Sunday, December 28, 2014

Important and Positive Precepts

Greetings Pack Friends and Followers!

It's Jennifer here.....from Stories and Songs in Second on this fine Sunday.

This afternoon I am finally writing from sunny Florida instead of wintery Ohio, as Day 8 of my holiday break unfolds.  The Boney-Reynolds clan has been gathered here in Bonita Beach since before Christmas, and I must admit that I have struggled with the content of this post over the past few days. While many family stories and songs have been shared throughout this holiday season, I have struggled both to decide on a topic for this post and to find the self-discipline to just sit down and write.

There are two reasons for my reluctance, I think.  The first being that my December school days and nights were exceptionally stressful, busy, and not-so-delightful, and I am still recovering. The second being that this holiday time is my family's first without my father, and I am still dealing with waves of sadness.

In an effort to move toward a lighter mood and shift into a more positive mode, I have tried to "unplug" and step away from my teaching, blogging, and TpT life and focus on resting, relaxing, and re-connecting this week.

To just decompress and not multi-task.

To just sit and listen to the pond fountain, or watch the sunset, or enjoy an old movie without grading papers or checking Facebook.

To just sit on the pool terrace in the morning and eat Snickerdoodles for breakfast.

To just allow myself to not worry about anything.

To just find some peace.

To just sometimes allow the sadness to be present.

To just appreciate the simple things like a gorgeous sunset or a warm walk on the beach.

Re-visiting a book I read this summer during my time here has helped me do all of the above.  It is one that a colleague recommended and that I keep on my nightstand at home.  I refer to the many pages I have flagged with Post-it notes after my most difficult days, and it reminds me of what should really be my personal and professional priorities.

If you have not read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, you really should.  Auggie Pullman is the protagonist.  He is a young man with an old soul.  A child with a facial deformity who is home-schooled until fifth grade, and whose foray into the mainstream is told from his own perspective, as well as from the perspective of his family members and peers.

Auggie's story is one that you will read with a lump in your throat.  There are parts that will make you laugh. There are parts that will make you cry.  There are parts that will resonate and remind you of your own classroom experiences--both as a student and an educator.   Most importantly though, there are parts that will inspire you.  

While Auggie is the story character that will capture your heart and haunt you,  his mentor, advocate, and champion, Mr. Browne, will speak to your mind.  The monthly precepts or rules that this English teacher introduces and connects to places and people from the past help Auggie and his classmates learn crucial life lessons about themselves and each other.  These are some of my favorites, not only because of their message, but because they remind me of the type of wisdom my father often shared with me....

I plan to share these precepts with my students and colleagues when  I return to Room #2 on January 5th.   I am going to include them in the social skills lessons that are always a part of our Morning Meeting routine.  Building a collaborative and cooperative classroom community of learners and little people is something I value highly.  It cannot be quantified.  There is no rubric with which to measure it.  It cannot be assessed.  But these four precepts are important in shaping our students' present and future lives.

I hope that you've enjoyed the message in this simple collection of quotes, and thank
you for your continued and thoughtful readership and comments.

When I have time, I promise to post them
to TpT 
as a FREEBIE!  

But for now, I must go eat
some homemade guacamole with my nieces and watch for my son
on the sidelines at the Lions vs. Green Bay game!

I hope that you will immerse yourself in the the wonder of Wonder before you head back to your own classroom, and I hope that you will also be inspired by more precepts from
the characters of Wonder in this book!

As always, thanks for sharing my story....

May you continue to teach your children well, and both recognize and honor the unique gifts
each one brings to your life!

Stay colorful!


  1. I'm sorry about the loss of your Dad. I did read Wonder and loved it! Great post about the book. Happy New Year!

  2. I've never met your dad, but I bet he would have loved to read this post. I'll be sure to read Wonder. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year.
    Laughter and Consistency

  3. I'm very sorry about the loss of your Dad. Losing someone important to you is very hard.
    Thank you for this wonderful post. I love the inspirational quotes.