Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 8

Today, March 8th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

My room now empty, and the excited Friday hum of dismissal having dissipated, I sank into my chair.  The length of the week began to manifest in my bones, and I felt tired.  I took a deep breath and blew it out.

But I couldn’t leave yet.  There was one more thing to do.

I rose from my red, rolling office chair and retrieved Emma’s (not her real name) intervention binder.  Emma is a student for whom I’ve been providing reading intervention this year.  A sweet, soft-spoken girl, Emma works hard.  She tries.  Which I always admire, especially if struggle is a part of everyday life.  Which it is for all my intervention students.

Earlier in the day, I had asked Emma to independently read a short Newsela text, take some notes, and craft a summary.  Progress-monitoring we call it.  We had been working on this for some time, she and I; I have been teaching her to do more synthesis work as a reader, focus less on cool facts, see larger concepts, stick details together- that kind of thing.  Now, I felt anxious to read it.  Had her summarizing improved? My gosh, I hoped so.

Opening her binder, I located the correct paper.

I read.

I smiled.

Central idea? Check.  Multiple main ideas? Check.  Text evidence? Check.  Authorial choices? Check.  She’s done it!  I thought to myself.  Quickly, I laid this new work next to her baseline assessment (where I had asked her to summarize).  The difference… wow! I reached into the Friday air and pulled my fist down.  A rare moment of teacher pride filled my being.

I suppose this is why we do this work.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 8”

  1. I noticed how you see Emma and your other students, recognizing the struggles they face throughout their day. Really seeing her, I’m certain, correlates to the growth you see in her academic work. Hooray for Emma and hooray for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these lines: I reached into the Friday air and pulled my fist down. A rare moment of teacher pride filled my being. And love that you took the time to see how she did before you went home on Friday. If we are going to take the time to assess we must reflect on and celebrate their growth and hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can feel your shift from exhaustion to joy. As educators, we often feel exhausted with a twist of defeat on Fridays. So happy for you AND your student! Victories are the best!


  4. Some days you go home a little deflated. But some days you go home on top of the world! Glad to read this Friday story of yours. Fridays are great but we are exhausted by the time we get to them. It’s nice to end them so well!


  5. So true–this IS why we do the work we do. No matter how tired we are, when these moments arrive, we are fully present. Congratulations to Emma (not her real name) and you, too. What a great way to start the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow- I love how you started with that Friday feeling a lot of us feel and then showed how invigorated you felt after checking Emma’s binder. Emma is certainly lucky to have you – what a celebration for both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

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