Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept. 11th Tues + Blue Skies: Then + Now

photo of: Red, White and Blue: Construction Paper Quilts in Honor of 9-11 (in response to "Red, White and Blue" picture book)

Tuesday. September Eleventh. Blue Skies. Again.  
This morning is eerily reminiscent of the details for the start of 9-11. 
Everything is the same and yet we know that everything is different. 

The story of what I was doing on that morning and how I found out about the crisis has been told here before.  I learned very much after-the-fact. I was working on a birthday present for my sister, in the quiet secluded privacy of my studio. I finished it on that morning and took it to the Post Office all boxed up and ready for delivery. Handing it to the postal worker I asked very innocently how long it would take to get my parcel to Georgia. The worker behind the counter responded with "I have no idea." When I repeated my question yet more perplexed, I got the response, "I have no idea when airplanes will fly again." 

My learning of the epic tragedy unfolded via my car radio as I drove from the Post Office south down the interstate to our annual Artist in the School night. I arrived downtown filled with the verbal description of a horror never before imagined, to find that our event had been cancelled. 

photo of: Patriotic Hearts in construction paper. First grade 9-11 response to "Red, White and Blue" picture book

Yesterday I was the artist-in-residence at Southern Door Elementary School, sharing my picture books and songs with their youngest students. In a serendipitous cyber surprise I 'met' Ms. Mecham this summer on Pinterest of all places! She was instantly enthusiastic and designed my visit on their fifth day of school to launch their patriotic response to 9-11. Amazing!

photo of: Patriotic Painted Handprints on School Cafeteria Poles
As soon as I walked from the office through their cafeteria I knew I was in an exceptional setting. Seeing the handprints painted on every pole of their community cafeteria brightened my heart. What a simple concept. How wonderfully brought to life. We live and eat amid the red, white and blue! Every day.

photo of: "Red, White and Blue" First Grade Response to Picture Book Art

What a joy to see the first graders emerge from our sing-a-long concert together, where we compared my finished quilts to my book's illustrations, only to return to their room to create their own unique 'quilts' of red, white and blue! Their lockers were adorned by noon with these fantastic and original designs. Again. Simple + glorious. 

photo of: First Grade Patriotic 'Quilts' in honor of 9-11 (Artist in Residence Visit)

Teaching young children about the significance of this day is a challenge. My own approach is to focus on the beauty and grandeur of this amazing land of diversity and to celebrate all that makes us amazing. I do that by singing and signing my simple song with the lyric, "America brave and true, red, white and blue, America, I love you." 

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

I am brand new over at Teacher's Pay Teachers. The exciting part of this evolution, is that I have created a digital download version of this song and placed it into a zip file of Mp3s and support charts of sign language, music notation and flag facts. I'm so honored with the dozen comments left in response by those who have made the initial purchases over the web. New people are finding my work. Such a THRILL. Thank you to my fellow bloggers who have shared my existence, to those who have pinned and those who have gone the old-school word of mouth route. I am deeply grateful for your support. 

photo of: Bald Eagle Cooperative Art Project in Elementary School
"Mystery" Collaborative Art Project -- on Display in the Art Room 
My song would be awesome to teach your students next week in honor of Constitution Day and then again on Veteran's Day. If we've learned anything as a result of 9-11, I hope it is that we have a renewed sense of patriotic pride that is near and dear to our hearts -- each and every day. 

-- Debbie -- 

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