Monday, November 9, 2015

Mellie Monkey - Guest post by Sarah Windisch

I hope you enjoy this first guest post on the Teacher With Tuba blog. This time I'm turning things over to my greatest adviser, biggest cheerleader, and best friend, Sarah Windisch. Not only is she my wife of 14 years, she is an inspiring elementary music teacher and technology integration coach and I'm glad she can share this story with you.

So, I get to guest post here on Teacher with Tuba - and that's crazy exciting.  I always get to go to the "writer's meetings" which usually happen in the car or at dinner, and do some editing, you know, in my spare time.  And of course, I get to see all the amazing tweets and people who interact with and cheer for my awesome, amazing, rockstar of a husband.

But, you guys, you have to cheer for one of my classes.  Because this week, I had some fifth graders who were completely remarkable.

First, meet Mellie.

photo by Amy Marlow - Instagram @mellieandme

My dear friend Amy and her husband Justin just finished the year-long process of adopting her from Bulgaria - she came home last Thursday.  Now, since Amy used to work at my school, #mellieday was a big deal.  All of us who had participated in a fun run fundraiser in February wore our Mad About Mellie shirts, some of us planned to go to the airport, and we were signing cards and banners to welcome them all home.

Mad About Mellie!
photo by Sarah Windisch - Instagram @slwindisch 

All of my classes were curious about my shirt, but one in particular loved it.  They loved how excited I was to welcome her home.  They begged to see pictures.  And then, someone said, "Can we write her a song?"

Read that again.  "Can we write her a song?"

The room spun a little and I held back tears.  What an amazing gift.

I grabbed a legal pad, and we all sat on the floor.  We brainstormed things that toddlers do, things that rhyme with Mellie; I shared that Amy and Justin call her "Mellie Monkey."  Then it was things that monkeys and toddlers love.  Some kids just shared words - others sang a line.  Everyone, literally everyone, contributed, felt heard - it was the most amazing thing that's ever happened in my career.

Brainstorming - all heads in!
photo by Sarah Windisch

I grabbed my guitar and strummed a few chords, helping guide the song together.  We sang it.  We recorded it.  It didn't work the first time, so I went to their classroom at the end of the day and we recorded it again.  And every time we sang it together, it was magical.  Every time I hear it, it's not just happiness for Mellie, or joy that my students understand these musical concepts we've been working on together for years, it's that these kids are kind.  They get it.

I've shared it with Amy and Justin.  And their family.  And our friends.  And now, I'll share it with you.

Presenting the world debut of "Mellie, Mellie Monkey."

Oh, so cute.
photo from Amy Marlow - Instagram @mellieandme

Thanks for letting me share how awesome my kids are with you.  I hope this warmed you the way it warmed me:  with kids like these fifth graders, and people like Amy and Justin, plus thinkers and teachers like Jim and all of you...I feel like the world is in good hands.

With joy,

Sarah (The other Teacher with Tuba)
Twitter:  @slwindisch

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