What a beautiful life.

What a beautiful life we lead. There is so much inspiration to be found. Today was an inspired kind of day, inspired by classes, a chance encounter at Wawa, and Sister Act.

Not every group can stand alone, but it’s pretty cool when one can. As we enter our fifth month of sixth grade, I’m beginning to see a shift and increase in autonomy. Students are showing signs of independence and reliance on themselves and their classmates rather than on me. Although I would love to read every single chapter and have story time every day, I know that it’s important to allow the students the opportunity to express their strengths and struggles through reading collaboratively.

I love above all else listening to the students read this novel. Hearing the variations of witch voices and scared children warm my heart; they’re really getting into this book, and that most certainly shows when they are reading to one another. “If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention” has been stuck in my head all day. (Thanks, Mary Clarence.) It’s a pretty cool thing to realize that what you do in the classroom inspires your students. If you have enough passion for your students to take the time to realize it and maybe try to find it for themselves, magic can happen. I’m seeing that now with every student who attempts to portray the Grand High Witch.

Autonomy, or the idea of being self-sufficient and independent, is still a work in progress in terms of critical thinking and open ended responses. One student visited my little dojo of a corner and didn’t quite comprehend how (spoiler alert) chapter 12 of The Witches is the climax. First, I asked her to identify what climax meant in terms of the plot, and she had. Next, I asked her to explain that the main part of the chapter was, and she had. I had asked why that was important, and her response was on a basic level. When prompted to dig deeper, it took her a minute, but she inevitably had a light bulb moment, my favorite type of moment, and journeyed back to her desk to construct her response. She did it, and proud I was. My goal, though, is to have students like this gem come over to me with a thought and justification instead of having to guide them through. It’s still early. I have faith.

Periods 4 and 5 reminded me of why I love teaching reading. As my students were scattered and sprawled out reading to one another, I couldn’t help but smile because I knew that they were completely enthralled by chapter 12. They were in it. Although this is a rare occurrence, I didn’t have to coach them into reading or remind them to stay on task. The hook of identifying what “metamorphosis” meant intrigued them enough to want to know more. It was a beautiful thing hearing all of the GHW voices and squeals of children being morphed into mice. It doesn’t get much better than that.

My last two tidbits of inspiration today can be morphed (all about morphing today, apparently) into one. At Wawa, the kind gentleman in front of me and my colleague bought all of our coffee. It was such a small yet thoughtful gesture. Someone had chosen to go out of their way and make the day of someone else. They paid it forward.

For over a year, I’ve been a subscriber to Paul Wesselman’s tweets and emails via The Ripples Project. Paul, the acclaimed Ripples Guy, had spoken at a work training while I was an orientation leader and spread the message of the ripples effect, the idea that one kind word can create an indescribable amount of change. Paul’s emails are compiled of pebbles (small quotes), boulders (deeper quotes and poems), and ponders (passages from Paul). I love the Monday ripple from this morning, so I had to share:

Several of my buddies are facing challenges this week and I had them on my mind as I sat down to craft this week’s issue. On our best days we know that it is the “big stuff” that allows us to stretch and grow and expand our possibilities even if at first it can seem like “too much, too fast, too soon.” But of course when the storms set it, we sometimes forget that we are made of pretty tough stuff, and that over the course of our lives we’ve attracted remarkable people who can help us when necessary.

I’ve said this a few times lately, but it is worth repeating every so often: sometimes it is necessary to pause and catch our breaths when things get really blechy, but eventually there comes a time when we have to pop up and find the right way to move forward.

Hang in there, friend…you’ve got this.

I highly recommend that you check out Paul’s project and sign up for the emails. I promise you that your Monday mornings will henceforth be saved from the dreadful feeling that already encompasses them.

Journey on, friends, and continue to inspire and be inspired.
Ms. S.

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