Expecting every child in a class to respond to the same stimuli, develop at the same rate and achieve the same targets is like casting a handful of mixed seeds upon the soil and expecting them all to flourish.
Just as each seed has its own specific requirements of soil type, temperature, sunlight and water, so too does each child have its own needs, interests and learning requirements.
Differentiation is no less important in the classroom than it is the garden and tending to the learning and development needs of each child requires understanding of individual needs, appreciation of learning styles and a program that includes both a nurturing and expectation of individual growth with a sprinkling of well-timed instruction, support and attentive praise.
This week Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications posted a flash fiction prompt that immediately conjured up an image of a classroom as a well-tended garden in which each individual is appreciated for its own value and receives whatever is appropriate to foster its development.
Charli’s challenge is to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fruit.
Here is my response about a little tree whose time has come:
A fruitful harvest
Little Tree stood alone at the edge of the orchard thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”
The other trees grew tall. Their branches, laden with bright green leaves and sweet-scented blossoms, seemed to whisper mockingly.
The sun shone. Rains watered the soil.
Their blossoms turned to fruit, a plentiful harvest.
Confused and dejected, Little Tree avoided the celebratory festival.
Then all grew quiet. The bigger trees rested, preparing for the next season.
Suddenly an insect orchestra and an unfamiliar fragrance startled Little Tree.
“What’s up?” it asked.
“You!” they buzzed relishing the richness of its golden blooms.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this article or flash fiction piece.
Featured image: rjp, Bird seed https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimpenfish/437991798/
I love your “A Fruitful Harvest”, Norah! I want to wrap my arms around that little tree!
Thanks Robin. We have both met many ‘little trees’ in our time of teaching haven’t we? I’m still waiting for the music to blossom in me!
Great flash, Norah, packaged just right. We all need to grow at our own pace.
Thanks Anne. Glad you liked it. 🙂
A beautiful ugly duckling story that points out individual beauty and differences and reminds us all that what will work for one won’t for another. I could really see the orchard and the poor dejected little tree and then the difference as he becomes desired.(perhaps I should say she if she is to bear fruit).
Thanks Irene. I really appreciate your comment. 🙂
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Cute! Great metaphor. Well done Nor.
Thanks Bec. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. 🙂
How true it is that we are a mixed bag of seeds. It’s so difficult to plant many children in one classroom, yet expect to grow only corn. Or, worse, that we only value the corn that grows from among the mixed seeds. This can be true of writers, too. We are not all corn. And who says corn is the best anyhow? We should grow into the best that comes from our own seed. And as your beautiful tale inspires us–to grow in our own time. A wonderful creative take on the prompt!
Thanks, Charli. I enjoyed thinking about and writing this one. 🙂
Of course, your perfect analogy brought to mind the biblical “sower and the seed” parable, which is one of my favorites, it being appropriate for SO many facets of life situations.
Anyway, I love the imagery you created through the prompt. I have a “thing” for trees, myself 🙂
Thanks Donna. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. 🙂