Challenges Are for Teachers Too!


#sol19- October 1, 2019

Contrary to what I usually think about myself, I have learned that I love a good challenge (if I want to do it- conversely I really do not like challenges that I feel forced into). For the last five years, I have taken part in the March SOL Challenge (and have always invited my students to as well). I think that last year was the first that I really heard much about Inktober, and while I appreciated the drawings I saw, I knew it was not for me- I am not artistically inclined.

But fast forward- I picked “intentional” as my olw for the year, and part of my rationale was to challenge myself (I even bought a ukulele– and I am NOT musical either). Not long ago I participated in a webinar about sketchnoting and I actually enjoyed it (I LOVE pens, so the actual trying it out was fun, but I had a low bar for the artistry). Then one day I was speaking to our librarian and Inktober came up- a seed was sown. I spoke to the art teacher and told her I might give it a try with my class (and she was very encouraging).

Last week was break, so the first day back was the last day of September- I mentioned the premise to my class and shared the prompt list. They were excited! I consulted with the art teacher (thanks, Dana!) and realized that I needed to actually buy some pens. I took pictures of her recommendation and set off to a stationery store after my after school meeting. We also discussed the positives of working on loose paper versus a book, and I proposed that we work on loose paper and at the end of the month Dana could teach us how to bind them into a book (and she was all in!).

I LOVE stationery stores and I spent some time looking for the pens she recommended-oops, they only had one size. So, I was all alone in my search and chose a pen that came in more than a few tip widths. I realized that it would not be financially practical to buy as many pens as I would like, so settled for buying about 10 pens for each table in a variety of sizes (at $72 total this felt like the most I could do). When I collected all the pens I went to pay and eventually made my way to the front of the line only to have the cashier scan each pen one by one. Then my debit card did not go through (twice) and sadly I did not have enough cash. I left the pens behind, but I HAD to buy the pens- the next day was October 1. I battled traffic and crossed the street to an ATM, waited my turn, and voila, I had the needed cash. Sadly, there was a large tour group from Australia in the store and by now they were all in line in front of me. I went to the shorter line and when my turn came the other cashier who rang me up used the quicker way to scan the pens, by grouping the pens (I helped- at this point, I would have done anything to speed the process). Success!

Walking outside it began to rain, within a minute it was an absolute deluge (thank goodness for my fabulous tuk tuk driver, Mr. Bo, who zipped down the rain covers and away we went.

While the class was at recess I set out the pens- the students knew that Inktober was an optional challenge they could join me in or not. In the end 19 of the 20 students at school today gave it a try on day one. I LOVED the variety and the excitement as they worked. Quiet Time is our daily time where the students can do anything they want to as long as it is independent.  The time after recess always gets them settled for the rest of the day- it had a special energy today.

The students who wanted to share have their picture posted below. I can’t wait to see how the month progresses (and I figure that having the experience of being a part of a month long challenge might really set them up to take part in the student slicing challenge later on this year).

The word of the day was “ring” but a few students wanted to do day 12 (dragon) instead.

PS I had fun!

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