There is something about holiday decorations that puts a smile on your face and makes the shopping and running around a little more bearable. Going out at night to see the houses festooned with lights is certainly a treat, but to me it is the sparkle and shine of glitter that warms my heart. I see it on everyday decorations that are transformed with those little bits of plastic. Of course, there are those who hate glitter and ban it from their homes, but consider this: it is glitter in excess that causes problems, not the glitter that adds a little shine to drab objects. Glitter draws our eyes to see things in new ways and spreads joy and happiness to the beholder.
I think we should be sprinkling glitter every day, metaphorically speaking. There are three reasons why I think it is important. First, glitter makes objects shine and draws attention to them. Second, it only takes a little bit to make a spark. Last, glitter spreads. Once you apply it, it seems to go everywhere.
How do we spark our lesson plans and make them shine so that learning is joyful and fun? Young children need to sing and move and adding both, even in transitions, makes the day go better. Using well placed, specific praise warms the heart of the recipient, whether it is a child or adult. Making sure you talk to each child, everyday, allows them to shine, if just for a moment. How can our classrooms be places of real learning if we do not tend to the heart as well as the mind? We will never develop lifelong learners if the children do not find joy in what they accomplish as they go through the school years.
Have you noticed that your eye might catch just a bit of glitter in a sea of dull and elevate your mood? How can one song or one bit of silliness in the classroom make the children’s day? We are not robots to be programmed. I need passion and excitement in my life to make my struggles all worthwhile, and I bet you do, too. I don’t want an overabundance of excitement to overwhelm me, but just enough to get me set for the hard work ahead. Children like excitement, too, but the experienced teacher gives out a little and then gently provides the environment to learn.
And last, I love the way glitter rubs off on all who touch it. You never know all the places it will go. Great ideas, compassion for others, and a feeling that everyone matters can spread and multiply if you only give it a chance. We cannot control where it goes, but we can send it on its way.
So think glitter and sprinkle a little in the weeks ahead.