Late this afternoon, Ms. Childress and I were sitting in a computer lab finishing a training with technology at the district office. We were working together to update our online observation tool information when the fire alarm sounded. As all good teachers do, the entire crowd quietly and quickly got up and left the building.

We moved together outside towards some picnic tables under a grove of trees. As we waited patiently to see if our meeting would continue, we began to just talk through our meeting. We set aside our electronics and did some great problem solving and discussion. The gorgeous early fall weather blew around us. We heard reports that our servers were down and email would not be connecting.

We continued to sit, talk and plan. What an incredible opportunity for the two of us to take advantage of a “quiet” moment without technology to get between us to do some real reflection and conversation about the work we do at the school each day.

We were not bothered that our emails  went silent. We didn’t worry that we couldn’t look on the internet for a resource or tool. We just let our minds work.

As I think about what a great meeting we ended up having without the technology, I was reminded again of how important it is to take a moment away from those plugged in tools to meet with the minds only. Our creativity is given the opportunity to fill in the gaps. We explore and question each other rather than question an internet search tool. No matter how great the technology can be, the silence of it this afternoon was fine too.

Sitting outside under the trees in the evening air was a perfect way to end our busy day. Our plans were written on paper, not typed into a laptop. We made notes and exchanged ideas.

This time outside were so wonderful that I didn’t want it to stop when I got home and immediately pulled my family outside to enjoy the evening together with conversation and play. My son joined our conversations in between kicking the soccer ball with his dad and taking down some ivy with his plastic knight sword. How precious the time it is to be outside, enjoying the cooler weather and just communicating through words with each other.

I encourage our families tonight to find those moments outside as the weather begins to turn to a more comfortable temperature. Take the time to turn the technology down and just enjoy the play outside. Share the great outdoors with your kids. And let them share it with you. Who knows what great ideas you might discover!