Saturday, November 22, 2014

a lesson on kind words

We had a rather powerful peace lesson on Wednesday. The purpose was to talk about hurtful words versus kind words and their effect on us. 

in the morning, we all drew our own self-portrait (the teachers included). in the afternoon, we all began with our own picture. We then rotated pictures one person to the left. i then told the children that they had to crumple the paper they now held. They looked mortified. None of them wanted to, but for the purpose of the lesson they did. We then rotated left once more and crumpled the pictures again. Afterwards, we gave the pictures back to their owners and I told the children to smooth out all of the crinkles from their pictures. None of us could.

i explained that our words are like the crinkles in our pictures. What we say cannot be taken back, whether kind or hurtful. if our words are hurtful they create crinkles in our friends. No matter how we try to smooth out the hurt, it's still there. Saying sorry is a wonderful thing but it cannot take away our words. 

i explained that i noticed that none of them wanted to ruin their friends' pictures and hurt them, so why would we want to say hurtful words? They agreed that we wouldn'tWe agreed that we would be careful of our words to ensure that we weren't "crinkling" our friends, moms, dads, or siblings.

The lesson became rather emotional and some of the children did cry. i was told by many of them that they hated this lesson. i had to tell them that i did too. it was a difficult conversation but a necessary one.

i explained to the children that they are all wonderful, smart, beautiful students and that i know they are friends. But sometimes we just need reminders. When the lesson ended, one of the third-grade boys asked if we could read the notes from the friendship box (students can write notes about the kind things their friends and classmates have done or said). 

On Thursday, we made new self-portraits to display in our classroom.

On Friday, whilst the littles were in art class, i put all of the pictures on the wall with a banner that reads "NO MORE CRINKLES". it was amazing to see them all file in after art; once they saw that i'd hung up the pictures they frantically looked for their own. They found all of their friends and complimented the hard work that they'd put into their pictures.

it was beautiful. Those are the moments that i love. The small moments that i know will last. The small moments that make a great change. They're beautiful.

our crinkle-free pictures displayed on the wall

it's chaotic but i love it

The last few months of school have been wonderful, chaotic, full, magical, stressful, busy, and all the kinds of adjectives that you can think of.

All throughout college i was told that the first year of teaching would be the hardest; i would simply be trying to keep my head above water because it would be so difficult. While that definitely has an alarming amount of truth to it, it's also not quite so...awful as it had always been made out to be. The staff at my school has been absolutely amazing by making sure that i am as successful as i can be. 

Yet, i will admit that there have been those days where it's all i can do to not cry because of the stress. There have also been those days when i do go home and cry because i simply can't hold it in.

Thankfully, those have been few and far between. As chaotic and stressful as it is, i can see where it's blending together.

A couple of weeks ago, i had the opportunity to go observe another Montessori school with Miss Liz. it was one of the best things we could have done. Neither of us have seen a full-fledged Montessori classroom before; so to see the way another school functions was really powerful. We were able to see the similarities in both schools and what we could add to our classrooms.

i have loved my first year of teaching so far; my students, the staff, my classroom,...all wonderful. i'm excited to continue finding things to add to the room and see my students grow academically and socially. They make all of the work worth it.

So i guess that's it. School effectively consumes the majority of my time but i love it. And i honestly wouldn't trade it for anything.