Holding hands and spinning

In our last advisory, one of my students brought madeleines for breakfast. I, of course, shared that the taste of madeleines was the inspiration for Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. This singular taste of the madeleine (and a cup of tea) brought back to him, in a rush, memories of his past, over a thousand pages of them in seven volumes.

“So,” I said, “let’s experiment. Can it work for us?” I ate a madeleine and shared a story about how IB and I saved the Virgin Mary. I was hoping this inspiration would catch on and stories would burst forth from their hearts and mouths. Instead, all my students could do was, well, get physical. They wanted to dance, not talk. They wanted to move, not sit. Try as I might, it was definitely a kinesthetic moment.

And so, at my urging, seeing that talking was not going to work, they twisted themselves into a human knot and worked at unfolding themselves. It took them a while, bending, twisting underneath arms, lifting legs over heads, giving each other instructions, laughing.

Then, when they were completely untangled, when they found themselves in a circle holding hands, as if they could not stop themselves, they spun rapidly in a circle around and around and around.

When you’re 13, you don’t yet know the quality of memories you hold. Madeleines or no madeleines, when you’re 13, sometimes all you can think about is holding hands and spinning.

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5 Responses to Holding hands and spinning

  1. Annie says:

    Love this. I wish I was still 13…holding hands…and spinning.

  2. Nicely woven story with a nicely woven ending. And boy do I love madeleines. Remember Jerome’s?

  3. ClaireMcA says:

    Can’t knock where inspiration leads…

  4. Mrs. Chili says:

    Sometimes, you freak me out.

    Every day, before we release our kids, we gather for “afternoon circle.” The tradition, begun this year, is to do some sort of reflective or team building activity before we leave the building.

    Tuesdays is my day to lead this activity. I’ve been having a wicked arthritis flare-up this week and, as a consequence, wasn’t feeling all that reflective, so I had the kids break up into their advisory groups and tie themselves in a knot. We worked for 10 minutes unwinding ourselves; it’s one of my favorite whole-group activities to do.

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