Why We Do This Wednesday: The Writer

Welcome back for another edition of Why We Do This Wednesday!

My intention is to focus on those small moments that keep us teachers going in spite of ALL.THE.THINGS we deal with that can drag us down. It could be a conversation with a former student, or a kind email from a parent, or just a funny anecdote from your day that reminds you that what you chose to do can be pretty great sometimes. I'd love if you commented and shared one of the reasons why you do this!

The Writer
I'm sure that, no matter what grade you teach or what type of school you teach in, you've had this kind of buddy in your room. You know who I mean...the one where you think to yourself, "How on Earth did he/she make it into (insert grade here)?" More importantly, you're probably thinking "What the heck can I do for this child?"

Well, one of my buddies this year is starting to blossom, and his progress is a great reminder to me that not all success in the classroom can be measured by data. According to data, this child is making next to no progress at all. His fluency numbers from the beginning of the year are basically the same as they are now.

The funny thing about data, though...data doesn't spend the day with this kid. I do. Data didn't see him go from HOLDING THE BOOK UPSIDE DOWN during independent reading time to pointing to each word and sounding it out, and looking at picture cues when he gets stuck. Data won't notice that he uses his free time to copy books word for word, because he has just become ENAMORED with writing. "I really like writing," he says.

And, oh, how far we have come with our writing!

In January, we took a benchmark assessment with a series of short responses. My buddy was hunched over his desk, pencil flying, tongue firmly planted to the side. "Wow," I thought to myself, "He's really into this! He only spent 5 minutes on this same assessment at the beginning of the year." As he wrapped up, he proudly came up and handed me his book. "All done!" he announced with a smile. I waited until he went back to his seat, opened the book, and...


Page upon page of jumbled up letters. Not one recognizable word. It was definitely a /headdesk moment.

We are slowly but surely moving in the right direction, though! We recently completed our 3rd benchmark assessment, and my buddy's responses were actual words (though many were horribly misspelled) and in the form of a paragraph (albeit one with no punctuation or capital letters). According to the rubric (0-2 scale), I still had to score it a 0, but at least it was a 0 moving towards the direction of a 1.

Data doesn't see that. I do.

Today we were working on poems. My buddy kept asking "Does this make sense?" and "How do you spell this?" These are questions he wouldn't have thought to ask at the beginning of the year. Growth is not always found in numbers.

A few weeks ago, he handed me a note. "you are a Gret techer," it said.

That was a good reminder of why I do this.

Have a positive story to share about your week? Add it in the comments!

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