Story Challenge Day 9: Signs of Spring

As a teacher, I can pretty much count on there being a day in February or March when I look at a group of kids and realize, “Oh! They’re not third graders anymore. They’re fourth graders waiting to happen.” Or, “Yesterday I was looking at fifth graders. Now I’m looking at middle schoolers.” Really. It happens in a day. They just…turn, transform, evolve.

I haven’t had that experience this year. Maybe it’s the masks. Maybe it’s the lack of interaction. Maybe it’s the sum total of all the trauma that we’ve been through. But I’ve yet to look at any of my ten groups and say, “Wow. These kids look like they’re _____ graders.”

In the meantime, I’m catching signs of growth that make my heart smile, some proverbial crocuses poking their heads up from the earth.

This week, I’ve seen my kids…

talking about how word pairs might be cousins, twins, older brothers or sisters, parents, grandparents of one another

deliberately trying craft moves for their readers – and being happy when others notice

reading other comments on a blog post, then forming their own response and incorporating others’ ideas

highlighting one another’s work, showcasing and building upon it

engaging in conversations about how this world and the people in it need to be better

And these things I will gather in a bouquet, place in a makeshift vase, set on my counter, and admire each time I pass by.

Interested in learning more about the March Slice of Life Challenge, or wanting to read more great posts? Head over to the Two Writing Teachers site!

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

15 thoughts on “Story Challenge Day 9: Signs of Spring

  1. Just lovely! Like the crocuses, this time of year is a good time to catch your student blooms. I love your noticiings and the idea of gathering them in a bouquet and placing them in a vase to make you smile each time you pass by. This post, just like spring, brings hope and joy!

    1. Thank you so much! I got the inspiration this morning from a really thoughtful student comment, and things grew from there.

  2. Your students are blooming right before your eyes. As with all growth, it seems slow. Then one day there is full bloom and we wonder when did that happen. Savor this unique bouquet.

  3. I love bouquet you gathered. If we listen and look carefully, there is so much abloom. Yes to “ engaging in conversations about how this world and the people in it need to be better”.

    1. Thank you! As for the conversations, the kids are SO much better at it than most folks give them credit for. Then again, they’re better at a LOT of things than most folks give them credit for.

  4. Lainie, I was JUST having this conversation the other day!! One of my favorite things about teaching sophomores is the SHIFT. Something happens over winter break. When we return from winter break, sophomores mature…drastically. As 10th graders, lots of big things are happening… First jobs, licenses, cars. It’s an intense year.
    HOWEVER…. The shift didn’t happen this year. It’s so bizarre. But you’re so right…. My students may not be demonstrating what I’m used to seeing by this time in the school year, but they’re definitely growing.

  5. The photo is just gorgeous and fills me with all the hope of springtime. The transition of the kids at this time of really is as pronounced and sudden as the flowers bursting forth… almost with the audible squeaking of flower bulbs bursting! So interesting that it hasn’t happened with these groups just yet – invites contemplation…

    1. It *does* invite contemplation, for sure. I’ve talked with other teachers about it, and they’ve noticed it as well. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open after spring break, perhaps…

  6. “And these things I will gather in a bouquet, place in a makeshift vase, set on my counter, and admire each time I pass by.” A perfect metaphor. Can’t wait for you to have the realization that this year’s groups are ready to move up, guessing it’s coming soon! A friend and I were characterizing these years as ‘arrested development’ for so many of our young humans. Am hopeful that their coming out of their chrysalids is worth the wait.

    1. Thank you! Hoping to see the shift some time after spring break, maybe.

      Arrested development. YES. It’s like there’s so much potential – and potential energy being stored, waiting to burst forth. I love that comparison!

  7. What a great post! I know what you mean about seeing the changes in students and how the shift toward whatever’s next can seem to happen over night. I saw that happen with basic ed and GED students, too. The moment where their focus would move beyond the test to the doors a passing score would open for them.

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