Celebrate: A Sweet Spot

It’s the time of year when my students find a sweet spot. They ‘re a little more mature. They’re solid fifth graders.

Students are comfortable where they are and how they fit in.  This week I saw it. How they move around the room. How they respond to challenges, to each other, to me. They speak up and show who they are, what they feel and how they think without fear. And, with that comfort, there were moments of tension worth celebrating.

D reads and draws and sings and sees the world through a gamer’s eyes. He’s a thinker. He’s emotional. If he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough, he can break down in tears. This week something happened all of a sudden at his desk. Head down. Quiet tears. The students around him signaled me over. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he wanted to take a walk. He did. In a few minutes, he was back at his desk writing. Intensely. Doing what got him so upset a few minutes earlier. He was overwhelmed in one moment and then it passed. His classmates got him and supported him at that moment.  It was uncomfortable, but his classmates were gentle and supportive. They get him. That’s just how he rolls.

T and his group were reading a text set on baseball history. There were articles on Jackie Robinson, a play based on the movie A League of Their Own, and the book Teammates, a story of the friendship between Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. At the end of reading, each group shared a big idea they found.  T reported that “The Negro Leagues had adoring fans.” It was a statement right out or the text. At that moment, S got up and walked over to face T. “NO that is not right. You don’t say that.”  Whoa.  It was confrontational, but at the same time interaction was calm, controlled. We talked about history, words and context, and how powerful words are.  T used the words in the text, but he didn’t have a thought about it. He didn’t understand the impact of it. History stays with us, and we have to talk about it. What it meant and what it means to us now.

L and J  are struggling readers, but for very different reasons. From time to time, because they are outliers, they found themselves together. Not surprisingly, there were problems. Feelings got hurt, so they stayed clear of each other. This week, L and J showed me the Pokemon cards they had traded. They wanted to be sure that I knew the details of the exchange. As we talked, K was listening in. I looked up at K and asked him to be a witness to this transaction. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up sign.

This week my students got through difficult moments, understood each other a little better and got along. It’s a sweet spot.

Read more celebrations here at Ruth Ayers link up

celebrate link up


10 thoughts on “Celebrate: A Sweet Spot

  1. Julieanne,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your posts. As a fifth grade teacher in Vermont, I find our students and classroom experiences parallel with each other. This is my favorite time of the year. Like my students, I too have “hit my stride” and am comfortable in the routine and relationships we have built together. We just seem to click and can anticipate each other’s needs. You put it into words so well. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

  2. I enjoyed your descriptions, Julieanne, so thoughtful and perspective. This time in January is amazing in the way the kids act, from the youngest on, they show such growth. It sounds like there were steps taken in your class even this week, those “sweet spots”.

  3. Your kids know they are a community of individuals that work and play together. This is when all that hard work of building takes hold. Awesome moments observed!

  4. Julieanne, your students are at the crossroads and I am sure that you are one of the reasons for this positive move on their parts. You must feel so relieved and proud of them. Your sensitivity is so evident throughout this post-the way you speak about the children, the sweet spot they found, and the relationships that grew. It is exciting to hear your stories as a teacher who cares and feels so much for her students.

  5. I just love, love, love reading snippets from classroom. These stories from different moments tell much more than grades or report card comments. Your students are living the values of your classroom. Thank you for sharing.

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