It is funny how weird things have become traditions in my class (e.g., pushing on the pull door, Winnie-the-Pooh, “Doctors”).  One of the most enduring class icon is my lamb card. 

It started innocently enough about 12 years ago when I grew frustrated with the lack of thinking going on in my class during a Socratic inquiry.  I happened to have a stack of notecards on the corner of my desk, that I probably found on the floor, and in a moment of frustration I passed one out to every student and had them write “I am a lamb and I live in box” as the first step on the road to “thinking” recovery–I borrowed liberally from AA’s 12 step recovery program; Step 1 admit you have a problem.  I collected the confessions and put them in a box (also on my messy desk) with great flourish.  I told my “lambs” that when they started to think I would take them out.

Well pretty soon as students began to push their thinking I would grab their cards (I really needed to color code by period) and I would tear the card, draw a pitiful lion (it looks like a daisy with eyes and a mouth) and I would write “I am proud of you”.  These cards would make their way into small frames that students would put on their desks, into assignment notebooks, and inside lockers.  I have seen many of these cards at graduating senior open houses.

I tell my students that they are “academic” lambs because while they are cute and fuzzy they are not capable of defending themselves from “academic” predators (me) that seek to devour them.  Their goal is to become an “academic” lion that does not fear the challenge put forth by the predator and is armed with the skills and tools to survive the “academic” jungle.

Part of the reason for my blog is to provide myself with a vehicle to become intentional in my actions and hopefully receive feedback on my progress and growth. 

The blue box that now holds my cards was built for me 10 or 11 years ago by one of my favorite students, Sarah Ax.  Sarah and her family are very dear to me.