Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the power of personal connection

Today I was co-teaching in a second grade classroom. A small group and I were doing word study. The kiddos that are with me are working on some short vowels and basic CVC patterns.

One boy, we'll call him Mike, has a really hard time with reading. Even reading words like map and van and dad. He can figure them out, but it's definitely not automatic, and so he has lots of work-avoiding habits in place to cope.

Today, one of said habits was just sitting and not doing anything. He wasn't really bothering anyone - wasn't whistling like yesterday - but was just sitting there, disengaed. So, I sit down next to him to have a talk.

I tell him that his teachers care about him and want him to be a better reader, and word study is part of the program. I let him know that, yes, it's new in his classroom, but it's here to stay, and so we have to buckle down and get to work.

As I'm giving him my spiel, his hands go over his head and he leans down, kinda grunting. His head is on the table. He's kind of rocking back and forth. Then, my thoughts go a little ADD, because I didn't do this on purpose, but I said, "Hey Mike, did you get a hair cut? Your hair looks nice today."

It was like a light shone down from the heavens right upon us. He sat up and looked at me with wide eyes and a faint smile. He tells me that yes he knows his teachers care about him and then he starts working. He sorts about three or four words and then tells me that he was finally ready to begin when I asked about his hair.

This is exactly why teaching can't follow models that are pure business models. We, my friends, are in the business of raising kids...and emotion is the engine of intellect.

Have a great Wednesday!


  1. This is gold...."We, my friends, are in the business of raising kids...and emotion is the engine of intellect."
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Michelle-This is just so true, especially for kids who struggle. That personal connection motivates and supports as much or more than strategy lesson after strategy lesson. Great post!


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