I long for a decent snowfall here in Central Ohio. I dream of days when snow was always around; bright, shiny, and glistening. Snow was a daily part of my life growing up in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State and I bet you can image what my college days in Buffalo looked like. Snow was just a way of life.
Last week we got our first decent snowfall during the week and had a snow day. I walked outside. I shoveled the driveway. I tried to help my dog find his tennis ball we lost in the cul-de-sac snow piles. I added bird seed to my feeders to help my feathered friends. As evening came, I got restless. I knew recess would be inside tomorrow and my heart and soul said it shouldn’t be inside.
At 8:10pm I sent an email and a See Saw message to families. I wanted to double guarantee everyone saw this classroom news. I asked everyone to bring snow pants, boots, hats, mittens or gloves because we would be spending recess outside. I technically had recess duty and I wanted to watch my children have fun and feel joyful. I do believe snow can be joyful.
The students got themselves dressed with excitement and independence. We went outside to embrace the sunshine and the snow. Then I had a moment of weakness amongst the joy and fun my students were feeling. I thought, “What if someone questions me being out here?” I had asked my team to join me but they chose not to. I get it, not everyone likes snow. Then I watched and listened.
We were investing in our community. We were smiling and laughing. We were collaborating while digging tunnels in a bank of snow. We were creating new games when we made a snowball and tried to make a basket with the basketball hoop. We asked to do something we couldn’t normally do in winter; go out into the field. Have you ever watched 19 students flopping around and making snow angels? Pure joy. We had to problem solve when someone pushed snow into something we were trying to do. We got to be kids. We got to enjoy life. We got to be together.
There are lots of ideas for ways to create a community. Once we create communities we need to invest on fostering communities. Communities need tweaking and uplifting every once in a while. I realized this day tweaking and uplifting didn’t need elaboration. It just needed simple, different, and an embracing environment.