It was an early April morning and Spring was teasing us with her usual reluctant dance. But we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to facilitate one of our favorite playshops for a group of grade 9-10 students from other countries in Ms. Wright's English Language Development (ELD) class. Brittany and I were buzzing like two ecstatic bees about to land in a massive patch of blooming wildflowers. We've really enjoyed every experience leading our Making Seedballs playshop, however, we'd only facilitated this one with adults and children before. This would be the first time with teenagers. And this particular age range happened to make us a little ...weary. How would it fly with them?
We wondered how the students would react to the idea of getting their hands “dirty”. Because “clay” is not a common word taught when you are first learning English, Brittany told them it was the same stuff that is used for facial masks and that it is good for the skin. There were several nods and “ahhh”s of understanding. “And pottery!” one fellow exclaimed with an excited smile.
YESSS, we were hitting some connections!
After explaining that we were going to make seedballs and how we were going to do that, there was a few moments of dead silence. Nobody moved. Uh-oh...had we just flatlined???
“Just go, get them started,” Ms. Wright indicated with an easy-going wave of her hand.
Alister took a handful of clay chunks on one of the boards with a roller. "Do you want to try?" he asked the fellow sitting closest to him. "Yes!" he responded, and quickly came onto the big blue tarp and picked up the roller. Then another fellow came forward. And a girl. Then another. In no time, everybody was on the tarp, smashing, grinding, and rolling the clay into dust.
Once finished, we laid out the seedballs on a few newspapers to dry. The next week we would go outside to scatter the seedballs around the school.
Much gratitude to Ms. Wright for being an open-minded teacher that understands the importance of sowing seeds and continuing to sow seeds, regardless of the circumstances. "Teaching is exactly like seedballs," she said. "You never know which ones are going to sprout, but you just keep on tossing them out there!"