Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction

Kindness Kudos

February brings such joy to little ones and big ones alike. This year my dear friend Tamara Letter brought more joy into my world as she published her first book on the most incredible topic ever… KINDNESS! Tamara, author of “A Passion for Kindness“, has been sharing her heart with others for years, and now we have the opportunity to embrace a piece of it through her eyes… a world that makes each day brighter with a simple act of kindness. Kudos to Tamara for reminding each of us it is truly the simple things that create incredible impact! #PassionForKindness


Empathy, compassion, and connection can be found in everyone if we simply listen to the quiet whisper of our hearts

Tamara Letter, author of A Passion for Kindness

As I anxiously await my copy of the book, I continue to embrace each and every moment that I can create a connection to and between others. It started with a quick stop to my go to spot… Amazon Prime!

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It was there that I found a simple, yet brilliant t-shirt that had “BE KIND” written across the front. It immediately reminded me of Tamara. I tossed one into the cart and then went back and added more… my crew needed them too!

Next up… a walk down memory lane with friendship pins! Oh yes, in the 80s my friends and I would create these very inexpensive, tiny tokens of kindness for one another. We would add them to our backpacks, our clothes, and the favorite go to spot… our shoes! Each one was made with love and care, while embracing the uniqueness of each bead and friend that we had in mind. As pins were created, they were passed on with a smile and a little extra hug along the way. This was exactly what my little makers needed in class this month. All it was going to take was a quick trip to the craft store and the imagination of a 3rd grader… I had this one in the bag!

Friendship Pins for the WIN!

My students know how much I love them. They also know how much they are loved at home. Yet, in many ways they keep that love separate… like it has its own identity or entity that is isolated to the environment that they are interacting in… hmmmmm! Then it hit me… an idea that I had to put into action ASAP! I messaged the parents immediately: ” The month of February celebrates KINDNESS! I would love for every parent to create a poster celebrating their child. One that shines the spotlight on their kindness and special ways that fill you with joy! Your VOICE Your CHOICE… YOUR CREATION!” This idea did not come without reservation or concern. What if… they didn’t want to participate? What if… they didn’t have the time or resources? What if… they didn’t see the connection to the curriculum and therefore shut this idea down? But the biggest “what if” I could think of was…. WHAT IF I DIDN’T TRY this and never knew the impact it could have?

The response was overwhelming! As the drop off date came closer (last night), I could feel the excitement build up inside me. What were the posters going to be like? What were the parents going to tell me about this experience? I sat in the lobby of the school waiting with anticipation. The joy of watching each car pull up was priceless!

Well, they are almost all accounted for… all 24 posters. A snow day today has pushed back our special moment, but let me leave you with a heart filled with joy as I share the comments that a few parents made as they dropped off their Kindness Posters for their child:

Thank you for reminding me of the joy he brings to our world.

This project was the biggest gift to our family.

We all need these simple reminders, thank you.

And as one grandmother shared with me as she dropped off her granddaughter’s poster…

Thank you for reminding my daughter of all the things I see in my granddaughter. We need more moments like this one.

As this secret is kept under wraps for the children, I smile knowing that kindness is coming their way. Kudos to my parents for embracing the day. Kudos to each family for creating impact. Kudos for Kindness… and to my dear friend Tamara as she sows the seeds of kindness throughout the world! #PassionForKindness

SNEAK PEAK of Kindness Posters… Shhhhhhh still a secret! ha!

To be continued…

Personal Learning

One Purpose

Every day is our first without my beautiful mother in law, my friend, my confidanteour mom, nana, wife, aunt and sister.  As a family, we will have a minimum of 365 firsts in the next year.  With every day being a new different for each of us… the same rang true with our Easter.  A day full of so much purpose… a day that reminds us that she is truly in a better place because He lives!  Yet a place that is removed from us for now.  Our family needed to get away.  We needed to escape the daily reminder that nothing will ever be the same.  The constant change of life was gripping our hearts and at times squeezing our purpose right out of us.  We have gone from a family of 6 to 5 just like that… 1/6 of our heart was no longer beating the way it had for so many precious years.

One purpose

3F8C2CB3-37F0-4126-9A34-63EBA429D5B8We set off for Canada.  A bucket list moment for the kids was to see Niagara Falls and we were determined to make it happen.  They have seen some of the world’s most beautiful sights and this was one yet to be seen by them.  My father in law was on board.  An immediate “yes” was his response to our curve ball of a holiday plan.  He may be one of the strongest people I know.  The love of his life gone after 50 years.  Twenty-four hours/seven days a week simply different.  Yet his focus stays the same.

One purpose

We arrived.  Pictures were being snapped by the second.  We were all thinking the same thing, but no one spoke of it.  We smiled.  We created new moments.  We shopped, turning to tell her to look, but she wasn’t there.  We ordered drinks wanting to ask for her favorite, but didn’t or couldn’t.  I watched my father in law settle in to his first trip away… without her.  I watched my husband make the best of every moment given without his mom.  In a far off distance, I heard a child say, ” Nana, look!” and I prayed my own family didn’t hear the reminder of the absence we were all feeling to our core.

Then it happened.  Trent, my 15 year old son and sparkle of Nana’s eye, decided he would join me for a trip to the spa…. something I would have done with mom and was about to do alone.   We arrived and were greeted by the kindest woman.  She immediately took us under her wing to this new found “a la carte” spa treatment.  She noticed Trent’s age and let us know he typically would not be allowed to join me, but that she felt he was mature and was welcome.  She handed each of us an oxygen canulla and told us to insert it in our nose and drape behind our ears.  We were about to refresh ourselves with this gift of oxygen… rejuvenation.  Trent and I looked at one another, and proceeded as if we were speaking the same language.  In that moment, this woman had no idea that mom/nana was on oxygen for the last year of her life as she battled the deadly disease of lung cancer and lost.  She had no idea that mom hated oxygen and loved it all at the same time.  The same way we felt in that moment.  We were taken aback, yet found comfort.  The hum of the concentrator.  Mom was right there… exposing us to an anxiety that neither of us were prepared for, yet embraced.  Nana found a way to get him in the spa to be with me… something so like her to do!

One purpose 

Easter arrived.  I decided to stop at Starbucks before we left the hotel.  I opened my wallet and saw my gift-card from a special friend, Tamara Letter.  A dear friend whom I never met in person, but one I hold dear to my heart (My PLF).  One that reached out to me when mom had passed away to tell me I needed to take a moment for myself and when I was ready she would buy me a coffee to sit and reflect.  So I did.  I reached in and pulled out that card… and I smiled. #kindness

We packed into the car and headed for home.  No Easter “best dressed” this year.  No ham in the oven.  We were in our comfy clothes made for traveling.  Our meal would come at a rest stop or random restaurant with an OPEN sign lit.  Yet, we did have one constant.  A bond that defines our family.   We were all thinking of the same person… and smiling.  Mom loved Easter.  It was a time in the year she knew the birds would start to sing, the flowers would start to bloom, and the breath of life would shine down in the warmth of the sun.  With winter on it’s way out, you would catch her smile grow… a little wider and a little brighter.  She would find balance again.  We drove home with the sun shining down on us.  We reminisced about the beautiful moments…. the new memories we created.   We smiled.  Dad reminded us all that the one thing we cannot stop is change.  Profound connection between my family life and my passion for teaching.

One purpose

Mom’s purpose redefined over the years from daughter and sister to wife and mother.  The one purpose that she held above all was creating joy for others, especially her precious grandchildren Trent and Jack.  She could do this with one simple action.. her smile!  Our family created joy together this Easter.  With her, without her, and always through her.  The kind that radiated from her.  Her legacy lives on in each of us.

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Nana and her boys Easter 2016

 

One purpose

creating joy!

#ThatSmile