Let me start out by saying that my post today surprisingly, is not about technology. Its about the good ol'fashioned skills of letter writing and sewing!
The theme of this month has been "military madness." At the end of January I found out a student of mine earned first place in a holiday card contest for Veteran Hospitals sponsored by the NJ Elks called the "Kids Care Holiday Cards." Leslie A. embroidered felt and turned it into a holiday card using cardboard backing. It was the most beautiful holiday card I had ever seen. The message on the inside was even more beautiful than the outside if that is possible. It involved no technology at all, embroidery is a skill passed down by many generations in her family. However, the Elks reluctantly added a new category this year for cards designed on the computer (not even close in competition). The pictures I have here don't do it any justice. When we submitted it in November, I kept hoping to hear from the Elks, but surprisingly they didn't notify winners until after the holidays. We had forgotten all about it.
Winning this contest was a great honor for Leslie. Leslie struggles with academics and is very introverted. It was so nice to see a student be honored for something non-academic. Her parents told me this was the first award she has ever won. Sometimes as teachers we get so wrapped up in grades and homework and progress reports...it was nice to recognize Leslie for the great talent she possesses.
Another surprise was an email I received from Mr. Forrester. Before Christmas we adopted him as our soldier overseas and wrote holiday wishes to him. We could only hope that he received our letters before Christmas. We never expected to hear back from him. Then I received an email from him this week:
While I was over in Baghdad over the holidays, I received a HUGE bunch of letters from your students! Well, I made it back a few weeks ago, and wanted to see if maybe I’d be able to stop by personally to thank the class for the great gift! I actually took them around and showed a lot of people, and it made them all smile. I even have a slide show I put together for a Boy Scout troop I talked to with some pictures and stories and whatnot that I’d be more than happy to share with your class and/or anyone you would care to invite. Anyway, just an option, but I’d definitely like to stop in some day to say “thanks!” if possible!
Please let me know!"
Our soldier is coming in next Wednesday and the students can't be more excited. They have touched the lives of other people and made connections to people they would never have met. Our theme this marking period is "Be the Change" and my students have definitely achieved the objectives.