At Robinson, Inspiration is EVERYWHERE!

I love our school for so many reasons.  It’s the place I started my career 15 years ago as a student teacher.  I had my first classroom here (even though the actual classroom is now the principal’s office!).  I have had the opportunity to work with countless mentors and really smart people who make me a better teacher because of what they have shared with me.  I’m now getting to share the same amazing school experience with my own son, which is great, and I teach with two of his former teachers!  It truly is a fabulous place to spend my days.  When I speak of it, I always talk about going to “school,” not going to “work.” 🙂 Another reason I love Robinson is how much there is to inspire you.  And this year that inspiration is VISUAL in the form of many murals that have been added over the last months.  I took pictures of as many of the great additions as I could today, in order to share more of my happy place with you!  I’d love to hear more about your happy place, and the way it inspires you each day! But back to mine. LOL  Check out some pictures:

I had to start with this one, as its one of the biggest inspirations I see every day!  I think it's so great that we work on important skills like grit and persistence, helping our kiddos to know how to deal with challenges they face.  :)

I had to start with this one, as its one of the biggest inspirations I see every day! I think it’s so great that we work on important skills like grit and persistence, helping our kiddos to know how to deal with challenges they face. 🙂

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Even t-shirts are inspiring at our school! These are quilts made of SpiritWear thru the ages!  Great idea!

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The Road Rules the foundation of all of what we do at our school, and help our students remember to show respect for themselves, others, learning and the environment (both inside and out!). Many banners like this one “decorate” our hallways. 🙂

Another thing that makes our hallways inspiring is the inclusion of the faces of our kiddos!  The smiles are contagious, and the faces are beautiful! These frame collections can be found in many different hallways.

Another REALLY important thing we are about at our school is NO BULLYING!  We have these rules posted in many places so no one forgets!  We are an Olweus school, and it's important that we protect and encourage each other to "be a buddy, not a bully!"

Another REALLY important thing we are about at our school is NO BULLYING! We have these rules posted in many places so no one forgets! We are an Olweus school, and it’s important that we protect and encourage each other to “be a buddy, not a bully!”

Ok, one more.  This is both an inspirational thought, and an inspirational kid. :)  Gotta love how he wanted to "photobomb" this one!  Great job, Riley Bearden! Love you, buddy! (And hope this doesn't embarrass you!)

Ok, one more. This is both an inspirational thought, and an inspirational kid. 🙂 Gotta love how he wanted to “photobomb” this one! Great job, Riley Bearden! Love you, buddy! (And hope this doesn’t embarrass you!)

Friends–I’ll ask again: what does your “happy place” look like?  What inspires you on a daily basis?  We’d love to see/hear what your school, home, job, backyard–wherever!–looks like and how it makes you want to do your best.  Comment, will you? 🙂

Self-Portraits

One thing I believe is that we’re all beautiful.  I want to help my students believe the same thing, and celebrate diversity.  One way we began to do this is to read books about the ways we are all beautiful and then create art to showcase that–art that will hang in our room all year to help us remember. 🙂

Last week we read the book The Skin You Live In, by  Michael Taylor.  It is written in the form of a poem, so it sounds good, but the point of the story is that our skin is something to celebrate and appreciate.  The pictures are really great, and everyone loved reading it!

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 4.15.31 PM(photo courtesy of goodreads.com)

After we read it, we talked about the beautiful skin that we live in in our class, and started a project to create portraits of ourselves.  I have done this many times with classes, and sometimes there’s paint involved, sometimes markers, sometimes colored pencils.  This time is was colored pencils, along with yarn, fabric, string and glue. 🙂

I was so impressed at how diligently everyone worked to make it both creative and authentic to themselves.

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Look! We got to practice our cutting skills with this project.

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I love that we have so many adult helpers at our school to support us! Mrs. Gaglio is helping Makayla create her portrait. 🙂

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We also got to practice our gluing skills.

I had to highlight Ava and the way she masterfully demonstrated her understanding of using "just a dot, not alot."

I had to highlight Ava and the way she masterfully demonstrated her understanding of using “just a dot, not alot.”

Here Diego is helping Briannia figure out how to make the cloth look like her clothes.  I love how projects like this have opportunities to work both alone and with each other.

Here Diego is helping Briannia figure out how to make the cloth look like her clothes. He figured out how to solve the problem, and is showing her how to sketch the shape of her shirt before she cuts the fabric. I love how projects like this have opportunities to work both alone and with our classmates, sharing our knowledge and teaching each other.    This picture exemplifies the phrase I love–everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher.

I just had to take a picture of this part of our rug as we worked.  Learning is messy, friends! (Don't worry--they know how to respect our environment and they picked it all up!).

I just had to take a picture of this part of our rug as we worked. Learning is messy, friends! (Don’t worry–they know how to respect our environment and they picked it all up!).

We had just the right spot to hang them so they can smile down on us all year! :)

We had just the right spot to hang them so they can smile down on us all year! 🙂 There are a few friends who aren’t finished yet, and theirs will fill that hole by the clock when they’re done.