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.
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!
I don't think Debbie stopped to catch her breath the entire time. She just kept talking, singing and dancing for the kids.
She also encouraged the children to follow along with her motions.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Did I mention that Debbie also plays the guitar?
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!