If I knew celebrating the number 50 (as in years old) would be so much fun I would have done it earlier. The 50s Museum is now officially open. I'm proud and overwhelmed to be its curator. The artifacts are evidence of a fortunate past and foretell a promising future. Can a national museum of something be anymore important? Included in the finds for view are poems, posters, a joke book, multitudes of cards with original artwork and text, dark is there any other kind? chocolate in various chunks of 50, bags of 50 coffee beans, delicious, fresh nuts, flowers, including roses, a beautiful plant that I swear to keep alive, fine paper (no other description needed), 50, yes I repeat, 50 helium balloons, good tea, good coffee, stirrers for the bistro.
What doesn't appear in the gallery but stays in my artifacts of thought are the singing, the wishes of happy birthday from five and six year old voices, the wishes from near strangers in the hall, and the 119 guests who came by to visit on this opening day of the museum. One student couldn't help herself... she had to keep a running tally. She predicted 50 people would come by. That many friends would fill many a void. Did I mention that practically every adult pinned the number "50" somewhere in view on their clothing? You can imagine the fullness of heart I feel after all those numbers!
The items of great anthropologic interest to this curator however, were the endearing, funny bits of text published in several books by students I swore would remember nothing of their year with me. The bits are poignant reminders of what students deem important in their school year. There are a few reminders of specific academic stuff, such as learning about butterflies and natural disasters. Only a kid would enjoy that range of studies. But the majority of notes were about the treats, the jokes, the help with a problem, the challenge mixed with fun, the dum dums for smart smarts, the indoor recess games, how I listened, helped, taught manners, greeted, made embarrassing moments fun (those were probably my own!). So... over 25 years of working on my instructional practices and content and it all comes down to really just being a mom!
Is this a sign that I need to work on maintaining a better focus on rich, research based instructional practices as I teach this year? Well, maybe. It does however, answer the perrenial question posed to me by the teachers in the next grade level, "Did they learn anything last year...they don't remember any content!"