Chatboards
Mailrings
Classifieds
Lessons
Jobs
Harry Wong
Projects
Live!
Gazette
Advertise
SUBSCRIBE | SUBMIT
Jun 2017
Vol 14 No 2
BACK ISSUES


Green Man Day

By Todd R. Nelson
 


Consider these books by Todd Nelson

I can still recall it with clarity and joy: the sunny day in May of seventh grade that altered my life. Personal history for me is divided between Before or After Green Man Day—the day when Jimmy Butler and I painted our faces green at the 7th grade Arts festival. What were we thinking? What could possibly have inspired us? Who knows. But it did.

First of all, it was an astoundingly vibrant and unusual day of school. All the regular classes were replaced with special arts activities. We weren’t even using the usual Junior High School facility, but an alternative location that had a studio or workshop feel to it. We were making things, painting things, constructing and collaging and weaving things; doing things. It was a day when there was a skill and behavior inversion: the kids who sat at the back of the room and were quiet, those who learned better with their hands, became more vocal and active and vital. The kids who always had their hands in the air with the right answer to the teacher-posed questions were slightly off balance. Suddenly, all the multiple intelligences, instead of just the customary book-learnin’ ones, were in bold relief. And this was about twenty years before anyone was even talking about different kinds of intelligence. And there we were, Jimmy Butler and me standing at the paint table wondering what to do with our hands…sounding our “barbaric yawp,” awaiting inspiration or mischief, whichever came first. Sometimes there’s such a fine line between the two.

It must have followed some sort of  “I-will-if-you-will” dare, or Double Dog Dare. We both would; we both did. We both went Green. It signified  independence and autonomy, and certainly a loss of inhibition. It was about the numerous intangibles of youth…those moments when we discover our own voice, make an independent choice, select a fresh character to play. It’s tentative risk taking; it’s forging identity separate from peers and parents and external expectations. Perhaps it was the onset of my recognition that the academic curricula come and go; the broader work of finding identity and establishing a sense of possibility for our lives is the long-term study.

It’s also simply great, sticky, gooey, glorious fun: paint smells good, feels good, and attracts attention when it appears in unexpected places. Like covering your face. Soon I would have a rock and roll garage band and drumming took the place of green face—but it was the same idea. The green paint washed off, after a very effective surprise moment for mom when I got off the school bus. But clearly, the new tint of personal legend has lingered. And, as I recall, it led shortly thereafter to a purple shirt and chartreuse bellbottoms that I wore with pride to the first day of school in 8th grade. It was a delightfully slippery slope.

About the author

Todd R. Nelson has worked in public and private education since 1979 in schools in Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, rural Maine, and Philadelphia.

For 10 years, he was a frequent commentator on Maine Public Radio. Todd publishes frequently in national and regional publications including The Christian Science Monitor, Teachers.Net Gazette and the Ellsworth American, and is the author of several books for educators and other people.

He and his wife, Lesley, have three adult children.

Todd Nelson is a former school administrator and prolific writer, published here, in Christian Science Monitor, The Ellsworth American and many other publications. He writes from his home on the coast of Maine.

 

 



Comment on this article...

Next Article...
 
This entry was posted on Monday, May 29th, 2017 and is filed under *ISSUES, May 2017, Todd Nelson. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.14 No.2 Jun 2017
Cover Story by Sarah Powley
Wicked Cool
More Teacher Articles...
»Classroom Management Articles by Harry and Rosemary WongHarry K. & Rosemary Wong
»Effective Strategies for Implementing Flexible Grouping in Your ClassroomSusan Fitzell
»Green Man DayTodd R. Nelson
»Latest Articles!News Desk
»Everything I Needed to Know I Learned on the School BusAlan Haskvitz
»Apple Seeds Quotes for EducatorsBarb Stutesman
»A Poem a Day - Todd NelsonTodd R. Nelson
»Promote Critical Thinking: A 3-column Note Taking StrategySusan Fitzell
»Teachers - Our National TreasureNews Desk
»Public School: How Does It Rank Against An Alternative Education?Brenda Berg
»All In The GameSarah Powley
»Happy Earth Day PRINTABLE Piggyback Song SheetNews Desk
»PRINTABLE Earth Day Song: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Piggyback tune)News Desk
»Earth Day Piggyback Song: We've Got the Whole World in Our HandsNews Desk
»10 Crucial Errors: A Retired Teacher's Guide for Retiring TeachersAlan Haskvitz

By State
AL   AK   AZ   AR   CA   CO   CT   DE   DC   FL   GA   HI   ID   IL   IN   IA   KS   KY   LA    ME   MD   MA   MI   MN   MS   MO   MT   NE   NV   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   ND   OH   OK   OR   PA   RI   SC   SD   TN   TX   UT   VT     VA   WA   WV   WI   WY