Jaime Warren held up a journal and pointed to an entry that formed the basis for her recently published children's book.
"I sit in my classroom, I wonder, I ponder," she read aloud. "The solutions to math work I truly try to conjure."
"The book actually had started here, my prayer journal in 2004," said Mrs. Warren, 62, who is the director of All Saints Episcopal School's Learning Enrichment Center and its Lower School assistant head.
After working with a student who was struggling in math, Mrs. Warren went home one night and started writing. As she replayed the day and the minutes spent with that student the words started flowing.
"So in one night, it just kind of began just pour out," she said.
Fast forward to today and those thoughts in her journal have become a book written in a rhyming pattern and published by New York-based Knowing Science.
"Hey World, Look ... I Am Smart!" follows a student named Emily through a school-day journey as she gets worried and frustrated over not feeling as smart as her classmates.
She is admonished by one teacher but finds encouragement in another and realizes there are multiple ways of being smart. Hers just happen to be in different areas than her classmates.
The book was the first literary piece put out by Knowing Science, which publishes science and math curriculum, and Mrs. Warren is hoping that students, teachers and parents get a hold of it to hear its message.
"I want children to understand. ... They do have strengths that they can capitalize on and discover those strengths," she said. "And we all have our weak areas. ... And we don't just put it aside, but we discover those, too. Celebrate the strengths but continue to work on those areas we need to make stronger."
Born in Homer, La., and raised in Dallas, Mrs. Warren began her teaching career in 1971 after graduating from Baylor University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
In 28 years of education -- she spent 13 years away when she had her children -- she has taught in public and private schools.
It was while working on professional development toward becoming an academic language therapist that she began to see how some students struggle in the educational system.
"I began to realize how downtrodden some children feel in school due to continued failure and lack of encouragement to believe in themselves," she wrote in an overview about the history of her book. "Traditional education teaches and tests basically in two areas -- math and language arts -- and students are expected to be experts in everything at school."
She said Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences shows children and adults that they don't have to be good at everything.
"I can celebrate my strengths and work on areas that need practice and support," she said.
It is this idea that she wanted to convey to people in a children's book format. Although she had an appreciation for Gardner's theory and had the 2004 journal entry she didn't have any real motivation to finish it for a book until a 2010 conversation with Dr. William Banko.
Banko, who is founder and president of Knowing Science, met Mrs. Warren through a mutual friend. During a conversation about the company's curriculum, Mrs. Warren shared about her passion for "knowing," this idea that children know who they are, their gifts and abilities. She mentioned her book idea and he loved it and encouraged her to finish it.
Banko said in an emailed statement that understanding that children and students have strengths and weaknesses in their abilities is fundamental to the teaching and learning process. He said Gardner first formalized this idea in his theory and Mrs. Warren describes it in one page of her book.
"I think the message is that you really have to look at the entire child, where they're weak and where they are strong, and deal with both," Banko said.
Something that makes the book special in Mrs. Warren's and Banko's minds is that it was illustrated by an All Saints student.
Seventh-grader Lexi Hossley, 12, drew the 25 pictures featured inside the book plus the one on the front cover. Mrs. Warren said the company offered their own illustrator, but she wanted to have drawings from a child's perspective.
Lexi said she and Mrs. Warren talked about ideas before she put pencils to paper and drew the pieces. She said she is proud and happy she got to be a part of the project.
Mrs. Warren said she's open to writing more books in the future because she doesn't think there are enough children's books that talk about what it means to know and understand. However, right now her focus is on getting this one in to the hands of as many people as possible.
"I want to get the word out about it because to me I feel like it's a good message for teachers, for parents, for children," she said.
Published in November 2011, the book is available directly from Mrs. Warren or from Knowing Science.
Mrs. Warren said she is looking into making it available on Amazon.com and possibly other locations, but no formal arrangements have been made.
Lexi Hossley (left) and Jaime Warren sign the first shipment of their book “Hey World, Look … I Am Smart!” Mrs. Warren wrote it and Lexi illustrated it. (Courtesy Photo)