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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Isn't it Amazing?

I had a moment today. I recently got a new student. She is significantly behind in all academic areas but as sweet as they come. She is impulsive and irresponsible but she is a great hugger. She walked in my classroom and felt a bit defeated but left today feeling like a reader. I'm not sure how much reading instruction she has had, I have received very little information to help me determine this. But today she said, "I can't wait to tell my mom I can read now!"

That was the first moment.

Then came writing workshop. I have been doing lessons on the craft of writing and what authors do to bring interest to the work. This little girl was distracted, moving around the room and dis-engaged. She sat down to write. Unless I was right next to her, no words or pictures on the page. She had a nice oral story about missing a friend so I thought maybe we had something. Then she drew a couple of people, a deer (her "pet") and a rainbow of sorts. Her story was "Play Play Play, jus four JOB!" (Yes, that is 'jus' and yes she told me that four was the number four, though it wasn't spelled that way).
I asked her to explain. She said, "Well that is my pet deer and my friend Blake. I am here. I am sad because I miss him."
I asked, "Can you tell me what 'jus' means?"
Her response, "jus is a Spanish word for job. Do you like it?"
I gave her a squeeze and told her I was proud of her effort. Inside I was cringing a bit. But then she pointed something out.
"Did you see job? I made it big and bold!"
Well, yes she did. One of the items on our anchor chart that day. Hmmm, maybe she's got more to come. I can hope. I can also hope that soon she exclaims excitement about being a writer too.


  1. Each day a little work and a little more progress. Her reading life will feed her writing life. How exciting that she made the connection to the anchor chart. Small victories!

  2. You are seeing what is possible in her… she needs to see herself as you see her. You believe so now she believe. She is lucky to have you as a teacher! Keep seeing her potential.

  3. I know your gentle way will lead her to be a reader and a writer and a happy student.

  4. Sounds to me like your mini lessons combined with an environment where risks are encouraged and learning is expected have provided a place where reading and writing will become hers.
    She's lucky to be in your class.

  5. I think your new student is on her way ... thanks to you, Betsy. Patience and kindness go such a long way...

  6. I love that in a moment when you were cringing about her work or lack of work you have her a squeeze and praised her efforts. She is lucky to have a special teacher like you!

  7. I will be getting a new student tomorrow. He is in high school, but he is also an ELL student. I will be thinking about your words in the days to come.

  8. My comment seems to have disappeared, perhaps you'll get two! I responded about your kindness with this student, and hoped that you'll receive more information about her, to help her and you! I liked hearing your story and how you approached this new student so thoughtfully!

  9. Patients is one of those things hard to master as a teacher. We want them to get it today! I know that feeling. I love your kindness and patients here too. You help her by building her confidence and allowing her to discover learning.

  10. Thank you for sharing I am a college student and in the middle of doing my work sample I received a new student. She was also extremely behind similar to your student in the 5th grade. Thank you for sharing it lets me know I am not alone with this happening.


Thanks for the comment love!