Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Each day as I enter school, I feel excited and appreciative for another day of doing what I love. There is always something new happening or a new way of looking at things in front of me.
One thing that happened recently was an old thing seen through new lenses. 
We were using glitter in second grade to create jewels for our Tree of Life inspired paintings. The kids had drawn their shapes and were filling them in carefully and so happily using glue. Their little fingers were being careful to pinch glitter and sprinkle the colors of their choosing in the areas that they wanted to make the most unique and beautiful jewels for their trees. 

Something seemingly so simple had their attention and interest for an hour- and they could have gone longer. 
We chatted about birthstones and they were intrigued by the concept of a precious stone to represent their birth month. 
As an adult, it's a great reminder to appreciate the view of this world through a child's eyes. There is so much that can be taken for granted... Like the excitement for glitter and birthstones. 

In the same class period, when it was time to begin cleaning up, using our mini brooms was the best option for cleaning the glitter.

Every art teacher knows the allure of a few token clean up tools... Mini brooms are high on the list. 

It wasn't the mini brooms that stopped me for a moment but the care and ownership that my boys put into the clean-up. Oh, and these kids were sweeping every single piece of glitter on the tables and floors AND having meaningful conversations about the best procedures for sweeping. How could I forget how much the kids loved the mini brooms??! Well, we don't need them often, that's why. Easy to forget.
As I stood there watching them, I thought of new ways to inspire clean-up for my Friday Art Enrichment class that has 11 boys and 6 girls. By the time we roll around to clean-up, their minds have moved to "what's next".... meaning, "what am I doing once I go home".
With my Thursday group where I have 20 girls, clean-up has barely any challenges at all.
So, with the inspiration of my 2nd grade boys and the mini brooms as inspiration, I decided to think much simpler and created individual tasks for them to complete in order to leave for the day. Individual jobs is the key. Table jobs at the end of the day are worthless. 
I appreciate the moments in which I learn from students how to be a better teacher and the opportunity to thank my students for inspiring me on so many levels. In this case, my students reminded me of something that I forgot and the reminder allowed for a new and better clean-up structure for an after-school class.

Just some random thoughts for this beautiful day...

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