Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Caught or Taught?

Here, our students have assembled their thumbprints in an expression of support to one of our staff members. 

It all began in the hallway during a chat about the impending assembly.  A MATH teacher mentioned in front of the ART teacher an idea about all of us contributing something together.  All we needed was a winterized tree on canvas.  The ART teacher addressed that situation and brought in the tree, painted on a canvas, 22x28 inches framed, the very next day!
The students were next!  During their health and PE classes, they traveled to the ART Room where palettes of various shades of purple were ready to sample.  Each student's thumb was moistened with paint, then blotted on a page, then imprinted in any location on the tree.  Care was taken to have all the leaves attached and successfully filling out every branch.  (Parenthetic note:  Every student acted on their best behavior while they had a potentially messy hand!  Well done, students!)
In addition to all the staff in the current building, other district staff were invited to participate by sharing their thumb print as well.  The final project was presented at a school wide assembly. 
The middle school setting can be a place of great extremes.  Emotions can run high or low, peeks and valleys, all before breakfast.  The adventure of the middle school makes it so exciting.  Yet alone with the adventure is the drama that sometimes follows.  Our intent in a school-wide project like this was to broaden students' perspective.  This collaborative piece shows how we can altogether become bigger than just ourselves individually.  By looking at others, we take the focus off ourselves.   Watching how others battle situations, working through stress and displaying healthy choices shows how many things are caught and not taught!
The lessons range from narcissism and self-centeredness to the differences between empathy and sympathy; not to take advantage of a situation but to learn life lessons in every situation.
Working through the little distractions at school is preparation for the real challenges of life.  At school, there are supportive adults to guide and offer coaching.  After school, many begin playing without the safety net of their teachers and parents.  At our middle school, we strive to guide them towards success, one issue at a time!

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