Thursday, February 5, 2015

Love For Twelve Amazing Students in The Not Perfect Hat Club

      Where to begin! I think, I'll begin with love because in this story, there is just so much love to talk about. Besides, February is the month of love so I think this is an appropriate theme for today's blog.  
      Love...I love all kids...this along with a few other things brought me into the world of Special Education.  I can honestly say that I have never taught a child that did not end up in my heart forever! I remember them all. One of my least favorite words is "goodbye" because eventually, I have to say "goodbye" to all of them. This is as is should be, it's a part of the master plan in education to build a strong, self-sufficient person with many skills to pave his/her own way in life. Children build their knowledge base from many diverse educational leaders called, teachers! Teachers share a partnership to educate each child.
     So, like Oliver in the Broadway Musical, I think I was looking for love, not for me, but for my twelve, outstanding students and other kids who deserve to feel good about themselves (incidentally this is all children). I've talked a lot about this lot of very diverse kids who are passionate about learning. They are not all passionate about academics per se, they each have their own identity and ideals about things.  I simply wanted everyone to know that my kids are champions!
     About a month ago, January 4th, to be exact, I received an invitation from Jena Ball the co-founder of the "Not Perfect Hat Club", inviting me, my students, and our aides to help make the Not Perfect Hat Club a reality and bring it to classrooms around the world. I talked to my students and my Principal and it was a resounding, "yes."
     Next, I talked to the brilliant tech team at WCSD: Mr. Bennett, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Millett, Mr. Koebel, and Mr. Leipfert. They did not hesitate to add Skype and a sound system to my classroom. They checked it once, then twice, then thrice! Mr. Millett even came in early on the morning of our Skype meetings to make sure that we had no glitches! 
Mr. Koebel Checking our Technology System

    We hit the ground running with Jena Ball and never looked back! The past month is truly a whirlwind! The obstacle was, how can our tiny class in a small, rural community help to raise funds for a big, global project?  As we do in science class using the scientific method, we came up with a hypothesis! What if we, make "not perfect hats", sell them, and then host a "Not-Perfect Hat Day" at our school?" Alas, we had a plan! 
     Mrs. Aubin (that's me) designed the hat and consulted with a couple of seamstresses (Named Aunt Linda and Barb).  Mrs. Faryniraz our classroom aide knows how to use a sewing machine! So, we borrowed a sewing machine from Miss Badger, the art/home economics teacher. Mrs. Aubin bought fabric and supplies, Mrs. Faryniraz, Mrs. Ross our CSE secretary, Mrs. Bigelow our janitor, and Mrs. Gonyea a classroom aide all donated fabric. Then we taught our twelve children how to measure, cut, and sew hats! The final step was snipping the edges for a "top-notch" and tying it off! We discovered that sewing is not only fun but relaxing too! 

Sewing, then Snipping the fringe for the top notch!

      Finally, the big day was here! It was January 20th! Ms. Jenaia came. We sat fully engaged with our newly made not perfect hats on. We intently listened to Ms. Jenaia read chapter one from the book she is still in the process of writing, oddly enough named, "The Not Perfect Hat Club." We loved it! We can't wait until Ms. Jenaia finishes writing the novel so that we can hear all about what happens to Jabber, Rylee, Carl, and of course our canine friend Newton!

     Next, Ms. Jenaia taught us how to draw Newton just like she does! We paid very close attention! How often does a class have a chance to meet a real author and illustrator right in their very classroom! This was so amazing, Ms. Jenaia came to us! Ms. Jenaia was all the way in North Carolina and here we were in Whitehall, New York. We will have to ask Ms. Janaia if she has ever been to Whitehall, other than on Skype!  We decided that we'd rather go to North Carolina where it is a little bit warmer than our recent near zero or below temperatures.

     We found it amazing that we could actually learn how to draw Newton even though Ms. Jenaia was not actually right in the room with us. Ms. Jenaia explains and shows drawing very well. She is patient and clearly answers everyone's questions. She was able to show us what to do right on the Smart board with Skype. We had never done this before!

     I'm not one to brag, but my students did an incredible job. They focused very closely. They did not want to miss a step. They wanted their  drawings of Newton to be precise! You could have heard a pin drop in the classroom.  Maybe it's Ms. Jenaia's special way of making every person she comes into contact with feel like they are the most important person ever. Miss Jenaia doesn't only have a gift for writing, and illustrating, but she has a gift with people too. Below are some of the Ms. Jenaia inspired drawings of Newton, that my students did:
Many Newton's from Mrs. Aubin's Kids.
         Two days later Miss Jenaia came back through Skype again! This time we were super excited! Can you believe that
 Ms. Jenaia wants us to teach her how to make hats?  Since their are twelve students into our class, I used task analysis to break the task of making hats into twelve steps. Each student had a turn teaching Ms. Jenaia how to make a hat! The students helped each other out as needed.

     Ms. Janaia was a real sport! She followed our directions just as good as we followed hers when she taught us how to draw Newton. She measured as we showed her how, she cut with our specific cutting directions. She snipped, and tucked, and tied; never missing a beat! Ms. Jenaia's hat came out great! We had no idea, until today what great teachers we are! We love teaching others!
Doesn't Ms. Jenaia look great?
      Our last task to do today was to learn how to make flyers for our hat day! We are so pumped! On February 9th, we are going to begin a week long hat week! We are going to sell hats everyday during lunch for $3.00 each! Then on Friday, it's NOT PERFECT HAT DAY!!!! Every one in school is allowed to wear any hat for $1.00 all day! Teachers are allowed to wear has too! Every one who pays $1.00 will get a really cool sticker to put on their hat. Ms. Jena sent us a whole bunch! She is just so thoughtful!

     Best of all, we are also hold the first annual NOT PERFECT HAT DAY CONTEST!!!  we have four categories: best hat, most colorful hat, best theme, and most not perfect hat! Ms. Jenaia helped us think up the prize categories!  Thank you Ms. Jenaia!
   Our joy does not end here! You see for six days we get to go to the front office to announce our "Not Perfect Week" Kayla was brave and went first! I, Mrs. Aubin held auditions. Everyday someone different gets to do the announcements! On Friday the 13th (our lucky day) Ms. Mc Hugh, our principal is holding an assembly so that we can announce our "Not Perfect Hat Day", Prize winners! I promise to get really fun prizes for the newest event at Whitehall Jr. Sr, High School.
        It is my hope that other schools and classes follow Ms. Jena's amazing group, "The Not Perfect Hat Club." I and my students found love the day we met Ms.  Jena. Ms. Jena shows compassion for all people and all critters. She doesn't hide ever as the song "Oliver" suggests. Ms. Jena is ever present and answers every question. There is never a non-solution but there is always a way! 
     Ms. Jena's love is global and we are very proud that she has included twelve students, three aides, and one teacher, from rural Whitehall, New York into her "Not Perfect Hat Club", but more importantly into her heart! We love you Ms. Jena and Ms. Jenaia!

P.S. Please click on the Bammy Awrd badge to vote for me under "special needs staff"...Thank you!