Every classroom needs a supply of Sharpies. Of course we all need black but my obsession includes every color. I also have a friend who shares my love of Sharpies and we will buy them for each other at Christmas. They are so versatile - use them for drawing but more importantly the hundreds and hundreds of places a teacher has to write students' names.

'Uncap what's inside' is the slogan for Sharpie but it holds more value to me than that. We need to uncap the potential inside of every child. Help them find their skills and strengths. Help them see themselves as unique individuals with extraordinary talents.

As teachers we also need to uncap the potential inside of us through collaboration. We often forget to see the strengths that each one of us has and the value we can bring to a team.

'A good leader is one who can tell another how to reach her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for herself.'
- Bo Bennett

We are all leaders, discovering our potential and how you can enrich the lives of children is so valuable to education.

To all the great formal and informal leaders in my life who have helped me see my potential - Thank you.

Literature Links

As mentioned in a previous post, I love books!!! Since I began teaching in 2001, I have always tried to incorporate literature into any lesson that I teach.

This literature link is from reading 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' by Crockett Johnson. As a lesson there were so many curriculum linkages - Language Arts (responding to texts), Science (Colors), and Art. The students drew a self portrait of themselves and then drew pictures around in purple of things they would like to learn in grade one - some ideas included the alphabet, numbers, reading, animals, nature, Canada, etc.

Although this book was first published in 1955 - 55 years ago, it still seems to amaze young children. The color purple supposedly will boost a child's imagination or an artist's creativity. Maybe that is the reason for the attraction to the book.

But if anything maybe it lets young minds believe in their imagination and the belief that anything is possible.

Let's continue to encourage our children to use their imagination. As Jamie Paolinette says, "Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless."

Without imagination we would never have had color tv, microwaves, SMARTBOARDS, iPods or of course Facebook

One At A Time

In June 2006, I received this picture frame as a gift from a wonderful administrator - I will never forget that day. Four years later - Christmas 2009, I received the starfish from an amazing friend. These two items now travel and are present in every classroom/office I am in!!!

As teachers we are faced with many challenges/obstacles everyday. Ask yourself which student right now might be your 'starfish', or when you reflect on your career which student or students have you gone above and beyond for.
We all have the power to make a difference, it is just whether or not we choose to do so.
When you have a bad day or wonder if you are actually making a difference think about this beautiful story.
Thank you teachers for the difference you make in the lives of children everyday!!!

For those of you who have never read the story.
Here it is:
One At A Time
A tourist was walking on a beach at sunset. He saw another man who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it back into the water. The second man kept doing this over and over.

As he got closer, the tourist noticed that the man was picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water. The tourist was puzzled, so he asked the man what he was doing. The man explained that the starfish were washed onto the shore at low tide. If they are left on the beach, they will die from lack of oxygen. By throwing them back into the ocean, the man was saving the starfish. The tourist said that he understood that, but that there were thousands of starfish on that beach alone, and many beaches the same along the coast. He asked the man, "Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"

The man smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied,

"Made a difference to that one!"

- from Chicken Soup for the Soul

Creative Expression and Art

A recent art lesson completed in my room with no sink!! A first for me!! We first began the lesson with a discussion about the famous artist Piet Mondrian - his art and how he uses line, shape and color. This discussion was about the horizontal/vertical lines, the shapes that form and the use of primary colors (great connection for grade one colours science unit).

As you can tell by the picture, we are still learning how to make straight lines and not to mix colors together, but at least it already started the discussion about color mixing and secondary colors ( a future lesson -hehe).

I love giving children the opportunity to express themselves through art. Too often they are not given the chances at home because it is too messy. Although this lesson took me two hours to clean up after school, the excitement and enthusiasm when they saw their art on the bulletin board was worth it.

My life has been blessed by so many people. The key to success is developing and sustaining relationships. To all my teacher friends - thank you for the relationships. Cherish every relationship that you make with a child, mother, father, guardian. They often look to you for guidance, support, advice and most of all care for the child they leave with you for ten months.