Posted on 04/25/2014 at 07:31 AM by Global Reach

On Thursday, April 24, 2014, first graders at Washington Elementary School in Sioux City, Iowa had the opportunity to learn from the best selling author and speaker, Jon Gordon. Gordon has been writing books, in fable form, for adults for about 10 years. His books fuel positive energy into readers. His first book, The Energy Bus, was recently rewritten as a children’s book. Gordon has plans to adapt other books in his 10-book line-up over to children’s books in the future.

Chantae Larson, a first grade teacher at Washington Elementary, has been using the free classroom resources from with her students and Becky Gaul’s first grade class. Ms. Larson has witnessed first hand how the concept of The Energy Bus motivates their desire to overcome negativity and share positive energy with others around them. One example is when Ms. Larson’s students realized that everyone around them is a passenger on their bus. Ms. Larson’s grandmother has been ill and the first graders were concern about the passengers on their teacher’s bus.

“Seeing is believing! Witnessing my first-grade students internalize the lingo used in the book helped me realize the power of The Energy Bus,” Ms. Larson shared.

Ms. Larson and Kathy Perret, Northwest AEA instructional coach serving Washington Elementary School, both learned they shared a love of Jon Gordon’s powerful books. They have been staying in contact throughout the first graders Energy Bus Unit. About a month ago, Kathy happened to tweet about the first graders’ excitement. The tweet was read by Andrea Hernandez, a 5th grade teacher from Jacksonville, Florida, who is a regular at the Instructional Coaches chat (#educoach) that Kathy co-moderates each Wednesday at 9:00 PM CST. Andrea learned of The Energy Bus when one of her fifth graders happened to read the adult version of the book and gave a presentation to their class.

Then the connection snowballed. It just so happened that Jon Gordon lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and was scheduled to visit Andrea Hernandez’s class. The first graders at Washington Elementary were invited to join them via Skype! The excitement built as the day neared. Today, April 24, 2014, both the 5th graders in Jacksonville, Florida and the first graders in Sioux City, Iowa, connected and learned from Jon Gordon.

“I’m thrilled with the positive energy flowing in my classroom after this experience,” reported Chantae Larson. “My students can’t stop talking about it. It’s amazing to be able to have the opportunity to connect with an author that means so much to us!”

The powers of social media connections and realizing the passions and interests of others lead to this amazing opportunity. “You never know how far one tweet will reach,” says Kathy Perret.

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