Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My parents always stressed the importance in pride when I was growing up. It's important to have pride in your work and to give 110% in everything you do. If you do that, you'll be appreciated for your efforts. I try to teach my students the same thing.

We were taking a reading assessment last week when I was reminded how rewarding pride could be. My class has been working on making predictions and supporting their opinions with evidence from the text. It was time for me to check their progress, so we read a story and then they were asked to make a prediction. Groans reverberated around the room....yes, I was asking them to write. How dare I!

I asked my class to remember 3 things.
1. To use their best handwriting
2. To make sure their capital letters were in the correct place (those pesky D, N, and R seem to pop up in the middle of words in my class)
3. To make sure that they support their predictions with evidence from the story.

Heads were nodding in acknowledgement and pencils began to dance along the tops of papers while Matt Nathanson played in the background.

I have one little girl who always seems to be disheveled. She comes into class with papers hanging out of her folder, her hair dances to it's own tune, and breakfast is usually in one hand with her coat dangling from her fingers. Neatness is not her strong suite but she tries.

Today was this young ladies special day. As the children began to finish their assessment and books began to open around the room, this young lady tugged gently on my sleeve. A crooked smile appeared on her face, her cheeks became rosy, and her eyes began to sparkle. Immediately I knew that this was going to be a special moment. As I looked at her paper, I was able to read every word clearly and there were NO capitals in the middle of her words. This is the first time her paper has been capital free and she knows it.

"This is fabulous! I can tell that you worked super hard on this didn't you?"

Her head began to nod like a bobble head doll, and her smile stretched across her face even wider like the Cheshire Cats.

"I am so proud of your hard work. This looks beautiful!"

"I took pride in my work....and you're write Mrs. G, it does make me feel really good."

What more could I say? I reached my arms around her and gave her a quick squeeze. I love days when you can pass along the joy of having pride in your work.


  1. Keep telling her "you should be so proud of yourself" every time she exceeds your expectations. She will really soar if she hears this and will develop a strong sense of pride as the year goes on.

    What a wonderful moment! Thanks for sharing. :)


  2. I love this! This gives me hope of the days to come. She was so proud of herself. Pretty special.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. You painted such a great picture of you classroom and this young lady (my favorite line--pencils began to dance--great visual). My favorite teaching moments are when students know they did something well. It's one thing for us to know it, it's another for them. Thanks for sharing this. It's a great way to start my morning!

  5. You have started something with this little girl that will carry through the rest of her life. Well done!

  6. "Her head began to nod like a bobble head doll, and her smile stretched across her face even wider like the Cheshire Cats." Wonderful way to show us her feelings. Your story around this is special and very good to read. Thanks!

  7. I love how you described the scene in your room. You painted such a wonderful picture for me! I felt I was there with you! Kudos for her that she knew what you expected & that she knew to bring it up to you & beam with such pride! What a wonderful moment for you both! ah!

  8. aww! What a wonderful moment! You should take pride yourself in knowing you've made a big difference in that little girl's life!

  9. Lovely moment. This reminds me of the "little things" that Ruth has me on the hunt for! I love the line about her hair dancing to its own tune. This is really well crafted. So much so, I read it twice just to soak up the images and the language that created them!

  10. Like Christy, I relished the image your narrative brought to my mind. I'm glad you took the time to craft this moment with such precision. Thanks for writing, Ruth

  11. That is a teaching moment to savor. I love that she can be proud of herself. And your phrase "pencils began to dance along the tops of papers" brings great imagery to your writing workshop.