Adding Sizzle to Your Summer by Barbara Gruener
by Barbara Gruener, Monthly Columnist
The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson is one of my favorite summer sizzlers because it crosses cultures and generations to tell the story of foolishness, forgiveness, and friendship.
As a father and his daughter plant their annual garden, he flashes back to a mistake he made when he was ten years old and shares with his daughter exactly what happened, how he felt, and what it took to make amends.
The author uses a garden metaphor to illustrate what can grow in the fertile soil of forgiveness.
Ask your children to share a time they did something they regret and how they resolved the issue. Use this tale to inspire your little gardeners to plant a garden of their own. Have them research what grows well in their climate and soil. Troubleshoot the challenges they will face like drought or disease, bugs or birds. Using the five senses, discuss the differences between store-bought vegetables and the home-grown variety. Find out with whom they’d like to share their produce or how they plan to use their bounty. Maybe you could even build a small road-side stand!
In addition to tending their garden, try one or more of these activities to engage your learners during summer:
About the Author
A bilingual educator who was raised on her family’s farm in Wisconsin, Barbara Gruener has been the counselor and character coach at Westwood-Bales Elementary School in Friendswood, Texas for the past ten years. She’s also a motivational speaker and loves to influence and impact workshop participants in her signature Sing, Dance, Laugh and Build Character sessions. When she’s not at school, Barbara likes to write, read, knit, bake, and spend time with family and friends. Check out Barbara’s uplifting blog, Corner on Character, to read her inspirational stories about positive people and elevating experiences.
Barbara’s inspiring articles appear monthly on The Teachers’ Lounge.