Spirals

“The spiral in a snail's shell is the same mathematically as the spiral in the Milky Way galaxy, and it's also the same mathematically as the spirals in our DNA. It's the same ratio that you'll find in very basic music that transcends cultures all over the world.” Joseph Gordon-Levitt

  • Community & Connection Spiral

    Number Talks

    A Poem Inspired by Learning Together

    We tell a story about a mother who is seventy-four
    and a daughter who is forty-nine,
    adding up time and
    difference
    along the line between them.

    We share an open array of numbers,
    imagining parts and wholes,
    our strategies exposed by quantities
    of numbers decomposing and
    composing
    constant relationships in our minds
    –before even holding a pencil.

    Hand over heart we tap
    until we see a place
    in a string of familiar anchors
    and friendly landmarks.

    We can count back to see the value, partial
    products of flexibility now.

    Voices of facts and concepts
    and ways to solve
    burst with numerate enthusiasm
    and joy, seeing how the teacher
    draws our thoughts
    together on a whiteboard.
    We gasp at its simple magnitude.

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  • Honesty & Courage Spiral

    Granite Expires in Parry Sound 33 Fire

    My parents live close to where the Parry Sound 33 Fire started this summer.

    Still
        moss clings to my
        spaces toured by ants and even
        spiders.

    Motionless days pass
        solid and sound in all seasons,
        even this one, until my senses blistered.

    Organized signals for help
        unseen as my sedentary
        service in subterranean
        bass tones even
        eluded that fir and birch and spruce and pine
        who once stood beside me night and day.

    Knowing boots rested on my back, even as I slept
        as choked branches lay across my face, as I ate
        but rain
        soaked dreams drank my lineage
        hardening the horizon–

    Even until smouldering spells
       struck nine and I waited to exhale.


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  • Curiosity & Adventure Spiral

    The Ultimate Artist’s Date

    Years ago I read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” The book had such a profound affect on me that I read all her other books too. Creative people know that there is an energy to creativity. Like other forms of energy there are things that will help it to expand and things that will cause it to shrink. We learn over time how to feed the energy, control the flow of energy, and how to maximize the energy while creating.

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  • Creativity & Process Spiral

    Five Things I Believe About Creativity and the Writing Process

    1. Our creativity and writing processes are unique, just like our fingerprints.
    2. Children are naturally creative. We can connect to our inner child to remember. Play.
    3. Metaphors can be gateways to creative exploration and expression.
    4. When we consider the act of writing practice and the development of the craft of writing as separate processes, we can nurture them both. We set learning goals.
    5. We encourage our writing to develop by engaging in writing practice, reflecting on our work, referring to elements of style and craft, consulting with writing mentors, and by using our learning to write something new.
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  • Perseverance & Diligence Spiral

    The Inner Landscape of a Teacher

    This paper contains excerpts summarizing my arts-informed Master’s thesis, autoethnographic reflections in the form of lyric, collage, and personal narrative exploring an inner, emotional journey to regaining strength and rediscovering passion after a period of teacher burn-out.


    The Jar as Metaphor: The Heart of My Learning

    The role of the Canadian educator has expanded  to supporting the whole student. From fear of violence in schools to increased awareness of mental health issues to data-driven school improvement plans, educators in Canada face many stresses. It has become common for educators to experience “burn-out,” to become cynical, or to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be more than an expert in a given field. Today in education we are often supporting students in navigating the human experience.

    To build resiliency, educators need to come out of isolation and build communities of trust. We need to be able to acknowledge and express our inner landscapes: the thoughts and feelings beneath the surface of responding to every day routines, events, and duties. For me, metaphor became a way of accessing and expressing what I learned in my early years of teaching.

    For this inquiry, jars symbolized the collected stories and emotions of my inner life as a young teacher. By preserving memory and capturing experience in metaphorical jars, I discovered that a teacher can hold a moment up to the light for a closer look through the jar’s transparent walls.

    Jars can be used for preserving or collecting or storing or capturing. We purchase things in jars. We give things away in jars. From holding delicacies to treasures to waste to hardware, glass jars have lingered in homes and garages and schools and workplaces since the mid-1800s.

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