Box 1

Box 1

Box 2

Box 2
Character Education

Box 3

Box 3
Digital Learning

One Heart

Sitting here at the doorstep of a brand new decade, I can feel the faint stirrings of love in the air. I'd like to suggest that we fan those tiny flames within our classrooms in this new year. Bringing love back into our hearts, or nurturing it if it is already there, is also a sure way to the classroom management system of your dreams. No need for a fancy-dancy management plan if love for all members of the community is shared. Kids who care about each other share respect and act with kindness. It all goes hand in hand. "Come on people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together. Try to love one another right now." (Youngbloods 1967) Still true. Still needed.

My podcast group is talking about kids' books with a theme of love this week. Soooo many books for kids have an underlying theme of love, from Granny Torelli's love for Rosie that helps to mend her friendship with Bailey (Granny Torelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech) to the love shown by all her classmates when Marilyn falls ill with cancer in The Lemonade Club by Patricia Polacco. Endless books in between. I began my search with picture books, looking for one that might be new on the scene since I left the classroom, and discovered a gem! Scribble Stones by Diane Alber is a great way to share some some love. In this book, a little river rock type of stone (named Stone, appropriately! Hahaha!) is looking forward to his life, hoping to make a difference in the world. Not only is he the very last one left on the rock pile, but his fate seems to be that of a paperweight. Stone's course changes when some scribbles and splatters happen by and use up all the paper that Stone is holding down. Stone invites them to decorate him as well! Other stones somehow become aware of this art happening, and show up on the desk. The newly artful stones become gifts and are shared around the world to inspire creativity and to share love and kindness. Love love love! IMO, there is absolutely nothing on the earth that can't be improved by adding in the arts.

Just as when I was lesson planning for my Rainbow City students, looking for connections to this read-aloud text sent me down another long rabbit hole. Bob Marley's "One Love" was playing on a loop in my brain. I started to search on YouTube for a classroom worthy clip to share, and stumbled upon picture books written by Marley's daughter, Cedella. She has changed the words to be meaningful to young children, but retained the theme: As humans we share one love and one heart. The colorful illustrations jump off the page and into your heart. I bought the book on Kindle, and love it! You can also use this Youtube link to see the book. One Love by Cedella Marley .  A beautiful rendition of this song performed by artists all over the world can be found here: One Love Song Around the World .

All these thoughts of love, art, and music makes me think about the Art Abandonment Project. It's a great way to integrate the arts and share the love in your classroom, school, and community. I've created a resource that you can use in your classroom to start with rocks. Expand from there with all sorts of art. The sky's the limit!

Some questions that you can use to focus a discussion about sharing love in the classroom are:
How can making art, sharing art, and acts of kindness spread love?
How are art and love related?

Come on people now! Hope you'll try some of these ideas in your classroom! Listen to our podcast We Teach So Hard for more ideas on sharing books about love, and check out the blog posts of my podcasting friends below!
Wishing you all the best that life and teaching have to offer as we step together into the next decade!

For more lit suggestions and teaching ideas from my podcasting buddies, be sure to check out the posts below:
(Clockwise, from top left:)
One Heart  // Rainbow City Learning
Showing Our Love // Tried & True Teaching Tools

Love is in the Air/ Wild Child’s Mossy Oak Musings


  1. Art abandonment; LOVE this!! I'm sure the kids get such a kick out of decorating their rocks! And another Patricia Polacco book I must have! You're the best, Retta!! XOXO

  2. Yes, I remember the Youngbloods and the song is running through my head. It does go hand in hand with our present times. Thank you for sharing your awesome books and this inspiring blog. 💕

  3. I always come away from your blog posts with new ideas, Retta. I can't wait to try the Art Abandonment Project with my students. I'm thinking about how cool it would be to try that at a senior citizen center.