March Madness. Helen Keller. Lessons in Our Class.

I do not have to say it….. You probably already know that I am a big Louisville Cardinal Fan. So in honor of March Madness, I decided to decorate our classroom with basketballs. David C and I  created a basketball goal to install in the classroom as well. It has been a big hit.

To all my former colleagues at Graebel, you remember my basketball goal that I had in my cubicle. The paper one made out of a paper plate for the hoop, that was above my recycling bin 🙂 This was my inspiration.

Your probably thinking what a horrible idea. But hey these kids do not know the magnitude of my love for basketball (maybe they do now) so what better way to incorporate some fun by putting in a goal. If the trash can is under the hoop they are allowed to throw paper through the hoop. That’s the rule, although I have watched anything but paper being thrown up at the goal…. pencils, pencil sharpeners, soccer balls etc…  After the goal went up we had some practice sessions….. check out below 🙂

(Top left, it is installed up high enough that they cannot dunk on it :), top right practice dribbling, bottom left the fake and bottom right David  in for the block while Roberto pretends to dunk)

Gisel dunking the ball. She is quickly climbing to the top of my one of my favorites list (shhh don’t tell the kids that a list exists)
Above is a picture of Gisel trying to dunk on the  basketball goal. Here below are pictures of her playing futbol with the boys. She and Ana, a first grader, are the only girls that play futbol with boys. I have a special place in my heart for any girl that is willing to get out there and play sports with the boys. I did not capture the moment but just after I took these pictures Gisel scored a goal and celebrated in the most stereotypical international futbol goal scoring way…….She ran across the field, arms stretched out and shouted in a long drawn out kind of way…… G___OOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!!! It was great.

Here below is a picture of Henry and Samuel, posing for me as if there was a free kick and they are protecting themselves. Hilarious.

In class this week I decided to continue our lessons on  Helen Keller. In the library I found another book about her that had Braille printed on the back. Side story, last week I read a story about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. To my amazement my kids did not know who she was. They were fascinated by the thought that she could not see and could not hear.

Today I took the opportunity to write the Braille alphabet on the board. I then gave my kids a piece of paper so they could write their names in Braille. To my knowledge disabilities are not readily talked about……. even more so it seems that unless you are of the wealthier class in Honduras there is very little to offer to you for a future…..

I want my class to be aware of others around them, understand that they are healthy second graders but that not everyone is like them and not everyone gets to grow up like they do.  I desperately want my kids to know how to love well and love others that are not just like them well. Showing them Braille, and watching them run their little fingers over the letters and asking them if they think it would be hard to read that way….. so incredible…. I hope gives them a little perspective….

Here below is a picture of my kiddos writing there names. Some went on to write their families names as well.

I have been giving a lot of thought about the example I am setting for my kids. What I say, how I act, and how I discipline? Am I building them up? Am I setting an example of love and truth? With a heavy heart, I am realizing how many ways I have failed.  Children, as we all know, pick up on the smallest of things. They remember the silliest of things (even those that we wish they did not). I have no resolution per say but do have a few things I am going to be challenging myself with over the next coming weeks……My prayer is to have more patience, to listen more attentively and most importantly to teach them to love people well. I think that’s what God wants from us. Love Him and Love Others.

Happy Saturday to you. From my cough, cold, a few spoon fulls of peanut butter, my coffee and my bed. Warmest Kristina

Thoughts on this found below……

Love is always given freely – it’s not rooted in demands, ritual, obligation, or what you can do. It cannot be contained, it cannot be limited, and will always defy the tidy theological boundaries that we create in our collectively small imaginations.

We have fooled ourselves into believing that love is too simple to be the most important thing. We believe that we have to do something, but love reminds us that we don’t have to do anything to be loved – we just are.
And that’s the brilliance of love … it’s utter simplicity.

Taken from here
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