Girl Group | Being An Expert | Week 5

Last Friday, we continued our exploration of “Being an Expert.” We read Brad Aaron Modlin’s poem “What you Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade.” The line “The English lesson was that I am/is a complete sentence,” was a wonderful jumping off place for a sound and movement exercise, where we used our bodies to show how we had changed in the past few weeks. Being an expert is often about recognizing our own uncertainty, fear or growth. Being an Expert doesn’t mean knowing everything. We believe that being an expert starts with knowing yourself.

Combining Writing and Action, we brought out a large sheet of butcher paper and the girls wrote down things they were too scared to say out loud. “I’m scared of what girls think of me,” “I feel like I have no friends who understand me,” “I almost never know what to say,” “I don’t think I will accomplish the things I want to,” “I wish I lived in a fairy tale.”

After writing, everyone went around the room and placed exclamation points next to the statements they could relate to. Some of the girls were able to speak these words out loud. One girl embraced another when she shared her fears.

Everyone agreed that knowing that other people had similar thoughts and fears helped make them feel less alone. We are still contemplating what to do with the butcher paper: some wanted to display it on the wall, others wanted to tear it up.

It was a bonding session for our girls.

  • Next Friday is the last session of “Being an Expert.” * Please let us know if your child will be continuing with Girl Group so that we we can prepare our closing ritual.

Our new session, “Tool Box Training” starts March 9 - Sign up by Wednesday 2/28 and save a 10%. Details below and at Girl Group!

Until then, enjoy our poem of the week ...

What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade

Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,

how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took questions on how not to feel lost in the dark.

After lunch she distributed worksheets that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s

voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep without feeling you had forgotten to do something else—

something important—and how to believe the house you wake in is your home. This prompted

Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,

and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts are all you hear; also, that you have enough.

The English lesson was that I am is a complete sentence.

And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,

and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking for whatever it was you lost, and one person

add up to something.

Brad Aaron Modlin

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