The Playground at Night

Light and Dark on the Playground

In the dark and cold of December

Children see new things

The dark gives light and beauty

To the starkness

And when children return in the morning

Blues and whites appear

Colors that were hidden last month

Nature always has beauty

Posted in Early Education, Imagination, Mother Nature, Nature, wonder | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

A Story of Reading Aloud

Author Kate DiCamillo tells a childhood story of her teacher reading aloud, when she was in second grade.  It is powerful.  She remembers every detail… including the class bully.

“It’s 1972, and I’m 8 years old and in second grade at Clermont Elementary in Clermont, Florida.

The classroom floors are wood, and there’s a ticking clock on the wall, and there’s a chalkboard, and there are mottoes to live by strung up above it. And the teacher, Ms. Boyette, is wearing cat eyeglasses with glinting rhinestones.

She’s reading aloud to us from “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” And we have just come to a part of the book where the main character tames a wild dog, a wild dog. And I’m literally on the edge of my seat. I’m listening, listening, caught up in the wonder of at all. I’m a kid who loves a story.

But also in that second grade classroom seated not too far away from me, there’s a class bully. Because I am so terrified of this boy, he doesn’t even seem real to me. He is, in my mind, less a boy and more a monster.

In any case, Ms. Boyette is reading. And I look over at this boy because he is someone I am very much in the habit of keeping an eye on. And I notice that he is listening too, that he is engaged by the story, that he, like me, is leaning forward in his seat and listening with his whole heart.

I stare at him, open-mouthed. I’m struck with a sudden knowledge that this boy that I’m so afraid of is in fact just like me. He’s a kid who likes a story.

The boy must feel my eyes on him, because he turns. He sees me seeing him, and something miraculous happens. He smiles at me. Really. And then another miracle. I, unafraid, smile back. We’re two kids smiling at each other.

Why have I never forgotten this small moment? Why, almost 50 years later, do I still recall every detail of it? I think it’s because that moment illustrates so beautifully the power of reading out loud.

Reading aloud ushers us into a third place, a safe room. It’s a room where everyone involved, the reader and the listener, can put down their defenses and lower their guard. We humans long not just for story, not just for the flow of language, but for the connection that comes when words are read aloud. That connection provides illumination. It lets us see each other.

When people talk about the importance of reading aloud, they almost always mean an adult reading to the child.

We forget about the surly adolescent and the confused young adult and the weary middle-aged and the lonely old.

We need it too. We all need that third place, that safe room that reading out loud provides. We all need that chance to see each other.”

-Kate DiCamillo-

Here is the link to the video of her telling this story:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/kate-dicamillo-on-the-magic-of-reading-aloud

Jennie

Posted in books, chapter reading, children's books, Early Education, Imagination, Inspiration, reading, reading aloud, reading aloud, storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Quotations on Gratitude

Outstanding quotations on gratitude from Charles French.

charles french words reading and writing

Marcel_Proust_1895

(https://it.wikipedia.org)

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

                                                                              Marcel Proust

Angelou_at_Clinton_inauguration_(cropped_2)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

                                                                           Maya Angelou

president-john-kennedy-403379_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

                                                                            John F. Kennedy

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Thanksgiving Travel – Bridges and Gold

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” –E.B. White-

Traveling across the new Tapen Zee Bridge in New York

Opened wide a doorway to new adventures.  Bridges do that.  The sky was excited.  I felt it, too. Anticipation.

The sky changed with a rainbow on the side of the sun.

The heavens seemed to open.

And we crossed a golden bridge.

May your travels be safe and wondrous this holiday. Enjoy your family, large and small, near and far. Happy Thanksgiving.

Jennie

Posted in E.B. White, Expressing words and feelings, Family, Giving thanks, Inspiration, Mother Nature, Nature, Quotes, Thanksgiving, wonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

The New Erma Bombeck

Barb Taub is hilarious.  Laugh out loud, tears streaming down your face hilarious.  She is today’s version of the Erma Bombeck of the ‘60’s and 70’s (The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, and If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits to name a couple.)  That in itself speaks volumes, as every woman, mother, and housewife devoured all that Erma Bombeck wrote – and most of her books became bestsellers.

Thank you, Barb, for your wit and wisdom, and your humor.  I know that a generation of readers feel the same way I do.  And, a hundred thank yous for my winning prize that just arrived!  You are a terrific writer.  I have already lost my husband for the day, as he discovered your fabulous book.

Please join me in following Barb’s blog at barbtaub.com

Jennie

Posted in Book Review, books, joy, reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Two Preschool Generations

Thirty years ago Nurse Eamonn was in my preschool class.  He was adorable (but don’t tell him I said that.)  In high school he did his internship in my classroom.  Ah, he had the touch.  I knew there was a teacher in the making.  We worked summers together at the school’s summer camp.  We had such fun, and so did the children.  Eamonn became my assistant teacher for a few years before going back to college.  He was considering medicine.  Then, an event happened that clarified his pathway.

When he stopped by for a visit at school one day, an epileptic child in my classroom had a grand mal seizure.  Eamonn whipped into action, directing what to do and monoriting the child.  I watched the clock and timed the seizure.

Clearly, Eamonn was destined to work with children.  Teaching wasn’t in the cards.  He became a pediatric nurse at the top hospital in Boston.  I am so proud!

The story gets even better; his son is in my class!  Yes, he is adorable, and he loves dinosaurs.  Today Nurse Eamonn came to school to host a Teddy Bear Clinic in my classroom.  Every child brought their teddy bear or favorite lovey.  Eamonn gave every bear a check-up.

I sat back and watched.  Deja vu.  Yes, he has the touch.

Jennie

Posted in behavior, Early Education, Inspiration, preschool, Student alumni, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , | 46 Comments

#Thought for the Day…

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments