Well, we did it... We captured another student recently... Hook, line and sinker! With our group we are realizing that there are some that have very deep rooted issues, inhibiting their positive personal belief system.... students Mrs. Ripp references in her post.
Well, last Monday I walked across the classroom after gathering students from recess and noticed 2 girls sitting in our meeting space, prepared and ready to go with their anchor text book club materials (this is a favorite time of day by all, one that makes 11 year old boys literally click their heels together and squeal in delight- but what I noticed was the fact that these girls were ready to go BEFORE the announcement/direction). So I pointed their leadership out by stating, "Rockstars, girls! Way to model!"
As I headed to my desk to grab my materials, an older student asked me "am I a Rockstar Mrs.B?" This is a student that we have been trying for months to connect with in every which way possible... Unpredictable with his behaviors and emotions, quiet with his interests, and subtle with expession. We have tried nurturing him with kind words, encouragement, space, extra attention and even humor. However, we still have felt like we are just barely breaking the code... So I took another potential opportunity and replied, "the day you show up first with your materials we will do the Rockstar Dance & happily call you a Rockstar!" He just smiled; slightly.
Then 3 days later, kids were calling... "he's at the carpet, he's first! He's a Rockstar! You have to dance!". (mind you, HE was not calling this out, the community had recognized his accomplishment. THEY were celebrating... And HE was beaming!)
So we did what any dedicated teachers would do, we adjusted the schedule and lesson based on the needs of the students... The schedule adjustment being taking 5 to pause on the book club and celebrate, and the lesson adjustment being showing the importance of honoring one's word and taking the time to value someone's achievement.
So we turned on 'party rock anthem' (no worries... Just the music WITHOUT WORDS!) and positioned ourselves in front of the group (with the accomplished student positioning himself front row) and we busted a move- straight from the 80s and 90s... No shame involved... Afterwards a student blurted out "omg! You should put that on YOUTUBE! It would get like a million hits!"
...and we took it as a compliment, because in the moment the only viewer that truly mattered was the boy grinning ear to ear in the front row because in that moment he knew we cared enough to dance with no shame... He knew he was worth it and we would be there to celebrate his growth.
He came back this week all smiles and focused...and we are proud that we have hooked another! Shouldn't that be our goal everyday?