I’d Like To Teach The World…

…to sing in perfect harmony!

When I read our first blogging assignment for EDCI 335 Learning Design, that 1971 Coke commercial was ALL I could think about for a few days.  I literally would go to bed and wake up with the song playing through my head.  That and “What Does the Fox Say?” which happens to be my students’ favourite song du jour.  Imagine the mashup in my head!  No wonder I haven’t been sleeping well.

For those of you too young to relate to my title reference, please take a moment to watch this video.  For those of you old enough to remember, come with me for a walk down memory lane:

Catchy, isn’t it?

But seriously, I would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.  Or, more specifically, I would like to teach the world the importance of building community.  For 24 years I have taught at Prince Charles Elementary School in Abbotsford: ten years teaching Grade 1, a few years of a mixed bag of Library K-7, Music K-7, ESL K-7, and now Kindergarten.  Ok, this year I have a K/1, split, but my heart really lies in teaching Kindergarten.

Through all of my teaching experiences, the most important message that I hope I have taught my students is that we are all part of a large, caring community within our class, our school, our city, our province and our world.  No matter who or what I am teaching, I try to demonstrate to my students the respect, caring, and compassion I hope they will take with them as they create relationships throughout their lives.  We all flourish and prosper more in a loving, positive environment.

A favourite book of mine is Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten (1988). It was published the year before I started teaching and his Credo is something that always stays in the back of my mind as I am journeying along through this wild adventure called life.  I think Mr. Fulghum’s wisdom is worth celebrating.  He knew the meaning of building community.

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

 (Robert L. Fulghum, 1988)

So, that in a nutshell is what I would like to teach the world.  Hold hands and stick together. Build community and become connected. Technology can help with that, don’t you think?

***

A little bit about me:

I’ve been married to Shawn for 23 years, we have two teenage boys, David (17) and Matthew (15) and those three amazing individuals are whom I love spending time with most of all. I love to eat great food.  It gives me immense pleasure to share a meal with family and friends. I love to travel to Maui (check out My Guide to Maui if you’re ever heading to Hawaii), and love Disneyland, but that’s not where my twitter name, @MauiMickey, came from.  You can read about that here. Twitter has become a great professional resource and I have made many great friends there…some of whom I have met and some of whom I hope to meet in real life someday (yes, that means YOU, #tiegrad!). #kinderchat is an important part of my Personal Learning Network and you can see why I love #kinderchat here. Most of all, I am thankful for the relationships I have formed with all the incredible people who have become part of my life.

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14 thoughts on “I’d Like To Teach The World…

  1. LOVE this post for many reasons. I read Robert Fulgham’s poem at our kindergarten graduation every year (with some modification to encompass our learning). And I too am concerned with helping our kids understand it “takes a village”. Community and connecting.

  2. Great blog. Reminds me why I love teaching K. Wonderful blast from the past…that Coca Cola ad has always been a favorite. Thank you for bringing back happy memories. My dad loved it too. Maybe now I can get “What Does the Fox Say?” OUT of my head!

  3. Ha ha ha! Jarod and I both sang the same song together on Skype when we read the assignment! That is hilarious, Michelle! I am happy to see that we were not the only ones triggered by the assignment.

    Great blog post, you have such a great heart. Your students are so lucky!

  4. Hello Michelle. I’ve said during many of my talks that we got it right in kindergarden, with student centred learning – open, playful, creative. Then we start to move the focus to the front of the room, to sitting in desks, and thinking and acting in an ‘appropriate way.’ I’m glad to see someone who thinks the same. I have not read the book you mention, but I’ve put it on my list for my next trip to the used book store (I’m a bookaholic – been put on book ration by my wife, so it’ll have to wait ;-). I look forward to your contributions and welcome to the course!

    • Hi Nick! Isn’t it interesting how the latest wave of educational change seems to be building on what we in Kindergarten have been doing for decades? The new BCEdPlan reminds me a lot of the Primary Program and I am glad to see the upper grades embracing a more play and inquiry-based learning model. I look forward to seeing how this course will be a framework for that type of teaching and learning.

  5. Michelle,
    Great post! Thanks for the walk down memory lane with the commercial. Your posts are so passionate and heartfelt. Lucky husband, lucky sons, lucky students, lucky colleagues, and lucky me for finding you through technology. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Patty

  6. Love this Michelle! Especially as that song was one of the first I remember singing with a group of friends. I LOVED it, the message, the melody. But what I love most about this post is: “Hold hands and stick together. Build community and become connected. Technology can help with that, don’t you think?” A resounding YES in agreement from me. What a wonderfully simple but ultimately so powerful an idea.

  7. You are aging us!

    I actually don’t remember much about kindergarten. In fact I am not sure I even went? but I am sure I would have really loved it if I did.

    What would be really interesting is doing a little comparison of how we go into School and how we come out.

    Wish Fulghum could be our education minister.

    • Sorry, Keith! But aren’t you part of the 1990’s version of the song? 😉

      Yes, I think it would be an interesting study to gauge students’ perceptions of school as they travel through the grades. What factors influence their changing feelings about school?

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