No Idling #sol21

No Idling #sol21

June 8, 2021

As I drove into campus on a recent early, early morning, this new sign greeted me. So true! I thought. We are headed straight on ’til morning.

In the past, we took a more relaxed approached to these weeks in June. We read aloud. We did independent writing projects. We wrote book reviews. We celebrated all that we had learned in our whole learning community. This year, we have moved from one frantic, fractured pace to another. Everyone is tired, even the students. It doesn’t help that we have had the largest earliest heatwave ever. As many things this year, the fates seemed stacked against us. It might be easy to look on this year, this situation, as a loss.

And yet…we can find the bright spots if we look closely.

The last few weeks I have been meeting with the grade levels to review data. Many, many years, that felt like a celebration. The students grew so much in a year, they were ready to strike out into the next. All in all, a love fest. This year the data is a little harder to interpret. The students have only been back for six short week every day. Any data collection I would routinely recommend would have six weeks at the closest collection point and we collected this data at week 4 full time. I did notice cracks in that rosy outlook. It would be easy to focus on the have-nots and the not-quites, the what-we-couldn’t, what-we-didn’t.

But I am self-proclaimed in charge of celebrations, so how to celebrate when I feel the nagging of those not-quites.

When I metaphorically pulled up alongside the first batch of teachers, I wanted just celebrate what I could. I gave them the high percentage of students on the benchmark assessment that we’re at or above grade level. I pointed out how many students were reading at the ‘targeted’ benchmark, a testament to how we got so many books in the hands of readers during their off weeks. I noticed accuracy in reading, a rise in fluency.

I talked to them about the ‘how‘ of this work. I spoke of what I noticed that they did so well, their grit and their commitment to the curriculum. I asked them what they enjoyed, what was a gift to them. We talked about the volume of writing, the time to meet with individual students, the small class sizes. The teachers took up the celebration, cheering our intervention teacher at their grade, talking about individual student’s growth, their own joys.

It felt good. It felt right. It felt like a celebration.

So as I said early this year, I’m in charge of celebrations. I do have a few worries for the future. Those will keep for another day. These weeks as we head off to rest, they are going to be about the bright spots. They will be a good starting place as we move forward.

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