Friday, March 2, 2012

Slice of Life two - Inner Wealth

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are challenging ourself to write a Slice A Day. Here we go! 

Today I showed all of my classes this video from John Green:

Now I had a motive for showing it to them. One, I find John Green hilarious. Two, his message was one they needed to hear:

-              Be careful what you are willing to give up to be popular 
        ~ Working hard at something is its own reward

I adore my students; they are fun and make each day enjoyable to come to school. That being said, spring fever is making many of my wonderful kiddos absolutely fine with turning in sub par work.

One of my colleagues, Buffie, and I have been talking about the concept of Inner Wealth. I first heard about it in this book, which a local school uses as their overall philosophy. Buffie and I talked about some of our lower students and how we see successes with them when we raise our expectations. Not that we are asking them to do work that is too hard, but expecting them to do more of it.

For example, we have a child who is reading around a second grade level. His book responses often don’t show that he has comprehended the book. He doesn’t seem to do a lot of independent reading. Yesterday we gave him a first grade level non-fiction book. Buffie showed it to him, we asked him to read it. He did and he loved it. He then did his own reading response and turned it in. Buffie asked him if he wanted another one of these books to take home for the night. He quickly said yes and then mentioned maybe he could read it to his little brother. Today he raced in to tell me all about the red squirrel he read about and asked for another book. So we dropped the level to let him work independently, gave him more expectations for his work, and he experienced success in reading. He saw himself as a reader and even promoted literacy in his own home. His wealth, his belief in himself, has improved. Not perfect, but it's a start.

I love the idea of kids, and adults, feeling good about themselves for doing hard work. My students really took to the message of Green’s video. Some compared it to working hard to get better at sports. We talked about how I am challenging myself in my #nerdbery challenge and Slice of Life challenge. We talked about how I feel good inside when I’ve stretched myself to do my best. I think they got it. Hopefully we’ll see some growth between now and Spring Break –I know we can all use a vacation.


  1. I think I said this yesterday as well, but what an amazing model you are for your students, and this slice is just one more example of that! I love those days when we do something that makes the reader who has to work harder feel successful! Well done! I'm really glad you're doing #slice12 so I can continue to follow all your smart thinking.

  2. Always nice to not just be growing readers, but growing people!

  3. The whole enigma of what motivates and drives us is so interesting! Have you read Drive by Daniel Pink? It's great and made me think so much about how we motivate kids. Actually, I think you can find a condensed and illustrated version on YouTube if you look! Yesterday at lunch, I zipped over to Starbucks to sit and do blog work and was on Twitter. I left feeling so energized because I had gotten a lot done and had chatted with some of my Twitter friends. My husband thinks I'm crazy for all the work I do on my blog and all the time I spend on Twitter. It's interesting because I don't compensated for any of this but I love it! I love it and it is just so much fun and that's why I do it. Isn't that interesting to think about? I feel like doing something just to know you have done it, done it well, and it has made you feel great is probably the best motivation. :)

  4. Aw, thanks Karen! I love what I do. I'm finishing up a second Masters Degree in May to be an administrator but honestly can't imagine leaving the classroom anytime soon. Teaching is so rewarding.

  5. Love that idea -growing people!

  6. Drive was super interesting! And you are right - like you I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter and my blog -but it makes me feel great - like I learn a bit more each day. Love it!

  7. I like to say this, a person has to go low to get is your example of your 5th grader finding success in a lower level book and getting pumped. And we are a few weeks away from spring break, but need it now...

  8. Great story example of how you're applying that inner wealth, Katherine. I don't know the book & will look it up, but I love the term. Of course we should work to enable that in our students, and I like the way you figured out a way to do it for this student, and kept doing it! He must feel great. I often wonder with all the complaining about teachers if people know the thoughtfulness of every act teachers do during the day? You just showed one small, & powerful, example!

  9. John Green is so awesome. I have my own little nerdherd here in my high school who read everything he writes and follow the Vlog Brothers on youtube (they were amazed their old teacher knew about the Vlog Brothers!). If anyone can inspire kids, it is John!

  10. Christy Rush-LevineMarch 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Thanks for the clip. Although I am tried and true John Green fan, I can't keep up! I love that your shared your thought process. It shows the way you reflect on your practices and how they relate to students' needs.

  11. This is just the inspiration I needed today. I love your example of how to contirbute to our students' inner wealth. Thanks for sharing - and inspiring me to buy a new book!


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