I am also looking to challenge their perspectives along the way. The entire process of researching and understanding refugees, receiving peer feedback, and teaching editing should foster humility in my students.

While PBLs can be fun and creative, they still need feedback. I've outlined a detailed rubric and monitoring plan here.

Here's a link to another PBL I did. We are walking through Joseph Campbell's, Hero's Journey. 

I love Campbell's discussion about the process a hero goes through in a story. In the classroom, we would walk through C.S. Lewis', The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The links are here for a unit lesson plan.

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