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.