Saturday, January 18, 2014

Awesome Lesson...a wee bit misinterpretted

I was struck my inspiration near the end of my first school year teaching fourth grade. I read a story about a teacher who had her students write something positive about each of their classmates. It is a story you WANT to read to your kiddos to start this lesson. (Here's the link:

Anyway, after spending about 20 minutes passing around papers with each student's name on the top and having the kiddos write something kind about that person, each student received a copy of the super nice comments.

We did the activity. Passed around papers. Each one had the name of a kiddo in our class, so when the paper got all the way around the room and back to that person, it was filled with personalized awesomeness. I saw looks of appreciation and happiness and…what was that? Confusion?

“Kiddo, what’s wrong?”

“Miss…somebody wrote something mean on mine!”

“What did they write?”

“They said…they said…they said that I was SKETCHY!!!”

The room got quiet. There were suspicious glances thrown around. Who had done it? Shootskies. I didn’t think any of my sweet kiddos would ruin this well-planned activity.

One little ball of energy stood up. He literally bounced over to his little friend and snatched the paper out of her hands. He studied the paper until he discovered the apparently hateful word. Sketchy.

“I wrote that!”

The entire class kind of held its breath. They were ready for what came next. You see, this little friend who received the “sketchy” comment was not exactly the nicest kid. She was nice, don’t get me wrong, but she had her catty moments and they did not go unrecognized by her peers. Was this little friend about to call her out?

“You’re just so…so…so…great at drawing!”

Collective release of breath. Sketchy. Good at drawing. Artistic. Ah, the joys of fabulous fourth grade and making up words that fit our needs.

And that was the first time I did that lesson. The rest of the comments were FABULOUS and THOUGHTFUL, so I continued to use this lesson every year. And every year I kind of hope that someone keeps their list tucked away as a reminder that they are pretty darn special, and that a class of 18 peers thought so as well.

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