Promoting a positive and engaging environment is something I work on and reflect upon continuously every school year. I keep my eyes and ears open for "teachable" moments, when I can connect my students to an inspiring story, music, art, or video, that relates to something we are learning.
Because we are currently reading The One and Only Ivan in the Global Read Aloud, yesterday seemed like a great time to show this beautiful 4 minute clip about a man reunited with a gorilla, after being back in the wild for 5 years.
Afterward, glossy eyed students, who would usually be popping up to run to lunch recess, sat and commented on the beauty of this film. They noticed the closeness of the man and the gorillas, the vulnerability of him and the risk if the gorilla had been aggressive. They talked of their own connections to pets and animals. And, they noticed the tears in my eyes: "Are you crying, Mrs. Young?" "Oh, I always cry a little at beautiful stories like this." With a smile, they file out the door for recess.
Often we say we don't have time for these connections. Four minutes? I think we can make time for moments that will make an impression for life. When was the last time you seized those minutes before lunch or the end of the day to do something meaningful? Were you surprised at the outcome?