Tag Archive for Staff Blog

Freeman Hrabowski at #ASCD13

I knew while hearing Freeman Hrabowski speak at #ASCD13 that his speech would be the one I include in my next Monday Musings post for my staff.  He had such a powerful message that I had to share with them. Here is a cross-posting from my staff memo blog:
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This weekend I got to attend the national ASCD conference in Chicago. I was fortunate to have the chance to attend it with a Press Pass, which got me in for free, but I just had to tweet/blog a lot about that (definitely something I am good at!)  I already have several posts up with more to come. If you’re interested you can find them on my professional blog at principalj.net.

One of the great speakers I heard at this conference was Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  Hrabowski’s story began as a young boy when he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and he has continued his passion to change the story for children and minorities.  He has led his University to change the story for minorities in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

 Hrabowski spoke about  matching high expectations along with the importance of building community among students, helping faculty retool teaching to start where students are and emphasizing collaboration among students, and building trust so that students are comfortable asking for help.  The one skill he wants every student going to college with is the ability to ask good questions.

Some other “nuggets” of wisdom I quickly typed during his presentation include:

  • We must empower children to speak for themselves.
  • Excellence is never an accident, it is a result of sincere effort.
  • Choice, not chance determines your destiny.
  • Many students that would be the first generation to pursue college need to see others do it first. We need to share our stories with them of our struggles and how we got to where we are. We need to share stories of others so they can believe it is possible.
  • It is not cheating when people work together (talked about cooperative learning).
  • We want our children to be passionate about learning.
  • Even when a child loses parents, if there is a teacher who cares, that child will rise to the occasion.
  • Some of our students go through hell. Give them structure and let them know you care about them.
Hrabowksi ended with the powerful quote from Mahatma Gahndi:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.”
 
While our school population isn’t as diverse as the schools he spoke of, I couldn’t help but listen to him, thinking of many of our students’ needs and the backgrounds they come from.  Each of you play such an important role in the lives of our students; many of you providing the only structure, kindness, understanding and expectations that they have each day (several of you also providing clothes and snacks). Then you for all that you do for our students each and every day! 
 

Writer’s Block

Here is another cross-post from my staff memo blog that will post tomorrow morning for my “Monday Musings.”
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Writer’s Block
 

While having a mental block of not feeling like I have anything worthy of sharing with you all in a Monday Musings post (because I’ve spent my weekend in a book entirely for pleasure, not thinking of anything school-related) it made me think about our students having writers block, not knowing what they should write about. This immediately led my thoughts to modeling writing for our students in an authentic way, which I learned from Regie Routman. (Unfortunately for the students I taught it was after I already moved into the principal role).

When I taught writing, I modeled the writing process for my students; however, I modeled how to write a piece that I had already previously planned out before.  I had completely gone through the writing process on my own, wrote my piece and then recreated the process in front of them so there was no authentic modeling or thinking out loud of writers actually do as they are trying to think of what to write.  How can our students learn to get through a writing struggle if it is never modeled for them?  In the book Writing Essentials, Regie Routman says, “One of the most powerful ways for students to grow as writers is to watch you write–to observe you plan, think, compose, revise, and edit right in front of them, pretty much off the cuff. Very few of us just write down page after flowing page. Students need to see and hear our in-the-head thinking as we change our mind, ‘mess up,’ make adjustments, do everything ‘real writers’ do.” (page. 45).

So, how can you help model for students that may have writers block? This comes from constantly modeling for them and sharing yourself as a writer with them.  Start with a story…tell students a story that you want to write about.  On page 25, Reige writes to pick a story that:

  • Is easy for students to relate to.
  • Is appropriate to share with students.
  • Is important to me.
  • Lets students know more about me.
  • Allows me to take some risks.

 

Tell students the story you have chosen. Routman writes, “saying the story outloud engages the students, lets me clarify my thinking, and reinforces the importance of conversation before writing.”  Then take that story and model writing it in front of your students.  Write the story just as lively as you told it: include the details, descriptive words, or recreate the conversations you told.

 

As you model this process for students throughout the year, they will continue to make the connection between reading and writing…writing is a way to tell stories for others to read.  They will learn how to use events from their lives or use what they are reading to inspire them to write.

 

Have you written in front of your students before without having planned it? If not…try it. Take the plunge and share your writing struggle with students.

 

(Please note-this post took me about 10 minutes…I opened it only having the idea of writing about writers block and helping our students.  I did not take time to thoroughly plan it out, I just wrote as if I was talking about it.  If I were doing in this in the classroom I would then tell students that I will need to go back to revise/edit later, but this was to just get my ideas out).

Is there a basal series for Daily 5?

Here is a cross-post from  “Monday Musings” post on my staff blog this week…

Recently a principal from Twitter contacted me regarding Daily5/Cafe and asked if I could recommend a reading basal series that is conducive to Daily5/Cafe.  Once I got over my immediate cringe at the word “basal” I asked why were they looking for a basal?  This principal was worried about the amount of time required of teachers to plan to teach with Daily5/Cafe,because it is much easier for them to open up a basal and teach from it.

We had a great discussion on the impact I have seen in our building since implementing Daily5/Cafe and I just wanted to share with you some of my reflections on this, because it does all come back to the work that YOU all have done and continue to do each day…

Teaching from a basal is easy.  Everything is in there ready to go for you, aside from possibly having to make additional copies of worksheets and decide what components will be used, because a basal series typically has too much planned for 1 week.  Essentially, all you have to do is open it up each day, read the teacher notes and teach from it.

There is a great deal of research that supports the notion that this is NOT good for kids.  Stephen Krashen says “we are denying students access to the one activity that has been proven over and over again to increase their language acquisition and competence as communicators: free, voluntary reading.” (The Book Whisperer, page 51).  A reading basal is “one size” and we know that one size does not fit all.

Since we dropped our basal series and implemented Daily5/Cafe, here’s what I have seen change…

  • Students reading and writing.  That’s it.  No more drill-and-kill worksheets with low level comprehension questions that have minimal transfer to actual reading. 
  • Teachers continuing to read/learn to become experts at literacy and teaching struggling students to read and higher readers to comprehend/discuss higher level texts. 
  • Classroom libraries continuing to grow so they are filled with high interest books that students want to read.  These libraries are filled with a variety of genre that are often organized by the students which helps them to know what books are there and where to find them.
  • Students (and teachers) enjoying reading.  I recall a teacher saying that reading used to be the worst part of the day, because it was SO boring.  Now, that teacher says Daily 5 time is the best time of the day.
  • Students and teachers talking about and recommending books to each other. 
  • Teachers sharing their “reading lives” with students, being a reading role model.
  • Teachers using what they know about student strengths, goals and interests to find books to “hook” students that haven’t quite found the right book to get them to enjoy reading. 
  • Teachers using mini-lessons with a variety of picture books or parts of novels to model the meta-cognition that happens while reading text, creating Anchor charts with student input to refer back to in future lessons and giving students time to practice applying newly learned skills with teacher feedback.
  • Teachers introducing new authors through read-alouds that lead students to expand their reading to new genres and authors.
  • Students giving mini book-talks/book recommendations to their peers to help others expand their reading choices. 
  • Teachers conferring with students 1:1 for reading and writing, giving individual coaching sessions on what students are doing well and creating next step goals for what will help that student continue to become a better reader/writer.  Using this conference to model for the student and give practice again to provide feedback to the student, continuing to check in with the student on this goal until it becomes mastered.
Image from Clark Chatter
Yes, this is all much more work than opening up the reading basal, but it is SO much better! You are not just teaching children to read, you are teaching them to enjoy reading, which we know leads to more reading and builds their background for all future learning.  
Thank you for all that you do to lead our students to be readers and writers!
 
 

Pathways to the Common Core: Part 3

Here is Part 3 on Pathways to the Common Core that I shared on my staff blog in my Monday Musings Post.
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Monday Musings – Pathways to the Common Core: Part 3

I’ve finally made it to the section on Writing in Pathways to the Common Core.  I will be completely honest with you all and admit that when I taught in the classroom, writing was my least favorite subject to teach.  Ironically, I’ve now grown to love writing and think if I were teach again it would probably be my 2nd favorite (right along with reading).  This is only because I continue to write myself on a regular basis and enjoy it just as much as I do reading.

Prior to the CCSS, there really hasn’t been much for writing standards, because NCLB put emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  If you sit down and look at the writing standards in the common core, you will find that they are organized into three broad categories or types of writing:

  • opinion and argument
  • informative/explanatory texts
  • narratives
While we often put our focus on the writing process in our classrooms, the # of pages in the CCSS for writing actually devote 1/2 of the pages to the 3 types of writing. In addition, the standards call for a “distribution of writing experiences that gives students roughly equal amounts of time and instruction in argument, informative, and narrative writing” (p. 104-105).  Just like the reading standards, the common core standards for writing have a “shared responsibility” for other subjects to incorporate writing into daily learning. 
At Dodgeland, we have done a great job of shifting our literacy time to provide students with the time to read so they can become better readers.  The common core standards also call for students to write often; “write routinely” to make writing a habit.  
I was surprised to learn how specific the standards are on expectations for what students should produce in a sitting. For example, 4th graders are expected to produce a minimum of one typed page in a sitting, and fifth graders, a minimum of two typed pages in a sitting!
As I reflect on what I’m learning about the common core writing standards I wonder if our current instructional time allows for students to practice writing daily, not just for narratives (which I know we’re probably best at in the elementary)?  What does writing across the curriculum look like currently for our students throughout the day?
What should student writing look like at each grade level?  You have all of the annotated examples at each grade level in your binder from Appendix C (also found online HERE), but I’m going to include a snapshot from each grade level. Please note that for some of them, the pieces are more than a page and this is just a snapshot.

Pathways to the Common Core: Part 2

Here is Part 2 on Pathways to the Common Core that I shared on my staff blog in my Monday Musings Post.
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Monday Musings – Pathways to the Common Core: Part 2

Last week I shared my first reflection with you as I am reading Pathways to the Common Core. This week I’ll share what I’ve learned about Reading Informational Texts. (I will warn you, since it is informational text, it is a “heavier” read than previous Monday Musing posts…at least it is for me!)

The common core standards have increased our expectations of how much informational text students read. They provide the following recommendation for reading

One important clarification here is that this does not mean  that the CCSS call for dramatically more nonfiction reading within the ELA classrooms/literacy block.  This literacy expectation should be shared responsibility across the content areas, meaning that 50% of a 4th grader’s day (using the chart) would be reading informational text.

So, what is the CCSS expectations for reading informational text?  The CCSS emphasizes synthesis, evaluation, and comparative textual analysis. 

Got that?

I didn’t.  What exactly does that mean?

Let’s look at each standard…

The first 3 anchor standards for reading informational texts are the foundation for the rest of the reading work students will do.

Standard 1: Read closely and make logical inferences
This means reading the informational text to determine what it says and NOT focusing on how you can make connections to it.  This was a surprise to me, because I always taught my students to think of what they already know about the topic and make connections as they read.  However, the CCSS don’t concern themselves with what you know, think you know, or how you feel about the topic.  You need to focus on what the text says explicitly.

Standard 2: Read to determine central ideas and themes
This standard asks readers to determine central ideas and summarize the text, linking key ideas and details.  This is hard to do if you didn’t do standard 1 very well and you may have to go back and reread. (I found I had to go back to standard 1 several times as I read this book!)
To get to standard 2 you can ask yourself the same question that you would if you were reading fiction, “What is this article starting to be about?” Then as ideas emerge, gather up some of the information in the text as evidence for those ideas.

Standard 3: Reading to analyze how individuals, events and ideas develop and interact 
Here is where you need to notice the sequence of events, analyze relationships and connects and determine cause and effect.  As readers, you should be able to analyse all of the individuals and events and be able to see how they are connected.

I’m sure you’ve read enough by now, so here’s a short summary of the rest (you can borrow my book if you want to read more!):
Standards 4-6 get into the the craft or how the text is written.
Standards 7-9 require the reader to integrate knowledge/ideas by reading other texts on the same topic.
Standard 10 read/comprehend those informational texts at grade level

If you’ve read this far, then I’d ask that you reflect on informational reading in your classroom…Are your students spending 50% of their reading each day in informational text? Are you teaching your students to apply reading skills aligned to these common core standards as they read informational text?  How do you support students that are reading below level to read and analyze informational text?

Pathways to the Common Core: Part 1

Each week I share a “Monday Musings” post on my staff blog.  I use this weekly post to share my own professional learning/reflections with staff.  I am currently reading Pathways to the Common Core and plan to share what I’m learning in several parts with staff.  Here is what I posted for them last week.
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Monday Musings – Pathways to the Common Core #1

I am currently reading the book Pathways to the Common Core, which I am finding to be an incredible resource to gain a better understanding of what the ELA Common Core Standards really mean.  Wait, don’t close this yet, I know you’re sick of hearing about the common core, but at least save it to read later when you have time!  If I could, I would buy this book for everyone to read, but there’s probably not enough $ and I know that many of you would be worried about when you’d have time to read it. For now, I plan to share some of the “nuggets” from my reading in my next few Monday Musings posts to share my learning with you.  By doing this, it is also helping me to process what I’m reading.

My first take-away from reading this book is that it is not enough for us to have our Common Core binders and remember there are 10 anchor standards in ELA or even to know the CCSS really well for our grade level.  We need to really dig into what it means to apply each of the skills in the standards…How often do we we actually read complex text and apply the skills in the standards? You’d be amazed at what the common core expects!  We also need to know the standards for the grade level above and below so that we can differentiate for the variety of readers we teach.

A great way to think about the ELA standards  reading standards is to picture a ladder, with standards 1 and 10 as the crucial struts that form the two sides of the ladder.  Standard 10 carries increasing levels of text complexity up the grade levels and into College and Career Readiness.  Standard 1, the other side of the ladder, asks readers to “read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.”  The remaining reading standards form the rungs of the ladder.  The authors write that it is the rungs linking the 2 main standards that are important, because “although it is crucial for students to be able to handle increasingly complex texts, reading must never be mere word calling; accuracy without strong literal comprehension is not reading.”

As I read the authors’ section on implications for instruction, it affirmed all of the literacy work that we have been doing.  The following steps for schools to put in place are things we are already doing with Daily 5/Cafe:

  • Assess your readers and match them to books that can be read with 95% accuracy, fluency and comprehension.
  • Make reading plans with students and help support them to reach those reading goals.
  • Provide students with an extensive collection of high-interest books and allow them choice. 
  • Provide students with long blocks of time to read. 
  • Provide students with explicit instruction in the skills of effective reading.

If you made it this far in reading…good for you and Thank you!  Next week I’ll share what I’ve learned about Reading Informational Texts.  I am also considering using one of the reading activities (for teachers to get practice in the standards) in our next grade level meetings.

On another random note, I wrote a post on using Goodreads, which is one of my Reading Resolutions. You can find it HERE if you’re interested in learning what Goodreads is.

Reading Resolutions – staff memo edition

In my last post I shared my learning from a full day workshop with Donalyn Miller and what ideas we will be implementing in our school as a result of this learning.  After grade level meetings and a full faculty meeting, here is a post on my staff memo that I shared with staff on Reading Resolutions.  I try to share some of my staff memo posts here, because I often gain great ideas from reading what other principals post for their staff.

My next post here will be my personal Reading Resolutions.
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Some of you asked about Reading Resolutions after the staff meeting…here are the answers. If you don’t want to think about it until closer to January, then save this to read later. :)


Image from BOTNS

In yesterday’s staff meeting we talked about school-wide ideas to continue building a culture of readers.  We already have great literacy practices, but now we want to go further to help out students develop the habits of lifelong readers/learners.

One of the ideas I asked all of you to do is start out January creating “Reading Resolutions” with your students.  This would start with you creating your own Reading Resolutions.  I haven’t written mine yet (there are still 14 days to read for 2012), however, I did write a blog post in June in which I reflected on my reading half-way through the year: HERE is the post.  In that post I noted how last year I read 20 non-fiction and only 6 fiction books and that I needed to read more fiction or I would become a really boring person!  I do not at all expect anyone to write something as long as I did for a reading resolution, but I just wanted to share that with you.

HERE is a post that Donalyn Miller wrote last year on her Reading Resolutions.

HERE is a post with some actual reading resolutions from students. HERE is another one.

I don’t want to tell each of you how to do this with your class, you have to do what works for you.  I’m sure that several of you will also come up with some cutesy little form for students to fill out (and others can steal from them) and others (if it were me) might just use index cards or old-school paper.  I would share with students my own personal reflections on my reading for the year and then show them an example of what format they should write their’s in (showing your own resolutions).

Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing your reading lives with students!

An idea found on Pinterest–maybe usable for 5K students?

Monday Musings

Image from Sparkle and Shade

I’ve previously shared how I used my staff memo blog to share weekly updates with staff, as well as a method to model my own personal reflections with staff (you can find my previous post explaining it HERE).  Earlier this year I gave staff a survey to see what they think of my Monday Memo and Friday Focus which led me to make a change.  Basically, my 2 posts for the week have flip-flipped.  My Friday Focus, which used to be my reflective post, is now the post that includes: “Great Things I Noticed This Week”, “Events Next Week”, “Nuts&Bolts Notes”, and “Blogs, Pins & Tweets…Oh My!”  This was in response to staff wanting to know what’s coming for the next week before leaving for the weekend.  My reflective post is now called my “Monday Musings.” I have found this change much easier for me, because it is so much easier to reflect on the weekends to write that post.

Here is a cross-post of this week’s “Monday Musings:”

I recently read the blog post What the Kardashians Taught me About Reading (No, For Real)  written by Chris Lehman, co-author (with Lucy Calkins) of Pathways to the Common Core. To be honest, I love reading everything written by Chris, but I saw this tweeted several times and ignored it, because I couldn’t care less about the Kardashians. I’m not sure what got me to finally read it, but when I did I read it several times through.  Please take a few moments to read the article HERE which is actually on Donalyn Miller’s blog at Edweek (the author of The Book Whisperer that I raved about last year).

OK, you read it now, right?
Here is what stood out to me, that I’m still thinking about…

Brand Yourself as a Reader, So Your Students Will Emulate

Lehmann writes about using the Kardashians as a metaphor for how we can see our instruction in a new light.  He says, “we need to take a lesson from Ms. K and brand ourselves as readers just as carefully so our students have that vision to aspire to.”

Are you known as a reader to your students?  Do your colleagues know they can ask you for a book recommendation or share with you a book they just finished reading?  

This has me wondering if you all think of me as a reader? I have certainly tried to by sharing my Shelfari account bookshelf on my blog and sharing my reflections of what I’m reading and learning about.  Do students think of me as a reader?  After reading this article (which I have actually read several times) I want to start my own little bulletin board in the media center to post a picture of what childrens’ book I am currently reading to model for our students. 

There were several other great ideas shared in the comments section of the blog post that made me wonder if any of you would be willing to share your ideas on this in the comments of this blog post?  If you’ve never gone from the emailed post to the blog, go to johnsonmemo.blogspot.com and scroll to the bottom of the post and click where it says No Comments. This will open up a box for you to add your comment of ideas to share with the rest of us.

Share Your Writing Life

*Here is another cross-post from my Friday Focus post
on my staff memo blog:

Photo courtesy of J. Lauzier

Share Your Writing Life
“I write out of ignorance…It’s what I don’t know that stimulates me.

I merely know enough to get started.” ~Toni Morrison

In Regie Routman’s book Writing Essentials, she discusses the importance of sharing your writing life with students…even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer. As you examine your writing over an ordinary week, it may include lists, letters, emails, cards, journal//reflection book, book/movie reviews on amazon, etc. Routman states, “the simple fact is we have to see ourselves as writers if we are to teach writing well.” She goes on to discuss the need for students to see why we write and why good writing matters.

As I reflected on this, I asked myself the question, “when did I become a writer?” To be quite honest, it wasn’t until I started blogging about 3 years ago. Of course, I wrote whatever essays were assigned to me throughout school, dutifully following whatever criteria each of my teachers graded on and managed to get A’s. However, it wasn’t until I had choice in what I was writing and wrote for an “audience” that I could get feedback from online by sharing their comments that I became excited about writing. I recall the dread I felt having to think of what to write (in any class), however, now I am constantly adding to the list of topics I want to write about as I read new books and just experience life. My list is long, because I think of the ideas, but don’t have the time to write about all of them.

This also makes me think back to how I taught writing in the classroom. I’m sure I never really inspired my students to write, because I wasn’t that excited about writing. I taught lessons on the 6 Traits using picture books that our grade level agreed to use, and led students through grade level specific writing pieces. I also used a 6 Traits program that consisted of packets of activities and writing prompts on each trait. As I think back to those packets, I think of how boring and meaningless it must have been for my students (let’s face it, I was bored with it).

What I was missing, was my own realization that I am a writer and to share that with my students. Routman suggests bringing in examples of your real-life writing to share with your students to show them that you are a writer. You can easily share your reflection journal or a printed email with them without actually reading it to them. In addition, you should model writing for your students using the same concept of a mini-lesson with a think-aloud that you do when teaching the literacy strategies. One strong suggestion from Routman is to not only model writing in front of your students, but to do it “cold” (not rehearsed) so that they can see you struggle with it. To let students see what “real writers” do as they think through what they’re writing. This concept was entirely new to me, as I can recall wanting to get my model writing piece “perfect” before I wrote so my students would see what was needed, however, it’s the actual struggle that helps them learn.

As I read Routman’s book I was also intrigued to learn about the process of writing to learn, especially since we know that writing across the content areas is huge in the common core standards. Routman states, “writing enhances thinking and helps develop it.” I used to always think that I had to have all the information before I could write something, however, it is the process of writing that helps you figure out what you know and don’t know.

My reflection prompt for you: to think about yourself as a writer and how you can share it with your students:

  • The next time you sit down to write, examine your process–do you just start writing, do you need to make an outline/web, do you need to talk it out first? Do you write straight through? Stop to reread? Revise as you go? Look up information? Apply what you do as a writer to teaching your students.

Photo Courtesy of Writing Talk

Believe That Every Child Can Learn

Each week I post a “Friday Focus” for staff on my staff memo blog as a way to model professional reflection and hopefully inspire them each week. This week, I got a bit more personal than I ever have in the past, but I’ve learned from Regie Routman to “write what is in your heart.” Here is a cross-post from my staff blog from this week:
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“Believe that every
child can learn, regardless of ethnicity, learning disabilities, emotional or behavior problems, or the economic situation of the family.” ~Ron Clark

I’m almost finished reading Ron Clark’s new book, The End of Molasses Classes: 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers. I’m sure that many of you have heard of Ron Clark, because he’s the author of the Essential 55 and was featured on Oprah several years ago. Or maybe you saw the movie “The Ron Clark Story” in which Matthew Perry played him as a teacher in an inner-city Harlem school. He is well known for working with disadvantaged students to get them engaged in school and become as successful as their (nondisadvantaged) peers.

#38 in this book is: “Believe that every child can learn, regardless of ethnicity, learning disabilities, emotional or behavior problems, or the economic situation of the family.”

Clark describes his experience of teaching “George” how to read in the 5th grade (after getting over the disbelief that he couldn’t read at this grade level). He came up with alternative methods and was patient and persistant with George until he made great progress and became a “decent” student. Several years later after George graduated and served in the Navy he came back and told Mr. Clark’s students, “Work really hard to be the individual that Mr. Clark sees in you. Even if you don’t see it in yourself, sometimes adults just know us a little better than we do.”

I can personally relate to this section of his book due to my experiences growing up. I grew up in a very dysfuntional home that is similiar to some of our most challenging students that, at times, don’t seem to have much of a future. When I share details of my past, people are often surprised and ask how I got to where I am now. I have often pondered that same question, because my sibblings were not as lucky as I. But as I reflect, I also know that my sibblings did not ever seem to have any positive school experiences….but I did. Despite moving around (because we were constantly being evicted) and attending 13 different schools, I was fortunate enough to have some great teachers along the way that saw my potential. I will never forget:
*One of my 3rd grade teachers (I don’t even recall her name because I went to 5 schools that year) that came to my house after I had been absent for several days to bring my schoolwork to me–thinking back, she knew my home situation and was probably just making sure I was safe.
*Mrs. McDevitt, my 5th grade teacher, who never punished me for not having my homework done (because I was babysitting my 3 younger sibblings), but let me come into her classroom early to get it done. I never needed help, just a quiet place to do it without one of the little ones coloring on it.
*Mr. Johnson, my 7th grade math teacher who pushed me to move into 8th Grade Algebra early when I never thought I was capable of it. (I will also never forget when my name was drawn in assembly for a reading contest and I got to shave half of his beard off!)
*Mrs. Staudt, my High School English Teacher who gave me extra time to complete my assignments when she knew that I was up late, because I had worked until midnight at McDonald’s for three nights in a row.

I have debated whether or not to share this with you, because of how personal it is, but still felt compelled to do so. If it were not for great teachers like you, I would not be where I am today. If we as adults don’t see the potential in every child and truly believe that every child can learn, then how can we expect them to have hope and see the potential in themselves? We have to look at them and see what we want them to become.

Photo Credit: CC License shared by David Thiel