Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Needle and Thread

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share the celebrations from our week. It has been awhile since I have written a celebration post.  This week was one of those weeks where I taught lessons and learned a lesson.  That is always a cause for celebration!

This week my middle school held its second annual door decorating contest.  It is a week a chaos, messiness and a whole lot of fun.  

My students created a Christmas quilt for our door.  It has not been one of my best years, and I was leery about letting my entire class participate in this year's contest.  I tried to make it simple, yet include each one in the process.  I decided the quilt would be just the answer.

Each student had a nine block pattern and created their own design pattern.  The only rule was that it had to be colored with red, green, and yellow crayons.  (Another reason why dandelion should NOT have been retired!)

My students of the week began piecing it together on the door.  We used the words which were suggested by Margaret Simon, 

"Christmas stitches us together 
with JOY!"

Now if any of you quilt, then you know just how important that 1/4 inch seam allowance is!  As the students pieced it together, the more distorted it became.  And the more I had to close my eyes and say, "kid created" because the sashing, borders, and blocks not lining up was driving me crazy.

Our blocks were crooked, our seams didn't meet, and we had gaps where we shouldn't have had gaps.  As I stood back and looked at our finished door, I realized that my classroom was just like this quilt.  

Each block is different with their own little design, just as each one of my students are. They come from different backgrounds, different abilities, and different personalities. But each one is special in their own scrappy way. Their seams don't always meet. They make mistakes which create crooked paths. They have gaps socially, emotionally, and academically which need to be filled.  

As this epiphany hit me, I realized how much they depend on us, as teachers, to "patch" them up.  Teachers help them to realize they are unique designs, and each block has a special place in the quilt.  We help them to realize their seams might not match, so we set them on a straighter path.  We may even have to rip some out and help them realize starting over isn't so bad.  We need to teach them that the seams are what holds the quilt together.  

And the gaps...oh my are there gaps. That is when teachers add a little here and add a little there to help the masterpiece come together.

And so I added the line,
...and teachers patch us up
with LOVE!

Our door was 6th grade runner-up,
but I think it was the emotional appeal of the judges and NOT neatness! 

So yes, my door is a little scrappy, a little crooked, and in need of a little patching.

Just like my students.

What did I learn this week?  I need to look at my students like this quilt and realize they are not perfect, and they have gaps, and they certainly have crooked seams, but they are trusting me and needing me to hold the needle and the thread.


  1. Love this, Leigh Anne! So much truth and beauty, even in imperfection.

  2. The students are perfect in their imperfection, as are we all. Your door looks happy and bright.

  3. This brought a big smile to my face and warmth in my heart.

  4. So glad you were able to close your eyes and let this be a kid created masterpiece, something they will love looking at every day between now and break! It's so colorful and kid happy!

  5. I think it's really better this way. You aren't pushing your students to be conforming perfectly, you are seeing that they aren't perfect, just like all of us and everyone. It looks terrific to me!

  6. Your door is wonderful! I'm touched that you used my suggestion (I forgot that I had said it.), but I am especially touched by your addition and analogy. A wonderful revelation at this time of year when we are all getting a little tired.