Naming the Fish

We opened our school this week, and we’ve been working, daily, on debugging all the new programs that we’re running. People have to walk different paths (than usual) in the hallways, keep their classroom doors open instead of closed, and connect remote students to in-person students through miraculous though sometimes clunky technology. And that’s just in the first 15 minutes of any given day . . .

Yesterday, my lunch order got mixed up, so I missed a critical meal and spent the day feeling crankier and crankier as my blood sugar dropped. I went home, raided the fridge, and recovered. But I was still sore about the mistake.

Then my phone buzzed and I saw . . . a photo of my lunch. It was delivered, accidentally, to the wrong campus, about a mile away from mine. A colleague there, a second grade teacher, picked it up at the end of the day, took it home, took a picture of it, and fed it to her son.

The next morning, we were still laughing — over email — about the case of the missing lunch. She offered me some encouragement in the form of self deprecation: “I am taking things super slow in class . . . today, my one goal is to name our class fish.”

As I was building slides for my own class, a Satire elective for juniors and seniors, I found myself counting minutes and stacking content. “Could I fit in the Stephen Colbert video and the Twain quote . . . and the tour of the student LMS . . . while working in some written reflection time, and . . .”

I stopped and thought about the fish in my colleague’s classroom. About the collective brainpower it would take to develop a list of names, whittle it down, negotiate, compromise, agree, and heal any bruised feelings along the way. About what it might mean for a task to be essential these days.

Easy to say and explain? Yes.

Requiring complex cognitive processing? Yes.

Bolstered by collaboration? Yes.

I built this slide, with an assist from, and dropped it into my deck. Every ten slides. Repeat.

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