Last year I blogged about my quest for the perfect brown boots... blah blah blah. The real point of the post was to recognize an amazingly calm and pleasant man who was working in a crazily hectic and unpleasant holiday retail work environment.
In honor of Don and in an attempt to think beyond adding to my own shoe collection, I have decided to donate to a charity called Shoes That Fit.
"Shoes That Fit is helping kids improve their self-esteem and fit in at school by eliminating one of poverty’s most visible and debilitating marks."
I see this issue firsthand at my own school. We had a heartwarming moment earlier this year when one boy brought in a pair of gently used expensive shoes for another boy whose shoes had holes in them. Neither one of them made a big deal about the whole thing. They matter-of-factly carried out the exchange in the hallway while a few of us teachers looked on teary-eyed in the hallway.
This charity receives no government funding and relies solely on donations that go straight to helping kids in schools across the country. I'm sure as these kids come back from Christmas break and see all of the other kids in their new clothes and shoes, they would appreciate your help. You may not know what it's like to walk a mile in their shoes, but you could help them to walk a mile in yours.
Now, on a mostly unrelated note...
My kids wrote "I Am" poems in class recently. These poems followed a format that was designed to really get them to think about and express who they really are. If it was taken seriously, I read things that really got down to the core of who my students are. I was thrilled that most of my students actually did take it seriously.
In order to wrangle the kids yesterday, I had them make snowflakes. They enjoyed this artsy craftsy departure from "real work," but I had my own plan in mind. When the snowflakes were done, I had students attach them to construction paper and choose their favorite lines from their "I Am" poems (one per kid) to write underneath them.
I hung all of these around the room today and did a walk through to really take a good look. What I saw had me laughing and smiling and sighing and feeling the warm and fuzzies. The snowflakes, as you will see, ranged from pink squares to beautiful works of art. The lines of poetry ranged from "I hope to be taller than Jack" to "I am short and sassy" to "I am clumsy but full of grace" to "I hope that someday people will just love each other." I only wish I could remember more.
My master plan worked. Each one of these kids is their own individual snowflake. I know, I know, cheese alert! It's true, though. I have posted all over my wall exactly who these kids are. I think that one of the most powerful messages you can send to a kid is simply, "I see you." I will leave these posters up until the last snow melts as a daily reminder of all of the little special and unique characters I am surrounded by every day. It makes me feel as if my room is becoming more of the safe community that I dreamed up and wrote about in my hypothetical future classroom teaching coursework stuff. I really hope that my students feel the same way.
Thank you, snowflakes, you made my day.