Monday, August 3, 2009

Progressive building blocks

I find myself trying to do multiple things at once. I'm grading papers while planning while checking back in my book to make sure that, yes, commas do indeed go there. I'm eating while checking my email while taking a silly quiz on facebook. Everything is on my floor because I'm doing everything while accomplishing nothing (at least, accomplishing nothing with any kind of efficiency).

From first until the sixth grade, I attended a public Montessori school (I attended a separate, private one for preschool and kindergarten). Classrooms were open; that is, desks weren't the first thing you'd notice when entering the room. And often, the only border between classrooms were shelves. Instead of sitting at our desks each day, we completed tasks. We retrieved a carpet square, found a spot somewhere in the room, and lay it out. We took our material, sat down at our square, and completed the task. Then we returned the material to its spot on the shelf and put away our carpet square. One task at a time, from beginning to end. We could work as slowly or quickly as we wanted because, when we were finished, we could find something else to do.

This kind of school and education was perfect for me. It allowed me to be independent (which I crave) and to explore my interests. I didn't have to wait for the teacher to explain, again, some concept that I already understood. Instead, the teacher could spend extra time, individually, with that student. It also focused my attention on the task at hand.

As I scatter my attention, now, in a million different directions, I want to freeze time; I want to stop, put everything away, and then pull out a carpet square.

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