Making Connections

Museums always inspire me, and my recent visit to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH was no exception.  The added bonus was seeing Eleanor, one of my former students.  She is now in high school.  How can that be?

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Eleanor was a quiet child when she started preschool.  She was always kind, and loved learning new things.  She was a ‘reader’, often looking through picture books and sitting up front when I read a story aloud.  Fairy tales, particularly Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky captivated Eleanor.  I think of looking at the illustration of the tower and ‘figuring out’ how Rapunzel got in.  Eleanor liked that challenge.  I’m not surprised she is doing well in school.

I remember reading The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman and watching Eleanor laugh and smile.  That was the when she took a big step out of her cautious and quiet self, and she never looked back.  Aren’t books and stories powerful!  We then began a unit on China.  Eleanor brought her Chinese / English dictionary to school.  The book was so popular that I bought a big Scholastic Children’s Dictionary for the class.  To think that all those years of reading aloud and discussing not only books, but their vocabulary words… and I never had a dictionary on hand for the children.  Thank you, Eleanor.  It continues to be well used and well loved.

Last year I had a call out of the blue, Eleanor asking me to come to high school on Career Day and talk about being a teacher.  That was a special day!  Connections with children seem to pop-up unexpectedly.  And, frequently.  Children like Eleanor have made a difference in both my life and my teaching.  Michelle visited the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia to see our classroom quilt.  Juliet visited the Museum of Modern Art and saw the original Starry Night painting, which brought back memories in my classroom for her.  Both stories are posts on my blog.  Making Connections; it makes a difference.  Seems like museums have made a difference for children as well.

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is New Hampshire’s best kept secret!  “Woman Seated in a Chair” by Picasso is one of the prized pieces in their collection, and it did not disappoint.  I learned that it was quite an angry and anti-war painting, as Picasso painted it in a tiny apartment in Paris in 1941 with WWII raging in the streets below.  I was able to look alongside the frame’s edge, viewing the art from a side angle, and see that the white circles of paint were actually raised.  Did you notice the large drawing behind the photo of Eleanor and me?  It is one of the few Peter Milton drawings that are in color.  The museum has one of his black and white drawings as well.  Perhaps my favorite pieces were Flemish renaissance art.  There is much to enjoy at the Currier Museum of Art.

I made a wonderful connection with Eleanor.  It brings teaching ‘full circle’ because learning and giving are repeated, sometimes decades later, with pleasure.

Jennie

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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9 Responses to Making Connections

  1. Beautiful post. Sounds like your students were as lucky to have you as you were to have them and it’s wonderful how you’ve stayed in touch with many of them. I’ve enjoyed several outings to the Currier, a lovely museum. Your post made me think how funny it would have been if we were both there on the same day (although I haven’t been for at least a year). Makes me wonder if I ever pass fellow bloggers by when I’m out and about without even realizing it. 🙂

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Thank you, Marcia. I love seeing my students years later. Something special always seems to happen. Now I’ll be thinking about fellow bloggers in museums or other places. Yes, it would be so funny if we were there the same day.

  2. Jennie, that has to be so rewarding when you are invited “back” into a former student’s life in such a manner. A tribute to the impression you made…and left…proving also you never really left – their lives – in the first place!

    • jlfatgcs says:

      Yes, and yes, and thank you. You are such a good writer. These moments are never planned, they just happen. I feel so lucky and blessed. The stories they create are the moments I have to write about (yes, I know, never end a sentence with ‘about’).

  3. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful experience and post!

  4. Beautiful, inspiring post.

  5. reocochran says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your connections and renewed friendships with students, Jennie. I stayed in touch with my first year of sixth grade and three young girls matured and wrote me questions about being a teenager. I had read to them, talked to them about being a newlywed and current events, along with teaching Language Arts. The only field trips we did were to the “Y” for 4 visits so they could learn CPR, it replaced gym class, and a farm. This was a school annual event.
    I really appreciated your featuring museums your students explored as students and after they moved into older grades. You made a huge difference in many students’ lives! 🙂

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