A few weeks ago, I posted about an image I saw on Pinterest of a sign that had a row of smiley face tabs with a caption that read, ”Take A Smile,” (see Free Smiles). I was so inspired by this project, I decided to make a similar sign and post it at work.
I hung the smiley face invitation on the bulletin board in an area where everyone stops by at least once a day to eat lunch, pull something off the printer, or heat up their coffee in the microwave. For two weeks, the sign remained completely intact. Either no one needed a smile or they simply didn’t know what to make of such a thing!
Then, one morning I walked in to heat up my coffee and I noticed a smiley face tab was missing. Someone finally got brave enough to use the sign as it was intended! I was so excited to see a little piece of joy had migrated to a new place. Three days later, a second smiley face tab went missing. And then this week, another tab was torn from the sign. I guess all we needed was for someone to break the ice!
Three smiley faces have found a new home!
I never said a word about hanging the sign, but I’m pretty sure everyone knows it was my doing. I have another one ready to go as soon as all the tabs are taken from the current sign. It’s nice to know something so simple can do so much to brighten someone’s day.
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Over the last few months, I’ve written several times about the Lennon Wall I’ve created in my classroom. From the initial debacle of having to take it down to sharing student art, the response from readers has been overwhelming. Knowing that the message of the Lennon Wall has reached beyond the confines of my classroom is an incredible experience and I hope the message continues to spread.
In the months since I posted Reconstructing the Lennon Wall, the Listening to the Wall series and Clearly, I Will Not Be Silenced, the Lennon Wall has been pieced back together one section at a time. I made the decision not to re-create the same pattern that existed prior to the walls being painted. Instead of returning to a moment of sadness, I decided to move forward with a fresh start. I used all the same pieces my students created in May 2012, but I let the random nature of fate decide their new positions on the wall. The result is a beautiful new Lennon Wall that is full of vibrant optimism.
Center Section of Lennon Wall as of August 2012
On the first day of school, my students from the previous school year stopped by in droves to check out the newly constructed wall and to find their pieces. Meanwhile, the power of the Lennon Wall continues to grow as my new students are already buzzing about creating their own pieces for the wall. I am so excited to see them embrace the beauty of individual expression and I can’t wait to hear their voices.
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Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
- Neil Gaiman
Novel #2 is getting closer and closer to completion. The goal is to get it done by the end of next week. I will do whatever I have to do to reach the final sentence. I hope success tastes as sweet as that strawberry!
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Listening to the Wall is a series dedicated to showcasing pieces of student art that helped create an incarnate of the Lennon Wall in my classroom.
For further information, please visit these links:
Reconstructing the Lennon Wall
Listening to the Wall: Part 1
Listening to the Wall: Part 2
Listening to the Wall: Part 3
Listening to the Wall: Part 4
Listening to the Wall: Part 5
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After a little hiatus, here are few more pieces of student-created artwork. They are full of beautiful and bold colors! I hope they brighten everyone’s day.
I love how this student played with the peace sign. It’s both whimsical and deeply hopeful that we will all one day board that bus.
The eyes in this piece are so intense. I often wonder where her inspiration came from to create such an insightful work of art.
I put this piece on the wall almost every year. I love the energy that pops off the page and how she includes her love of music.
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I love turtles and I love looking at life with the bright light of optimism. This little cartoon brightened my day and I hope it does the same for you.
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