I am currently reading Mark Twain's autobiography - Volume I. Twain did not want this work published until 100 years after his death. As I looked over my blog postings for the year, I discovered that I failed to post a "draft" blog back in September 2010. Since Twain's work is classic and mine is at best an attempt to "just share what is on my mind," I decided to post the blog now and not wait another minute let alone until after my death.
So here it is. Apologies to nan Schanz and her 6th grade language arts class members.
Inspire Revisited - a September 2010 Blog Post
I posted a blog on September 8 that called attention to the District's vision - "Northview Public Schools and its community inspire and develop literate, creative problem solvers, ready for continued learning and career success, while becoming productive, respectful members of society." As part of the post I referenced Highland teacher Nan Schanz as being the picture of the word inspire.
Today, I followed up on a promise made to her 6th grade Language Arts class. I promised to return and share a couple of my favorite books. The students and Ms. Schanz inspired me to share a book review with them and the unfulfilled promise from September hung on me like "cold sunshine." This quote comes from Ray Bradbury's book The Halloween Tree. This is one of the two books I shared with the class. Bradbury has been one of my favorite authors for over 14 years. In a previous district I served as Superintendent, I had the opportunity to observe Mr. Bradbury working with 15 students to critique their individual essays. His genuine love of the writing process could not be mistaken. He brought a high level of inspiration to the individual discussions with the 15 students and then to hundreds of people in large group presentations. His energy was inspiring.
This memory stormed back into my mind as I carried a copy of The Halloween Tree into Highlands this morning. The students I had met in September had already burned through multiple books and today we had what I like to call a "Public Television Book Talk" about what we like to read. At the close of reading a few selections from the Bradbury book I had a few minutes to share a reading from another favorite "A River Runs Through It." While this is a little more challenging read, I am convinced the students in Ms. Schanz class are capable of not only reading the book but writing and presenting a review of the book.
Both books have special meaning for me. "The Halloween Tree" was signed by Ray Bradbury at the close of his guest author time we hosted in the Ogden City, Utah school district. He signed the book with a condition that I use the book to inspire kids to read. I had a chance to do just that today - I didn't want that promise hanging on me like "cold sunshine." A very close friend gave me a copy of "A River Runs Through It" to remind me to find a balance in life and find the simple elegance in the things I love most. The friend also had me promise to use the book to inspire kids to read. That promise "runs through" my mind almost daily.
Thanks to Ms. Schanz and her students I was presented an opportunity to share two books today and make good on two promises. I left both copies of the books with Ms. Schanz to hold the class over until I could order a few copies for their room library and for the media center. I am confident they will take great care of my treasures and I trust they will inspire other kids to read even though I didn't make them promise.