Can you believe how far into 2013 we are?
It is amazing – I have traveled to many places, seen many things and met so MANY different faces! In March, I visited two schools a town called Dublin in Ohio. The teachers, staff and students were OUTSTANDING, the children were EXCITED about learning and being in this creative building we call “SCHOOL.” I felt welcome. That seems simple enough although in these days and times of everyone rushing here and there it is easy to forget the simple things like, “hello …!”
Ironically this is how I open all of the author/illustrator talks, a slide on a screen that says “HELLO” and all the children read it out loud. The sound of their collective voice is amazing. During this visit I saw close to 1,200 children … in 2 DAYS! So for all of us who are parents, teachers, care givers, coaches, and other important folks in our lives, we know the impression this many children can have. Although I have only an hour with them, I know the impact is great. It is an hour of listening, sharing thoughts, creative ideas and being inspired by one another.
The best teaching model I have found is listening. The children in these sessions tell you exactly what they WANT to learn about for themselves. I give them an opportunity to share stories, laugh, raise a hand, make a comment, tell what they know, interpret, define a word, and SHOW ME A FACE! Yes … the face of a dreamer! During the talk I introduce them to a character I illustrate called Olu, “the Little Dreamer” he shows his creative self through his FACE.
I introduce Olu by asking them to make a “MAD” face (imagine 1,200 children staring at you with this face, WOW!) then I ask them to make a happy face (a great relief from the previous face.) In this lesson I hope that they can see that the simple things in life can lead them to a direction for living their dreams. What’s in a face? All the hopes of a bright future. These children show me so much in those moments, LOVE, RESPECT and HONOR. At the end of the session we all sing a song together about dreaming. It is called the DREAM THEME and by this time we are ALL showing our best faces. I ask teachers and students to SING along, they even get up and dance … NOW that’s a “JOY face” if I ever seen one! It is a fun celebration of how your personal dream can inspire another person.
We all go inspired.