Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Geranium on the Window Sill Just Died But Teacher Went Right On

The Geranium On The Windowsill Just Died But Teacher You Went Right On
Albert Cullum ~ Harlin Quist, 1971

Oh, how I brag about seasonal write-ups, yet here I sit. On the brink of highlighting a book about September and the start of school. The end of the year is nearing. The neighborhood pool is getting unlocked and spiffied up. The summer... then FIRST GRADE. We are beyond psyched to move to the next level. Thus enters this wonderful black book. Written by a pioneer in early childhood education, Geranium was a bestseller back in its day and ended up on more than a few "banned books" lists.

Mr. Cullum was recently featured in a film directed by Robert Downey Sr. called Touch of Greatness that "documents the extraordinary work of this maverick public school teacher who embraced creativity, motivation and self-esteem in the classroom through the use of poetry, drama and imaginative play."

This man is my new personal hero, and watching this film has made me rethink so many of the ways I interact with my child. Every new moment with him is an opportunity to expand his mind and open up the world.

Geranium is a poetic ode to teachers, spoken from the voice of babes begging them to open up and have heart. Illustrated by almost 30 different artists, each page is a rallying cry to educators to think as a child and remember what it was like to be young and curious.

Nothing less than inspiring.

Teacher, come on outside!
I'll race you to the seesaw!
No, you won't fall off!
I'll show you how!
Don't be afraid teacher.
Grab my hand and follow me.
You can learn all over again!

If you have a few moments today, watch the trailer, Google this man's name and stream the movie on Netflix. Believe me, it will make your day. As Cullum once said: Teachers can be bearers of gifts. Not only do we have the priviledge of introducing great literature to young, imaginative minds, but we also have the priceless opportunity of giving each child the gift of believing in him or herself.

I'll second that.

(Pictures in order by: J.K. Lambert, Jacques Rozier, Philippe Weisbecker, Henri Galeron ~ Cover by: Philippe Weisbecker)


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  1. I have a copy of this, but can't justify a write up on my own blog, and have therefore been negligent in getting the art up online, so I'm glad to see the write-up.

  2. I almost cried when I watched the video. What Mr. Cullum did for his students was genius. I think he had more than a touch of greatness.

  3. Thanks for sharing, this is a great discovery!

  4. After teaching pre-k and kindergarten for 42 years, I retired. I received this book for my college graduation and it continues to inspire me as a teacher! Awesome message for educators.