The Diorama that Changed a Child

Jared is part of my Book Bears library group.  He is a great kid; he was in my preschool class years ago. I loved Jared (and still do).  No child has a bigger heart.  Teachers just have to see that.  Sheepy, his lovey, went with him everywhere.  Things have not been easy at school for Jared, especially last year.  When you’re a shy guy, you can get a little lost at school.  I am thrilled that he is now a ‘big guy’ and part of Book Bears.  This bat diorama is the pinnacle of his enthusiasm and confidence.  It’s a really good story!

Book Bears are reading The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes.  This is one great book, and it’s the second time I’ve read it.  Tomorrow we meet and discuss the book.  I’m excited!

In part of the book, Billy and his classmates have to make a diorama.  It’s a big school project.  Billy decides to make a bat diorama, yet has difficulty making the bats look like they’re flying.  His father gives him advice on making the cave in the shoebox and making the bats fly.

Fast forward to Jared.  His Mom emailed me that Jared wanted to make his own bat diorama, just like Billy did in the book.  She asked if Jared could bring it to school and show me.  He did!  It was a labor of love:

I made such a fuss!  I made the bats fly, and I made Jared’s confidence swell.  If you think this is little, think again.  My words to Jared are:

“Yes, Jared, you made flying bats.  They are really cool.  I’m so glad you wanted to do this.  Nobody else in Book Bears has made anything.  This was a big deal for you, and I know that.  You not only wanted to show me, you asked if I could show it to the Book Bears tomorrow.  You bet I will, Jared.  I am so very proud of you!”


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in books, chapter reading, children's books, Early Education, reading aloud, self esteem, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to The Diorama that Changed a Child

  1. srbottch says:

    One can only imagine the potential life-time effect those kind words may have on Jared. Nice job.

  2. Opher says:

    That’s the creativity and self-esteem that a good teacher fosters. Brilliant Jennie and Jared.

  3. A. L. Kaplan says:

    You made those bats come alive. Teachers like you inspire the future.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! Today I showed it to the whole Book Bears group. There were so many kids we didn’t have enough seats (but I made that fun). Jared beamed! 🙂

  4. Dan Antion says:

    Encouragement means so much. Thanks!

  5. Love how you work with the moms, too!
    Fly, bat; fly, Jared!

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, I do that. Thank you, Laura. I showed the diorama to Book Bears today. Packed house. They liked it, and Jared beamed… that was what mattered. And emailing mom after the fact was equally important. 🙂

  6. Jennie, you have a very special place in these children’s hearts. I wish, every time I read one of your posts, that I had a teacher like you. My teachers often didn’t bother with me because I was so quiet and shy in junior school.

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Robbie. Like you, my teachers really didn’t bother with me. I was terribly shy. When they paid attention to teach me, I felt like I was being put on the spot. It was never a “I know you can do this” or “You are a great kid” or “I care” kind of feeling. If I can give a little of those feelings to my students, that is a good thing!

  7. beetleypete says:

    Jared will never forget you, Jennie. You will live on his heart, and he will tell stories of you to his own children. Who can ask for a better legacy?
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. John Fioravanti says:

    A beautiful story, Jennie – thanks for sharing it with us!

  9. reocochran says:

    Jared really was a star and this will be a memory which will live on long after Book Bears. I can tell his mother is supportive and helpful. This doubles Jared’s chances for good self esteem.

    • Jennie says:

      I couldn’t have said it any better or agreed more. Thanks, Robin.

      • reocochran says:

        You’re welcome, Jennie. I’m happy Jared has a teacher who reaffirms his family’s view on himself. I wish you had a couple of caring teachers. It is sad to read this in your comments. I had only two negative teachers and none in elementary school. You’re carrying the torch into your school and inspiring many you may never know fully your impact. ❤

      • Jennie says:

        It was more that I was lost in the cracks, without a positive boost. But, that’s often the way teaching was way back then. I don’t remember that feeling of excitement or the wonder of discovery. I never fell in love with books or reading. Nothing negative, just a lack of what I think (know) is important to children. Happy weekend, Robin!

  10. frenchc1955 says:

    This is wonderful–you are a truly inspiring teacher!

  11. Darlene says:

    So pleased for Jared! How wonderful that you made him feel special. Every kid (and adult)needs that!

  12. dgkaye says:

    Love the encouragement and esteem building these little ones are received. 🙂

  13. So happy to hear about Jared’s special day.

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