Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's the Small Things

During guided reading a fifth grade boy stumbled on a word that started with a d. After he slowly decoded it correctly he looked up at me with a huge smile on his face and exclaimed, "Hey! Do you remember when you taught me that strategy, like, years and years ago?"


1) I've taught you a lot of strategies

2) Years and years ago? Two. It was two years ago when you were in third grade. But I guess that can feel like a lifetime ago when you are ten.

3) We JUST talked about the importance of attending to the book and not getting distracted by outside information. I should tell you to get back to work, but now I'm curious. Plus, being able to articulate your strategies is always a good meta-cognitive skill.

"No...  which strategy?" I asked, biting my tongue to keep in my reminder to keep reading.

"You know, the B, D one! BED!" he proudly showed me turning his fingers into a b and a d to make the bed. "I use it ALL THE TIME! And I did it just then, under the table. I wasn't sure if that was d, and then I checked, and it was!" He is beaming with pride and suddenly I am too.

Yes, in third grade I taught him that strategy so he could check if a letter was a b or a d. I didn't think he heard me, or cared to even use it. I had no idea he ever tried it- not once. And here it is, two years later and he's telling me he used it all the time? Secretly? I was taking a running record on him and attending closely to his reading behaviors and I had no idea he was moving his hands under the table to do anything but fidget. He's clearly working hard on hiding his confusion, but instead of giving up he's found a work-around.

So many of the rewards in teaching are found in these little moments. Moments that are easy to overlook and aren't reflected in the data. But it's the small things- a kid sharing one way you've helped him over the years, that remind us of why we do what we do.

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