Sunday, August 5, 2012

Welcome Debbie Clement!

Friends, today I am thrilled to host my friend, Debbie Clement!  She is a phenomenal author, illustrator, performer, teacher, and all around fabulous educator!  I know you will enjoy her contagious enthusiasm as much as I do!  :)

OH HAPPY DAY!! It's my turn to share here.

What fun. What delight! I have the honor of contributing a guest post today -- thank you for the opportunity, Dr. Penny.  It's a thrill to introduce myself to new readers. Let's get this party started! 
photo of: Number Fun Equations

Let's start with some basics about me: I LUV'd math growing up. I was super good in fact. I won oodles of math-derby contests. Chalk at the black-board, who can solve the problem first was a strength. I was great at long division and I was super capable all the way to AP Calculus! 

Seeing these 'old school' flash cards took me right back to that chalk-in-hand adrenalin of beat the clock speed racers. 

photo of: Number Fun Equations
My favorite-factor set!!
Somewhere along the line, my delight with finding the 'right' answer evolved to the appreciation for the open-ended exploration of the Arts. Somehow as an adult I notice myself seeing math all around me. In shapes and patterns. I explore those geometric relations now in fabric as quilt work. 

              photo of: "You're Wonderful" picture book illustrations from fabric --exploration in geometry + Art by Debbie Clement

My songs are full of metrics, patterns even sculpted algebraic equations. After seeing the picture book "Pattern Fish" at the library, where in reading the text the child is asked to solve for X, I wrote and recorded a little dittie I call the "Pattern Song." The lyrics in the first verse unfold: "Knees-tap, knees-tap, knees-tap, knees.............. and after a sufficient pause even young children fill in the blank, solve for X and hit-the-beat with the word: TAP!

Its an honor to be invited to make school visits. I get to come for a day -- or sometimes two -- and my plan is to share my 'story' with the children in your room. My goal is to encourage your students. Inspire them. Delight them. Sing with them. And yes, explore patterns in the midst of music + Art.  

photo of: Debbie Clement making Author-Illustrator School Visit to Kindergarten

For the last 16 years I have used the motto, "Have guitar, will travel." From those early classroom visits and staff development presentations I went on to record my original songs for the classroom onto 7 CDs. They're known to my fan club as, "Debbie's Ditties."  At this point I've recorded over 100 original songs! Most recently I have added the layer of being an 'Author and Illustrator,' as I have turned 3 of my songs into traditional picture books, acting as author, illustrator AND publisher! These little projects of mine have taken me on some amazing adventures. Can I have a whooop-whoooop? 

photo of: Kindergarten Collaborative Art Project to "You're Wonderful"
Long Island, NY Collaborative Kindergarten Project
My favorite thing in kindergarten visits is to bring my original quilts and we compare them to the presentation of the images in the printed traditional hardback books. When the students see the quilts and the open books they *finally* connect the dots that I'm the one who made the book. Often times the children have created art projects in response to my work. LUV LUV LUV LUV LUV seeing it!

My story is a compelling one. I am the poster child for 'do-what-you-love and amazing opportunities will present themselves'. I could ramble on and on about:
  • my two European adventures to present concerts and presentations to the children of our troops stationed abroad PLUS my day in Reggio, ITALY
  • my other two books and classroom responses to those works 
  • taking out a loan on our house to get my first book into your hands 
  • being a two-time Breast Cancer survivor with a zest for living
  • my quest to get my blog connected to a wider world
  • my travels giving keynotes and workshops across the country.

Based on the enthusiastic response of children to my visits, I would encourage you to pursue creating an 'author' visit when ever possible. No doubt you have a local dignitary eager to make a visit. Check SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) for a possible local candidate for your consideration. My goal for the new school year is to create Skype author visits for classrooms too far away from my itinerary. Let's use the technology available to make excitement unfold in your room!!

My own blog of my travels into schools around the country and around the globe is over at RainbowsWithinReach. My newest claim to fame is that I am editor-in-chief over at the collaborative blog PreK+K Sharing where we have about 35 authors contributing one article each month. I throw down the welcome mat for each -- when you have the opportunity to hop over for a visit. Small world. I've gathered up the very best contributors.

photo of: Organize Your Classroom with Rainbows Within Reach school visit vingettes

The number one article on my blog is one on Organization in the Classroom, people seem to really appreciate the photos from my travels into oodles of classrooms. My article over at PreK+K with the most views is one I wrote on the distinction between Process + Product in Children's Art.  It seems that the old art-teacher in me is quite opinionated. 

I get to give the keynote for the state of Arkansas this fall and Tennessee next winter. Lots of other conferences from FL to OH are getting the details worked out as I type. Wouldn't it be awesome to meet in person? Until then please follow my blog(s) or my growing Pinterest collection, where 19,500++ of your peers have already got a jump on you and my ever-growing pin-boards!

Let me close by offering an opportunity for you to look over my shoulder at a kindergarten school visit in Amityville, NY as we started off our time together in their school gym. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of children everywhere. 

-- Debbie --
photo of: HUGE GIVE-AWAY of one entire set of Debbie Clement materials: 6 CDs + 3 Picture Books

***If you ever order from my website, please use the promo code "great" and receive 10% off your order. That should pay for the shipping. 


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