Here are 21 books which leapt to mind when I considered the topics of Utopia and Sustainability.
They are currently arranged on my sofa, staring at me, so that I can reflect on them and brainstorm and decide whether they make up a coherent collection. I find the display incredibly lovely and inspiring but I can't keep them there forever so I am arranging them virtually here.
I'm just going to list the covers (and therefore I can move the display off my sofa, where it is very tempting to Zac) and then when Jessica and I meet to narrow it down (we will probably only use 7 or 8), I'll come back and update the post and put the actual teaching idea inspired by the book.
I have so many things running around in my mind, and it would take forever to write it all down, but seeing the cover of the book brings it back in focus and is a simple visual shortcut.
Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature
Beautiful Stuff! Learning with Found Materials
(I have an autographed copy of this, since I did my student teaching in Rita Harris's classroom at Fort Hill when I was trained in Reggio Emilia, and Cathy Weisman Topal was one of my professors at Smith)
Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids
(also autographed, since my former school hosted Marietta McCarty for a professional development day/philosophy retreat for the faculty)
Or we could eliminate some of the initial time spent in the meeting where I present the books and I can just share this blog post with her! Aha! That's a great use of technology right there. If she just wants to pick the ones that she responds to in her gut. Today I folded laundry and listened to another of the Smith College Executive Education for Women webinars and it was all about the mammalian brain (the limbic system) and I found it fascinating. We hear so much about the primitive reptilian brain and then we just jump over to the frontal lobe, and he really talked about the system in the middle and how harnessing it is so important in education. If you want to listen, it's the talk by Jim Stellar. And it definitely made me want to send Natalie to Northeastern University! Or maybe go there myself. Did you know they have an online doctoral program in Education?
In my life coaching I'm supposed to start working on writing down my Dream. And I have to admit that I've been googling doctoral programs in Education for years and years. Maybe it is part of my Dream? Your Dream is supposed to be something that you would love to do... just sitting right down and picturing your perfect life... if there weren't any constraints like time or money or age or location. When I come up with mine, I'll share it. But I'm guessing that getting my doctorate is somewhere in there. Here we are at the limbic system again... Stacey says to listen to your body and identify what you are yearning for. You can't even see yet how it could happen, but you know that you want it. It shouldn't be something that seems achievable. You should feel like you would need to tap into a higher power to get there.
But for today, I'm living my dream and it's hanging out with Zac. And filling the bird feeders and threading pipe cleaners into the holes in a colander (thank you to Loose Parts 2 for that idea) and enjoying a bath and walking the dog and watering the garden with Zac's little elephant watering can and taking his Buzzy Bee around the block and playing in the yard and eating bowls and bowls of plain yogurt with little frozen wild blueberries. AND we went to a new park yesterday and found out they have a free water play area (with these really cool streams of water that just shoot up out of the ground and you can run through them) and so we went back today. Naturally.
And to all my other dear readers from around the world, if you have a brilliant idea to suggest for an artistic and/or hands-on activity which would support an Eco Theater Camp and can be flexible and fit in anywhere in a two week span and is self-contained and can be pulled out at any time, but the camp could also get along fine without it if the improv stuff takes more time than we think it will, feel free to chime in. And if you really really want to know why I picked one of these books and what on Earth it made me think of, I would be very happy to write about it in more detail. Just ask!
This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!