It’s the time of year when my students find a sweet spot. They ‘re a little more mature. They’re solid fifth graders.
Students are comfortable where they are and how they fit in. This week I saw it. How they move around the room. How they respond to challenges, to each other, to me. They speak up and show who they are, what they feel and how they think without fear. And, with that comfort, there were moments of tension worth celebrating.
D reads and draws and sings and sees the world through a gamer’s eyes. He’s a thinker. He’s emotional. If he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough, he can break down in tears. This week something happened all of a sudden at his desk. Head down. Quiet tears. The students around him signaled me over. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he wanted to take a walk. He did. In a few minutes, he was back at his desk writing. Intensely. Doing what got him so upset a few minutes earlier. He was overwhelmed in one moment and then it passed. His classmates got him and supported him at that moment. It was uncomfortable, but his classmates were gentle and supportive. They get him. That’s just how he rolls.
T and his group were reading a text set on baseball history. There were articles on Jackie Robinson, a play based on the movie A League of Their Own, and the book Teammates, a story of the friendship between Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. At the end of reading, each group shared a big idea they found. T reported that “The Negro Leagues had adoring fans.” It was a statement right out or the text. At that moment, S got up and walked over to face T. “NO that is not right. You don’t say that.” Whoa. It was confrontational, but at the same time interaction was calm, controlled. We talked about history, words and context, and how powerful words are. T used the words in the text, but he didn’t have a thought about it. He didn’t understand the impact of it. History stays with us, and we have to talk about it. What it meant and what it means to us now.
L and J are struggling readers, but for very different reasons. From time to time, because they are outliers, they found themselves together. Not surprisingly, there were problems. Feelings got hurt, so they stayed clear of each other. This week, L and J showed me the Pokemon cards they had traded. They wanted to be sure that I knew the details of the exchange. As we talked, K was listening in. I looked up at K and asked him to be a witness to this transaction. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up sign.
This week my students got through difficult moments, understood each other a little better and got along. It’s a sweet spot.
Read more celebrations here at Ruth Ayers link up