Love, Joy, & Learning w/ Miss Elmi

March 25, 2023
Creating spaces of love, joy, and learning toward human flourishing.

It only takes a few seconds on Hanaa Elmi’s Twitter timeline for even the most oblivious observer like myself to know that what she is doing is magical. One post from February details several images of student contributions from reflections on Stone Soup and other related readings - child’s handwriting draws your eye to the center of each poster - We take care of each other by…We take care of water by…We take care of the Earth by… - student drawings and reflections surrounding those prompts create the shared understanding - Hanaa also captures “Our Ideas” in the margins - have a spirit of ubuntu (I am because we are), she writes, Be like the Water Walkers, Love water!

Another series of images shows her young students exploring questions like “What’s the heart of the story? What do you think the author wants us to know in our minds & hearts as a reader?”, one student reply reads “Ms. I think the heart of the story is that anger is okay and normal. We just have to breathe.”

Hanaa prompts students to explore the differences & similarities between justice & charity. She quotes from one of the dozens of books her students use, “What are words really? Are they just random letters arranged in different ways? Or do they have magical powers that can inspire and amaze?” A student uses a number string to double 40. Students with clipboards find and sort animals on a number line by their height. They write, draw, & reflect in dream journals. I could go on and on and on… In every post, it’s so obvious that students are deeply engaged & invested in the world & with each other.

Community, love, joy, and learning are self-evident in the work she does with kids.


Hanaa Elmi is an elementary teacher in Windsor-Essex County. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor who roots her work in community: creating thriving spaces that humanize students. She is passionate about creating spaces where students deeply connect with the world around them in just, restorative, and conscientious ways.

Miss Elmi's Reading List:

(1) “Teaching to Transgress” by bell hooks

(2) “Other People’s Children” by Dr. Lisa Delpit

(3)“Radical Dreaming For Education Now” by Dr. Jamila Dugan (

(4)“Schooling the System” by Dr. Funké Aladejebi

(5)“Cultivating Genius” by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad

(6)“Fugitive Pedagogy” by Dr. Jarvis R. Givens

(7) “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem

(8) “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World” edited by Dr. Django Paris and Dr. H. Samy Alim


Miss Elmi's Twitter

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