Our students understand, what can we learn from them?

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* This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while, oops! It is amazing how fast time gets away from you. *

I recently found this poster (above, courtesy of Aram Kim, PDF version here). A beautiful piece of art about how reading brings us together.

The read aloud portion of my day is my favorite part of our day. My students and I take turns reading to the class each day, as a way for them to build fluency and oration skills, and a way for all of us to build community.

Last night, I participated in #TitleTalk on twitter, and the topic was fostering awareness empathy. It was a fabulous discussion, someone had suggested reading the book Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall. I hadn’t read it before, but I was excited, I could tell by the cover, this was a story that needed to be told. I checked the book out from our school library, called the students to the carpet, told them I hadn’t read this book yet, but I had heard great things about it, so let’s take this adventure together.

bk_crayon_157(Michael Hall’s statement about the book)

On a side note, I love reading a book for the first time with children, we all experience the magic of it together. As the teacher, my reactions to the book are genuine. (I don’t recommend this for all books,  I can tell you a few times that has majorly backfired! But I digress.)

The story of Red follows a crayon who is actually blue, but is labeled as “red.” Red tries his hardest to be red, with the help of his teacher and family and friends, but it doesn’t work, he still colors everything blue! Along the way, he meets another crayon that helps give him a new perspective on himself, and learns that no matter what his label says, he is blue!

As my students and I experienced the story together, I could see their hearts as we read the story. They knew he was blue, and they wanted him to accept this. This book was enjoyed by my class, and I already have bought a copy for my classroom collections. What really amazed me though were the responses to my question for them: “What can we learn from this story?”

“Red wasn’t really red”

“No matter what kind of person you are, you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.”

“It taught us the [different] names of the crayons.”

“Be who you are.”

“Do what your heart says to do.”

“No matter what you do, you are always special.”

“You are perfect no matter what.”

“See past the color or label and see the person for who they really are.”

“You are good no matter what”

“You should appreciate who you are”

I was so moved by their responses, they get it! They understand!

How can we be like them and learn to accept others for who they are to create a more caring, and accepting world?

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