13 January 2017

Dear Transformers,

When I make my oatmeal in the morning I’m amazed the transformation that happens so quickly. With just a little water, heat, and time I turn dried, tasteless oats into something edible and some mornings delicious. And then I take dried roasted beans and soak them in water a short while and I have what I consider the greatest human invention!

Humans are transformers. Humans turn the sun’s rays into the electricity that powers motors and lights, plants from eons ago into the gasoline that powers are cars, and experiences from long ago and far away into texts that are available to everybody. 

What can you transform?

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

12 January 2017

img_1337Dear Historians,

We might live in crazy times, but if you become a student of history, you learn that times have always been strange. There’s never been a perfect time that we should try to go back to. And there probably won’t be a perfect future that we can create. There’s just people living and making history in ways they can’t tell.

But it’s important that we understand that history because it created the world we live in today, and maybe it will help us better understand these times and how our actions will shape the future.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

11 January 2017

Dear Readers,

You find a topic you’re interested in and read about it from every angle. You’re a detective and you’re weighing every piece of information. And you let the clues do the talking. Take your variety of texts and hold them next to each other in your mind. Let those texts talk to each their and listen in it n the conversation. Then find out something new that’s true about the topic.

The world is hungry for wisdom and insight. We don’t you need to only retell what’s already been told. We need you to have fresh ideas.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

10 January 2017

Dear Writers,

You make something out of nothing. Using only your imagination you create a world, an idea, a vision of the world that people believe in even though it’s only words on paper. But I know that words can change the world. They have in the past and they will in the future. 

And words are available to everyone one of us. You don’t need money or power or fame. You just need a piece of paper and a pencil and the belief that you can write something that the world needs.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

9 January 2017

tug-of-war-1-9Dear Learners,

I’m excited to be back. New years are like new beginnings, and they give you a chance to refocus on what’s important and what you want to accomplish.

I want each of you to be the best readers, writers, and thinkers that you can be. I believe that all of you are capable, and I know I know how to get all of you there. If you believe that too, if you’re willing to put in the hard work, and if you promise to support your classmates, then we’ll all get there.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

20 December 2016

Dear Creators,

I enjoyed watching your creativity yesterday while making musical instruments. That’s a trait that will serve you well in the 21st century–not just following a formula for making something, but coming up with something new all on your own. Creativity combined with effort and perseverance will take you wherever you want to go.

So keep at it. Have a vision for what you want to create in the world and keep on making it in your own way.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

19 December 2016

puzzles12-19Dear Puzzlers,

Over this cold, snowy weekend, I did a lot of puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, crossword puzzles, math puzzles. Puzzles are about getting into another person’s mind, seeing the world through a different set of eyes, and being thrilled at how recognizable, but different, everything is.

At school we’re in the mind business. As readers we enter other worlds and possibilities by getting into other minds. As writers we create portals so others can enter our minds. In math we read the mind of the universe and share our findings with other minds.

That sounds like a lot, but it’s all available to you if you teach yourself to use your mind well.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

14 December 2016

Dear Listeners,

Today we’ll listen to the symphony. When you hear a symphony, you’re listening to a certain structure. What makes a symphony memorable is when it does something revolutionary within that structure. The greats–like Beethoven–left such a mark on the structure that it made people ask questions about what it means to be human.

Life is more engaging when you know how to look at it, listen to it, read it. Today we’ll learn how to listen to a symphony. That way it will be more than a collection of sounds. It will be a story.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

13 December 2016

IMG_0880.JPGDear Strivers,

Basquiat wasn’t born a great artist. He made himself into one by constantly making art. He wasn’t an artist because of the things he said or the clothes he wore or the people he hung out with; he was an artist because he was obsessed with creating art. He was an artist because he spent thousands of hours in his studio (and on the streets) making art.

Don’t decide you’re going to be a writer or an artists or a musician or a singer. Just do the thing.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

12 December 2016

img_0879Dear Summarizers,

There’s a saying that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. I think this is true because some parts we emphasize more than others. Not all parts of a story are equally important. Your job as readers is to decide what’s really important and what’s not. A map can’t include all parts of the territory. We have to choose landmarks. Same when you read–a text or the world.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck