8weeksofsummer Giants Everywhere

This post is week 2 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

What has contributed to the educator you are today?

Copyright. Used with permission from my grandson.

Mud pies

When I was a kid, we roamed the neighborhood and spent much time playing in the lilac bushes along the side of the house making mud pies.

Mud and leaves and flowers stirred and decorated. We planned a feast and decided what and how to do each part. If one thing didn’t work, we worked out how to make it work. It was creative collaboration at its best: messy, mixing, remixing, mediating until, together, we friends were satisfied enough to gather our moms for the feast. Covered in mud, soaked and cool in the hot summer sun, and pleased with our creations, we entertained ourselves for hours while learning about design [mom’s marigolds and hollyhocks], conservation [this much will work], mixture [that’s too goey], and so much more.

Mud pies with friends– mess condoned by mom — definitely contributed to being the educator I am today: Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.


My boys and my grandchildren were given creative reign in their play. The backyard included mud, books in boxes, art supplies [paint rocks, bark, books], planting gardens, etc. As Den Mother, our large den of sixteen boys followed the same path of wonder: what would you do, what is your interest, how will you do that, who will work with you… play, collaboration, and inquiry.

So, when Eastern Washington University introduced me to Papert, Vygotsky, Dewey, Piaget, Bruner, Moffett, Caulkins, Atwell, and Veatch [ a few of the many ], it was not a stretch to understand how we learn, especially together in inquiry and with time for play — with ideas, concepts, conversation, and recess. And each course expected hands-on practice, planning, revision and remix, connections and collaboration, and thoughtful reflection.

So, in my classroom the students actively learned and from that came the support of my administration and school board to continue the pedagogy of student-centered, learner-centered agency.

So, in the next wave of learning through professional learning networks [#etmooc #clmooc etc], many global collaborations emerged, beyond the classroom to bring students and teachers into connections in the world.

All I am came from these past giants:

  • my parents, children, and grandchildren who enriched my understanding of learning through creative and collaborative play
  • the past greats who began the study of social learning
  • my colleagues who worked with me– in my school and beyond
  • my school district’s and my students’ support

It all began with mud pies, and the rest of these were the continued ingredients, mixed and remixed and mentored as I learned and grew with my peers and students. Everywhere are giants from whom we learn, in our everyday connections and collaborations.

Follow these hashtags for connected learning and inquiry– they are always an inspiration:

Today, from #etmooc – a fitting quote:

June 15 from #clmooc

Refer to my past posts for information and reflections for #etmooc and #clmooc

Always thankful for their friendship and mentorship and inspiration.

Note: I should have named this post Mud Pies, but I am ever thankful to those who came before and who surround me now. 


on “8weeksofsummer Giants Everywhere
4 Comments on “8weeksofsummer Giants Everywhere
  1. Sheri,
    This is a lovely post. We didn’t grow up so differently it turns out.
    I especially love the picture from 1957; it has such a familiar feeling.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sheri,
    What a great metaphor for this post–your mud pie creations. I love this reflection on the early experiences that formed your learning and teaching self. Then continuing on in life, you have brought that same creativity and exploration into everything you do. What a joy to know you. That picture of young you with your family is so sweet!


    • Hi Denise,

      Well, it’s getting near to our summer family gathering and all the memories have flooded back — and I remembered my own fun mud pies. And that seemed to fit here since I’ve written many other posts on all those who have contributed to who I am. Still, it is our personalities and beliefs that also influence how we teach. It seemed to fit this time. Thanks for your kind words, and I, too, am appreciative of our continued friendship. ~ Sheri

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