Sunday, April 17, 2016


     We just recently had our 17th annual Hiawatha Talent Show, where students danced and sang and performed magic and told a few jokes.  It's always a highlight for our kids, where they get to shine for  doing something other than reading and writing and math.  They get to show off what they perceive as their talent, and perform for 500 kids in the process.  I would never have been able to get in front of that many people at a young age, so I give them lots of credit.  I also give lots of credit to our teachers who donate their time to organize the event.  This year, +Diann Milford+Kayla Kaczmarek and +Katherine Whisler organized the show.

     Over the years, and especially in the age of Twitter, I see lots of teachers who share their vision for their students, and many include celebrating the whole child, and embracing student interests in education.  We hear a lot about giving students a voice.  But, what often happens is our vision for what we believe is important gets buried underneath the curriculum and time limits we have in a school year.  In my opinion, having a Talent Show is one way that tells students that they are MORE than just a reading level or a MAP score.  They are individuals, who shine in different ways.  

     This year, I brought my own children to see the show because they had Spring Break that week.  They clapped and cheered, and my son asked if he could get up on the stage after school to dance, too.  +Lori Horne promised him she would watch him, and the Staff Kids Talent Show was born.

First up was my son, with a dance from the Nutcracker.

Next up was a song from Theresa Carrillo's daughter, who is also a Hiawatha Husky!

Then came a duet between our kids while my daughter hid in the wings.  
She got a little stage fright like her mom would...

At the very end, they called up each teacher in the audience so that my son could give them a construction paper heart and used the microphone to say, "Thanks for being such a good audience."  Some had already left, but we had a nice bunch at 3:45 on a Friday!

When everyone left, my daughter finally made an appearance on stage.  

      Look at all the staff members who stayed after school on a Friday to watch an impromptu talent show put on by staff children!  I took a video of my son while he danced, and I just teared up at how amazing it was that he felt so special because they gave him some positive attention for something that matters to him.  The truth is, my son is a dancer.  He loves it.  And, I know he felt like he was in a production of the Nutcracker that afternoon.  For that I am very thankful.  

     The picture below is the message my daughter wrote on my Pineapple Chart in my office.  It says:
Welcome to Hiawatha
Mrs. O'Donnell
I am the literacy coach.
From: Keira

      Thanks again to the Hiawatha staff who not only welcomed my children that day, but also welcomed the talents of our Huskies who put themselves onto the stage that day and every day of 2015-16. Our school is a special place that embraces everything that our children bring to school with them: their strengths and their struggles.  Thanks for remembering that our students are more than a reading level.  They are more than a test score.  They are so much MORE.  And, at the end of the day, you even see that in my own children too.  Thanks for being the educators that you are.



  1. Sami came home from school the day of dress rehearsal and said, "Mommy I'm a star!" Then, after her performance that night she said, "The spotlight was on JUST ME!!" Thanks, Hiawatha, for allowing so many students to be the shining stars during their time on stage.

  2. Evan and I are BFF's. I already told him to save me a front row seat when he has his first professional show! P.S. I bet when he becomes famous he will buy mom some nice bling ;-)

  3. Holy Awesomeness! This is amazing and wonderful and just simply terrific! Love! Love! Love!