Monday, October 5, 2009

"A Thousand Tiny Surrenders" a school lesson by Robert Brault

There's a writer I enjoy reading.
Robert Brault
I have a list of his quotes ready to use for posters and bulletin boards in my classroom!
I revisit Robert's quotes just because...

They're great!

When I read this quote, I knew I needed to used it for school...
It's wonderful for character education.
After mentioning this to Robert Brault,
he offered the quote along with a lesson for the students.

If you're making a poster for schoolkids, you might consider making a contest of it. Who can supply the missing words/phrases in the following: "You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of _______ to ________." You could have the kids make up a list:


"who you are"/"what others want you to be"
"what you know is right"/"what you know is wrong"
And... here's how it worked out...
I created the large poster, with the key phrases missing.
The students were asked to think about what might belong there...
When all the papers were in, I knew there would be a lot of "good to bad" responses (I teach middle school)...but there were some thoughtful ones as well. I put a sampling of their responses on the poster.

An opportunity came to talk about this quote again after a student made a bad decision
in my class . . .and then continued this behavior in other classes during the day.

"tiny surrenders"
They got it... they really got it!

Thank you Robert Brault!

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I've been there myself... surrendering a little here and a little there...
but there's beautiful Saving Grace for a wretch like me.

I pray for my students, hoping their tiny surrenders will mostly be to what is
good and right and lovely.

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Thank you, Thank you Robert Brault!
~What a great lesson for all of us~


Barb said...

Hi Maria,
Robert Brault was very kind to offer a teaching suggestion. Your students seemed to take the lesson to heart. Real examples are the best teaching tools for us all whether we're grown or in middle school.

Diana said...

This was very clever and nice Maria. Also very nice that Robert Brault gave you extra ideas. How neat!
Love Di

Wanda said...

Hi Maria...very nice quotes, but even nicer is what you did with them...The parents of your students must really appreciate you!


koralee said...

Oh Maria...I love love love this...what an amazing idea. These responses from your students are encouraging! Thanks a million for sharing...may have to borrow the idea at some point...right now my students my be a wee bit young but I could probably do something like this to get them thinking!

About the script in that teacup post...I have a photo program that has script and so I picked this one and put it on the teacup letter by letter so it would swirl around. It took me awhile to get the hang of it but I love playing around so it was fun!

Happy evening to you my friend!

Robert Brault said...


It's nothing less than thrilling to see what you and the kids did with this idea. You have a bright and thoughtful bunch of young people, and they have an innovative and caring teacher. Thanks so much for making this effort. You have made me proud of myself and very hopeful about what's going on these days in our classrooms. Bravo!


Farmgirl Cyn said...

Oh Maria! How very fortunate/blessed your students are!

Linda said...

What a great idea Maria. I think the kids came up with some great thoughts.
You are an amazing teacher. How blessed your students are!

Vicki said...

Maria, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love your post today!! What a terrific lesson and a learning experience your students will not soon forget!! As a retired teacher, it blesses my heart to no end to know that there are inspired teachers like yourself still carrying on the torch of loving our young people and wanting only the best for them!! You have blessed me today, thank you. Vicki

Maria said...

Thank you all for the inspiring words...

With the number of hours children spend at school... I believe it's important that they learn lessons on character.
As someone wise once wrote:
:No child is yet lost for whom a light is kept burning:
Thanks again everyone for visiting and to Robert Brault for the quote I used at school and the one in this comment~
All the best, Maria

B SQUARED said...

We all face those little surrenders each day. The challenge to kids is from peer pressure. Standing up to the pressure and becoming an individual with character. Your exercises will contribute greatly to their success and character building. Well done!

Amanda said...

mom this is awesome!!! I really like what your students wrote, and what clever minds they have!! I may copy this and use it in my classroom... =) See what the city kids come up with =) P.S. I love the way you decorated the responses and your bulletin board... how did you get the apples??? did you print a bunch in color?

Maria said...

Where I got the apples:
Cutest graphics ever:
Cute Colors

Then click on the 'Free Cliparts' tag on the top :)

Marg said...

This is awesome. This would be a great blog for all teacher to connect. It's interesting how you can use a simple quote and yet have the students bring their own learning to the class room.
Very effective. I will show this to my Teacher...