07 Mar Slice of Life: What Are Your Words?
As I walked around the floor of her community, I read all words inside each person’s picture frame.
What words should I put in her frame?
Which words sum up my mom?
How many words should I choose?
How would she want to be remembered?
How would she define herself?
I remembered this moment as I packed her frame after my mother passed. Her residence asks each family to post words in a frame outside the resident’s room. They feel it helps the community know the person – who they are and who they were before dementia. I found myself going through words in my head for several weeks. I couldn’t choose. The responsibility was too much. I faced the blank photo frame day after day.
Then I started to look through old photos with my kids. My children began asking about the photos.
Where are you here?
What are you guys doing?
Tell us the story of this one.
Mom, remember the time when…
Oh, I will never forget when…
Mom always loved…
I told the stories of the photos with them and with mom. I know it sounds crazy, but I turned to formative assessment. I triangulated the many moments of her life and noticed patterns in her stories. Ideas, words and themes began to emerge.
Appreciates the Beauty of Simplicity
Loves a Long Walk
Brene Brown said, “Stories are data with a soul.” I found my mom’s story.
It makes me wonder about my photo frame. What are my words? What would my family and friends choose as my words? Would they be the same words? How do I want to be remembered?
It makes me wonder about the photo frames of students. Do we look for patterns in their story? What words describe them as students and as people? Do we know them, really know them? Are we including the person behind the data when we triangulate to find their story? Look at your class, do you know the words for each student?
As parents and teachers it is powerful to think about living our lives with our words in mind. It is powerful to think about noticing our children, looking for patterns and helping them find their story. If we keep the photo frame in mind it pushes us to live our best lives. What are your words?
Thank you to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, Beth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for us to share our stories each day in March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts and consider joining this community.