A Few Quotations On Books

charles french words reading and writing

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

                             Marcus Tullius Cicero

Stephen_King,_Comicon

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”

                                            Stephen King

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(https://it.wikipedia.org)

“We live for books.”

                                             Umberto Eco

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“Books are the food and drink for the human soul.”

                                Charles F. French

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“Charlotte’s Web” and a Parent Conversation.

Dad (Michael) picked up his son (Bradley) from school this week.  We had a brief but powerful conversation, one I will long remember:

Dad:  “You know, Bradley talks a lot about chapter reading at school.  He talks about Charlotte’s Web.”

Me:  “I’m glad to hear that, Michael.  He loves it, even though he might fall asleep before it’s over.”

Head nodding.  Serious thinking.

Me:  “It’s really a big thing, Michael, because you have to make the pictures in your head.  Children have to think and focus.  It’s a huge step in literacy.”

More head nodding and serious thinking.  A long pause.

Dad:  “I think I should chapter read to Bradley before he goes to bed.  Just a chapter each night.  Maybe Charlotte’s Web.”

Me:  “That would be wonderful, Michael.  Bradley would love it.  We finished the book but it’s fresh in his brain.  And, he didn’t hear the whole thing.”

More head nodding and thinking.  Much more.

Dad:  “His birthday is next month.  He has too much stuff.  We’ll get him Charlotte’s Web for his birthday.”

I think I smiled so hard that my cheeks hurt.  I reached out to touch Michael’s shoulder.  We looked at each other and understood.  No words, just smiles.

There are those moments in teaching that are brighter than all the stars and stick with us like glue.  They may be fleeting in time, yet they are powerful.  This was one of those moments.

I hope E.B. White is looking down and smiling.

“Literature has been the vehicle that connects us.  Regardless of age, everyone loves a good story.”
~Pete Springer, author and teacher~

Jennie

Posted in chapter reading, children's books, E.B. White, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, literacy, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , | 74 Comments

The Fog Calls a Teacher

Halloween was over, and a thick fog settled in.
This was a fog never seen.  Never.
The fog called me.
I wanted to run, be with the fog,
get swallowed.
I am a child at heart.
I have the eyes to see, and the soul to feel.
That’s why I am a teacher.

Jennie

Posted in Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Halloween, Imagination, Inspiration, Nature, Teaching young children, wonder | Tagged , , , , | 57 Comments

Creepy Sunset

My favorite intersection on the way home has beautiful sunsets.
Tonight was different.
The house!
I’ve never seen it ‘come alive’.
Halloween is here.
Beware!

Jennie

Posted in Halloween, Mother Nature, Nature | Tagged , | 46 Comments

Gloria’s Weekend

Gloria had her first weekend visit with a child this year.

Year after year, Gloria becomes a well-loved member of the classroom.  Why?  Because children naturally want to be loving.  They need a platform to do that outside of their family.  When that platform is someone who is different like Gloria, children rally.  They want to reach out.  Gloria makes children feel empowered, because they know their love to her makes a big difference.

It’s that complicated.  It’s that simple.

Here are photos of her weekend:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for all you do for children, Gloria.  They grow big hearts because of you.  They become givers.  They become our future.

Jennie

Posted in behavior, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Family, Giving, Gloria, Inspiration, Kindness, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , | 85 Comments

Robots…Again!

Over the past two years children in my class have loved Boston Dynamics’ robots.  Well, that’s actually an understatement.  Children have been over the moon, and they have embraced every video from dancing to technology.

A new year just began.  Robots had not come into play… until a random question.

It happened like this…

Nap time was over.  Sadie was a sleepyhead.  I knew we needed to play one of our wake-up songs.  We have three, and each one couldn’t be more different:

Pata Pata

Reveille

Boston Dynamics Robots

“What song should we play to wake up Sadie?”

The crowd spoke, loud and clear: “The Robot Song!”  Okay, the crowd was mostly children who were in the class last year.  As soon as we played the video to wake up Sadie, all the other children – the newcomers – were thrilled.  They danced.  They practiced all the robot moves.  They were hooked.

Sadie woke up.  But, the children wanted more.  We sang and danced, and we watched videos of the robots learning to do hard things.  On the playground that afternoon a child noticed the T-shirt of a classmate and said, “Look, that’s Atlas!”  By golly, he was right.  It looked just like Atlas the robot.

It wasn’t enough.  I knew.  The next day we wrote a letter to Boston Dynamics.

A parent said, “So, who is Atlas?  My daughter keeps talking about Atlas.”  These are the questions that are music to my ears.  As much as we like the robots singing and dancing, we watch videos of Atlas walking through snow, climbing, falling down, doing front rolls, and lifting heavy objects.  Children ask questions.  They are glued to watching Atlas.

Thank goodness!

Because children love robots, and they’re naturally curious,  it’s a win-win for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and the next generation of scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians.  Thanks to Boston Dynamics, I’m growing them in my classroom.

Jennie

Posted in behavior, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, preschool, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , | 61 Comments

Magic at School

The most important part of school is making connections.  When teachers connect with children, and when children connect with each other, the school year begins.  It turns on ‘the light’, and that light enables learning, and is deep inside everyone.  Oh, yes.  There is a sense among children and teachers, something that needs no words.

I love when this happens.  Now, we are a family.

Every year we have a family event at school, a pizza dinner and pumpkin carving.  This always happens at that connection time.  It is magical.  Imagine being at school at night with your family, sitting in a big circle with lit jack-o-lanterns, singing songs.  The ‘being together’ part is a big deal, and we’re in the dark.

Magic.

Here is what I wrote to families:

Dear Families,

Thank you for a wonderful, magical evening at school.  This was such an exciting event for children.  For families, it was perhaps the first time to get to know other families and watch children playing together.  For teachers, it was delightful to stand back and watch connections and laughter.  There was something special about tonight.  Did you feel it?  The weather was perfect and the fall colors were brilliant.  Pizza and your side dishes were delicious.  Pumpkin carving was busy and fun.  Lighting our jack-o-lanterns and lining them up along the stone wall was the best!  Dusk descended.  The perfect ending to the evening was sitting with our families in a big circle singing our favorite jack-o-lantern song and waving glow sticks.  It was a memory maker for the children.

The Aqua Room is a family.  It feels so good.

Jennie

Posted in Expressing words and feelings, Family, Halloween, Inspiration, jack-o-lanterns, preschool | Tagged , , | 69 Comments

Old Cemeteries in New England

Fall in New England is beautiful in color.  Groton’s old cemetery is lush with ancient trees and headstones that date back to the 1600’s.  Most of the headstones are made of slate, so they retain their carvings.  A walk through the cemetery is perfect, especially with Halloween right around the corner.  Fellow blogger John at https://johnrieber.com/ reminded me how much he would love to see an old New England cemetery.

I felt the same way when I moved here in 1984.  Hubby and I had many walks, reading the headstones and relishing in  history.  We were on hallowed ground.  There are clusters of children in families.  One that struck me were children who died of ‘throat distemper’.  I asked our family doctor, and he said throat distemper was diphtheria.

Carvings in the old cemetery tell a story.  They talk about husbands and wives, military service, diseases, and more.  One headstone is carved by the father of his son who died, and he is angry.  Yes, they all tell a story.


Note the winged angel, a popular carving.
This dates to 1775.


There are many children within a family who died.


The architecture in this headstone is remarkable.


Such beautiful pathways to walk.

Jennie

Posted in America, Family, Halloween, history, Nature | Tagged , , , | 109 Comments

sprinkle magic.

I didn't have my glasses on....

a tribe not my own, but with the same kind of spirit

“surround yourself with people who add value to your life.

who challenge you to be greater than you were yesterday.

who sprinkle magic into your existence,

just like you do to theirs.

life isn’t meant to be done alone.

find your tribe, and journey freely and loyalty together.”

-alex elle

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Today’s Quote

Soul Gatherings

 

What do we teach our children? … We should say to each of them:

Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique …

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.

You have the capacity for anything.

~ Pablo Casals ~

_________

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