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Posted by on in General

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The last day of school is an easy one to stray from routines. Students are excited and teachers are tired. So when I went to visit classrooms this morning I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

As I entered the first classroom I noticed that everyone was sitting around in a circle. Just like they had done everyday before that one. I had walked in right in the middle of their Family Meeting. So I decided to join the circle. And it was one of the best split second decisions I have ever made.

By the time I entered, about half of the class family had already shared. Everyone was required to share something and everyone was required to listen respectfully. At one point when someone was sharing, one of the cafeteria staff came in the room to collect the leftover breakfast. This distracted some students. But for all of the right reasons. They were no longer focused because they were trying to help point out to her that she had overlooked a few items. It wasn’t that they were deliberately ignoring their classmate sharing, they simply were more concerned about helping someone in need. Because that’s what families do.

Not long after, I had the opportunity to share and when I did I rambled on about this and that. To be quite honest, I can’t really remember what I shared. Other students followed me and they each shared something of significance to them. And then it was their teacher’s turn to share. I had no idea what he was going to say. He has a great sense of humor and likes to joke around. So I was prepared for anything. But I was not prepared for what came next.

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Posted by on in General

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Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.

Piglet 

 

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Posted by on in General

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When you look at this photo what do you see?

Are you sure?

What if I were to tell you that at the moment this photo was taken my daughter had a terrible migraine and my son was as happy as could be? It may seem hard to believe, but it’s true.

We oftentimes make judgements based on what we see. And that can be dangerous. But sometimes that may be all we have to go on. So we do the best we can. Then later we find out that we were off. Way off.

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Posted by on in General

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He woke up crazy-early. 5 am to be exact. That in my opinion is too early for a little kid to be awake. And it was apparent by the way he behaved. Or didn’t, to be more exact. I brought a blanket and a pillow downstairs, hoping he would lie down and maybe–just maybe–fall asleep. Or at the very least, rest.

That wasn’t going to happen. At least not yet. He fussed. He complained. He acted as any kid would that was awake an hour and half earlier than normal.

But then something happened. His sister came down. That was what who he needed. You can see the pillow at his feet and the blanket behind his back. They were warm and comfortable. They couldn’t provide the warmth and comfort that he needed. But his sister could.

And she did.

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Posted by on in General

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Connecting with the children we teach everyday means everything. If we can’t connect we don’t connect. About 95% of our efforts to connect involve us talking and them listening. While our intentions our good, I think sometimes we talk too much. I think sometimes we need to try some of the strategies above that don’t require uttering a word. I think it’s at least worth a try.

 

With Your Eyes

Children know what we are thinking just by looking into our eyes. They have craved eye contact ever since they were infants and now they have become experts. The other day I was attempting to take a nap on the couch but my son was having none of it. What he said next was unintentionally brilliant (he is only 3). He said, “Open your eyes so I can see you.” He had it backwards, but there was a hidden meaning there. If we don’t have our eyes open, if we are not truly looking at our students, they know it. And they dismiss us right away. On the other hand, I believe it is important that when we do make eye contact, we do so with happiness in our eyes and a gentleness in our soul. Kids will know, and they will feel it.

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