I can breathe now. The Holiday Concert is over, comments (for student reports) are finished, and my Middle School Choir has visited three senior homes. In the midst of busyness, our school community was fortunate to receive an important message on Wednesday morning.
It was Mrs. B’s 5th grade class giving a chapel on generosity. The students walked us through their thoughts of tangible gifts (iPad, games, iPhone etc.) and abstract gifts.
Hold it, right here. Abstract gifts?
I have to admit, as an adult, I worry about buying the right gift for families and friends (I am extremely behind because of work). When was it when I thought about abstract gifts – gifts of thought and mind?
Remarkably, the 5th graders exchanged the following gifts with one another:
Some beautifully created posters from the 5th grade:
This simple yet profound message touched me and our community. I’m grateful – especially during the height of commercialized-I-want-this-and-that holiday season, it is SO good to focus on the heart-felt love we can give throughout the year.
I love that these young people are mindful.
I love that I learn from my students.
What gifts from the heart will you choose today and share with your loved ones?
So Put a Little Love in Your Heart, y’all!
A huge thanks to my friend Ro and her great love for her students. She models kindness and care for those around her. I’m so blessed to work with her!
Happy birthday to Herr Beethoven, Miss Jane Austen, and my best friend (DH)!
My DH and I love her works. Here are some great links for your reading and viewing pleasure.
- Podcasts of full-length audio books, facts about Jane Austen, and 18th c. British culture check out Jane Austen’s World. This blog is simply amazing!
- A list of BBC productions and other movies of Austen’s novels
2005 version of Pride and Prejudice soundtrack are just gorgeous. Enjoy listening to them, too!
I found these two tribute songs for Mandela. First video features the Soweto Gospel Choir. The Choir’s flashmob performance at Parkview Woolworths is beautiful. Read more about it here.
The second song is by the students and teachers of Playing for Change. The song “Strong” was inspired by Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Myriam Makeeba, heroes of South Africa.
These are the beautiful sounds of music I’m hearing. What are you hearing?
Rest in peace, Mr. Mandela. You let your light shine through the darkest times.
Happy New Year!
As we usher in the new year, I stop to think about all that has happened in the past year. I am grateful for all the triumphs and struggles I have experienced. With each passing year, I am learning to see how precious life is and no matter how I feel about this crazy world, much grace shown to me.
I am thankful!
So let’s ring in the new year!
My hope for 2013 as a teacher, mom, and wife is to
1. lead with my ears,
2. follow kindness with my words,
3. and not react immediately.
Listening is probably the most important musical skill I teach each day. I would love to listen to those in my care with purpose. I need to do this!
Kind words can abate sticky situations and bring life to even the young. I want to practice kindness!
Not reacting immediately will be the hardest, for sure. I want my anger to straggle along….ever slowly. I want to live a grace-filled life!
I will leave you with a musical (really, life) thought from Edward Elgar:
“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us;
the world is full of it,
and you simply take as much as you require.”
Take time to listen to the music around you. Let the music move you. Share the good and help those around you. Best wishes for 2013!
Since my last post, my students have been busy thinking about making song collections to bring hope and encouragement to all in Japan. We dedicate these songs to @barbsaka, @m_yam, @captainC, @johnstonb, @mscofino, and their students.
My students were to think of a song that would bring healing, encouragement and hope to people facing hardships in Japan. They wrote out their reasons on GoogleDocs and shared the links.
We send our love to you! May these songs lift you up and bring you healing.
PS: I’m encouraging teachers and school elsewhere to add their songs and messages here or make their own playlst! Also check out Paper Cranes for Japan project. My school will get busy with crane-making after our Spring Break.
1) We will be adding our message posted on the gloster and linoit sticky notes to We Love Japan message board as mentioned by Barbara. It’s really simple way to raise money – I hope YOU will also take a part!
2) Messages added to We Love Japan site! ~ ysl
I have so much to say, but I find myself speechless right now.
It’s hard to watch what Japan is going through right now after the earthquakes and tsunami. As I write, many in Japan are holding their breath about the nuclear reactors situation. I know we, Americans, are far away from the East, but one cannot help, but feel for people in Japan.
I invite you to read some posts:
- A post by Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto (@barbsaka), an American teacher living and teaching in Japan. Her recent post, Aftershocks 2, is a sober read about what is happening in Japan. Her suggestions for foreigners who wish to help is really helpful.
- A Washington Post correspondent, Paul Bluestein wrote this personal post, Why I’m Not Fleeing Japan on why he’s staying put in Japan.
- The last link I’m going to share is by Brad Johnston, a music teacher in Japan. He wrote a post titled, The Big Quake Music Lesson. Due to the earthquake, his school is on a week-long break and posted an interesting music lesson for his students (although they are not meeting face-to-face, many students are checking online for work). I took this lesson and while I discussed recent disaster in Japan with my students, I asked them to consider songs of hope and encouragement for people who are in Japan. Once I gather their links and messages, I will share them with Brad and Barbara.
My thoughts and prayers are with people in Japan!
Our 4th and 5th graders learned and sang “Dona nobis pacem” (translated Latin: Grant us Peace) this morning to remember the victims of Arizona shooting.
We remember them. We hope and sing for peace.