Another Step Forward #20
March 11, 2020
I’ve been away from a school for a few days. I haven’t seen him since last Wednesday. A whole week. Would he be able to do it? Would he remember what we had worked on?
The literacy center is full of people this morning. I don’t usually see him in the morning. His teacher and I decided that since I’m having success with our afternoon work, perhaps I should take over the morning work as well. Ok, I said, I’ll give it a try.
So this morning I go to find him as soon as I can. It’s nearly nine and I drop by. I’m going to give it a go, I say to his teacher. Go for it, she says. I call to him. He seems surprises to see me. I lean down. Sorry, I say, I’ve been away. Do you want to come work?
We make our way to the literacy center. He takes my hand as we go and my heart squeezes. When I enter the literacy center, you can tell he’s surprised that we aren’t alone. These teacher work with me, I say. He looks up at me skeptically. It’s still just me and you, bud, I say.
I can feel all of them look at us, but reluctantly stay back in their business. He’s a cutie pie and they all want to talk to him. I can feel it. For now, they just watch casually.
We make our way through the book shelves to the table, white board, markers and erasers we usually use. He loves the magnets and eraser. I feel him exhale as he sees our set up seems the same as usual, including his name that he wrote with magnets last week.
Do you think you can write your name without spelling it with magnets first? I ask. He nods. I’m not sure if he’s said any words aloud yet. Ok, go for it. I nod. He leans over the rail of the white board easel and peers into the ledge. Are you going to write with orange or green today? Oh, orange, I narrate.
So slowly he goes. I know he’s not going to quite have enough room without changing the size of his letters, but I decide to let it go. He writes the first letter making it capital. What sound does that make? I haven’t asked him that before and he turns to look at me before answering. He makes the sound of his initial letter and continues spelling slowly and deliberately. He gets to the “e”. That letter has been giving him trouble. A lefty, it’s hard for him to see that loop, but today he makes it better than ever before. A perfectly formed lower case e. Yeah, you, I say. That’s great. You’ve been practicing. He hesitates and then writes another letter. He has missed one letter and I remind him by saying, Let’s go back and check to see if you have the letters you need. He doesn’t remember so I prompt the letter by giving him the sound. He forms the letter remembering to make it look distinctively different from the similarly formed r. He’s nearly there. Just two more letters in this long name. As he finishes we say the sounds out loud of each letter, including the sound in his name and the common sound of each.
He writes it two more times naming the sounds as I prompt. and I ask, what would you like to spell now? He looks at the other teacher left in the room. She’s eating a banana. She says. I didn’t eat breakfast. Do you like bananas too? He nods. Do you want to spell it? She starts with the sounds. I wonder if he will be able to form the letter as she says the sounds even though there are so few. He forms the first a backwards and then in a new place the N seems like a new letter to him at first. Finally we spell b-a-n-a-n-a.
Great! Let’s go back to class now. I’ll see you tomorrow. We walk together back to the room. I’m cheering inside. I hope he is too. The world just opened up.