Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodbye, summer

So summer officially lasts a few more weeks, but since it's the week before Labor Day, and I'm a teacher, summer is done for me. No regrets: it was a wonderful season in which I lived fully and thankfully every day.

This is a bit of a miracle, since summer vacation was one week short. See, last year Labor Day came the latest it can, and Minnesota has a state law forbidding school to start before Labor Day. (There can be petitions made to start earlier.) If you start late, you go later into the summer, which means summer break is shorter. I hope you caught all that; there will be a test on it later.


To prepare my students last spring for the shorter break, I taught them haiku. You probably remember haiku as little more than 5-7-5 syllables, but it is so much more. Here's the definition I use:
Haiku is the essence of a moment keenly perceived in which one image is contrasted with another.
I particularly like the idea of the essence of a moment. How often do we try to tap into the essence of any moment we live, let alone many moments? This, IMO, is especially true for Americans, who look forward to the future constantly. It's not bad--it's who we are--but it make it hard to notice the moments.

Because summer was so short this year, I encouraged my students to live a haiku summer, where they were fully aware in each moment.

I think I lived a haiku summer too, so I put together a mini album to commemorate. I used mostly October Afternoon's Fly a Kite line, which to me is the product that epitomizes this summer this year, mixed in with a few other OA lines I had left over. I used the flash card mini album to guide my photo choice; I printed wallet sized photos, trimmed them a bit, and lay them next to several strips of paper and stickers, adding a few words to detail some of the moments.
Here's the mini:

I can see doing a haiku mini-album or layout for many things: seasons, kids' growing up moments, pets, and so on. You don't need to use the term haiku; just examine the moment and descrive what it was like. Noticing the essence of the moment and trying to describe it enriches our lives, I think. I hope you think so too.


Monika Wright said...

This is just too awesome, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing this. I adore all things October Afternoon, too!

alexandra s.m. said...

I absolutely LOOOOVE this! Genius Jenny ;-)

Amy Sorensen said...

Hi, Jennifer! Just thought you should know I blogged about this today. SOOOO cute!