Stitching the Pieces Together
On June 2, 2014 Jena Ball and I embarked on a summer reading program with two teachers and 43 third graders in Bellevue, Nebraska. The goals we had for our three weeks together were simple – get the kids to read, write and work on a creative project that would result in a tangible artifact of our time together. Little did we know that it would blossom into a powerful affirmation of the messages we’ve been hearing and sharing with other educators in Twitter chats for months now.
In particular, the themes articulated and discussed in #EdTechchat and #Ptchat are echoing for me:
- The need to get technology to support teaching, reading, writing and other basic skills
- Educating parents about child centered education and the role technology plays in making it a reality
- Getting those parents into school buildings to cheer their kids and the innovative teachers and librarians who are daring to do things differently
- Using technology to build connections to and interest within larger communities that have a stake in effective education
But there is one more piece that catapulted this project out of “ordinary” and into the realm of “extraordinary,” and that is emotional literacy. As many know, the belief that children need opportunities to experience and practice emotional as well as intellectual skills is at the heart of CritterKin. We believe that when the two sides of the education equation are in place the very best learning occurs. Students who feel safe, respected and appreciated are better able and prepared to learn when presented with engaging intellectual challenges.
Looking at the invitation above, I realize the seeds we’ve all been planting are starting to sprout. All those threads, all the articulate statements and wonderful ideas shared by the smartest and most committed educators are reflected in the smiles of the 43 third graders in Nebraska. Those kids not only improved their intellectual skills by reading a CritterKin book, but increased their emotional literacy as well by drawing, cutting, gluing, coloring, photographing and sewing the pieces of a quilt devoted to kindness together.
On Friday, June 20th. those students will be sharing the results of their work with the world – literally. Jena and I will initiate a Google Hangout on Air and join the students and teachers as they unveil their quilt and present a one-act play devoted to kindness. Thanks to technology, Jena and I will be able to cheer them on, take part in the play, and answer questions from parents, community members and the media. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate the kids and share your own questions, impressions and ideas. Here are the Links:
Google+ Page for the Google Hang Out