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Why Did He Leave The Room?


He just got up and left the room!

Who does that?!

In the middle of writing a sentence.

Who does he think he is?

Henry David Thoreau in need of an inspirational stroll.

Let me rewind a bit. My son is in kindergarten and last week he and his classmates brought home Writing Journals. Every Thursday night they will be given a writing prompt for homework. This could be fun. Although, I knew just because I love to write doesn’t mean my five year-old, who just learned how to hold a pencil, will share my passion.

We were playing with his matchbox garage when I asked him if he was ready to write in his journal. He was said he was and he went downstairs to get his brand new Writing Journal. When he came back up I was waiting with baited breath. I tried to contain my excitement.

The writing prompt was glued to the top of the page. It was so cute. His assignment was to illustrate something he likes to do in the snow and then write a sentence describing his illustration. Derek chose to draw a picture of a snowman. He seemed to be enjoying himself and I was beginning to think that this would be an enjoyable weekly ritual. His little snowman was adorable but, as you can imagine, I was more excited about what he was going to write.

When he finished coloring he just stopped. I had to remind him that he had to write a sentence. He was fine with that. I think he simply wasn’t accustomed to writing sentences. He dictated it to me first. It was something like “I like to make a snowman.”

He went back and looked at the reminders that his teacher had glued inside his journal. So he knew that the i had to be uppercase or capital. I can’t remember which term they use nowadays. And then? Well, then he had to go downstairs. He said he’d be right back. It was at this that I was worried that maybe this was going to be too much for him. Or that he just decided to give up.

A minute or two later he returned. With his backpack. He had remembered that that day he had completed a worksheet that actually had the word like on it.

What a clever kid!

Here I was thinking that he may have been giving up and he was simply warming up. He used this sheet as a reference to spell a few words and I helped him with the rest. I didn’t spell them for him. But I did help him sound the words out so that were phonetically correct.

I was so proud of my little buddy. He not only wrote his first sentence, he showed me that he had already learned an important lesson. One that I think we too often forget.

We don’t need to know it all!

We spend too much of our time trying to cram too much stuff into our heads. We don’t leave space for thoughts and ideas to move around. And yet we are constantly trying to fill our heads with more. Then we wonder why when it comes time to solve a problem or create something unique, we are unable.

It is because the stuff we have in our heads has no room to move. To breathe. To grow.

It’s time to stop this madness!

We must pick a few things and try to learn as much about them as we possible can. Things that we are passionate about. Things that keep us up at night. In a good way.

You have a question about how to implement Makerspaces. Contact Laura Fleming.

You’re not sure how to create an engaging lesson. Direct message Dave Burgess.

A leadership issue has you stumped. Tweet Todd Whitaker.

You can’t figure out how to motivate young black males. Connect with Baruti Kafele.

This list could go on and on. But you get the point. You don’t need to know everything about everything. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself some space. And simply pick one or two things where you can kick ass.

And while we’re at it, let’s remind our kids and our students of this too. We owe it to them. Honor rolls and Principal’s lists are crazy. Who nowadays is actually good at everything?

Lin Manuel Miranda and…

Short list of one.

My son taught me a wonderful lesson last week. Let’s just hope I remember it the next time I think I need to know it all. I won’t and I never will. And that’s okay. Because as The Beatles sang:


I get by with a little help from my friends.

The Beatles

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