As Mother’s Day approaches, I. have been thinking a lot about my mom, Vivian, who died at the age of 91, almost ten years ago. She was a dress designer, seamstress, artist, and teacher. What I didn’t know until this week, was that she was a poet. Poetry was my father’s realm, so I guess she kept her poetry writing private.
My cousin’s daughter has been doing research recently on our family, and she found a newspaper clipping of a poem of my mother’s that was published in her local newspaper in 1953. She was 31 years old at the time and had a one-year-old daughter, my sister Vivian. Ever since I read my mom’s poem, I’ve been imagining her as a young wife and mother and the hope she had which she imbued in her poem, “Summer’s Coming.” It comforts me now and gives me renewed hope.
This week, the Kindergarten students at my school are busy learning to recite a spring poem I wrote several years ago called “Awaken the Peas.” As I listened to the children recite my poem, I realized how similar it is to my mother’s summer poem.
There is so much my mother has given me, and I’m learning more and more about her after her death. I often refer to her as “my first teacher,” and she continues to leave me lessons. I hope she knows that I am listening and will continue to listen until my final winter comes.
Last week and this coming week marks two weeks of standardized testing at my school. One week for the test and the following week for make-ups, for anyone who was sick or whose parents decided to take them on vacation. Yes, vacation. For some crazy twist in the universe, I am in charge of testing. At first I resented that someone would take their 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader on vacation during testing week. I now admire the parents’ thinking: “The test can wait. It will still be there when we return.” What a commanding attitude. Fun, rest, leisure come first. Testing?
Testing can wait but not for me and most of my students. We could not avoid being assessed, judged, and quantified. I am responsible for all the students with learning differences who require extended time. I remember what it was like to be a student taking those yearly spring exams. I’d get so nervous that I’d have butterflies in my stomach. I’d read passages and word problems and suddenly nothing made sense to me. I’d try to focus and reread what I just read. Test taking was a slow and painful process.
Last week, my students and I spent five mornings together taking an assortment of reading, writing, and math tests. I tried to make it less stressful. I tried to make it fun. I brought doughnuts! As we were about to begin, they asked me question after question: “How many questions are there? I long will it take? If I have to go to the bathroom, can you pause the test? Good, smart, practical questions. I answer every single one. Then I said, “I’m going to sprinkle fairy dust on you. This will give you good luck and the test will be easier.” I thought they would laugh and think I was being goofy. I’m sure they did, but also, to my surprise, each and every one of them called out wanting to make sure that I didn’t miss them. Some of them asked for another helping for fairy dust. We laughed loudly. We were now ready for the test.
Like all the years before, the students got through the testing week and were relieved and happy when Friday came. I know testing is necessary, but I think there is a way to quantify what they really now is a more creative, positive way. But of course, that would be labor intensive, take commitment and imagination, which we have a short supply of lately in education. As I compete my forty-second year of teaching and look forward to forty-three, I wrote a poem as a balm for testing week.
Spring is normally a busy time for me at school. I’m in charge of standardized testing, grade placement, and wrapping up all student support documents for the year. Everything in my entire being yearns to resist this regimentation. Rather, my body and mind desperately need to relax, refresh, and find things to celebrate. I have no desire to analyze test scores, manage student placement for fall, or organize all the hundreds of pages of documents that I am responsible for keeping current and filing away in the right places.
Instead, I want to relish warm weather and blue sky. I want to delight in bright colors and the air filled with the steady hum of bubble bees. I left school one day just a half-hour early to find my way to my local garden shop, Back to Nature. It is a place I revisit regularly to find my balance and connect with green and growing things.
As I park my car and enter the space, I immediately feel at ease. Yellow and purple pansies greet me. I take a deep breath. I consciously drop my shoulders and let go of all the stressors that have been accumulating throughout the day. They all mean nothing . What matters to me is beauty and flowers and the spiraling bees drunk on honey.
I let myself wander, taking photo after photo of spring colors in the form of flowers. I inhale their fragrance. I’m not at school any more. This is my small moment to enjoy.
For about a decade or more, I’ve been slowly growing my roots. Letting go of toxic people even when they are family and allowing myself to feel joy. Growing my roots was a hidden and slow process. I have always felt a little untethered, aimless, impulsive. Now, as I approach seventy, I want to slow down, consider the small wonders all around me, take them in, and sit in gratitude with them. I don’t want to rush around being anxious and fearful. I am cultivating faith and peace. I know I will need a steady supply of these as I age.
The garden sheds that in December were filled with holiday wreathes, flowers, and decorations are now transformed for spring. Bouquets of tulips and daises line the shelves. Statutes of bunnies, frogs, birds, and turtles hide in every corner. A large banner hangs in one shed proclaiming “When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” I stop and smile at this garden wisdom. I know I need these moments for my roots to dig more firmly into the ground. I know that tending my inner garden is crucially important. Without these bits of respite. I would once again feel in flux, at the mercy of the slightest of breeze. Now, I have dug in deep, spread my strong and agile roots. Now, I can’t be easily toppled. Now I stand firm.
Last week, I had an opportunity to attend a poetry workshop presented by Janet Wong and sponsored by Rutgers University Center for Literacy Development, which is directed by Dr. Lesley Morrow. Janet won the NCTE excellence in children’s Poetry Award in 2021. It is a lifetime achievement award, and one of the highest honors a children’s poet can receive. Before becoming a poet, Janet was a lawyer. Currently, she serves on the Yale Law School executive committee. However, decades ago she decided to change the direction of her life to become a children’s book author. She has published over forty books for children and teens on diverse subjects. This workshop was special to me because, as a member of the advisory board of RUCLD, I had been asked to help Janet throughout the day. I have always admired Janet, and now I got to spend the day with her.
Janet brought two large suitcase of props: flip-flops, popcorn, marshmallows, nori seaweed snacks, gummy worms, a rubber duck, a bunch of bananas, a bag of just-ripe avocados, a can of peas, an apple, an orange, an onion, a clove of garlic, and much more. As she read poems and told the stories behind the poems, Janet would give away objects as gifts to the audience members. This is where my job began. I put on my best “Vanna White” imitation – holding objects up in the air, smiling, and then racing around the conference space delivering the precious objects to participants.
One poem that Janet acted out for us and had participants act out in turn was “Noodle Soup.” It is a short, happy rhyming poem. From the repetition, alliteration, and whimsical rhyme, one would think it was just a funny kid poem. However, Janet told us the story behind this poem. When she was a child, she invited her best friend over for breakfast. Her mother made a steaming pot of wonton soup, Janet’s favorite. When her friend arrived late, she looked at the soup and said, “Don’t you eat ‘normal’ food for breakfast?” This hurt Janet immensely, but she never told her friend.
Another of Janet’s poems, “Waiting at the Railroad Café,” recounts a tense scene when Janet and her family were on vacation and went to restaurant to eat. When the family entered, it was like they were invisible. They weren’t greeted or taken to a seat. They weren’t given menus. They were completely ignored because they were Asian. That experience made a profound impact on Janet.
These two poems come from Good Luck Gold, which was the first book Janet published in 1994. Good Luck Gold & Morewas published in 2021 and took Janet’s original forty-two poem collection and added fifty more pages of prose explaining the backstory of each poem. I loved that Janet took everyday objects and connected them to times in her life. Out of that connection a poem was born. Many times we read poems but do not know the backstory. The backstory creates context and gives us a deeper understanding of the poem.
After her large group presentation, participants were able to attend a small group session with Janet. That session was designed to give participants a chance to write. Janet and I stacked copies of her various poems and spread a majority of the contents of her two large suitcases onto four long tables. As a warm-up, Janet asked us to match her poems with the objects that were displayed around the room. Then, Janet asked us to choose an object and write a poem about it. As we shared our poems, Janet gave away more objects to the poet-participants. It was clear that Janet has a generous spirit: she gave her time and knowledge freely. She enjoyed gifting people with the objects she had lugged from Seattle, Washington to Piscataway, New Jersey.
Below is the poem I wrote for my object – a small yellow rubber duck. The poem came to me as I remembered my friend, Arman, telling me how his son, Caram, did not like water and bath time at all. He would cry and cry. So I re-imagined how Caram could become in love with bath time.
As we packed up what was left of her belongings into now one suitcase, Janet encouraged me to keep writing and to join her summer initiative, Think Poetry, which will provide opportunities for teachers and librarians to publish their poems. As we departed, Janet stacked cookies, popcorn, and Nori seaweed snacks in my arms.
“Put them in your faculty room,” she said with a smile. “I couldn’t have had a more helpful partner today. We are a good team.”
I smiled, thanked her, and walked to my car juggling my teacher treats. Janet not only connected people to objects and experiences, she connected people to each other, and that is the true power of poetry.
This January to March time is always a rush of non-stop activity at school. The Northeast, dreary winter weather does nothing to help soothe the onslaught of stress. I get so wrapped up in the doing that I don’t even realize I’m hunching my shoulders and holding my breath most of the day. And I love what I do! I love helping children. The helping part is the easy, rewarding part for me. It’s the never-ending to-do list of faculty meetings, parent meetings, assessments, evaluations – check lists upon check lists. I am a very organized person, but the enormous amount of never-ending work has the potential to drown and discourage me. But I won’t let it!
Thank goodness for mid-February. Mid-February is a reminder to breathe, slow down, and show myself some self-love. My wedding anniversary is February 10th. Since our first anniversary 38 years ago, my husband and I have used the 10th to herald in four days of celebration. For us, it is a time to reflect of what we are grateful for; a time to remember that we are each other’s best thing. The 10th also stands as a reminder for me to pause, take a step back and undo some of the knot of work projects. The work is important, but if I don’t take time for myself and show myself some love, the work will ultimately suffer.
Here are 14 ways I’m intentionally showing myself some love this February:
Smile – I notice that when I smile, I feel better. My mood lifts, and it’s contagious! People smile back and I feel connected. When I look in the mirror, I am learning to appreciate my lines, wrinkles, and spots. “This is me; this is my face. Hello! You are loved,” I say to myself and grin.
Laugh – I am a laugher. I cannot help it. I laugh all the time. I didn’t notice that I laugh a lot until friends brought it up. I find joy in many things. I think it is my laughter that keeps me sane, keeps everything in perspective when times are rough. When I’m having a hard time, I often seek out a funny movie to put me back on track. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine.
Read and Rest – I love to read, but often choose working over reading. I have intentionally eked out some space in my day to read and rest, to read a bit and then ponder what the author is showing me. Words, images, ideas come flowing in, and I take a deep breath. I am connected now to my internal world and it makes me more curious and hopeful.
Peaceful Pen – I cannot seem to find the time during the week to write, so the weekends serve as my time to escape with my pen (or keyboard as the case may be). I wake up early each morning, look out the window past the meadow and woods, think about what is on my mind, and sit down to write for a few hours. I find that this time is essential for me. Without this writing time, I feel incomplete and unhappy. Writing is breathing to me.
Joy in Nature – Nature brings out the best in me. I am fortunate that I live in a place with nature all around: woods, farms, parks, and gardens. I regularly visit these places. When I’m in nature, beauty sinks into my skin, and I am reminded that I am a small part of this big, beautiful planet.
Beautiful Bouquet – I love flowers, all flowers. Okay, I admit tulips are my favorite. Yellow ones. I’m glad for that because roses are very expensive. Roses are beautiful too, but I like something more subtle, like wildflowers in the summer. In February, I stop off before work and buy myself a simple bouquet of tulips for my desk. They last over a week and every time I look at them, the remind me to pause and rest for a moment.
Café Life – I’ve been finding time before and after work stop by local cafes. I choose a different one throughout the week. It is like going on a little adventure. Most times, I have to take out and run, but when there is more time, I sit down and savor my favorite drink, cupping it in my hands and breathing in the aroma.
Sweet Indulgence – Chocolate. I love chocolate. I eat way too much chocolate. Instead of consuming lots of chocolate throughout the day (someone put a bowl of candy in the faculty room)! I’ve decided to show a little self-control and choose one sweet indulgence each week. This is not your run of the mill candy bar. This is a sumptuous, decadent dessert. It something planned, something to look forward to.
Meditate to Rejuvenate – I am learning to slow my monkey mind and meditate. It is not comfortable for me. I’ve been teaching a 4th grader how to meditate to help calm her monkey mind. It wasn’t until meditating with her that I realized how important it is to take a few minutes out of the day to center oneself. After meditating for 5 minutes, my body felt suddenly relaxed, and my mind was refreshed. I didn’t feel overwhelmingly tired with the need for my afternoon coffee.
Step it up! I rush around all day and sit all night. I’ve decided to change my couch potato habit and get up and move. I may stretch, do tai chi, dance in my socks, or practice martial arts with my husband. But my daily activity is walking. I love to walk in the woods, but when I can’t do that, I walk in town to window shop and people gaze.
Artistic Spark – Drawing, painting, weaving, sewing, creating collages is something that has brought me joy since I was young. I don’t need to be the best artist. I just let the materials take me where they want me to go, and I find that as I move my hand, my whole body and mind relaxes. I get into the artistic flow and everything else disappears.
Soak Away Stress – You know those luxurious bathrooms with the deep marble tubs or the beautiful jacuzzi looking over the sea? No – I don’t have either one. But I have a deep need to soak away stress, so I bought myself a little footbath and some fragrant bath salts for my tired feet. At least once a week, I fill up the footbath with warm water, sprinkle in the bath salts, and breathe in lavender and sage.In a few minutes, my feet feel loved.
Make Time for Music – Even though I have not one ounce of musical talent, I love music. I listen, I sing along, I hum throughout the day. The world needs more music. I remember going to a Broadway musical with my mother and refusing to leave when the show was over because I wanted life to be a musical. I was twenty-three at the time! I just don’t understand why we can’t just break out into song. And so – music accompanies me everywhere I go. It helps me think, and it allows me to relax.
Random Act of Kindness – The best way I know to feel joy and love is to spread it to others. Each day, I conscientiously make sure I perform an act of Kindness for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a grand, bold gesture. It can be as simple as a smile!
Last week, I planned a winter sensory poetry lesson for out 2nd graders. I decided to start with a slideshow of winter photographs and then brainstorm words that they might use in their poems. My goal was to quickly set them off to write so they’d have plenty of time to compose their poems and share them.
This week, I executed my plan. As I presented the slideshow, the girls looked intently at the photographs, which were a mix of nature scenes and people and animals in the snow. After watching silently, they shared their ideas as I wrote them down. We were collecting sensory words from what we had seen in the photos. The words would act as a jumping off point to create images for their poems.
Before they began to write, they asked some questions. One girl asked if she could use rhymes and I nodded my head. She sparked an idea in my head because I don’t normally compose rhyming poems. Since I always write when the children write, I decided to challenge myself and write a rhyming sensory poem. I think it is an important part of the writing process for children to see adults writing alongside children. I made sure the girls were all actively thinking and writing, and then I sat down with my own ideas. One student came over to see what I was writing, but I quickly redirected her to her own writing and told her that I would share at the end of class.
As the children wrote, I circled the room looking at their poetry and making observations that I thought would nudge their writing further.
That’s an interesting idea! You’re making an acrostic.
Wow! You are using such strong verbs.
Oh, you are including lots of sound words.
Like each child, like each snowflake, each poem was different, exquisite in its creation. They took their experiences of snow and thought about how it looked, smelled, sounded, tasted, and felt. They thought hard, they experimented with words, and they formed meaning to share with others. This time to play is necessary and important for writers. It connected what they have been reading, to what they have experienced, to what they have learned about composing a poem.
My colleague and friend asked me to cover one of her 2nd grade writing classes this coming week. I eagerly accepted. I was given two choices: monitor the winter writing assessment or teach a lesson on winter sensory poems. The decision was an easy one for me. Given the choice, I would pick poetry every single time. And poetry with 2nd graders? Nothing could bring more joy!
I have been introducing young children to poetry for many decades, so I jumped at the chance to teach again and this time try a new approach. I spent the weekend thinking about ways to introduce sensory poems, which would engage these small, curious minds. I know that the best plan of action is to speak briefly, make it visual, and step out of the way. Though, I often want to explain and read example after example, I have found that children have poetry squirming inside of them ready to jump out, and all teachers have to do is invite them to think, wonder, play, and create.
To prepare for the lesson, I sat down and thought about how to construct a winter sensory poem. I summoned my beginner’s mind. I thought about the taste of winter. Images swelled up inside me, and I quickly wrote the last stanza first. Since there were four lines in the stanza and five senses, I then knew the format of this poem would be five stanza with a total of twenty lines. I don’t normally write poems thinking of the structure, but this is the way “First Snow” presented itself to me.
At the edge of the woods
Tall trees stand
Ina a swaying silhouette
Bracing winter winds.
Their boughs creak and thrum
Creating a winter rasping rhythm
Birds stay silent on branches
Muffled by their puffed feathers.
The clouds are as gray and thick
As chimney smoke.
The air is frozen-still
And smells like snow.
Soon snowflakes whirl,
Dancing on noses and fingertips
Before drifting to the ground.
Flake, upon flake, upon flake.
A faint taste of salt
Is on my cold, cracked lips.
I wrap my arms around myself
And dream of the sweetness of spring.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect children to work in this way. However, going through the process again like it was my first time, helped me to better understand how to present sensory poetry to the children. And it reminded me that the process of both teaching and writing poetry should not be rigid with formulas and rules. When poetry is presented as play, then children have a much easier time adopting it and making it their own.
My plan was simple. I will set the mood with a slideshow of winter scenes. Then, we will generate a list of words that express the sights of sounds of winter, which I will write on a chart so the children can reference it during poetry construction. And then, I will invite the children to start writing. Mid-workshop, I plan to invite students to read their poems in progress. I think this helps young writers keep the revision process in focus and playful.
As they finish their poems, they will read them to each other, further revise, and finally set their poems down on fresh paper. Since they are 2nd graders, they will want to illustrate their poems. Indeed, I anticipate one or two reluctant poets will need to draw first and then create a poem from their image. As with the first snow of the season, I wait eagerly in anticipation for Tuesday afternoon with our 2nd grade poets.
My One Little Word for 2023 is PURPOSE. The older I get, the more I don’t want to miss and flit away. I want to savor every moment. Whether good or bad, I want to stay in the moment, take in the experience, and discover what it can teach me. My OLW for 2022 was Remember, but when I looked back at last year’s post – it was all about purpose. I smiled to myself. At least I am consistent. I realize that purpose is truly important to me, always at the forefront of my mind.
When you do something on purpose, you do it deliberately, with intent. It can be a positive or negative thing: He hit his sister on purpose. She sent her aunt flowers on purpose. Much of my young adulthood was not spent on purpose. I was impulsive, reactive, impetuous. Maybe that’s just the way young adults behave but looking back I realize how much my impulsiveness negatively affected my development. I was all about DOING and did not plan or think things through very much. Life happened to me; I didn’t try to create it. I didn’t think I could. I was timid, unconfident, with little self-esteem. Thank goodness, I kept growing. Reflection came and with that much more self-understanding. I began to slow down, think things through, and act deliberately. I made less mistakes. I enjoyed more moments. I began creating a purposeful path.
When you do something with purpose, you have a goal and determination to reach it. If you live your life with purpose, you are thoughtful, you execute plans, you reflect on your options. I was fortunate to have a passion which connected directly to my career. I think I was born a teacher, and I was able to put my passion into action. Even after more than forty years, I still am excited by and enthusiastic about teaching and learning. I have spent some of my best days in the presence of children. Sure, I have had my down days, but for the most part I enjoy teaching and learning. It is a creative process for me. It nourished me. It allows me to pursue my other passions: writing and art. Now that I’m heading towards the end of my career, I am looking towards writing and art to take the helm – to create with purpose, to express myself with words and painting.
The way through
The winter woods
Is bleak, gray, lonely
I break through the bracken.
Ice, sticks, stones
Crackle under my feet.
I walk on.
I walk on
As they split and swerve
Right or left,
Uphill or down.
I keep my pace,
Birds descend from branches.
Birds descend from branches.
Dashes of blue, yellow, brown
Dart from tree to tree.
I am not alone.
They sing to me in the chill air,
They fly above in the clear blue,
Showing me the way.
Persimmons are a new fruit to me. I began eating them only two years ago. They were not widely available in grocery stores. They are seasonal and show up in the produce aisle for a few short weeks in winter. They are rare and expensive. I treat myself anyway much like I treat myself to my childhood favorites – figs and pomegranates.
I have had to learn how to know when they are at their peak ripeness. I’ve tasted a few before their prime, which left a fuzzy taste on. My tongue. But their color – their color gives me hope for spring and brightens my mood.
Persimmons first came from Asia. There are many varieties and colors ranging from yellow to chocolate brown. The variety I enjoy is Hachiya, which is flame-orange and heart-shaped. Persimmons are now grown all over the world: Asia, Spain, Israel, Azerbaijan, Australia and in Florida and California in the United States.
Every year, I look forward to the winter, to the change of season. But when the leaves fall, and the trees are bare, and cold sets in, I begin to feel a distinct loneliness. Nature had gone to sleep but I’m still wandering in the wilderness. I just doesn’t seem right to me. I take precautions for the winter gloom not to settle into my spirit. Candles, twinkling lights, trips to the garden store to see greenery and bright berries – all these help to lift my mood. But the persimmon is uniquely responsible for bringing springtime back to me. I smell, taste, and swallow, and something inside me brightens and grows.
Persimmons in Winter
The winter sky
Holds no color.
Cloudless and icy gray,
It is a blank canvas
For the bare branches
That crisscross and rise up
In the frozen air
Stitching the sky
With sharp lines and angles,
A sketch of the woodlands
In black and white.
There is no sound,
No smell, no color -
The air is empty.
The trees stand in solitude,
Perfect peaceful desolation.
In my black woolen coat
Hat, scarf, and mittens,
I walk the wide expanse of the meadow
Where all traces of green
Have leeched back
Into the soil till spring.
Cold stones and ice clods
Crunch under my feet.
Most animals have gone to hibernate,
Birds dip through the air
In quick silence,
A lone crow calls out
With his broken voice.
This winter loneliness
Seeps into my exposed skin
And settles there.
I walk back home
To find some respite from the cold,
To embrace some color.
A small bowl of persimmons
Sits on my kitchen table.
Their flame-like hue
Draws me close and warms me.
I touch their waxy skins
And immediately feel their warmth.
They are ripe and ready,
I choose one to enjoy.
Peel and cut in thick rounds.
In the center of each
Is an eight-petaled flower.
For this brief moment,
I return to spring.
I have been working with children for over four decades. During that time, I have witnessed a slow erosion of kindness and amicability. With the onset of COVID, political division, and lack of public safety, these last few years have produced an atmosphere of intolerance. Everyone is in a rush to get to the finish line, but we are not stopping to see that our friend, neighbor or peer may need our help. An air of distrust permeates our society. As a result, children are greatly affected by what they see, hear, and feel, even if they cannot yet completely understand it. Instead of fostering a sense of calm collaboration, children are being raised in an era of tension, intolerance, and uncertainty. As schools keep focused on academic excellence, we are losing sight of general civility. Teachers often say that they don’t have time for the social-emotional side of learning. However, if we don’t put in the time, if we don’t slow down and focus on how we communicate and treat each other, then all learning suffers. Children need a strong, clear foundation of kindness and consideration, so they can appreciate other points of view and become fully functional, productive citizens. Slowing down, listening to students’ needs and concerns, and building in time for communication can make classrooms a model for a civil society.
In the rush to teach more and more content, to cover all the necessary skills, teachers sometimes have difficulty connecting with their students. They forget to ask, “Who are this unique learners in front of me?” and “What does they need to grow?” A perceptive teacher not only asks, “What content should I teach them?,” but also, “What do they need for their social-emotional development?” When teachers show interest in students’ family lives, activities and hobbies, and their unique personalities, a bond is made which helps teachers foster their students’ growth, especially when the student faces an obstacle or setback. Teacher-student connection is the key to a child’s social-emotional well-being, and in the end, it is this important connection that keeps the child motivated and engaged. If a student knows her teacher cares, then she will want to do her best and try just a little harder. She is not afraid to take risks, and she sees her teacher as a partner in her success. They have developed a transactional relationship, and she has become invested in her own learning.
There are many ways to kindle kindness, to make students feel safe and honored. The techniques used in the Responsive Classroom method are proven and give students the confidence they require to fully participate as active classroom citizens. Instead of rushing into the day, Responsive Classroom teachers, begin the day with connection. They emphasize both teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships. From the start, this type of community building, fostered each and every day, affords students a stable base in which to exchange ideas in an open and accepting setting. From this foundation, children can grow confidently and flourish. They learn to build strong and trusting friendships. They develop the tools with which to be independent and compassionate community members. This circle of friendship is recursive; it becomes stronger and stronger with each cycle. Trust replaces skepticism, cooperation replaces competition, and altruism replaces selfishness.
Friendship Circle Poem & Craft
As often happens, my classroom reflections become an impetus for poetry. I recently crafted this poem and art project and hope to share them with some of my young learners.