Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m Possible”!
My four kids and I are preparing to run a 5K. They’re almost always grouchy when we head out the door, and it all comes down to one thing: Running is hard.
Hannah is in the best condition of all of us. She runs fall cross country, winter running club, and summer running club. She doesn’t like to push herself, though, so I made this rule: If I pass Hannah, then she is on laundry duty for the day.
Stephanie is built like a power forward for the basketball court. She is not built like a runner. Running hurts her toes, ankles, knees . . . and all the other 2,000 parts of her. She had a hard time breathing, too. I took her to the doctor, and they said she has asthma. An inhaler has made the running go better. Breathing makes a big difference in the enjoyment of a run.
Jay is a tank. He’s running to be better on the football field. He’s mentally tough and just keeps going. The problem is he doesn’t run a straight line. He weaves. When he weaves, he cuts people off, and it is likely the person behind him will trip. Usually it’s Stephanie behind him. Usually she falls flat. Then lies there for too long, yelling at Jay’s back that he should run straight.
Sam is built like a runner, but is still developing the mental toughness to be a runner. When he’s feeling strong, he flies like a bullet train. (That’s his analogy, not mine.) When the running is hard, it is likely he’ll sit down on the edge of the road and wait for the return trip.
I hope I never quit running because, man, it’s not fun becoming a runner. I keep telling myself it’s going to get easier, but I’m gasping for air and I’m wondering if maybe it’s so hard because I’m not in my twenties anymore.
Meanwhile, I remember I’m a fellow runner and a mom. It wouldn’t be a very good example to collapse, so I encourage instead.
Stephanie says, “I’m going to fall over.”
I say, “I know.”
Sam says, “My legs are going to fall off.”
I say, “I know.”
Hannah says, “I have to slow down.”
I say, “I know” and, “Have fun doing the laundry.”
Jay doesn’t say anything because tanks don’t talk. They just keep going.
Sometimes the best encouragement is affirmation that this thing we’re doing is really hard. I call out the remaining time, and we keep plodding alongside the endless cornfields. At the end of the run, we are all still upright. No one has quit breathing. No legs have fallen off. The kids aren’t arguing any more. They smile and laugh. They encourage one another and say thanks for the help. They go again the next time, because the feeling of impossible becoming possible always sticks with a person.
It reminds me of facing hard tasks in the classroom. Kids face many challenges that seem impossible. There’s stress when we face tasks that we may fail at doing. It’s not fun to keep going in the midst of hard. Sometimes all that’s needed is affirmation that things feel impossible, but when we keep trying, impossible turns to possible.
This week we look at building stamina in young learners. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
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“Why do you always say ‘Happy reading!’ to us?” This question from a first grader leads Katrina Edwards to develop visual support tools for building stamina during reading workshops in her first-grade classroom:
Stamina is a term we use often in literacy instruction, but it can be tricky for students and teachers to define in classroom contexts. Heather Rader looks at the specific attributes of writing stamina, as well as how to model it for students:
Kate Umstatter has tips for helping students stay focused:
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Shari Frost uses playful texts to increase interest and stamina in emergent readers. She shares many of her favorites in this booklist:
Melanie Meehan shares strategies and prompts for helping easily distracted young learners focus in conferences:
Stella Villalba uses the Photo Booth app to build stamina in a young English language learner, as well as reinforce the learning and practice at home:
New PD2Go: Tammy Mulligan works with two seven-year-olds to teach them strategies for building reading stamina:
This video and workshop guide fulfill Common Core State Standard ELA-Literacy RL.1.10: With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
We’ve posted the final video installment of Heather Rader’s lesson on teaching revision and editing skills:
That’s all for this week!