Tuesday, May 1, 2012

rainbows within our reach

 **Deep breath** trying to do this post some justice....
Last week my students FINALLY were able to meet and experience author/singer/songwriter Debbie Clement's colorful approach to telling students to live their dreams. It was an awesome day for them (they had SO much fun!) and continuous "teachable moment" opportunities for myself since that day.
 Let's start in the beginning, though, shall we? How in the world does little ole Art Teacher me get hooked up with an AUTHOR?! Well, the power of the blogosphere, that's how. Debbie left me a comment on one of my 9-11 calls for artwork and come to find out, her book "Red, White and Blue" features a quilt based off the small village where my Grandparents live (population 280-something). An even funnier thing?! Debbie is a member of the Door County, WI Quilting Guild, of which my grandmother is also a member. She knows her by name. W.E.I.R.D how the universe works, right?!

 Debbie's focus is mainly on Pre-Kindergarten and primary-leveled students. My older students, however, got into her act, and proved to me that there are little kids inside all these "cooler" intermediate students as well!
 Debbie's book "You Are Wonderful" struck a chord with many of my students, with whom I'm currently doing a unit on diversity and differences. One of my students asked the question "We've been talking about unique-ness in Art and how we can make our artwork unique. What makes YOU unique, Debbie?"

SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. A parallel, a cross-curricular connection. She GOT it, the point of the whole thing. The point is that you need to be unique in order to "make it"...to stand out, to get noticed. As difficult as it is to admit sometimes, they ARE ALL WONDERFUL.
 We also had a blast singing the song "Jumpin' Jimminy"--- during which the students must freeze and make silly faces. I loved what I saw and their true spirits came out.

 On top of it all, the kids learned sign-language...Mason signs "beautiful" here.
 It's such a struggle every day to try to have my students not make cookie-cutter art, to add an element to their artwork which makes it unique, that'll make it stand out from everyone else's...a feat that haunts me daily. A feat my kids have miraculously strived for since Debbie's visit last Thursday. Full circle, people, full circle.
What?! A post without beautiful pictures of beautiful art?! Yes, for now...sometimes it's good to get these introspective posts out, too.

For more information on Debbie's beautiful books, or author/artist visits, please visit her blog, or grab her colorful re-cap of our visit on our collaborative blog PreK and K Sharing.


  1. How on earth am I just 'now' finding your brilliant summary? It was such an AWESOME day! The funny frozen faces are so strikingly glorious.

    Yes. The blogosphere is an amazing contraption. I count our time together as the superlative outcome of all of those bells and whistles and pixie dust fairies working so hard to bring us together.

    Next stop: Wilson's Ice Cream -- all the way across the country for both of us!

    Thanks so much for shining some light on my efforts, but even more importantly for making it happen in the first place. You're seven shades past WONDERFUL!!!

    1. Ha! I think my little one, Chase (he's 10 months), is looking forward to some ice cream in Door County, too!