Take Away Ideas from Dominant and Non-Dominant Hand

Having spent the last 5 days together, we have been stretching and expanding our ideas. Today, Bill Donius had us write about our best take away ideas from this week. Now, share your best take aways from both your dominant hand discoveries and from your non-dominant hand discoveries. 

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I realized I must advocate for more progressive and innovative thinking, teaching and learning in my world. I need to be a voice for the right brain. A voice for authentic change and a voice that suggests we reject the typical, safe, and quatifiable (sometimes). I need to hold onto the zeal I feel right now and give myself permission to take time to make ideas happen. My take-away is to remember to model that doing, being, and stretching in every way I CAN.

I've enjoyed the camaraderie and spirit of this workshop more than any other professional learning experience I can think of. My free tote bag is MORE than full. Keep in touch!
I am very excited about the power of a collaboration between a writing project site and a museum or other cultural institution. There is so much to learn and to share. It will take time to figure out how it can be an equal partnership, but I believe that if the parties are committed. We can figure it out.

In a collaboration, the sum is so much greater than the parts. In particular, a collaboration with an institution can provide us with more exposure to different kinds of literacies. In order to get there, though, we will need to move slowly and intentionally. This is another take away for me. I tend to react quickly and move on first impressions. The processes we have explored her will give me a way of slowing down with a purpose.

Take A Ways from our  3rdSpace Colab Time Together

Dominate Hand Thoughts

Inquire (More) Into My Practice

Create Opportunities for More Discoveries

Collaboration is a give and take process

Re-shift from Covert Approaches to Boldly Telling Our Stories

Non Dominant Thoughts

Be Disruptive

Dont Be Afriad to Fail


Dominant hand take aways: I now have other ways to go about building community at our site where people can come together to create and dig deeper.

Non-dominant: I need to support and create spaces for TC's to keep engaged in the deeper work of teaching. Making meaning, discovering, asking questions and those adventures will be the doing that will be the US or the identity of our site. It will be an ever growing and changing place.

 In these past few days I've realized how important it is to give my students the opportunity to fail. Not the class, but in individual things,so that they gain the confidence to allow themselves the opportunity to take a risk, to try things. My students are so success driven that they are terrified of getting anything less than an A+. A B is failure. Since obsession with grades and perfection is depriving them of the joy in discovery I need to let them try something new and different. Something that has no failure or perfection.  By trying the non-dominant activities in class they will feel free to try something new and in the process liberate themselves to think more creatively. My hope is that they see how beneficial it can be and allow themselves more freedom in other class work.

Leading up to the dominant hand vs non-dominant hand was the consideration of Sumo wrestling vs the theatre.  I chose Sumo Wrestling because I often go to the theatre & would LOVE the opportunity to see some ginormous men throw their revered weight around.  My dominant hand & my non-dominant hand yielded the same initial results with the animal--I want to be a Pegasus in my animal life, or a Gallapagos Tortoise.  Not just any ol' horse & not just any ol' turtle.  When looking at what I wrote for what I'd like to implement right away, it was the "WOOHOOO!! I FAILED!!"  These concepts are related in that I feel the need to embrace the far out & perhaps ridiculous within no judgment zones & rebuking the notion of failure. This requires rewiring for most adults, including me, because it's more concept than practice for most of us.  

My new Life, my latest incarnation, post public school teacher is to push past concepts to expand my practice (that is already frightening to many) & pay it forward to benefit other adults & children.  

The steps of responsive design are applicable to our lives in so many ways. I can rattle off a half dozen design challenges for my classroom but I was surprised this week when I realized that I had used these strategies in my preparation for a kitchen redesign. In exploring, I polled my children for their input, developing empathy along the way as we immediately realized our expectations and needs for a new kitchen were extremely diverse. In my writing discovery today, my non-dominant hand pulled the house redesign challenge to the forefront again so I guess I am going to have to revisit the process.

I can see that the most important take aways for me then are the strategies of responsive design to solve a challenge. I am also very partial to the new "but" zone and I look forward to employing that with gusto in my design challenge areas.
Just want to write what I'd like to say in a bit too. Thank you to the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project, the Saint Louis Art Museum and CoLab for opening the doors here this week. What a wonderful opportunity for the network as a whole and I would encourage everyone to share this work and your experiences with your communities, on and off line.

I am thrilled by the focus on student collaborations and sharing of student work that emerged during the final crowdsource/pitching process and I think the power of this work is that it both connects to what we do well as a network and reminds us that it's all about prototyping too. What a refreshing and envigorating thing to remember and meditate.

A few take always. I love that article by Garcias and think we need to really work together to rethink the boundaries of formal and informal education. I also think we need to embrace our own shifting boundaries as educators, learners, teacher, creators. The focus on the build is so critical. How can we continue to support it? ... For ourselves, our students and our colleagues is a main question that I am walking away with.

Thank you too to all of you who took time out from your lives to meet here in St Louis. To work hard and think outside all sorts of boxes. This is how we build the future and I couldn't think of better folks to build the future with.


The work Bill has done on dominant and receptive hands was probably more familiar to me than to most in this group, since I've been aware of the issue of handedness all my life as a left-hander, and I also had the experience right after graduating from college of learning to do calligraphy with my receptive hand, since my calligraphy instructor suggested I was better off learning  to do calligraphy right-handed--after all the alphabet was designed to be written right-handed. I also consciously cultivated my ambidexterity in other ways, using "switch sides" as a technique to allow myself to do more of the physical work I had to learn to do when I moved to the commune. I was not used to shoveling and planting and weeding, having never really done manual labor before, so I practiced doing all these tasks with  my receptive hand whenever I would tire of the repetitiveness of the work. 

The exercise about the animal representative was the most revealing for me. I had no idea that I harbored any connection to the panther, but the conversation we had just had about being a fierce and honest advocate for revolutionary change in the educational system had perhaps called up for me the image of this sleek and dangerous predator. The money did not surprise me--that's my Chinese astrological sign--but I had never really accepted that identification, and this exercise placed that identification in a warmer and friendlier context.


Quiet leadership seeks to understand and also provides room to let others reach their own conclusions. Leadership can simply be showing up so that others may decide to show up too– simply starting– giving yourself permission to start your wild ideas– can be leadership.

As a leader and TC from my site, I need to take more initiative in creating opportunities for others to participate in this work. I need to take time to listen to the needs of others and seek to understand before formulating plans;

I need to take time to engage in deep thinking and processing.

I wonder about the implications of taking some of these approaches and applying them to my personal life.


I can take back a sense of fun, play, and experimentation. I can bring this to my life not just in an academic sense, but also in my personal life. 

We could think about the possibility of an "advanced" 3RD space, where we had a week solely dedicated to focusing on and prototyping solutions for site problems.

Or we could create an online space where we could engage in each element of the three e's together. Taking this a step further, we could dedicate an hour each week for a year to engage in this work... what wild and amazing solutions would occur "if" we did this?

While movement (handwriting) and brain hemisphere dominance (left brain vs right brain) are not new concepts to me, somehow thinking about them here in this space after this week, I see all kinds of possibilities for my own world - personal and professional.  The entire week has been about reminding myself that it is "the experience" that is key to constructing knowledge. My personal focus is inthe classroom is in creating independent thinkers...meta-knowledge is key.

My dominant hand animal= turtle

My non-dominant hand animal= pelican

My dominant hand take away= to consider co-expertise from multiple perspectives and think about what that can look like and mean in my work ahead. Courage.

My non-dominant hand take away= Always consider unplanned directions and journeys a success.

My dominant responses are literally and metaphorically close to the ground and down in the weeds if you will... while my non-dominant hand responses point to a telescoping back out and a much wider perspective.

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