Mrs. McDonoughue Poem

Mrs. McDonoughue

I held out my story,
A shy offering
Written with blue crayon,
On four pages of neatly folded notebook paper.
My second-grade teacher, Mrs. McDonoughue
Who I remember as a gray haired angel
In a red cardigan sweater,
Smiled and said it was a lovely book.
She’d seen through the rudimentary sentences
And disregarded the misspellings.
She skipped over the bent edges and smudge on the last page.
She did what a true reader and good listener will do,
She dove right into the deep water of the story
And swam around with her eyes open.
She praised the illustrations and asked me questions.
She encouraged me to bring her more.
Which I did,
Until there was a flimsy stack
Displayed on the corner of her wooden desk.

There is knowing that comes with living a story.
There is redemption and power in sharing a story
Particularly when in the telling
The narrative becomes less mine
And more ours.
But there is an equal power in how we choose to hear it.
Hold it,
Consider it.
How we look past the rough edges,
And listen for the heartbeat at the center of the tale.

I am grateful for Mrs. McDonoughue in her cat eye glasses.
Thankful that she would stand at the front of the class each morning
Reading aloud from Laura Ingles Wilder or Robert Frost.
I am grateful she taught me not just how to form a letter
But also how to shape a thought.
I’m grateful that she taught me the importance of listening,
And reading through to the meaning,
How to hold a story in my heart,
And give it away with gladness.

—Carrie Newcomer (2021)

‘Schools are killing curiosity’: why we need to stop telling children to shut up and learn

“Matt Caldwell, head of Ilminster Avenue nursery school, Bristol, says the youngest children’s creativity and conversational skills have increased since cardboard boxes and cans replaced toys.” 

“Paul Howard-Jones, professor of neuroscience and education at Bristol University, who has visited to observe the children playing with their new “toys”, says humans learn from novel situations and curiosity is important to that process. ‘Children should be prompted and encouraged to ask questions even though that can be challenging for the teacher,” he says. “We do need to find some time for questions during the day. There is not enough time in schools for creativity and following up on curiosity.'”

Let’s stop talking about THE design process

From process to ability

“At the we endeavor to enable our students in eight core design abilities so that they might develop their own creative confidence and also inspire others, take risks, and persevere through tough projects throughout their lives. We want our students to be their own unique chefs. We don’t want to churn out individuals that only know how to follow a recipe.”

Eight Abilities

Navigate Ambiguity
Synthesize Information
Rapidly Experiment
Move Between Concrete and Abstract
Build and Craft Intentionally
Communicate Deliberately
Design your Design Work

There is no THE

“Though we live in the age of urgency, mastery takes time, patience, and practice. So, while I think it often makes sense to introduce first-timers to design by following a process, remember that it’s not THE process. It simply gives them a small taste of the abilities designers flex. Design as a discipline is evolving and becoming a sophisticated catalyst for positive impact on projects big and small, but the road to results is far from formulaic.”