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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bonus-they learned something...

Every once in a while, a kid will rock your socks.

That happened to me today, twice.

Right now, students are reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

We are also reading a series of bullying related essays.

And students are answering a few select reading response questions.

They are also engaging in brief discussions and other interactive activities.

We are not completing a large summative project.

But students have the option to self-select novel related projects for credit recovery.

I call it the Tic Tac Toe project because it is a 3 x 3 board of project choices.

In other years, I have required students to select three projects from the board.

This year, we have simply run out of time.

Most students probably won't have time to complete one project this year.

A few will select one or two of them to complete because they either are way ahead and really like the novel

...or it is a half-hearted, last-gasp effort to improve their grade.

A handful will spend enormous time and energy completing as many projects as possible a slightly less half-hearted, last-gasp effort to improve their grade.

Then there are those rare kids who exceed your every expectation.
Yesterday, a young lady asked me if she could redesign Melinda's bedroom in a shoe box instead of on paper (one of the project choices, obviously).

Of course I said yes without hesitation.

I didn't expect a fabulous

But that is what I got.

First thing this morning, she delivered me the most adorable, well-crafted, thoughtful diorama I could have imagined.

I gushed. She smiled.

Later she told me it took her hours.

I should hope so--it is that cool.

A couple hours later, I got two emails and a phone call from another young lady.

She is really trying these last few weeks, but the hole she dug for herself is almost deep enough to see China...

Granted, she contacted me from ISS (In School Suspension), which is not ideal.

But, her attitude, and her work, were impressive.

Each email contained a fully developed Power Point version of a project option.

One provided and explained a variety of tree images related to the main character's transformation.

The other was a theme collage including images, text, and explanations.

It wasn't quite as well-written, but rather more original on the whole, I think.

And it shows incredibly sophisticated understanding of the novel.

Then, this little girl had the ISS teacher call me so she could talk to me and tell me she had completed four projects and thought it would be good to do at least one more.

Really? How awesome is that?

Maybe she'll pass, maybe (probably) not. But she will have demonstrated how capable she is when she puts forth the effort.

That is a lesson many students need to internalize.

Both these girls made my day.

They demonstrated genuine effort and enthusiasm, qualities that are always a good thing!

Bonus-they learned something...

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