On the first day of school this year, our class did an activity to demonstrate the importance of connection, and of coming together as one unit, or family. When one aspect of this web faltered, it affected all the rest – an important lesson in school, and in life. That was 283ish days ago. I know for myself, that I can’t remember what I ate yesterday for breakfast, let alone what I might have learned 10 months ago! My students however, continue to show me that some seeds just plant. Some take root, some have a longer journey to sprout, and some grow exponentially. My point is, influencers of kids and youth, what you teach does matter. We may not always know it, or may never know to what extent our teachings reach, but it is filtering through. I was reminded of this fact just the other day.
Each morning the students walk into the classroom greeted by me course 🙂 and by an inspiring image on our classroom screen. The image is sometimes prompted by a theme of current interest, a word that I wish to bring attention to, a subject area we are studying, or just by the sheer beauty of what the picture represents. We use it as a means for setting the tone. Sometimes I even incorporate a moving image of the sea, or of the rainforest, that is accompanied by peaceful sounds; it’s a great way for the kids to know that they are entering a peaceful space, and it contributes to the overall positive climate in the classroom.
We always take time to come together as a unit, our class family, to share our reflections about the image. In hindsight, I wish I had recorded the comments and insights from each day, and compiled them into a book – it is one book I would buy from some truly inspiring authors!
As we learned more about ourselves, and refined our mindfulness practices, the morning reflections became more and more in-depth and truly magical. Sometimes students shared their own interpretation of the image, which was almost always something I hadn’t even intended for, or considered myself. They also made connections to previous lessons learned, their own prior knowledge, and about their observations of the world.
I wish that I could share so many of these examples with you, but for today, I’ll just include the words that stemmed from this particular image that I have attached in the article.
In bringing this piece full circle, the interpretation comes back to making connections, and to learning that kids take from them, what has meaning for them. They hold on to this meaning and apply it to their lives. The first comment came from a little boy, who related this interwoven rope, to our class activity on the first day of school (the yarn activity demonstrating connection). We were reminded of what this activity meant, and how it has played out in our class so prominently this year. I was in awe of his words and of the fact that we’ve done 1,000,000 things since September 5th, yet this particular concept resonated for some reason. On a side, it is this same boy who has adopted the brilliant Louise Hay as his source of inspiration and mentor – an author whom I only discovered in my late teens, but who now gives us the pleasure of sharing her invaluable lessons through children’s literature.
The conversation continued to explore the idea that the colours of the rope represent the various continents, cultures, religions, abilities, and individuals throughout the world intertwining as one in harmony. The students also considered the idea that this picture meant that together, anything can be accomplished. Another student felt that the rope indicated one large friendship bracelet, combining all living things in a peaceful manner.
Finally, one student saw this image as a symbol for an individuals’ life. She expressed that as you journey through your path, you add things of importance along the way – yellow being friends, green as knowledge, blue as resources, and red as love. Seriously though?!
I want to thank my students for sharing their thoughts, connections, and interpretations with us this year. I have learned from them, and have had many seeds planted in my own mind and soul that have also taken root. I thank them for showing me new colours, and new ways of seeing the world through their lens’.
The web we have weaved together in class this year is a special one. It comes with a little red, a little green, a little blue…and a whole lot of love ♥