Finding a way to relate to young children can be difficult at times and I am grateful I can rely on simple children's movies to send some pretty complex messages. Today was the first day back after a long holiday break and I expected to have some students a little teary-eyed as they returned back to the classroom. So, I had to come up with something to ensure the kids walk through the school doors with smiles on their faces. The back-to-school from winter break theme is "Doors Open to Infinity and Beyond!" A little cheesy, but it worked. Now for the details.
First, I wanted them to know that education opens doors to endless possibilities. Coming to school and doing their best only leads to great things. When the kids walked into school today, they were able to see the school pride lounge decorated with life-sized cutouts of the Toy story characters along side their "First in Math" achievement levels and kindness display. Second, I wanted to give them a visual picture of how each one of us is different, but we are all important. Who would have thought a space invader would be friends with a cowboy? Seeing these characters shows them we each have a special talent and place in this school. Jessie the Cowgirl cannot get anywhere too far without her sidekick, Bullseye! Toy story is a great representation of teamwork, friendship, kindness and acceptance. The third message is an important one. I wanted them to know that we are a family and that is when we "cued" the music. "You Got a Friend in Me" was played throughout the school as the students arrived to their classrooms. They need to know that they are welcome at school and our staff will make sure they are taken care of and supported.
To say the least, today was awesome and I was the one a little teary-eyed when I saw the kids faces as they noticed me dressed up as "Jessie the Cowgirl" leading my faithful friend, "Bullseye" around to greet each and every one of them. Thank you to my staff for always entertaining my outlandish ideas!