Sunday, March 3, 2013

Read + Rainbows Across America

photo of: Author Welcome Hand Painted Rainbow via RainbowsWithinReach

One of the best things about authoring a blog is the opportunity to interact with others passionate about excellence, writing their own journal for the wider-cyber world. 

This has been the year for traveling the country and making visits to my blogging peers on their home turf. When I received the invitation to give the opening keynote in Nashville for the annual UMAP conference, I immediately thought of the amazing antics of "Kindergarten Smorgesboard." Immediately we began plotting and planning behind the scenes. How can it be March already? 

Imagine my smile upon being greeted just outside the home of the 'Monsters' by this personalized and colorful billboard welcome. It's so much bigger than a spring time bulletin board..... it took up the entire wall! Of course seeing a Rainbow art project of these proportions made me smile from ear-to-ear!

photo of: Preparation for Author Visit to Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's my host. 
THE monster-tamer himself. 
Greg-the-smorgasbord maestro.
photo of: RainbowsWithinReach meets Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Turns out that the 'monsters' have adopted my picture book and song "Tall Giraffe" as their BEST favorite. I know that there's an immense amount of effort represented in these torn paper collages. I was so honored to have them 'begging me' to sing it to me! It's not at all ironic that they're also pretty fond of my song "Monster Spray." They can belt that one out -- with EVERY phrase more enthusiastic than the one before. 

Greg has been gracious enough to upload the pattern for the "Tall Giraffe" crafitivy that he created just in time for my arrival, so that EVERYONE can have access to it from his blog. 

photo of: "Tall Giraffe" Torn Paper Construction in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

What can I tell you about Greg? He stands tall and is a legend in the land of the garden of kinders. This is the greeting just outside his classroom door. How much fun is having a site word pass word? Can you imagine being greeted daily by MJ with changing passwords? FUN!!!!

Greg is taking the blogging world by storm, already hovering near 1000 followers of his point-of-consciousness conversational style. He shared over dinner that he already has created 92 'products' designed for his peers -- based on his experience of what his monsters need. Yes, folks I said 92! Dedication. Insight. WOW! 

photo of: Michael Jordan hosts Site Word Password in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

He's pretty famous for his 'hat-of-the-week' so I couldn't possibly enter his room without my head covered. I figured he's get a kick out of my bright Minnie Pearl special. He is donning his very own "Tall Giraffe" beauty. The monsters were busy making their own renditions..... but I'll save those photos for a Fine Motor Friday edition, since I got to see them in action. 

photo of: Debbie Clement + Greg Smedley

photo of: Morning Message in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Morning Message in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

Don't get too jealous of his room. This is a little peek at his classroom library, with life sized palm tree -- created with brown grocery bags. I'll see if I can find out the specifics of how he constructed this glory. Look for a link later in the week. 

photo of: Kindergarten Classroom Library via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Classroom Organization in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Classroom Organization in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

Outside his door there was a whole wall covered with these puzzle pieces. The parents spoke of the goals for their child on the pink sheet and the student had their own goals on an interlocked greet piece. Pretty spectacular! 

Before I knew it, it was time to get down to the auditorium for our BIG time together! This is about 150 some students: PreK + K + 1st grade all gathered together to celebrate reading. How lucky am I to get to lead the fun and shenanigans? We're getting warmed up in this shot below. Greg has accepted the role of photographer here. 

Some Joy + Happiness 
Evidence of Greg on Stage!!!

From my incredible time at Kirkpatrick Elementary with lots of hugs and excitement, we drove across town to get ready for the UMAP of Tennessee Conference. This incredible rainbow is filled with the actual LUV and 'hot air' warmth of the board and steering committee of the annual event. I had the responsibility of giving the keynote to open the day. What an incredible greeting to all those in attendance -- brave enough to confront the weather and travel to this amazing event. 

As I type, we are driving back down to Florida after having had the opportunity to go to church this morning with my parents and sister and then have a celebratory lunch joined by my niece Kelly, her ever so sweet husband Ramon and their own little bambino. What a weekend my friends? What were you up to? 

I'm just guessing, but perhaps, just maybe, I'll get invited back to Nashville some day!

-- Debbie -- 
Debbie Clement on Pinterest


  1. I am so glad you and Greg got to meet! That's amazingly awesome. Maybe someday I can get you to travel to the boonies of South Dakota for a visit. :)

    1. HoJo!! It was indeed AWESOME to get to meet! By all means if I make it to South Dakota, it will be as a result of your working behind the scenes! I LUV LUV LUV to go where I get invited. Start your engines. Let's make it happen!



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