If any of you know me as a teacher, you'll know that literacy and the teaching of reading are my passion. When I arrived at NIS three years ago, Paul, my principal, asked me to help pilot the direction of school's reading program, which was to transition from basal readers and lacklustre lessons to proficient reading strategies and reading workshops. All the rest, as they say, is history.
So, it will come as no surprise that one of my favorite lessons of the year (well, ok, they're all my favorite lessons!) is the last one. Each year during this lesson I read my favorite book aloud (this year it was Sylvester and the Magic Pebble), give them nearly an hour of free reading and reflection time, and then ask them to write me a letter about what reading means to them.
This year, as always, I got some really great responses, which I'd like to post. I'm doing this not only because they're well-written, thoughtful (and sometimes funny) but because it's always fun to pick out the best bits of what kiddos say to share with others.
One of my favorite little kiddos is German, and for the life of him, can only spell phonetically. His papers are always a joy to read for that value alone. Although this particular sample of his doesn't include any laugh out loud spelling errors, I do smile at 'noligible' (knowledgeable), 'sianse' (science), 'trie' (try), and 'aut' (out):
The next one comes from one of my little guys who pretends to be 'too cool for school,' but who, deep down, is one of the strongest learners in the class. He's been my 'project' this year, if you will, as it has been my mission to encourage him and push him without his knowing. I think I might have done an ok job...
This little pumpkin makes me laugh with her fabulously colorful voice:
And this guy, another cool learner who can't follow directions for the life of him, but has more spirit and coolness than most:
It's no doubt that the above examples come from kiddos whom, throughout the year, bless me with their knowledge. This year has been a year of incredible thinkers, and I have really enjoyed some of the amazing understandings these kids have shared. But the following two students could easily run this class for me (and on a couple of occasions, did). They're the kind of girls whom you want to raise yourself and take credit for.
The first, from a little pumpkin who holds a special place in my heart as one of the best kiddos I've ever had the pleasure to teach. Her mother says she was born with a smile on her face, and I don't doubt it for a second, but along being kind and warm, she is incredibly bright, mature, and of the well-rounded grounded type. Here is just a snippet of her letter to me:
Lastly, from another kiddo whom I've grown to love. She came to us half-year, and I couldn't have been luckier to have her:
I sit at my computer and share this with you on the last day of second grade. My shirt says, 'Love' on it, to reflect my mood for the day. The sun has decided to peek out, and it is silent in all areas of the school except for the clicking of my keys and Israel Kamawababe's Somewhere Over the Rainbow playing softly from my speakers. I am satsified for another fruitful year, and agree with him that it is, indeed, a wonderful world.