First of all, I am sorry that I have been so quiet online. In order to get my latest book, Shouting at the Rain, finished it was necessary to pull back. But, I have returned with bells on, as my mum used to say. 🙂
Often, when I speak with teacher groups, I tell them that I was “that kid.” You know. The pain. The one who was hard to help. When I was younger, I stood in the hallway a lot after diversionary tactics.
Because of the child I was, I knew that when I, the teacher, stood toe-to-toe with kids and told them how great they were, how much potential they had, etc., etc., that they weren’t hearing me. Often that kind of kid is thinking,
She doesn’t know me.
She’s a liar,
He has to say that; he’s a teacher.
I knew it was rare for those kids to let the positive sink in. But, sadly, they’d file the bad stuff in an iron vault. I do believe that a kid has to hear something good 150 times for every single negative thing. The bad stuff is easier to believe, I guess.
So, as a teacher, I ordered business cards like these:
I would write ONE sentence that was specific. I included their names and my name. Because I knew it had to be written down. So, my students could read them without the pressure of having to look me in the eye. Without the task of weighing and wondering. Of preparing their deflection while I spoke. With these cards…they could read it 150 times if they wanted.
And they did.
It broke my heart, but the school psychologist told me that the kids she saw who received these messages told her that they’d sit and stare at my name while at home. Heartbreaking. And, I myself, saw multiple kids pull tattered cards from their pockets weeks later just to get a peek at it.
This past weekend at nErDcampLI in New York (A conference organized by the wonderous JoEllen McCarthy, Kristen Picone, Denise Toscano, and Ali McDermott based on the conference model by Nerdy Book Club Nerd Camp by fantastic founders, Colby Sharp, Donalyn Miller, and Cindy Minnich) , I spoke with some teachers about using cards to buoy kids. And this morning a wonderful teacher named Kristin Crouch posted this on Twitter.
My second book, FISH IN A TREE is a love letter to teachers. My forthcoming book, SHOUTING AT THE RAIN is not but it made me think a lot about these kinds of kids. The kids who think they’re flawed. Broken. Because of things that others have said and done.
And I was so happy to see Kristin’s post and the hashtag #TellThemTheyMatter that I decided to do a Ginormous giveaway. To thank you educators out there who are saving kids. Not much make me tear up but the thought of a brigade of educators standing strong for kids gets me every time.
Here are the giveaways:
<<GRAND PRIZE: FISH IN A TREE AND ONE FOR THE MURPHYS PRIZE PACK> (ONE WINNER)
~Signed poster ~Signed Murphys hardcover ~Signed FISH hardcover ~Two signed FISH paperbacks ~Wooden nickels ~Fiat/Murphys bookmarks ~SHOUTING AT THE RAIN bookmarks (shown below) ~A FIAT (front) and SATR (back) T-shirt (shown below) ~"I have GRIT AND STRONG SHOULDERS & Be someone's hero" bracelets (pictured in first prize) ~GRIT tattoos ~BookTrain tote bag ~Small stack of cards to encourage your kids
<<FIRST PRIZE SHOUTING AT THE RAIN>> (One winner)
~SHOUTING AT THE RAIN ADVANCE READER COPY (Release 5/7/19) ~Bracelets for your whole class ~Shouting at the Rain bookmarks (shown below) ~Three "I have strong shoulders" lanyards ~Small stack of cards to encourage students ~A T-shirt (shown below) with FIAT on front and SATR on back
<< MINI SHOUTING AT THE RAIN PRIZE (TEN WINNERS)>>
~ONE T-shirt with Shouting at the Rain on the back and Fish in a Tree on the front ~A set of SATR bookmarks for your class. ~A stack of cards to encourage your kids
HOW DO YOU ENTER?
Pledge to write a minimum of FIVE NOTES TO KIDS AT SCHOOL this week. (I’ll never know if you don’t But if you DO follow through, I promise you’ll like the results. Kids are worth it.)
Make a comment below about anything you wish. BUT please include your twitter handle or email address so I contact you.
Post this contest AS A LINK on Twitter/FB/ETC with hashtag #TellThemTheyMatter
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED the night of MONDAY THE 19TH (I’ll be away until then)