I’m a walker. I try to walk 4-6 miles every day. A few days ago I was almost finished with my walk when I passed two little girls with their nanny. The older one (about 4 ½) let out a great big “HI!” with a big smile on her face. So I stopped and our conversation went like this:
Pat: Well, hello there, you guys look like you are going somewhere fun. Are you on your way to the library or the park? (both nearby)
4 yr old: (practically screaming with excitement) We’re going to the library!
Pat: WOW, that sounds great. Do you like books? I love books.
4 yr. old: Yes! (Now she’s literally jumping up and down) “And… And …. And…They have storytime!!!”
Pat: Well, get going. You don’t want to miss that.
Don’t you wish all our students, leaving us now at the end of the school year, would leave with that enthusiasm for books and stories?
I’ve noticed lately (as we only have 20 more school days) that talk in the teacher’s lounges centers around teachers’ worries about passing tests. Did my students pass the fiction and non-fiction on the DRA tests? Did they pass the standardized state tests in math, science, and social studies? Did they use punctuation correctly, spell lots of word quickly, and write a story with a beginning, middle and end to pass the writing prompt?
Though we have to answer the above questions, and we hope that all the answers are yes, wouldn’t it be great if our hopes or questions for our students could look more like these:
- I hope my students are leaving with some fond memories of the books we shared together this year.
- I hope they have lists or piles of books they want to read over the summer. Will they take time to read? Do they have favorite authors?
- I hope they are leaving with a sense of inquiry. Have I done enough this year to instill in them a desire to wonder about their world, live with questions, and search for answers?
- I know they have grown as writers. Do they know that writing can be powerful; persuade someone to change their opinion? Do they know they are full of ideas of what to write about and that their ideas and opinions matter?
- Have I done a good job with building community this school year? Will it help to stop the bullying?
- And if perchance they do hurt someone’s feelings or injure them in any way, will they say they are sorry with heartfelt sincerity?
- Do they treat others’ opinions with respect in discussions? Are they better listeners than when they first came to me?
- And, finally, do they have the spirit of jumping up and down when they think about stories, poems, and informational texts?
What is the one question that you hope to answer with a resounding “YES” at the end of the school year?