By: Angela Moses @AngelaKMoses
It seems like it was just yesterday when I chatted with Jena Ball on #TXED about the Critterkin Mutts. It was an amazing chat discussing, growing, and learning along the way. I had to leave the chat early because my sweet little one wanted me to read to him before bed. Ms. Jena said that she would love to Skype in and read with him. My heart just melted! A special lady giving time to make memories with my son that would be with him forever. My first thought was how great this would be for our students. Children love to listen to stories. Ms. Jena has written books about kindness and empathy with the “Meet the Mutts.”
Ms. Jena skyped in during our Family Reading Night in February. It was an amazing night for our small community. This was the moment that Ms. Jena became part of our Warrior Family. Since then we have been working on a PBL project called, “Start with your Heart.” Our students are drawing, writing, and discussing kindness and empathy with Ms. Jena and Marty Keltz. Our students, admin, and teachers have been collaborating on a mural that connects our younger kids to the older kids. It has been inspiring to watch this journey unfold.
My students wrote stories about Grampy while skyping with Ms. Jena. I wanted the students to create a story on their own using Write About This. It is a great app for kids to use as a platform for creative writing. I skyped Ms. Jena and we discussed how the kids could make this their own while still incorporating the mutts. How can you lead with the heart? What would you do to help an animal in need? These are questions we wanted the students to answer. I wanted to see their passion for animals and for other kids.
Ms. Jena created a Pinterest page, http://www.pinterest.com/critterkin/write-with-your-heart/, for the students to have pictures and background information on the mutts. I also read each chapter about Lance, Doxie, Ricky Bobby, Sprout, and Clue. The kids were ready to write. We laughed and cried while reading the chapter. It was great to see how my students responded to this project. I have students that have a difficult time showing affection. This writing opened a new relationship between myself and my students. They wrote with feelings and I now have a better understanding of how they feel. We are connecting as a classroom in a different way, through emotions! Their hearts are definitely growing while learning. It just does not getter better than this! Please take time to check out http://www.critterkin.com! Teaching students to “Lead with their heart” one school at a time.
Check out our journey,