I know you all are way too young to remember the band "Lovin Spoonful," but maybe your parents recall the lyrics. If you are feeling super vintage and want to give the music a whirl, I encourage you to look up the lyrics. In case you elect not to do so, I'll spot you the first stanza,
"Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart? How the music can free her wherever it starts."
At this point, you may be confused as I am neither a young girl or a musician, but what I have found in my 16 years of teaching and my 38 years of living is that magic isn't real. Sorry to shatter your dreams. Sleight of hand, masterful illusions, it's all just a trick to make something appear real that isn't, but on the flip side, I do know what looks like magic can free you in ways you never imagined.
Behind every wonder, there are hours of practice that make the trick look so easy while the audience is rendered speechless. Believe it or not, this is not much different from the job description of a teacher. In fact, I would venture to say master teachers are some of the most skilled magicians on the planet. Everyday they are pulling tricks out of a magic bag to make students believe in something they cannot comprehend. They hold their audiences captive and even place the wand in the audience's hands from time to time.
I hope this is what I did this week with you guys. On Monday, we watched the video of Malcom Mitchell, star receiver for the Patriots. He talked about his enthusiasm for literacy, a passion that developed in college when he realized he was borderline illiterate. He taught himself to read with children's books and went on to join a women's book club and is now an author himself. Tuesday we went to the media center where I stressed the importance of falling in love with reading rather than viewing it as a chore. Thursday I read you guys Malcom Mitchell's children's book, "The Magician's Hat," and then Friday you all read an article about his life's mission where I pitched the idea of a Community Based Project to you guys.
I presented a problem to you, which is the need for good books in the homes of families who are living in poverty. I could tell the magic was rubbing off on you guys when I heard your suggestions for how we could help Malcom Mitchell's foundation "Read with Malcom," and "Share the Magic." From book drives, to field trips, to fundraisers, you were all on board.
This is when I decided we needed a hearth for this consuming fire of passion, which is why I developed teams you all could select to work on for this project: financial, research, design, advertising, supply, and communications. These teams will get together periodically (every other Friday or so) to determine next steps for our project, specifically in our own backyard with schools and homes in our area who are in need of quality books. We will continue to work on this project for the duration of the year, and at the end you all will submit a Community Based Project portfolio to me. Our goal is to help others, but I hope you know in the pursuit (as is always the case), we will really be helping ourselves. You guys will grow in your reading, speaking, writing, social, and problem solving skills through this endeavor, and because of it, so, so many others will benefit as well.
I will also grow from the ways I know you guys will challenge me in this project. Even though I have never done anything like this with a group of students, I believe in it, and I believe in you guys.
Each one of you will reach into the hat, and I am hopeful that (with a lot of guidance, practice, and patience) whatever you pull out of the hat this year will render the audience speechless. I know I have already been amazed and can't wait to see what else will unfold. Thank you guys for being such an extraordinary group. I love you already and do not want to let you go.
So, with no further adieu,
"If you believe in magic, come along with me,"