How Debbie Clement Rocked My World

The Pre-K-2 students at my school were treated to a very special guest earlier this month. The one and only Debbie Clement came to our school and performed for each grade level. If you’re not already familiar with Debbie, she is also an early childhood blogger. Debbie’s blog, Rainbows Within Reach, is filled with amazing ideas, resources and inspiration for early education classroom.

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

But Debbie is SO much more than just a blogger. She’s also a published author. And an accomplished quilter, and a children’s book illustrator AND she is the most amazing “music lady” I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing!

Debbie also happens to be one of the most dynamically positive, upbeat people I will ever meet. We became virtual friends a few years ago and had been waiting oh-so-patiently to finally meet in real life. You may remember that my students were actually treated to a special Skype session with Debbie a few years ago.

I was overjoyed when I heard a rumor last fall that the parent organization at my school had booked the one and only Debbie Clement to share her stories and music with my students this month. It was a long time to wait, but I was very patient.( I’ve been waiting for a lot of special occasions these days.)

Let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

My students were captivated from the moment they sat down. At first, I think they were just trying to appreciate every bright detail of Debbie’s outfit. Then she started talking and they were completely entranced.

Any kindergarten teacher can attest that young children have extremely short attention spans.  My students were scheduled to be with Debbie for 50 minutes, but they were engaged for every single moment. I always worry about how my students will behave for a special guest (especially when that special guest is a personal friend of mine). In this instance, there was no need to be concerned. I could have left the room to put my feet up and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Debbie had things completely under control.

Just look at their level of engagement!

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

I don’t think Debbie stopped to catch her breath the entire time. She just kept talking, singing and dancing for the kids.

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

She also encouraged the children to follow along with her motions.

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

The children did anything she asked. ANYTHING. At several points, she told them to quickly cover their eyes so they wouldn’t see the surprise prop she was going to bring out next. Every child closed their eyes and not a single person peeked!

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

The best part of the visit was that Debbie did so much more than sing songs and act silly. She shared her stories with the class. Her actual published stories. That’s right – my students got to meet a real, live published AUTHOR. This is huge because my students have been learning to be authors all year long and they thought it was the coolest thing ever to meet a grown up author with real, published hardcover books.

Enter to WIN 2 hardcover chidlrens books by author and illustrator Debbie Clement!

The only thing cooler than meeting a real, live author?
Meeting a real, live ILLUSTRATOR!

Debbie provided the illustrations for every page in her children’s book entitled You’re Wonderful using a very unique medium: quilts. Debbie planned and carefully stitched 16 mini-quilts to fit the content of the book, which was professionally scanned and used as the book’s illustrations. She also brought one of the quilts along with her to show my class. The kids thought it was amazing. I really love that it fought a valuable lesson about artistic mediums. Not every illustrator uses crayons or markers or paints. Anything visual can be considered art and used in a story.

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

As if meeting this awesome author and seeing the quilt she used as an illustrator in person wasn’t cool enough; things got even better for my students because the text in You’re Wonderful are actually lyrics to a song. And the CD just so happens to be included in the cover of the book. So my students were able to sing along with the words of the book. AH-MAZ-ING!

Debbie also brought along a copy of a different singable story that she wrote: Tall Giraffe. Ever the entertainer, Debbie even put on a silly costume and transformed into a giraffe while she shared this story with my students.


A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

 

Hardcover Book and CD Giveaway

Before Debbie left my school to make the long drive home, I pulled her aside and asked if I could please give away a copy of her two wonderful books to a Kinder Craze fan. Luckily, Debbie thought it was a great idea and happily agreed to collaborate for a giveaway. One lucky fan will win a hardcover copy of You’re Wonderful and Tall Giraffe to add to their classroom libraries. Both books come with an accompanying CD so you can sing along to the story with your students.

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did I mention that Debbie also plays the guitar?

A school visit and performance from the one and only Debbie Clement

If you would like more information on how you can get Debbie Clement to visit your school, stop by her blog for Debbie’s PR and contact information. A HUGE thank you goes out to Debbie for providing books for the giveaway and for keeping my students engaged and happy for 50 whole minutes!

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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11 Responses

  1. MARIA!!! MARIA!!! MARIA!!!

    It was an amazing day together wasn’t it? Our time together IRL has been a l-o-n-g time coming, cut as you say — so worth the wait! I am so very honored to receive the full “Kinder Craze” spotlight.

    Your amazing images and attention to detail, really do convey the interaction of your students. My favorite thing is to see their eagerness to participate. The simple and repetitive songs that I have written, really do have the children engaged from the first downbeat. Adding the sign language further engages the whole brain and the whole child!

    I am so grateful to your school for flinging wide the doors! It was such an honor and privilege to work with the “BIG” kids too. The first and second grade presentations were equally as delightful!!

    What an incredibly talented teacher you are. That shines forth from your blog! To think that you could host me and then post about our time together in the midst of such personal excitement and the final details for your wedding boggles my mind!

    Thank you so much for sharing my enthusiasm with your readers!

    Here’s to many delightful collaborations together in the future!!!

    Debbie Clement
    Rainbows Within Reach

  2. This was the happiest blog post I’ve read in a long time! It made my day! I really want our school! Thank you so much for sharing, Maria! What wonderful memories were made for all of the children! (and adults, I’m sure!!!)

    1. Thank you Carolyn, I’m SO overjoyed to know you loved reading about Debbie’s visit to my school. I really want her to come visit you next!

  3. Great post…I had no idea Debbie visits schools:) I had the pleasure of seeing her at a teacher conference a few years ago and she was amazing! Very inspiring! I’m happy she paid you a visit!

  4. Maria, this is a great blog. My fiancee follows your blog, and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind following her new Kindergarten focused Instagram account? She absolutely loves what she does and is trying to surround herself with like-minded people. The account is @KuriousKindies, she is getting a little discouraged and I am trying my best to motivate her to keep going with it. I hope she never sees this lol!

  5. What a delightful blog post and photos of what was surely a memorable time for your students. Congrats to the PTA and to you for seeing the value of bringing educators/authors/quilters/performers to your school. It sounded like so much fun I found myself smiling the whole time I was reading it. Great blog!

    1. Thank you Karen! It certainly was a wonderful day for everyone and I am so thankful to teach at a school with such an active PTA.

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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