I am not a sales person. I hate to ask anyone to help me do anything. One year I was room parent for my daughter’s kindergarten classroom. I was assigned the task of creating a basket for a raffle. Rather than asking parents for help, I ended up buying all of the stuff myself. I tried selling Avon in college and lasted one month. I love to drink Shakeology (a type of protein shake) and I can get just two people to buy from me, I can get it for free. Let’s just say that I get my protein at Costco now.
However, when it comes to my classroom, there is nothing I won’t ask. If you have something for my class, I am not above
begging asking for it. For the past two years, I have had two separate wonderful humans enrich the lives of my students beyond anything I could have done for them.
The first is one of my best teaching buddies. She retired and I swooped in to take advantage of it. We do a project called March Book Madness. Many students read books totally outside their comfort zone. There are 16 picture books in one category and 16 middle grade books in another. Because this program is an add on, it takes extra work. I read all of the 32 books. Students that are reading the middle grade books need time to book talk. Because these books are complicated, it is helpful to have an adult with them who has read the book and can facilitate. That is where Ms Smith comes in. Before the project begins, she take several of the books, both middle grade and picture books and read them on her own time. She then comes prepared to book conference with the students. She actually takes the group out of the room and spends over 20 minutes with each group. 20 minutes! Could you imagine! She gives my class the gift of time. She takes her time with each group and can really encourage rich discussions. She can spend the 20 minutes with each group and really pass on her love of reading and characters. Because of her involvement in this program, students have reached new heights in their thinking and reading which would not have been accomplished without her.
The second person that has added something special to my classroom is my neighbor. Over a fire one night, he was talking about all of the places that he travels for work. Hmm..and on that summer night, Where in the world is Mr. Feldstein was born. We began tracking where he was. When he traveled, he would email me pictures and a little description about the places he was traveling to. We would look at the pictures and would color in the places on maps. Then he began telling us about a project that he was doing to turn salt water into drinking water. My students were completely fascinated. They asked questions and he answered them. This interaction made the students think more globally and outside of their small town. It made them think of problems (clean drinking water) that is not on their radar. It also helped them to understand that there are many different kinds of jobs out there! Who knows whom he inspired by this interaction with my classroom.
Finally, I know I wrote two, but I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention my daughter Kelsey. Last year, Kelsey traveled to teach in both Costa Rica and in South Africa. When she was in both places, she would Skype with my class, answering questions about these foreign countries. She kept it real when discussing South Africa and sent us video of the poverty. She came in and did a lecture with my class and even inspired one young student to do all of her genius hour projects on different animals from South Africa. Kelsey’s interaction with us also encourage my class to do chores at home to save 3 Africa animals. She brought another country into our classroom, the good and the bad. She wrote blogs on this site and we close read them to learn!
I cannot be all to all students. I wish I could, but I know I cannot. However, I am very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. People who will give to my students. The impact that these three incredible humans had on my class is immeasurable. Who knows what book a student will read because of Ms. Smith or who will become and an engineer because of Mr. Feldstein and create something as cool as drinking water from salt water. Who knows who will travel because of Kelsey. My students and I are very, very lucky!