30 September 2016

sistineceiling9-30Dear Creators,

We learn through creating. You can read a book about the geography of Colorado and memorize where important landmarks are, but you’ll forget it all unless you use that knowledge to make something–like your very own map.

Creating doesn’t always happen in a workshop. When you’re writing a story or  responding to a text with an argument or big idea, you’re also creating.

But you have to take the knowledge of the world and make something that is all your own. That’s what real learning is.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

29 September 2016

image.jpegDear Answerers,

There are no answer keys. Even if there were, they wouldn’t be very reliable. You’d disagree with them and bemoan their closed-mindedness. The real questions you answer in life have many correct answers and they’re made correct by how well you support them with reasons and evidence.

The good life takes a lot of thinking and it’s something you have to fight for.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

28 September 2016

raymie9-28Dear Readers,

I’m reading Kate DiCamillo’s new book, and in it she has a minor character–a gym teacher–who has a favorite saying: “Flex your toes and isolate your objectives.” I think that’s sound advice, and it reminds me of all we can learn from literature.

So you’ll hear me say it today (and a lot in the future) anytime we have a task that we need to complete. There’s no replacement for focus and single-mindedness when there’s something you need to get done.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

27 September 2016

doughhands9-27Dear Makers,

We made a big mess yesterday, and making salt dough didn’t go as well as we hoped. But we’re too foolish to give up. So we’ll try again today. Be thinking about what we need to change to be more successful today.

It’s easy to give up. And sometimes it might seem like the smart thing to do. But usually the wisest course of action, especially if you don’t want to or you failed spectacularly the first time, is to simply try again.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

26 September 2016

tiger9-26Dear Debaters,

As readers, you have a lot of evidence to weigh. You collect that evidence, put it together, figure out what’s most important and grow theories about the characters and story. Another reader might disagree with you, but that’s okay. What’s important is that your ideas are grounded in the text and defensible.

Today we’ll have some debates about Tiger Rising. You will come up with questions to debate, take a stance, and find evidence to support it. It’s an important skill you’ll use throughout your life.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

22 September 2016

imageDear Thinkers,

The things I like now are things that I used to know nothing about. Some of these things were things I never thought I could’ve liked. When you don’t know about a topic, it’s easy to believe it’s not worth knowing.

But if you keep an open mind, you’ll find that there’s value in everything, and you just might find a new favorite things in the world, and a new way to make meaning in the world.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

21 September 2016

Dear Measurerers,

Measurement is where the ideal world of math comes into contact with the real, physical world. And in the real physical world we can never be perfectly exact. Everything is an approximation–close, an estimate, good enough. 

Of course we strive to be as precise as we can, but like every other human endeavor, measurement is about finding a shared meaning that we can agree on. And when we do that, we can build things together.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

20 September 2016

listening9-20Dear Listeners,

I talk all the time about the importance of active listening. If you listen actively, then you already know this. And while I’d really, really like it if you listened actively while I talk, what I really care about is that you listen actively and respectfully to each other. I’ve learned a lot in my life from teachers, but I’ve learned even more from my peers and friends.

Everyone in class has something to teach you, but you’ll only get it if you listen actively.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

19 September 2016

happyaskings9-19Dear Kings,

Always have a current obsession going. Find something that you can’t stop yourself from finding out more about. Find something that you can’t live without. Soon, that thing will pass and then you’ll have to find something else. But always have something that makes you feel more alive.

The world is too full of ideas and magic to ever be bored.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

 

16 September 2016

diognenes9-16Dear Livers,

You’re experts on living. You’ve seen thousands of days. You’ve been around language, people, and culture throughout your lives. And now you’re trying to figure out what it all means.

And doing that is all up to you. You can ask people for help. You can look to other people for examples. You can learn about how other people have done it in school. But putting your experiences together in a way that makes sense to you is the essence of living.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck