That’s right. Our teachers will be stoned and I hope to be able to share with our office staff too.
Oh…did you think I meant THAT kind of stoned?! Goodness, No! I may work in a part of the country that has legalized that sort of thing, but I would never expect a teacher to start the day at work that way. I’m talking about stoning my colleagues on our first day back to work. I hope that they will enjoy the event, and I want to start the day off with just the right stones. I looked for the bigger ones, because the little ones just wouldn’t have the same impact. I found a great bunch in two colors and I brought them home in an abundance to make the stoning happen. It took several hours to prepare, but I think it will set the tone for our year in a solid way.
What? “Don’t cast stones” you say? You think I meant to harm my colleagues? Oh my. Let me start again.
I am gifting my colleagues with stones; stones with words, thoughts, and phrases of positivity. I want us to start the year with good thoughts and affirmations, but I didn’t want to just say it or give a note. I am hoping that these stones, that they will take with them at the end of the day, will remind each person throughout the year of the good ideas we started with. Yet, I know that what some might think is affirming might be meaningless to another. So, I’ve designed nearly 100 individual stones so that each person may select the encouraging idea that they need.
Teaching is hard work and we often get muddled in frustration, exhaustion, and irritation. When we let those emotions get the best of us, we might take it out on others and that can make for very unpleasant relationships. These emotions can also bring us down like a stone around our neck. As an instructional coach, I hope to provide support that may stave off some of those emotions, to provide a confidential, listening ear to the emotions that fill our hearts, or an elevating word that will lift others up.
My plan is to lay the stones around each table’s supply bin so they are a part of the décor. At some point in the professional development session, I’ll instruct each person to select one stone that “speaks” to them. After they’ve made their selection, I’ll invite them to tell the other people at their table why they selected that particular stone. This will be a nice way to share a bit about ourselves, rekindle connections, and learn about our newest staff members. I know that many people don’t like ice-breakers, but I hope that this will be a gentle way to build on positivity and connect with each other. At the end of the day, each person may take their stone with them; walking away “stoned”. I hope that whenever they see it they will be reminded of what it means to them and that they will not dodge the positive affirmation that goes along with it.
If you’d like to “stone” your staff, keep reading and I’ll share the steps I took to create them.
- “Glass Gems” or clear glass stone
- Mod Podge or strong adhesive
- Permanent fine tip marker or a computer program like Power Point or Photoshop
- Magnets (strips or circles)
- Buy bags of “Glass Gems” or clear glass stones. I selected the larger stones that were one inch in diameter. You’ll want to measure them before you start designing. I found mine at our local Dollar Tree. There were about 36 in each bag. I selected a clear set and a set of blue gems.
- On your computer, open up an electronic imaging/text program that you prefer. I used Power Point because I prefer the ease of manipulation of clipart and text. You might like Photoshop or some other.
- Create a number of circles that measure up to the size of your stones. In PowerPoint you can use the measurements to the side and top to determine the accurate size. You can also hand draw the circles on paper if you need.
- In your program, insert text with the words or clip art that you’d like to include. If you are making them by hand, you can write the text or draw images within the circles. I selected various fonts and clip art so that there would be lots of uniqueness.
- Print your page if using technology. (Skip this step if you are making them by hand.)
- Cut out your circles.
- Select an adhesive medium that will dry clear. I used Mod Podge. Use a paintbrush to paint on some glue to the complete flat portion of your glass stone.
- Place a circle, image/text down, onto the flat, glued side of the stone.
- Let it dry.
- Paint more adhesive around and over the edge of the paper so that the edges will not pull up later.
- Let it dry again.
- If you want the stones to be magnets, you can glue or adhere magnets to the flat portion of the stone after the original gluing has dried. I used magnet strips with adhesive backing. I cut the strips into smaller sections so that they could fit on the back or flat side of the stone without being seen from the front. I wanted circular magnets, but they were a bit out of my budget.
- Wipe off any glue smudges or fingerprints. Be careful that you don’t moisten any glued edges that may be water soluble.
- Gift to those that you’d like to inspire.