Brush, brush, brush your teeth…

How many times a day do you brush your teeth?  REALLY brush your teeth?  Do you ever stop and think about it?  What does brushing your teeth have to do with school anyway?  Why am I even bringing up the subject of brushing?

As noted before, there are many activities we participate in daily at school that have little to do with curriculum, state assessments, textbooks, or rules.  As educators, we find ourselves teaching young learners life lessons about respect, healthy living, altruism, planning for the future, and making good choices in order to reinforce lessons first taught in the home.  As our learning partners and participating members of our learning community, you are your child’s first and most important teacher.  You have special tools in place we can use to integrate both settings (home and school) in a positive, productive manner . . . just like the tools used in brushing teeth.

For example, as my young friends in this picture are demonstrating for you, your mouth must be open wide so you get all the little crevices clean.  Your toothbrush must be guided gently around each tooth using another important tool, your toothpaste.  You have to really put some elbow strength into this job and take your time.  As you get older, you add other oral hygiene tools (such as floss or mouthwash) to enhance the overall experience.  You also learn to complete this skill independent of direct instruction or intervention . . . I think you understand the analogy here.

Teaching young learners to read, write, listen, speak, compute, synthesize, evaluate, hypothesize, draw, jump, or any number of other skills requires the same use of special tools, wisdom, and strength in order to foster sustained success.  It takes daily practice, careful planning, and attention to all the fine details–traits our talented classroom leaders masterfully execute to meet individual needs.  We invite you to join us and share your home tools so we do our best to match them here with our school tools.  Here’s hoping we all remember the lesson our toothbrush friends shared:  “Mrs. Van, keep working at it; work so your smile shines!” 🙂

One response to “Brush, brush, brush your teeth…

  1. First of all, I would like to recommend the musical group Rocknoceros and their song “Brush Your Teeth.” They are on iTunes and they are fun.

    I think our best family “tool” was one that admittedly was born from cynicism and grouchiness. As parents, my husband and I had grown weary of the excess of Christmas and no amount of rational requests to sqelch the blatant materialism was proving successful.

    About ten years ago, the decision was made to approach this issue from a new angle. We no longer buy gifts, but instead give handmade gifts for the holiday. We have to plan ahead, think of new ideas each year, try our hand at skills that we are unfamiliar with, design, paint, sew, craft, draw and individualize.

    However it started, making our gifts is something that I will never give up as a family tradition. Each year I marvel at how many benefits this activity produces for us. It covers almost everything in terms of learning and skills.

    Although not every in the family is so convinced. A few years ago we were at Walmart during the holiday season. My middle child stopped in an aisle that was full of pre-packaged gifts.

    “What is this, Mom?”

    “That is how some people do Christmas.”

    I got a look that conveyed how insane I must be. “Are you kidding? WE could do this? It would take like 15 minutes! WHY, Mom?”

    “Because I love our way of doing Christmas.”

    A strangled look of confusion with the understanding that there would be no point in discussing it further. And then a big, big sigh.

    I bet that is the same response to certain assignments.

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