The Relationships We Build
On Friday, our third, fourth, and fifth grade students traveled to the high school for a motivational assembly. It was… loud, but I really enjoyed it. I know our student population enjoyed it as well. Those of you who remained at Sabold may have actually heard the piercing screams when One Direction showed up on the screen.
In addition to One Direction, there were a number of moving stories and videos. One video resonated with me a great deal- A story about Jack Hoffman, a seven-year old boy battling brain cancer. There are many video segments of this story. You can watch one of the video segments here. This is not exactly the same video shown. I actually recall tweeting this story at one point,, but there was something that I saw on Friday at the assembly that was not in the story I tweeted, or maybe I just didn’t pick up on it until Friday. On any of these videos, you’ll see that Jack is a big Nebraska Cornhusker football fan. His favorite player on the team is Rex Burkhead- a star running back. There are so many great moments throughout the video. Burkhead has two fourth quarter touchdowns to come from behind and beat Ohio State while wearing a "Team Jack" bracelet. Burkhead invites Jack and his family to a practice. Jack inspires Rex and his teammates. Rex inspired Jack. The entire video is inspirational and emotional.
The thing I noticed on Friday took place at the 1:36 mark of the video linked above. The reporter asks Jack, “What makes Rex your favorite football player?” I recall standing in the high school auditorium on Friday, waiting for Jack to answer that question. I was waiting or expecting a number of responses. Jack could have said, “He’s tough,” or “He’s good,” or “He’s fast,” or “He scores a lot of touchdowns.” Jack doesn’t say any of those things. He simply says, “He cares about me.” Wow. So simple and so powerful. Immediately, and I am sure you are not surprised, I related this to teaching. I started to think about a question that is asked to students all the time, “Who is your favorite teacher?” I started to think about my former students. Who among my former students would have said that I was their favorite teacher? Was it as simple as the fact that I cared about them? On the other hand, which students didn’t I reach? Did I not make a connection with them? Did I not show them I cared? What could I have done differently to show them how much I cared about them?
Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. We have curriculum and assessments to make sure we complete. We have lesson plans and deadlines. There are so many elements to our profession, but the most important thing we do remains our top priority-the kids. The relationships we build with our students will be what they remember about this year and about Sabold. Thank you for the work you put in to building those relationships.
Critical Questions for Learning
A few Sabold Scoops ago, I referenced four critical questions for learning:
1. What is it we expect them to learn?
2. How will we know when they have learned it?
3. How will we respond when they don’t learn it?
4. How will we respond when they already know it?
Throughout the year, we have had many conversations surrounding the student learning process. I often mention that our students should know what they are going to be learning before the lesson even starts. We are not gatekeepers of knowledge, rather coaches who support our students to achieve their goals. Students shouldn’t be left in the dark about the learning process including our expectations for them and how we will determine if they are making progress. I saw the picturebelow recently and wanted to share it with you. Notice what this teacher did. He/she posted the learning targets on the board for each lesson, how the students would be assessed or evaluated, how the students would measure or assess their own progress, and why they are learning it. This teacher made the lesson student- focused by posting what THEY need to do during this lesson. This student-centered language helps learners know the topic of the lesson and specifically how to show the teacher that they have met the expectations. Each student can look at the “Look For” column and understand the tangible evidence that must be produced to demonstrate success.
4/1-4/3- PSSA Reading and Math
4/4- Community Lunch/ Spirit Day
4/7- Grade 5, Band, Chorus Pictures
4/8-4/10- PSSA Writing for Grade 5
4/11- Grade 2 Trip to Academy of Natural Sciences
4/15- Leadership Group Trip to the Phillies
4/23- Excited About Science- Grade 4
4/24- Grade 3 Immigration Simulation
4/29-4/30- PSSA Science