Quotations On Empathy

Charles French shares excellent quotations with his readers. Today he shared the best of the best, outstanding quotations on empathy. Each one is important and needs to be remembered. There can never be too many reminders about empathy. Thank you, Charles.

charles french words reading and writing

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“Never Criticize A Man Until You Have Walked A Mile In His Moccasins.”

                                                            Native American Saying

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”

                                                             Walt Whitman

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“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”

                                                             Theodore Roosevelt

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”

                                                              J. K. Rowling

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Seeing the World Through a Child’s Eyes

Dear Parents, life is the best teacher. Pete knows that. He was a teacher for decades and tells of being in a lockdown with children. He knows how to ease fears and help children make sense of their world. Right now is a good time to read his story and advice. Thank you, Pete!

Pete Springer

One of the things about life is that experience is often the best teacher. While most of us have endured plenty of personal challenges in our lives, the COVID-19 virus is brand new to us all. It has taken what is normal and turned it upside down.

Children often looked to trusted adults when they are feeling anxious and uncertain. While I generally believe in being honest and straightforward with children, I think I would try to project a positive, in control attitude, even as I deal with my anxiety about this current health scare. Quite naturally, they are going to have many of the same concerns that adults have. How long is this going to last? When can I see my friends again? Am I going to die? Are things ever going to get back to normal? You must take on these issues head-on instead of acting like they…

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Pandemic Parodies

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Making Lemonade Today Out of Lemons – Birthday Parade

Today was Amelia’s birthday.  It turned out to be a grand event.  Life has given us lemons recently.  It has given everyone lemons, and we made the finest lemonade.

We had a Birthday Party Car Parade!

I arrived at Amelia’s house, ready to take pictures when the cars full of her classmates would drive by, honking and cheering.  I stood in the yard at a distance.  It was hard not to run up and hug her.  We both understood.

Amelia was all decked out.

“Jennie, I got dressed up for my party.”

“Yes, you did.”

“Can you tell me a story for my birthday?”

“Sure!  What story do you want to hear?”

“The Tree Story.”

So, with great fanfare I told Amelia The Tree Story.

We heard a police siren.  That was the escort for the parade of cars.  Oh, it was a grand parade.  Cars were decked out, classmates were cheering.

The posters and cars looked like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Children were more than excited, because they have not been together for three weeks.  This was big.  Children dropped cards out the car window for Amelia.

They worked hard at home to make cards.

I was overwhelmed.  Watching every car that drove by with her classmates was like finding a long lost friend.  I hollered and waved.  I was loud.  I was filled up.  Making lemonade is a wonderful thing.  Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Children make your life important.” Erma Bombeck

Jennie

Posted in Expressing words and feelings, Family, Giving, Giving thanks, Inspiration, joy, Kindness, Love, preschool, young children | Tagged , , , , , | 67 Comments

The Past Two Weeks – School Then and Now, Part 2

In Part 1, I immediately addressed how much I miss the children.  They miss me, too.  We had started learning about France, with a big atlas and twenty wide-eyed children who were eager to ‘travel’ to a new country.  Getting sidetracked along the way is the best!  Children’s questions explode, and that often leads the way to deeper learning.  Emergent Curriculum.

March is one of our favorite months at school, as we begin to prepare for our annual Art Show.  We just began learning about famous French artists and paintings.  We began focusing on Impressionism. I had the pleasure of showing different works of art, stopping suddenly, and saying to a child, “You can do that!”  Seeing their faces react was priceless.  Children just need to feel their teacher believes in them.

And then, two days before school closed, children started to paint in earnest, creating their own masterpieces.  In order to inspire their creativity, I introduced classical music, Vivaldi to be exact, played on a real record player.  This was the coolest, ‘newest technology’ children had ever seen.  Did it inspire them to paint?  You bet it did.

Part 2
It is important to understand the magnitude of where children were in the learning process, before school shut down.  Moving forward needs a great deal of thought.  How do I pick up where I left off?  I’m not a rote teacher with worksheets.

Let me tell you about the Art Show in years past.  I think this will give you a better understanding of what we were starting to do, and the challenges ahead.  Here are a few stories you might enjoy:

Alex wasn’t a child who loved to draw or paint.  He was always busy with building and blocks.  He loved chapter reading and had a great curiosity for learning new things.  When I introduced famous works of art, he was mesmerized.  “The Scream” by Edvard Munch spoke to him.

It was a painting where we talked about the brush strokes, and how the artist painted it.  As an aside I told the children the painting had been stolen, and was finally found.  When Alex was ready to paint, he said he wanted to see “The Yeller Who Was Lost.”  What a perfect description as he grasped for the words.  I love his title!  It took me a minute to understand he wanted to see “The Scream.”

And so, Alex started to paint.  He hated his first painting and wanted to start over.  I reminded him that a masterpiece takes many, many days.  By the time he got to the second painting he was annoyed at all the noise and asked everyone to be quiet so he could concentrate.  We all tip-toed for the next few hours while Alex worked on his masterpiece.

    

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Liam was far more interested in Legos than he was in art.  For the Art Show that year we studied Italy and the works of famous artists.  One day we had the children recreate Early Renaissance art.  Much of that art was painted on wood with gold paint.  That was something all the children wanted to do, except Liam.  He told me he didn’t need any gold paint, only blue and black.  He pointed to our “Starry Night” poster and said, “I want to paint that.”

Wow.  Never underestimate the mind of  a child.  I had no idea he was drawn to that painting.  And so, I gave him the paints.  And he painted a masterpiece.  The best is yet to come.  Liam asked for red paint.  Red?  He told me he needed it for the little red house on the bottom.  What little red house?  Yes, there is one.  I never noticed, but Liam did.

Look closely and you will see that tiny red house.  Children see and understand far more than we give them credit for.

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Colin loved music.  When I introduced music with a record player, he was in his element.  After I played classical music I introduced children to showtunes.  Colin wanted to hear “Oklahoma” over and over again.

He loved art. That year we introduced the art of Kandinsky, and Colin was in his element.  Kandinsky’s art and colors were influenced by music.  That resonated with Colin.  And so, after looking at his art, he wanted to recreate one of Kandinsky’s masterpieces.  Well done, Colin.

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One of children’s favorite pieces of art most years is “Large Blue Horses” by Franz Marc.  Perhaps it is the color, or the large brush strokes.  There is something about this painting that speaks to many children.

It spoke to Aaryan.  He worked on painting this for a week.  Five times he was  back at his painting to get it just the way he wanted it to be. His paper was so thick with paint, but that didn’t matter.  He was proud.

There are many stories every year of the Art Show.  Why?  I get children excited over art and then I step back and let them take over.  I make sure there is great music, played on my record player to inspire their painting.  One year Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” was so popular I only had to ask each day, “Do you want to hear spring, summer, autumn or winter?”  Another year it was the Beatles, and we had dance parties before we painted.

Music inspires art, and art inspires music.  The two are intertwined.  If I introduce children to both, creativity and imagination flows.  Math and science become a stronger interest as a result.  The Art Show seems to pull everything together.  It showcases the best of children in many ways.

That is where I was headed with children when school closed.  Now you have a broader picture and understanding.  Stay tuned for Part 3 and what I did.

Jennie

Posted in art, Early Education, Inspiration, music, preschool, self esteem, The Arts, The Beatles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

The Past Two Weeks – School Then and Now, Part 1

I am missing the children.  I know they are missing me.  Learning will always happen, these tender moments won’t.  In the past two weeks our class has completely changed.  Yet, change can be a good thing.  Resilience is born.  Let me start at the beginning, two weeks ago.

March was incredibly exciting at school.  We have been learning about France, with great interest in our Big Book Atlas.  Geography is brought to life.  Oh, how we love to learn about new countries.  Better said, oh how we love to learn.  Our big atlas often gets us sidetracked in the best of ways.  Sometimes we learn about north and south, the poles and the equator, and temperature.  Sometimes we learn about oceans and volcanoes.  Our satellite map makes it visible for children.  Sometimes we get sidetracked on the map of the United States.  Before school closed we found Wisconsin.  That was important to our chapter reading book, Little House in the Big Woods.

Can you picture the excitement of finding France, then getting carried away with more?  I embrace every moment when that happens.  Children want to learn more than what’s in my lesson plans.  It’s called emergent curriculum, learning that is driven by the interests of the children.  Yes, I still teach what I planned to teach, but I never shut the box on children’s questions and what they are eager to learn.  It’s a walk in the woods that are enchanted, and have different pathways, yet all end up at the same place.

Back to France.  Geography is always the kickoff, and from there we learned to sing the Days of the Week in French, and learned things that came from France – like the hot air balloon and scuba gear.  We then began to learn about art and the old masters.  We looked carefully at Impressionism – particularly Monet, Matisse, and van Gogh.  Starry Night hangs in the classroom.  We talked about the swirls and the colors.  We talked about Monet’s short brush strokes.  Every painting seemed to be something children could understand.  I kept asking the question:

“How did he do this?  How?”

Then, as we looked at different paintings, I stopped at each one and said: “Landon, you could do this!  Do you see the green trees across the center?”, or “Delaney, you could do this!  Do you see the blues and whites in the swirl?”  With every painting, I surprised a child with you can do this!  Their faces lit up like fireworks.  All it takes is a teacher to be excited and believe in you, especially in front of the whole class.  And, they were excited.  We began to paint, like real artists do, using paints squeezed from tubes onto a palette.  Landon started his painting of Monet’s “Poppies”, and other children wanted to do their own Impressionism.

How were they motivated?  Surely it was more than looking at the art.  You bet it was!  Music, of course.  It is the purest gift of inspiration and feeling.  It inspires art.  I brought my record player to school along with classical record albums.  The record player was like introducing Star Wars, something new and wondrous.  I was slow in everything, including rubbing the needle to make loud sounds.  Once I played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the music flowed into their hearts and out their fingers as they painted.

We painted for two days, with passion, and my record player playing great music.  Then, schools closed.  Teachers spent a full day cleaning and sanitizing everything.  Everything!  We quickly turned around to teach children online.  Preschoolers don’t need worksheets and lessons, they need their teachers and direct learning.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the gigantic shift in teaching and keeping sameness for children.

Jennie

Posted in art, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, geography, Inspiration, Learning About the World, music, preschool, Teaching young children, The Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 74 Comments

Whimsical Wednesday ~ Social Distancing Edition

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