Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat: Recharging for Back-to-School

#TeacherFriends Tuesday Twitter Chat! 

I have arrived safely in VEGAS for the annual SDE conference. 
This year I am contributing to the I Teacher PreK portion of the fun. 

Through the magic art of scheduling, 
I am going to attempt to be in several places at the same time. 

By all means, at 9PM EST you want to be on Twitter
and join Sheila Jane for a pump-me-up chat: 
ReCharging for Back-to-School! 

Sheila will be giving prizes to THREE lucky participants. 
Get your name and contact information on our Google Doc that will be tweeted 
throughout the evening's chat! 

Here are the questions outlined for tonight's chat. 
You can also be in more than one place at a time, 
by scheduling your answers ahead of time. 
I use TweetDeck (for FREE!) 

This is how I recharge. 
When I have the opportunity to spend time outside I EXHALE! 

I give thanks and I express my appreciation. 

I took that picture on Little Sister Bay Road in northern WI 
about 30 minutes after I posted my newest little project: 

"A Teacher Tribute." 

I think it is the longest blog article I have ever written. 
If you missed the credits you can read back through the article from last week. 

And here is the project itself. 
Please watch and share with your circle of #TeacherFriends! 

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Teacher Tribute: End-of-Year Reflections (Begin w the End in Mind)

Welcome to my world.... an incredible place where Arts and Literacy strengthen each other and dreams come true! This is a place where my words on paper are transformed into songs. This is the land of rainbows where my fabric designs are quilted with those same word-songs and emerge once more on paper as picture books. In this particular case a poem of appreciation on paper became a song and now evolves into a little 'movie.' 

A Teacher Tribute: End of Year Reflections (Begin with the End in Mind) iMovie by Debbie Clement

This project is a teacher tribute. This is my way of thanking every hard working, dedicated, individual -- committed to making a difference in the lives of their students and therefore impacting our world. I wrote earlier this spring of the release of my newest song and how my earlier poem grew wings. Now for the rest of the story. 

Kindergarten Graduation End-of-Year Slide Show Sound Track from Debbie Clement.
Click this image to purchase the 2- Mp3s at TpT

A mere sev-er-al weeks later my tribute poem has stretched and morphed. With a little help from 5 dozen friends and an imaginary drum roll..... 
  • I give you my gratitude for the sleep you lose over other people's children. 
  • I thank you for spending your own {nonexistent} discretionary income at the dollar spot on such a regular basis.
  • I acknowledge your choosing kindness in the teacher's lounge. 
  • I applaud your dedication to learning yet another set of standards, curriculum, piece of technology, and rubrics in an effort to make a difference -- as dictated by individuals who have no idea what they dictate. 
  • I recognize the enthusiasm you generate during staff meetings.
  • I appreciate your zealous efforts at organizing: in an effort to get your ducks in a row, while herding your cats, juggling plates, swallowing fire and leaning over to tie that child's shoes, all while wiping that one's nose as you turn in your lunch count for the day. 
  • I observe the generosity of your phoenix-like spirit.
  • I know the 'after hours' you dedicate to your PD via reading the latest approach, chatting on Twitter and perusing Pinterest with a purple passion in the fervent belief that there's gotta be an answer. 
  • I witness your digging deeper to use professional courtesy while composing report card feedback. 
  • I see your laser focus honed on those you have been entrusted to care for.
  • I congratulate you for the hope you splay so willingly day after day. 
  • I give you my thanks.
Here it is.... for the first time.... "A Teacher Tribute!" THE MOVIE!!!

"Begin with the end in mind." 

The second habit of highly successful people, according to Dr. Stephen Covey, is the ability to consider how you want things to conclude -- before you begin them. So it is with all great dreams, all great projects and all great classrooms. So it is with this heart-felt project of mine. We begin to plan for the new school year on the horizon, by considering the conclusion we want to achieve at year's end. So we begin anew by rethinking what has just concluded. The end-of-year celebration is the launching pad for back-to-school. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Cycles and seasons. Seasons and cycles. 


I have long known that "Teaching is a work of heart." Who said that originally? I don't know and can't give proper credit, but I can hear those words from my mentor Mimi -- from her stage, from her emails, from her hand scrawled notes left in my mailbox over the years, over the decades. 

Teaching Is a Work of Heart

While I was making the credit slides for my iMovie 
I came up with the phrase 
and the more I think about it, the more I like it.
I'd like to trade-mark that phrase now. Pretty please.
I think that phrase is 'mine' to share.
I don't think I've heard anyone else use it?

There are so many heart-working teachers.
You know who you are. 
The heart-working teachers will get a tear watching their peers celebrate the children in this video. 
They will see themselves.
They will dig a little deeper as a result.   

The point of this article is do my level best to give credit to the many teachers that shared their photos with me to bring this project to life. I intend to share the still photos and a link to the contributors. So with no further ado, let's get right to it! 

As the music intro unfolds..... the opening set of four images are of my WonderGrandTwinzees captured by their loving mama bear as they make their way together into the big educational world. Standing in their socks and brand new backpacks in the kitchen, the entire world of 'formal education' awaits. I don't know if there's anything more exciting to a kinder than their new backpack. 

Every parent is flooded with emotions as they put their littles on the mammoth yellow monster for the first trip into the unknown. And just like that.... a kindergarten career is launched. So we set the start of our teacher tribute with that transition from kitchen to bus stop! 

Yet, kindergarten only begins following the successful emergence from PreSchool and the establishment of a solid foundation in those earliest years. Thank you to Miss April of April's Learn and Lead Academy for sharing this iconic image of preschool graduation in full caps and gowns. 

I am familiar with April's work because she is best friend to my new BFF, Barbara. It is Barbara that invited me to St. Croix earlier this year to visit her classroom. It is Miss Barbara who brought her classroom of little green goblins to meet me at the St. Croix airport. Who does that? It was a first for me! 

You can read about that incredible trip from this earlier article. 

The wonderful thing about finding your #TeacherFriends, 
is that you have then found your tribe and your village. 
A friend of Miss Barbara's is a friend of mine --
and so it goes. 
I have just finished my first twenty years as music-lady
morphed into an author/illustrator. 
Over those two decades I have received a LOT of group hugs.
My heart is full of children. 

This is one of the first group hugs that was captured and then shared with me. I had just finished singing with the youngest at the Columbus School for Girls. I'm just a little over-whelmed with their excitement. 

I never cease to be amazed at the receptivity of a group of children to welcome me into their world. This is what an hour of togetherness looks like at the conclusion. Just imagine the impact of a teacher at the end of a school year!!! 

This next image is shared from my friend Joanne out in Colorado. 
Look at this adoration captured as she is showered with flowers. 

I had an author/illustrator residency with Joanne last fall that is captured in this article. 
Here's a picture of the two of us in front of the photo booth she created for the day. 

Joanne teaches in an Artful Learning school and you can connect with her on Twitter. 

Next up I'm grateful to Kelsey Harrell for sharing this group hug photo. 
I also know Kelsey from our Tuesday night Twitter chat at #TeacherFriends. 
You can connect with her on Twitter. 
She is passionate about kindergarten and inquiry based learning.
I'm hoping that I get to her school in Tampa in the future. {Wink-wink!}

Yup. This is our own WonderBoy as a preschooler -- years ago.

The only grand-child in our tribe that I saw emerge into this world and witness a first breath, I may have a lingering 'extra' connection there. This has long been one of my favorite photos: my watching him have such fun, as he helped me lead the singing during his preschool era. 

Music is such a significant part of the Early Literacy triangle. 
I have written about it often of course. 
Here's my lengthy article (my attempt at being scholarly) on the significance of rhyme to reading.

SPEAKING OF READING.............. 
This photo that goes very quickly in the movie, was one of the very first submitted when I asked for contributions. 
Yes. This is THE Deanna Jump in her classroom setting. 

How she can continue to contribute to so many people's lives, in so many ways and remain such a beacon of kindness is an example that I hope I can always follow. 

Many Kindergarten teachers follow Deanna's work with zeal and use her materials in their own classrooms. I am fortunate to cross paths with her 'out on the speaking circuit.' I can always count on her for a sincere hug.

Yes folks. She is just as genuine as the news reports suggest. 
I highly recommend that you follow her blog for the best insight. 

This next photo is another of my own personal favorites. 
It was taken by my friend IRL, Danielle, 
during my first Florida school visit.... to the Head Start program she was teaching in at the time. 

I just LUV the level of engagement on each of those faces! 
I have written at length about how 'crossing the midline' is a skill builder for early literacy. 
Go back in time to visit this article for my expanded thoughts. 

Danielle and moi at a PD conference

Next: glimpses of FUN in the classroom and beyond: 
demonstrating the impact that comes from NOVELTY and shared laughter. 

 First up: That's Cindy-as-Einstein yet another of my Twitter #TeacherFriends. 

I got to have two AUTHOR days at Cindy's school in Delaware and we actually bunked in with her!
Follow Cindy on Twitter and read her blog. 
I will get some ongoing quality time with Cindy at FrogStreet Splash where we will bunk in together while on the road. Her parents living in Vero Beach is another brilliant ongoing opportunity to keep our friendship alive. 

Meet Cindy Feeney and appreciate her sweet smile in costume. 
Follow Cindy's expertise on her blog: Love Those Kinders
Don't you love the lengths that teachers go to, 
to connect with their students? 

This is Carie of Carie's Kindergarten.
She's the tall one hanging upside down.

I have written often about Carie! 
She had her Kinders create a monumental quilt in response to my newest picture book. 

"Red, White and Blue" Kindergarten Picture Book Response: Collaborative Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach

LUV LUV LUV'd being in her school for an author visit as well! 

This next picture is one of my nationally recognized #TeacherFriends. 
This is the brilliant Kristen, science-kinder expert. 
Kristen is one of my moderating cohorts on our weekly Twitter chat. 
She keeps us organized and is the official prize-giver weekly. 
Take a look at her incredible classroom setting! 

This image captures the encouraging and watchful eyes of the teacher focused so intently on the student's efforts to learn, indicative of all teachers great depth of caring and support. I chose this photo to represent the great caring that goes on daily in classrooms around the globe. 

I have had the great good fortune of making an Author visit to Kristen's school. 
LOOK at this amazing welcome that greeted me. 
Follow Kristen on Twitter and read her blog. 

As I began to build the movie version of my song, I got to the lyric,
"as you tackled something new...." 
immediately I remembered the two images shared at our collaborative blog, 
"PreK+K Sharing" 
in the article written by Denita on Super Sized Learning.

The old 'art teacher' in me smiles from ear-to-ear at this project! 

I sought permission from Denita to incorporate these incredible images into this tribute. What an amazing collaboration with astounding open-ended, process results. You simply MUST replicate something of this ilk, if you have children in your life. 

There are so many people to whom I owe so much. Deborah Stewart of "Teach Preschool" fame is at the very top of the list. She has supported me greatly over the years and was the very first to offer concrete insight into how I could be a greater resource to other teachers, by way of the internet. 

As I began brainstorming those that I would ask for photos, I knew that I'd like to give a specific shout-out to Deborah. Again. Ask the busiest people that you know to do you a favor. Deborah very quickly shared the image below from her own classroom setting and several others as well. 

I LUV the way the photographer has captured the sheer delight in Deborah-as-teacher. 
Look how the children lean in! 
Look at those strips of paint pots..... oh what fun lies ahead!

Deborah is a teacher-of-teachers and created her own laboratory school in order to maximize and share with the wider world. Such a story of triumph. One million++ people follow her FB page!  

It was actually on her FB page that one of her reader's *wished* that my little poem was a song. Wishes can be motivators. I'm so delighted to be bringing this project full circle, by beginning with the end in mind. Or in this case, "end with the beginning in mind." 

In the middle of July as this project meets the world, most of my side of the world is savoring summer and those 'end-of-year' memories are poignant, but already passing. Others are now just a matter of a few week's from launching all over again. Some are collecting new tidbits to organize their rooms. Even though it is summer, most of my #TeacherFriends seldom turn off their teacher channel. 

Here's a photo from Deborah's own collection. This one is of her assistant in action. Again. The sense of rapture on the children's faces that surround the teacher-in-their-midst. Early childhood is all about being available and present and in this case: heads literally touching one another and the learning at hand. 

Look at the intensity of this next teacher gaze of endearment. 
It is the perfect capture for the line of my poem's lyric, 
"my eyes they glistened too." 

Get acquainted with Andrea at her blog, "Always Kindergarten." 
I'm so glad that she was willing to share this image within the context of my tribute. 

It is so seldom that teachers have a photographer in their midst to capture the mini-moments of learning that transpire daily, hourly and by the micro-minute. So many teachers that I asked had to search diligently to even locate a photograph that they appear within. [Kinda like the mom who is always taking pictures, but is never actually IN them.] 

Andrea shared with me that it was her student teacher that captured this image -- from her phone! They were engrossed in a lesson about insects and how they see. It is possible to document YOUR life in your own classroom and certainly having a student teacher would help facilitate that documentation process. Thank you! Magazine worthy. 

I'm fortunate to have others capture me at work. This is a cafeteria full of kindergarten kiddos as we kicked off our singing together in Nashville at Kristine's school. 

Here's her sweet smiling face. It is in this earlier article that I showcase the MANY authentic art projects that were created by the kinders in response to my three picture books. 

This next cafeteria of Kinders is in Texas! Can you tell the difference? On this occasion I was the guest of Crystal Radke of 'Kreative in Life' notoriety. I got to spend the weekend in her home and grow in my own faith as a result of spending quality time with this fire cracker of the spirit. We were able to worship together on a Sunday morning. That's a first. 

It was during this visit pictured above, that Crystal and I had the time to brainstorm the possibilities of our working together for optimal good. I can't wait to come back to this paragraph and edit in the link to the exciting announcement that is on the horizon.

This last photo of me in action is in Cheryl's school library in Florida.
I'm grateful to her capturing much of the fun we had together! 

Cheryl is the author over at Primary Graffiti.

My friend Maryann Harman gave me this next photo to include. 
You can find her brilliant brain info + music at Music with Mar.

This is from my sweet prayer friend at #TeacherFriends Twitter Chat. 
You can follow Shelley onTwitter here

Shelley's a big fan of 'our' Wobble Seats and has shared numerous photos of them in action within her Nebraska  #AlternativeSeating kinder-room. Nope. Still on my bucket list to get to her classroom in person! 

Click the photo to go to our WobbleSeat site!

Meet our daughter Sarah, mother of our WonderPeeps and pictured here with her next door neighbor Super Manny. Manny is a survivor of childhood cancer and we have seen him take on the world since his recovery. ***Sarah will be teaching a class of three year olds this fall in an amazing preschool setting. Expect a flood of photos in the future. 

I have written of Super Manny before here and here. 

This is Operium Baldwin, teacher extraordinaire and one of our regular 
#TeacherFriends twitter tweeps. 
Say that three times fast. 
Follow her on Twitter at this spot

Pictured below as human jack-in-the-box, is my nephew Justin-in-the-tunnel.

Justin has JUST returned to the states from a decade 'abroad' teaching in such places as Sierra Leone, Portugal and Paraguay. We are thrilled for his previous adventures and are delighted to have them back in the states and closer for hugging. 

In the midst of packing all of their worldly belongings, Justin was a treasure to get me his photo -- just to delight my parents and his. He's a sweetheart like that. Are you thrilled, mom? I'm so glad to have his travels represented. 

Whooop! Whooop! Teacher Laura got me a great smile. 
We LUV our hats and novelty puppets and props in kindergarten! 
Visit her blog for further insight. 

This is a glimpse into the daily life of another cyber friend from
#TeacherFriends on Twitter. 
Meet Dr. Jonna and be sure to follow her brilliance. 
She is cutting edge on all things technology and a HUGE support to our weekly Twitter gathering, where she has contributed since the beginning. 

Here's an entire classroom of smiles and art from 
Melissa. Follow her on Twitter and read her blog!
Melissa is a proponent of Whole Brain teaching and has a heart of gold for supporting her fellow #TeacherFriends. 
I am forever grateful for her support over this past year. 

Jon pictured below is one of my VERY first Twitter friends. 
He teaches Kindergarten in Montana. 
Be sure you are following him on Twitter! 

One of my very favorite professional moments of all time, was watching Jon 'steal' my audience away during the conclusion of my national keynote in Las Vegas for the "I Teach K" crowd. Little did I know of Jon's mad dancin' skills when I asked him to join me on the stage -- as part of the wild dancing piggies. 

It is only fitting that YouTube would select his class image above as the thumbnail for this newest project. He deserves the center stage! 

You seriously need to watch this video to see his AM!A!ZING! grand finale skills and the way he so graciously steals the entire show! Turns out that Jon had a chapter of his life where he was an aerobics instructor and ultimately a hip hop choreographer.... and we met on Twitter! Greatest 'God-wink' of all times! 

Here's another of my many #TeacherFriends from Twitter. 
Special thanks to Karen for sharing an iconic Kinder moment. 
Follow Karen on Twitter for her always upbeat tweets and encouragement!
As an author it always thrills me to see teachers bring the classics to life on a daily basis, and wow how they go ALL out for the big occasions!  

There are four pretty amazing teachers featured in this next collage. 
Starting in the upper left is Mr. Greg. 
I'm sure you know him from Smorgasboard fame. 

That's him up close and more personal. 
He is usually surrounded by his kinders.
Be sure you follow him on Twitter and at his blog.  

I've made at least three author visits to Greg's schools. 
He always has an amazing Kinder backdrop to welcome me. 
We are something of a mutual admiration society. 

Greg has invited me to join him this fall to lead off his second day of professional development.
If you click on the image below, you will go over to his blog for further details and registration. 
We hope you can make plans to join us in October! 
Get registered and join us! 

Back to the collage of my favorite peoples! 
This is Maggie. My Maggie. My marvelous Maggie.
My fellow granny, fellow blogger, fellow musician. 
Well let's be honest. 
SHE is the REAL musician. 
I am a 'music-lady' and there is a significant difference. 

Maggie is one of the original three of us that moderate #TeacherFriends every week on Twitter. 
Maggie has done so much to help us attract some of our most well known guests. 
She is a power house of technology and heart and that is a powerful combination. 
The fact that she offers encouragement to me personally is one of my greatest gifts. 
Be sure that you are following her on Twitter and at her blog. 

This teacher hug below is shared by one of our most active 
#TeacherFriends. Megan is such a support to newbies as they come to join us. Be sure you are following her on Twitter. She shares the vantage point of Moose as they visit her school's playground. 

And the final teacher in the collage of four is Mrs. Ehle! 
She gave me permission to share her FROZEN costume 
and her classroom of huggers as well. 
[That second image is in the subsequent collage of nine, highlighted below.]


After several years of our talking about it.... I got to make a visit to Holly's school in person to conclude this school year! It is such a thrill to finally get our ducks-in-a-row and get the date on the calendar! But walking in the door and getting my hug in person? That is simply THE.Very.Best! Be sure that you follow Holly on her blog. 

Here are some of our earlier images in a blink of a glimpse together: 
left-to-right: happy smiling children, Carie's Kinders and Kristen again (in action this time.) 

Row two: participating kiddos, group hug and Debbie gets to visit wobblers at times! 
Row three: Holly Ehle, Debbie on St. Croix w Barbara and Jen. 

Row one: happy smiling children, Carie's Kinders and Kristen again (in action this time.) 
Row two: participating kiddos, group hug and Debbie gets to visit wobblers at times! 
Row three: Holly Ehle, Debbie on St. Croix w Barbara and Jen. 

This is Jen one of my #TeacherFriends from Twitter. 
I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for her expressed appreciation. 
It is kind to be kind, ya know? 
I hope that you will follow her there
I know that her tweets will offer you encouragement, too! 

OK. That is the first half of thank yous! 
Go get yourself a refill of your cuppa cuppa. 
On through the second half and the grand conclusion.
We think that teachers are in charge of the ABCs and the 123s. 
There are so many times that teachers deal with so much more. 

This next photo officially makes this tribute international. 
Meet Mandy from Canada. 
Mandy has an especially big heart and teaches children with special needs. 
You'll want to be certain to follow her blog for her keen ideas. 
In this photo she has on her mom-hat.  

This next photo captures my dear friend teacher Tara and her son Carter. They emerged from a very serious car accident this spring and Carter is making a miraculous recovery from his nearly fatal injuries. 

I know that Tara would appreciate your prayers for his continued recovery. You can follow the fund raising efforts and his ongoing progress via his FB page: Keeping Up with Carter. #CarterStrong #PrayForCarter #HardWorkAhead. In the blink of an eye life changes. In the beat of a heart the homework is different.

There are times in life when our students become life's teacher.  

Carter's hard lessons return to the very basics. 
Hard lessons as a family. 
Prayers appreciated.

The word arrives in the midst of your busy, happy life. 
No warning. 
Suddenly everything is foreign and nothing is taken for granted again.
Greet DifferentiatedKinder-blogger Marsha and her heroic son MacKale.

Captured in this picture is part of the family spreading cheer.
You can follow MacKale's Journey on FB as well.  

MacKale's journey is also seen through the eyes of a faith-filled family. 
I am THRILLED to report that MacKale's recent scans have indicated that after all of his chemo treatments he is now NED [No Evidence of Disease.] Hallelujah! He will continue to have scans on a regular basis and be monitored closely into the future. I am just days away from meeting this WonderWoman. I promise to hug her for you! 

Lessons. Life lessons. Lessons about life. 

Now back to our classrooms and taking our classes outside! 
Look at Terri's class as they are ready to release their butterflies. 
[You're going to see additional photos from Terri's files shortly.] 
Follow her blog for delightful inspiration.
We also have the opportunity to meet in person next week!  

Next up is Carolyn's class heading outside for a hike. 
Doesn't this setting take your breath away?
What an incredible photo!
Look at that hug in the 'caboose!' 
Do the right thing. #BeBrave #GetOutside!
Carolyn has just released two books with Dr. Jean! 
You're going to want to follow her blog for all the details. 

Look at this amazing shot captured during Terri's butterfly release.
Documenting details. 

Look at the innocence of this hug captured with Vera. 
You're going to want to follow her on Twitter. 
Do you recognize her? She's the Tutu teacher.
I think that I can see some tears in his eyes.  

Look at this triumphant class that surrounds Chris. 
Chris has just been recognized for his excellence in the classroom. 
I think that shines in even one still picture. 
Follow his blog and that will connect you all across the social networks. 
It is a good thing to surround yourself with excellence. 
When you find it, move closer and observe keenly. 

This is another one of the Teach Preschool assistants. 
What a joyous smile captured as the littles are leaving.
Transitions can be challenging. 
Saying good-bye is memorable for all.  

I have had two recent delightful author visits to an Ohio elementary school
with an amazing music teacher! 
Well there are LOTS of amazing teachers,
but the two of us have stayed connected because of Twitter. 
Follow Kristen there.

You met Jen earlier with her class photo. 

We have traveled from the preschoolers in their caps and gowns, 
to our daughter Noelle receiving her doctorate. 
Where does the time go? Does it evaporate?
Milestones are magical as they mark the memories. 
The feelings are many. 
The tears come easily. 
Can you see her preschool teacher smiling now? 
How about her 5th grade band director? 
{{{You'll always be a part of me, I'll be a part of you!}}}

"You're in my heart to stay!"

My grand-daughter painted this heart-of-LUV for my mom, her great-grandmother, 
for Mother's Day as a kindergartner. 
Am I the only one with tears in my eyes at this point?
Keepsakes. Milestones. Treasures. Passages. Generations. Legacy.  

Carolyn (introduced earlier) gets a good bye hug.
If we could bottle and sell those endearing embraces 
we could fund Arts education for a decade.

Deborah also shared this next photo for this project. 
{The blogging world connects us to so many.}

The joy of reading which begins in mommy's lap nurtures a lifetime connection to the treasures and abandonment that come to us through books and the shared stories ahead....
"I send you on to read some more." 

"There's no app for a parent's lap!" Read to your children!!

This next photo is from my dear friend Enrique Feldman. He and I go way back. The way-back machine indeed. Enrique is a musician that takes my songs and books and turns them into full scale productions. He has taught me so much! 

I owe a debt of gratitude to Enrique for a myriad of things. The two of us shared the stage in Arizona for my first state keynote. The two of us shared the stage at NAEYC for my first contribution to a national presentation. You get the idea. He is a trail-blazer and he allowed me to contribute on his momentum.  

I'm tickled to announce that Enrique has just released his own first picture book capturing bedtime stories he told his oldest as a little. He and Sam have worked together on the release of this newest project, the first in a series. You'll want to 
follow him for all manner of insight into the creative process, the role of the teacher in creativity and so much more. 

Look at this circle-of-reading! 
Is it any wonder why I appreciate Carie so completely? 
This is her end-of-day tradition.

Yes. This is Crystal of "Kreative in Life" 
reading to her daughter as she graduates from high school. 
More tears....... for this mermaid and her mama.
"There's more to read it's true." 

My Mim. My Mimi. My Mimila. 
Twenty years of rainbows-within-reaching. 
But at least 25 years ago, I heard this natural wonder for the first time. 
I was forever captivated by her tambourine. 
She is ageless. She is heroic. 
She deserves a postage stamp or her own island at the very least. 
She is the pied-piper-of-people. 
She is the mentor-to-us-all. 
She lives inside of me as I DYOT! 
She was a living acronym before hashtags! [DoYourOwnThing.]
She was a one name wonder before Cher, Madonna and Beyonce. 
You can connect with her via carrier pigeons or smoke signal 
or a letter with a stamp.
{Just kidding. Sorta. I can share her email.} 
If you see her name on an event? 
Attend. Bring a friend!
Charter a bus for ALL your #TeacherFriends!   

Looking at this next photo be prepared for sheer enthusiasm.
Teacher zeal knows no boundaries. 
You've heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? 
This one is worth ten thousand million gazillion infinity words. 
Nuff said. 
Just look at the picture.   
Meet Tim in Japan. 
Deborah had permission to share this amazing photo 
for such a perfect conclusion to this project. 
You can connect with Tim on Twitter.
Patty-cake with exuberance.  
Head-to-toe wiggle-giggle excitement. 
The documented contribution of a teacher. 
Thank you. 

We're not quite done, but we're coming down the home stretch. 

Carolyn also shared this sweet photo. 
Carolyn is still on my bucket list to meet in real life! 
I can't wait until I walk into her amazing classroom. 

I took this next 'toe photo' on the island of Kauii. 
These Hawaiian toes had much to teach me during my author visit. 
Respect. Tradition. Culture.
[Children do not wear shoes in the classroom.] 
Visit their island with me in this earlier article of adventure. 

I captured these fascinating Floridian fingers at the conclusion of our Artist residency, music lady, Author/Illustrator time together. Their smiles remain with me always, but their incredible collaboration and team work is what you see captured below. 
You can read back through this earlier delightful visit at your leisure.  


This last photo to conclude our teacher tribute takes my breath away. Sincerely. 

This is Terri with her second graders. Captured by her daughter, this is an incredibly poignant pay-it-forward moment: filled with color, brilliance and sparkle. First drink in every aspect of the picture. Then read Terri's own words of explanation that I have copied below the photo. *Tissue alert.* 

Terri's motivation for the moment captured above: 
On June 8th, 2014 my nephew, a police officer, was gunned down while eating lunch.  He was a member of the Las Vegas Metro Police.  He and his partner were on their lunch break and both left behind young families.  Alyn Beck was a kind, loving, God-fearing young man whose big smile and fun-loving nature made him the life of the party.  His life was family centered and community minded.  He was generous with his time, his talents, and his money.  His wife and family still grieve.  I wanted to find a way to honor him and be even just a little bit generous, just as he was.  I decided to do the ice bucket challenge and donate my money to the policeman’s fund.  I also thought it would be a great lesson for my second grade students, so I let them help me complete this challenge.  What an exhilarating experience, both for me (that water was COLD!) and for my students. 

Alyn’s widow said this on the anniversary of his death:
I've tried to pick up the puzzle pieces that were scattered that day and put them back together but what's missing is the life of the party. Alyn's personality was even bigger than his muscles. His humor was even greater than his love for firearms and self-preparedness. His selflessness was even more noticeable than his love for woodworking. He made sure his love for me was known by all. He loved to tell people he married up and that the only mistake I'd ever made was saying yes to marrying him, but the truth is I feel like the luckiest girl to have been the one he chose to spend his life with. He was my rock, my sounding board, my best friend, my biggest supporter in anything I ever attempted to do. I'm trying to continue to live the life he would want for me, a happy one, but it is so difficult when he's not here to share it with. I miss him more than words can describe.

The very final image I leave with you is indeed 'me' as captured by a KinderKiddo with incredible powers of observation and a deft set of skills for representation. Behold my black and white striped tights, my colorful polka dots and my very big smile indeed. I will treasure this part of her, as much as I hope she has a splash of me inside. 

"You'll always be a part of me, I'll be a part of you." 

You change lives. Daily. We change lives. 
A HUGE thanks to each one of you that shared an image
and brought my little poem-song-tribute to life. 

Click this photo to go directly to our sister web-site and get the Wobble details. 

Would you be one of my #TeacherFriends and share this project to the wider world? There has never been a time when the significance of teachers has been more critical to our planet. One of your peers is in need of support and encouragement. 

I do have the zipped file at TeachersPayTeachers for purchase
 that includes 2 separate Mp3 versions: 
sung and instrumental. 
They are intended to be used for your end of year slide shows as a sound track. 

At this moment it is HALF price!!!!

Kindergarten Graduation End-of-Year Slide Show Sound Track from Debbie Clement.

***Now to the post-script....... How can I be of support as you begin with the end in mind? Click the photo(s) below to go to the earlier articles. 
THE Collection of over 200 Back-to-School Bulletin Boards at RainbowsWithinReach

AUTHENTIC Art versus Craftivity: Examples, Opinion and Insight at RainbowsWithinReach

185 Ideas to Organize your Classroom NOW! {RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach}

FREE Webinar for Professional Development

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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