Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Future Will Be Great! Part 1

Each month, the teachers in our school are tasked with the incredibly impossible job of choosing one student from each grade level to be Linc's Leader. This one person shows their PRIDE (our PBIS acronym) and deserves the honor of recognition in front of the whole school. As a first grade team, we started off by each putting five students from our classrooms into a bucket and drawing out a name. We've been rotating through classrooms so someone from each room receives the honor. It's down between my room and one other room this month.

Here's my problem: What do I do if each one of my students deserves to be Linc's Leader? How do I choose just one (or five to be put in the bucket with only one receiving the honor)? I truly believe each one of my students is doing something that deserves to be honored. I also believe that just because some students make mistakes doesn't mean they don't deserve to be known and recognized. In fact, I believe their mistakes and ability to learn and bounce back from them make them even more deserving.

This is where I'm stuck. I want to the whole world to know about the 19 incredible students I have the honor and privilege of spending time with everyday. I want the world to know about the tender hearts and sweet thoughts that make each one of them shine. Since I only get to recognize one (maybe two by the end of the year) at our school-wide assemblies, I'm so, so glad I have this little blog where I can introduce the world to the joy, creativity, and love I experience each day! So, World, over the next couple of days, let me introduce you to 19 examples of the greatness our future will hold! (I've numbered my students to protect their privacy, but please know that each number represents a real student in my classroom.)

1 - I have had the privilege of spending the last two years with this sweetheart. She works hard everyday and takes pride in her work. She is gentle and cares for the people around her. What I'm discovering this year is she also has a goofy, fun side. She laughs often and is fun to be around. She has an uncanny ability to make the people around her feel good about themselves and have a good time. I'm was excited to see her on my class list for this year, and I'm realizing now what a blessing I have been given with her in my room for two years.

2 - If I had known this summer how much this little guy would make me laugh, I think my summer would have been even more full of anticipation for a new year. My favorite thing about him is that he finds a way to lighten the mood in each moment, but he rarely lets this silliness get out of hand. What incredible self-control! He is one of my hardest workers too. He works carefully and slowly ensuring that each ounce of work he produces is the absolute best. It's hard for me to imagine my life without him, and I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to him at the end of this year.

3 - When I first met him, I instantly noticed his quiet demeanor. I knew from that moment that we were kindred spirits. This little introvert has a smile that will melt away any ice. He notices things other students don't notice. He's the kid that picks up the marker that found its way into the whiteboard basket and puts it back where it belongs. He's the kid who notices the chaos and in his quiet way handles the situation calmly and respectfully. In the half-year we have spent together, I've noticed how he is beginning to take on challenges. He truly wants to become a better version of himself, and while he makes mistakes along the way, he is taking on something new everyday. I couldn't be more proud of him!

4 - This guy is our resident Minecraft and Transformer genius. Seriously, you could ask him anything about either of those topics, and he'd gladly talk with you for hours. I've had the pleasure of spending two years with this guy too, and I'm so, very grateful for that opportunity. My favorite thing about him is the courage he shows everyday in his work. Just before break, we were working on a blog post. His post was ok to start with, but I knew he could do more. I told him this and I could sense his hesitation. With a little bit of support and encouragement, he turned an ok post into a fantastic post. That type of perseverance and push is admirable in this 7 year old. It blows my mind that he shows these traits everyday!

5 - This guy is my inspiration. He makes me want to be better at what I do, and he challenges me to find new ways to look at life. What I admire most about him is how he can come to school tired and grumpy (his words, not mine :) ) and he can turn that around within seconds and work hard all day. He cares deeply for the people around him and often exercises incredible self control as he joins in the daily activities. When he overcomes his shyness and self-consciousness to contribute to our conversations and to try something new, my heart grows three times in size. He is a fighter and a true gem in my room!

6 - This eager little girl is always right where I need for her to be. She's excited about school and ready to go every day. She keeps me on my toes. My favorite thing about her is her tender heart. She feels deeply, and this tenderness allows her to be a great friend. As we wrote our new years resolutions last week, I was touched that she chose a goal of being a better friend. She understands kindness on a different level than some of her peers. She's a sweetheart, and I'm glad I've gotten to know her!

It breaks my heart to end here, but I want to make sure I can share all of the great things about my students while respecting your time in reading them. I'll be back to share the next 6 kiddos soon!

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