I’m a prize.
I mean it. Today I was literally a prize – 5 kids won the opportunity to make a journal with me.
I set up my room with notebooks to choose from, paper-covered tables with bowls of mod podge, paintbrushes, scissors – and at the last minute I thought to add a paper towel at each seat.
A few minutes later, 5 second and third graders walked in. First just one, then 2 more, then another. The fifth student filters in as we get started.
A few minutes after starting, I decided I loved these kids, and that every day should end with hanging out with kids and mod podge.
They chose notebooks. A few kids chose the regular composition size, and then there were 2 boys left looking at the notebooks in earnest. I pointed out the differences between the remaining notebooks and one of them looked at me and asked, “But which will hold the most writing?”
Once everyone had their notebooks, I had to explain with mod podge was, and how you use it. One girl kept wondering, “So this is NOT glue? It’s mod podge?” and “So this is mod podge? It’s like glue?”
I described our decorating as making a collage.
“Oh! I LOVE COLLAGE!” was echoed through the room.
I had clearly underestimated the magic of mod podge and paper.
“I love this music,” one of the second graders said.
I thanked them and told them it was an instrumental Disney song playlist.
“Well,” she said, “it’s very beautiful. I feel so peaceful listening to it. I really love it”
I saw the other kids nodding their heads in agreement.
We started decorating, and I remembered how this is one of my favorite things to do – work with kids, get to know them, and teach them while I’m doing the project with them.
“Hmmm…” I said, “I don’t know if I should cut this, or tear it. I think I’ll put this here.” The third-grader next to me really got into it.
“Here,” he said as he gave me papers he thought I would like to use and advice on what to do next.
One second-grader piped up from the other side of the room, “I’ve always wondered what this room was. I see it every day at lunch and I think ‘what is that room?’ And now I get to be here, and I love it. I love this room.”
“I love it too,” I told her.
I hot glued ribbon on their back covers when they were ready, and we all chatted as we worked.
As they left I thanked them for coming and reminded them to write in their journals.
Most of them said they would.
“I always have an extra journal at school in case I forget mine,” a second-grader said.
“I hope I write in mine,” another kid said, “I usually just get journals and notebooks and then don’t write in them and then throw them away!”
“Well, don’t throw this one away! You worked so hard on it!” I told him.
“Of course not!” he said, insulted that I would even suggest such a thing.
“Thank you!” they said as they walked out the door.
I told them this was my favorite part of my day.
“Me too,” the last kid said on his way out. He stopped, paused to pet the front of his journal, and then said, “I want to start a diary.”
“You could write every day!” I told him. He walked away as I said, “I’m writing every day of March!”