Friday, April 19, 2013

Motivated Writing Practice for Kindergarten: Part #51

Motivation in Writing (and Fine Motor) 

photo of: Fine Motor Friday: "As Unique as the Spots on a Giraffe" at RainbowsWithinReach

We've just wrapped up 50 articles on 'Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts' under my shining rainbow. I wasn't really sure how to forge ahead on Fridays, but it seems there will always be more to be said on this topic near and dear to my heart. 

Welcome to article #51 in the continuing series! 

photo of: 50 Editions of Fine Motor Meets Fine Arts at RainbowsWithinReach

I'm a music-lady, morphed into a picture book author-illustrator.
 I go where I get invited! 
I make school visits and offer presentations at conferences.
Then I share my adventures with you here. 
It's all about kindergarteners.
Kinders + communication. 
Caring in Kinder.
"As unique as the spots on a giraffe." 

[Back story: If you're new here, my 2nd picture book is based on a song I'd written and is entitled 
"Tall Giraffe."
 My song has an awesome conga drum line of orchestration
 that underscores the call and response, cumulative-rhyme lyrics.]

photo of: Four Foot Tall Thank You Letter from Kindergarten Students via RainbowsWithinReach

It's not everyday that you receive a four foot tall thank you card folded into an envelope. {{{In my experience, its about once every seventeen years or so.}}} Look at this brilliant, personal demonstration of 'making-an-impact' that just arrived in my mailbox.  

I have struggled with how to capture its incredible essence in an effort to share it here, in this format. I'll give it my best shot. I'm typing through tears, so that makes it a teeny tad more difficult. Snail mail. Remember?

photo of: Four Foot Tall Thank You Letter from Kindergarten Students via RainbowsWithinReach

Unfolding this incredibly unique community collaboration literally left me breathless. Marion's hand-written note at the bottom that begins, 
"Miss Debbie you are as unique as the spots on a giraffe."
was all it took, to make me stop in my tracks and sit down. I am living my dream and here in my hands was the evidence of that very truth. How often are you able to reflect on your 'contribution' while you're in the middle of it? How often do you count your blessings for work where you feel called to contribute? 

[This is the thank-you-follow-up to my visit last month in West Palm Beach. This school is one that is well below poverty level for the vast majority of students -- though that fact was never in evidence during one of the most grandiose welcome receptions I've ever received. Don't believe me? Click back to see what I'm talking about!]

photo of: Kinder Writing on Giraffe Thank You Card via RainbowsWithinReach
"I think you're marvelous" 
This life-size incredible giraffe card 'follow up' is the brainstorm and activity of the brilliant Marion Hake. Marion was my host for the event and the instigator too (along with Mrs. Miller) for pulling it all together. How I wish you could meet her. Maybe you teach beside such a marvel? Maybe you are such a marvel yourself? You know the type. The kind who goes above and beyond. For everything. Sometimes that type receives scorn from peers for their unceasing efforts. I hope that's not the case here. Some folks get zest for going the extra mile. It is my experience that a lot of those zesty folks are in kindergarten. Teaching kindergarten, that is! 

photo of: Kinder Writing on Giraffe Thank You Card via RainbowsWithinReach

Marion is the type of individual who has dedicated her entire career to the service of young children. 
She has given her life to laying strong foundations for the youngest and most impressionable. 
They are fortunate to have had her as their first formal educator. 
I am fortunate for having spent a day with her. 

photo of: Kinder Writing on Giraffe Thank You Card via RainbowsWithinReach

She's old-school. She's been around. 
She's seen the pendulum of educational theories come and go and come and go.  
She's a hugger. 
She sees the strength in her students and lavishes them with praise.
She wants the best for her students and isn't afraid to ask on their behalf.
When she has an idea, it's full thrusters ahead, when it comes to her kinders.  

photo of: Kinder Writing on Giraffe Thank You Card via RainbowsWithinReach
"I think you're wonderful, marvelous"

They adore her. 

They work hard to meet her high expectations. 

They smile in her presence. 

They cooperate.

They show her respect.
They are fortunate.
They shine under her direction.   

photo of: Kinder Writing on Giraffe Thank You Card via RainbowsWithinReach
"I think you're beautiful, M. Debbie"

I'm just guessing that there are occasional times when Mrs. Hake becomes frustrated or tired. 

Her beloved students would never know it. 
They see her rise and shine like the Floridian sun up above: 
always going to the wall on their behalf. 
Their hearts are filled to the brim with adoration for her efforts. 
She knows their stories. 
She carries them in her heart. 

"It was funny when you blew your horn that way" 

They benefit daily by being in her orbit. 

Her efforts on their behalf know no limit.
Their planet's rotation is better as a result. 

I am humbled by this demonstration of kindness. Without a doubt, Mrs. Hake stayed late after school a night or two, to bring this brainstorm to fruition for my benefit. I'm sure she had to do some research to find the appropriate giraffe silhouette and then do some maneuvering to get it enlarged so lavishly. Then the photos of the children. Then directing their handwritten efforts. Patience of a saint our Mrs. Hake.

Fridays and Fine Motor. Fine Motor and Friendship. FRIDAYS!! Fruition + Fun.

"I love to sing your songs" 

Seeing Eddie's face inside his own spot. Reading his heartfelt words: "I love to sing your songs." 
Words fail me. My heart is full. How to articulate my feelings? 
I am as unique as the spots on a giraffe. Just like Mrs. Hake and just like Eddie.

It's not just that he said, "I love your songs." That would have stolen my heart to be certain. What I appreciate ever so much more is that he LOVES TO SING my songs. I can hear him now. Across the miles. Across the country. Singing my songs. My work is so simple that HE CAN SING it! That is my legacy. Simplicity. Repetition. Willingness.

Hiring incredible talent for my arrangements and the quartet of vocalists and the intoxicating instrumentation. That was my hope. Years later bringing the book together with my niece Kelly's African photos and my sister Rebecca's art direction, that was my vision. It doesn't happen overnight, these creative endeavors of mine, but given time they really are something to appreciate. Turning the pages in an old fashioned book and listening to kindergarteners serenade you? A gift. PRICELESS.

Thank you Eddie. Thank you Marion. What a gift to be lavished with such appreciation.
What a gift to be in the midst of living your legacy. Thanks for the pause to reflect. 
I've gone on at length here previously about giraffes -- from my earlier travels. They were featured in 
Fine Motor Friday, Edition #21.

photo of: G is for Giraffe, Art Projects from Preschool to 1st grade focused on Giraffe Theme

Back to the concept of fine motor. Under the heading of fine motor development, giving your students the MOTIVATION for wanting to work hard to communicate is certainly a part of the equation. The evidence above in their handwritten communications would suggest its a BIG part! Such a smile, to see these kinders attempt to write their message 'in-the-round.' There work is independant and it is admirable. 

Marion's idea would be the perfect end of the year culmination project following your trip to the zoo. It would make a perfect raffle prize or auction extravaganza. Or it could simply hang on the bulletin board. Need something to give to your favorite kinder-teacher switching buildings, or retiring? Look no more! 

photo of: Tall Giraffe Bulletin Board for zoo unit or jungle theme (Kindergarten Artwork)

I had a long-ago tutorial here on using a gift bag to make a giraffe puppet.
Turned out ubber cute!  

Here's a collage of children's paintings in response to my other fave, 
"Giraffes Can't Dance." 
LUV LUV LUV the message of Giles picture book. 
Self-esteem and giraffes! 
Unique as the spots on a giraffe! 

And here's a link to the YouTube video of teaching the song to librarians and ECE teachers on location in the Youngstown area. 

You can always purchase my books at my dot com website here
The song alone is on "Debbie's Ditties 3 at the Library." 

We'd LUV to have you come visit our own Early Education Emporium cyber mall.


My materials are there amid those of my dear friends at PreK+K Sharing, our collaborative blog!

And of course I have an entire Pinterest pinboard dedicated to all things giraffe!
Thanks so much for pinning from this article!
As a self-published author, every pin is a HUGE contribution and I thank you!   

-- Debbie -

Follow Me on Pinterest
I'm now at 116,685 followers!     
Click this link to go there directly! 
Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth -
Now at 301 followers!
***I have done some window-shopping for you at Amazon, where I am a new affiliate. 
Clicking through from here, will allow your shopping purchases to support me years from now in retirement. 
I am forever suggesting that you wear something 'novel' on your head to gain more eye contact and interest from your students. There are a TON of giraffe possibilities. 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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