The calendar turns to March, and everyone longs for
spring. Here in Maine, we expect to be
buried in snow for at least another month. But the mind is powerful,
and one thing more than almost anything else can instantly trick it into
believing sunny days and fresh flowers abound.
That thing is a scent. Diane Ackerman says this about scent in A Natural
History of the Senses: Our cerebral
hemispheres were originally buds from the olfactory stalks. We think because we smelled . . . Smells
detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines, hidden under the weedy
mass of many years and experiences. Hit a tripwire of smell, and memories
explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.
If the learning feels a little tired and stale in classrooms
this time of year, could it possibly be that the scents surrounding kids and
teachers are part of the problem? After months of being closed in and surviving
the flu season, it's likely time for a scent reset. Lewis Thomas explains the
connections between smells and memories: The act of
smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking.
Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work,
sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories
through the brain, polling one center
after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connections.
What memories do you want to conjure up in your school
today? Linens fluttering on a clothesline outdoors, cinnamon in hot cider, coconut
oil on a tropical beach? Spring may be a
few weeks away (or more) from appearing outside your classroom windows, but
bringing the freshness of spring inside is just a plug-in
This week we're celebrating the fun of March Madness with different
takes on literary bracketology. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
Free for All
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Franki Sibberson's new online course Text Complexity in Grades 3-5: Minilessons, Nonfiction Text Sets, and Independent Readingruns April 2 - 13. The course includes three webcasts, personal
response from Franki, a DVD, Franki's newest book, and many print and
video resources. For details on registering, click on the link below: