Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.
Music pumping, mic on, the clock winds down to the last 10 minutes of a 60-minute boot camp. It is evident that my clients are fatigued — I can see it in the beads of sweat that drip down their faces, hear it in their labored breathing. It’s that final push. I know that they are tired, I know that they are restless, I know that the clock and the end of class are on their minds, but still, I know they can give me more!
As I call out the next move, offering a modification and a challenge move to accommodate all, I notice that not many of them opt in to the challenge move (but know a good majority of them are capable of it). I notice Gretchen has opted for that challenge move, and I praise her for that over the mic. No sooner do I say, “Gretchen’s taking on that challenge move this round–way to be Gretchen!,” than Missy is joining in, and then Mike, and then Brett, and the next thing you know, over half the class is pushing themselves that little extra bit.
In the three years that I have been a group fitness instructor, the connections between fitness instruction and my professional life as an educator have become more apparent. As I was in the shower that night (yes–a lot of my revelations and reflections come during shower time–not good for our water bill, but great for my mental state), I realized how relevant to my teaching practice that contagious behavior was during my workout class.
As we entered the fourth quarter of the school year, I found myself struggling with the lack of drive and motivation coming from my readers and writers. I was becoming frustrated with the lack of work being produced while knowing what my students are truly capable of. We’re so close to that finish line, and they too are fatigued. In light of state testing, and end-of-year assessments and reflections, and all the effort they have exerted this year, it’s understandable. I needed to be sure to focus on that positive reinforcement, just like I did with my clients during a workout. Instead of my “Okay guys, I know you are capable of more than this,” why not focus more on publicly recognizing the positive behaviors and work that I am seeing? I could say “Thank you Jonathan for getting started right away,” or “I see that this table has taken on today’s challenge of showcasing two writing goals within this one piece,” or “I love how Emily used text features to organize her writing.” Suddenly, the students morph into that early morning fitness class, with more and more students tackling challenging tasks. The positive behaviors become contagious. I’ll take it!
This week we look at hosting literacy events in classrooms. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Carly Ullmer is a seventh-grade teacher in Dublin, Ohio.
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Franki Sibberson explains how scheduling big events can do important work in building the reading community:
Deb Gaby has many practical tips for planning an author visit as a schoolwide celebration of literacy:
We continue our April poetry series. Shirl McPhillips draws parallels between a tentative, battered robin in the snow and the fragility of teachers in the spring:
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Bitsy Parks finds building excitement for book awards works in tandem with generating enthusiasm for reading in her first-grade classroom:
Gigi McAllister explains why you have to be a bit choosy about reading and writing events since there are so many possibilities. Here are some she values in her fourth-grade classroom:
Ten days from the launch of student research projects to a celebration with families? Katherine Sokolowski shares how a tight time frame that concludes with an evening event can bring energy and high student interest to the research process:
In this video from an author visit, Jennifer Richard Jacobson answers questions from a fourth-grade class that has just finished a read-aloud of her book Small as an Elephant:
In a bonus video, Heather Fisher and Kathy Provost work with a group of reading specialists to plan a family literacy night. This video is cross-posted at Lead Literacy:
That’s all for this week!