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This poem is about the best friends I always had, “BOOKS”, and the hope that my friend Augusta ( not a real name) will reconnect with her best friends very soon. Augusta is a second grader, and she feels alone...hope that won’t last...
The Rectangle Friend of Mine...
do you remember when I used to have so many rectangles as my friends?
those rectangles were full of stories,
they were full of color, pictures, funny things, silly things, interesting things
those rectangles filled my imagination,
yes, my imagination and mind,
they made my brain spin and spin around,
twirling and bouncing and jumping,
that was fun!!!!
Now, I feel so lonely...
Now, I feel afraid sometimes...
Now, I feel like yuck!! not them again!!!
Now, I don’t enjoy them so much anymore...
Now, they are just words and words and words...
Now, the only thing I can tell them is, “Where are the pictures?”
Where have they gone? Why are they gone?
They are not friendly, funny, silly, interesting, and colorful anymore...
now, they make my brain stuck,
now, they stop my imagination,
I don’t like this!!!!
if you see those rectangles friend of mine walk somewhere in front of your house, with colorful, silly pictures, interesting stories, and friendly smiles,
would you invite me over?
I miss them...my mind misses them, my imagination misses them, and,
I really, really wish that
my mind and imagination would twirl, spin, and jump again...
I wish I could enjoy them again...
I wrote the poem some years ago. I wrote it for one student who finally was able to voice out her thoughts after being so angry and confused about “reading” for seven and half months. That voice, when it came out and understood, made the whole journey different and the rest spoke of itself. She is graduating from one of the All Girls Boarding School, and she will be going to University of California, Berkeley, to study anthropology. Who knew???
A quote from “If I Were A BOOK” by José Jorge Letria
“ If I were a book, I’d like to have my own magical place in every child’s imagination.”
Magical...that is the word I am looking for to describe my relationship with books. It is like Princess Elsa building her magical ice castle and feels comfortable, like she is truly in her own space, “Let It Go” indeed. I have those feelings with books; I grew up with books, and throughout when growing up, my parents often times would become annoyed with the fact that I would not get up to open the door or to answer the phone because of...guess what?....I was reading a book.
Now, I am an educator. I have been one for the past 20 something years, occupation wise; however, I believe I have been an educator all my life since that was the one thing my parents encouraged me to do, “ Never stop educating myself”. As an educator, I could not quite accept the fact that some ( and the number is growing) of my students “loathe” reading. The word “dislike” seems not enough to describe their behavior when I said, “Let’s read!” And more parents approached me with frustrations, sadness, confusion because they thought “my child loved books when they were little”, but how come they don’t love them now???
The series of my blog will be about the one important aspect in learning that I feel it has not been emphasized enough in our curriculum, LOGIC. Logic, loosely defined as a thought process, a form of reasoning, is the basic element of understanding any phenomena in life. Logic is not innate; hence, it ought to be taught and practiced consistently. No age is too young to learn logic. The building of logic will have great impacts on self-control, mental focus, self-confidence, and the emotional health of a child ( and all of us).
The phenomena of a student not retaining knowledge or information, from academic knowledge and feeling or thinking things such as “ I don’t know how to read”, “ This fraction is so hard”, “ My mind is blank; I can’t write about anything” to something deeper “within one self” such as “not able to hold certain level of mental focus”, “not courageous enough to take up new challenges”, “not knowing how to organize their own cubbies”, “seemingly not able to retain information long enough to apply them to their task”, and the list goes on, comes, mostly, from the absence of LOGIC. Most of our students do not understand the intention or the reasoning as to “why” we ought to learn what we learn, “why” it ought to be that way. And, when I said “why”, I meant it in a deeper sense than just knowing facts. It is about understanding the process, step by step reasoning, and applying it appropriately.
For example: Reading. Had we approached reading in a logical way, we would shy away from merely encouraging our students to know the alphabets or to read every word correctly. We would emphasize the fact that reading is active and dynamic, reading is about the thought of a person ( the author) and what makes it magical is the interactions we decide to build with the author through his or her thoughts.
Mathematics. Fun, fun, fun!! If I were to apply mathematics with how to budget my own birthday party, I would have a blast learning the concept of money, addition, subtraction, sequencing, time. If I were applying counting to the number of train cars I see on the train station, I would have a blast learning one, two, three, etc. It is not just about math and everyday life. It is about the “thinking about math” in our everyday life.
A Practical Suggestion:
Building A Library Of Thoughts….
Many of us have lots of books at home. Building a library and arranging the books according to the "thought" behind the book is a good activity for you and your child to build logic. For example, the alphabet books are together, the number books are together, the transportation books are together, the animals ( maybe separate them to zoo animals and farm animals) are together. For the older children, the mystery theme are together; biography or autobiography are together; scientific inventions are together, etc.
This activity is about spending a quality time together, along with a great conversation that you could engage your child with, and the understanding of the thought or intention that the author has in writing the book-- the logic behind the book. The idea is to build the "thinking" inside your child's mind, the question of, " What, Why, and How" the author delivers his thought in the book.
I am passionate about education, about the mind of every student who I encounter. I believe every mind is a gift; hence, let’s use LOGIC to nurture it as gifted. My next blog will be about the logical explanation on how certain theories that I hold dearly to my heart could be useful in assisting you in building your child’s logic.
Please do not hesitate to write to me of your thoughts as I would love to read them. I believe exchanging thoughts is a great way for us to learn from one another.
Chandra Budi, Ph.D
URL Tutoring and Consulting, LLC
URL=Unconventional and Resourceful Learning