Every July/August, I LOVE shopping school supplies!!! There is something about the new box of sharpened pencils, the smell of a fresh box of Crayola crayons, with crisp points that have never been used. There's the choice of decorative journals and spiral notebooks, fun folders, and now my favorite...the SHARPIE. There is nothing like opening up a new package of sharpies. I LOVE the ultra fine points for writing, the fine points for outlining, and all the vibrant colors. In my classroom, I have stainless steel buckets filled with multi-colored and multi-tipped sharpies for my treasures to use. Looking at them, its a bouquet of sharpies brightening any desk, any shelf, any project, and any work of art. Sharpies make everything POP, and have a definite purpose when used correctly.
One of my first mini-lessons (besides making sure caps are on tightly:) when using Sharpies is to place scrap paper underneath because Sharpies can bleed through and leave marks. Sharpiesare meant to be permanent and cannot wash away. When I'm not careful I've been known to have Sharpie marks on my hands for days, or worse it leaves marks on the furniture. Our words are like Sharpies. Words can be teasing, hurtful, unkind, and with sarcasm that leave marks like black scribbles deep inside us. Words that build up, words that are kind, words that show us we are special...these are like the beautiful masterpieces that colorful Sharpies make. They are permanent, but we want to share with everyone. Our words change those around us and are like Sharpies. What color will your words leave?
from the Responsive Classroom this summer and will be working on slowing myself down, slowing my treasures down, and creating a safe, warm atmosphere in my classroom. The whole premise is to begin with predictable structures and to teach everything, routine and structures beginning on Day One. How to use a pencil, how to use sharpies, how to line up, walk in the halls, EVERYTHING!! I do many of these things, but am prone to rush into curriculum too fast! I found the Sharpie analogy on another "mom" blog I've been reading, and will use it to begin having discussions about the power of our words, and to think about the marks my own words leave on my students.
I'm also in the process of painting two sharing rocks for our Morning and Closing Meeting. The morning rock will be brilliant, with bright colors to depict the endless possibilities that we will begin to learn and share throughout the day. Each child will hold the rock,share something, and pass it around the circle before we begin the day. The Closing Rock will be colored in soothing colors like blues and purples because I've never mastered the end of the day, and it's always chaotic and CRAZY! By having a closing meeting (with a "soothing" rock), each child will go around the circle and share something they are proud of for that day. I'm excited to try a Closing Meeting and see how it works, and I will definitely be using the Sharpie analogy! What are some ideas you are going to try this year to build your community?