Hollyhocks, Books, and Comebacks

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One of my favourite flowers in the garden is the hollyhock. It splashes its colours all around, attracting birds, butterflies, and other little creatures. I don’t plant them; they just reappear every year from the seeds that have dropped into the rich, organic soil. They grow to a magnificent height of eight or nine feet, […]

Of Humble Turnips and Inclusive Classrooms

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Recently I heard from a friend who went to a relative’s one hundredth birthday celebration. The dear lady claimed that she achieved the century mark by eating lots of turnips and carrots, which she had stolen from her mom’s garden, first wiping off the dirt. Upon reflection, I realized that though I grow lots of […]

Of Tenacity and Morning Glories

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When I was in college, I had a summer job working at a plant nursery. I spent hours weeding and hoeing, and, when I had more experience, I was promoted to driving the little rototiller; from there I’d watch the rest of the gang out toiling in the sun. After two hours in the heat, […]

I Hear the Chickadee Calling

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Once the first snow flies, there is a hum of activity around the various bird feeders outside our windows. In November, a pair of cardinals arrived, beautiful in their bright scarlet coats against the freshly fallen snow. Blue jays, proud and chattering merrily, dominated the large feeder, sending the little birds scuttling away. Early one […]

Assessment, Evaluation, and Gardens

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“I remember the first time that a grading rubric was attached to a piece of my writing. . . . Suddenly all the joy was taken away. I was writing for a grade—I was no longer exploring for me. I want to get that back. Will I ever get that back?”   Claire, a student […]

Woodpeckers and the Wonderful World of Books

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I woke up this morning to the sight of two spectacular downy woodpeckers fully engaged in their calling. These two were industriously pecking into the soft wood of the Australian willow that was trimmed down to clear the way for the recent addition of several solar-voltaic panels. I argued to save the tree, but alas, […]

Catching Rainbows: Sharing in Diversity

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“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship … God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding” (Ps. 19:1, 4b–5a nlt). I’ve been thinking about rainbows lately: rainbow trout, the rainbow-colored Swiss chard that grew in […]