Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody, Everywhere…

An occasional parent will peek in my Art room and be amazed. Not by my awesome lessons, or the kids’ dazzling artwork, or my great collection of books, but by a far more jaw-dropping sight: kids cleaning.

Clean-up is one of the most important, if not the key, objectives I try to teach. Anyone can make a mess (especially in the Art room). But leaving the room in as good or better shape than it was left for you, that’s a true art. It’s about respect. It’s about helping. It’s practice for how to treat the world.

Or maybe it’s just a fun chance to play with sponges and brooms. I put out 8 sponges, three brooms, and two dustpans, and kids want to use them so badly I often have to switch twice. Some kindergarteners are sometimes in tears if they don’t get to suds up the tables. Parents, try this at home.

For five minutes it’s absolute chaos (as opposed to the previous forty-five minutes of pandemonium), but then their teacher shows up and they’re lined up like angels (angels who talk and try to cut, but still).  Child labor at its finest.

Gustave Flaubert: “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”


Holiday Quote of the Week

In Art class today, I had the first graders make decorative five and six-pointed stars. A girl came to me near the end to show me how well she drew Stars of David.

“I’m really good at these kind of stars,” the proud six-year-old  said, “and I’m not even British!”

No Stealing This!

I was moments away from having some amazingly profound thoughts about art, literature and education, when I decided to clean instead. And that’s when I had an even more profound inspiration: a cool band name!

Not that I’m in a band. Or ever will be. But if I was, I would be sure to call it (drum roll, please): Cathair Tumbleweeds! (Or should it be simply Cathair Tumbleweed, without an s? A lot to think about…)

Better yet, maybe it should be a character name. My new series-in-progress takes place in space. Cathair Tumbleweed would perhaps be a great (mistranslated) name of an alien.

No stealing!!!!

Heeeeeeeere’s Jonny

Actually, I’ve been here the whole time. But due to more than 100,000 spam comments and my lack of knowledge and laziness for dealing with the problem, I haven’t been posting to this site.

But my New Year’s resolution last year was to try to deal with the minor tech issues that send me screaming for the hills, and my pre-New Year’s resolution this year is to review last year’s resolutions (note I only said ‘review’) and apply my resolution from two years ago (Stop making New Year’s resolutions!)

In other words, I’m sending this out as a TEST to see what happens; and hopefully when I figure that out I’ll find someone else who can fix it.

More soon!

Same Love, the Next Generation

Here’s a hopeful sign that the times they are a’ changin. At at table of four kindergarten boys, I overheard one announce, “I’m going to marry Jason.”

The boy across from him said, “You can’t marry Jason. He’s a boy!”

Boy 1 said, “Boys can too marry boys!”

Boy 2 thought about this for a moment. Then he said, “Okay, fine. You just can’t kiss him.”

 Double symbol