“Can I write a blog post, Paul?” he asked me. “I finished my playlist!”
“Sure, buddy!” I replied. My feet slowly led my body over to his computer. I watched as he opened up his blog. I’ll admit, I was a bit surprised that he wanted to write in his blog. When I met this one child, in particular, he seemed allergic to writing. He struggled with letter formation and a cognitive blocker seemed to prohibit from him from any sort of experimental spelling.
“I’ve only got two posts so far,” he continued, “but I want to do more.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said back.
He reached his blog, and I noticed two entries, mere titles without any sort of text underneath them. There was a small part of me that was, I’ll admit, disappointed. I’ve noticed that, every now and again, when I get a new idea for a project or tool in my classroom, I become overzealous and far too ambitious. I imagine these beautiful products — products that are mostly idealistic and probably unrealistic.
“See? I’ve got two posts. I want to make a third.” His wide brown eyes turned up towards me.
I had to take a step back. I had to stop and realize what was actually happening here. Sure, he had absolutely no body to his blog post, and sure, he probably knew that he was supposed to write some in there, but the fact of the matter was that he didn’t. And the fact of the matter at this point in time was that now he was ready to.
“This is great!” I replied. “I’m so happy you’re loving writing! What are you going to write about this time?”
“I’m not sure yet, but I bet I’ll think of something.”
I came back about 15 minutes later, and the boy who could muster up the confidence to compose a sentence in September wrote three — and all on his own. I beamed inside with pride, knowing that my teaching partner and I had created an environment safe enough for him to work through his insecurity and actually begin to publish writing on his blog.
Ironically, this moment of progress happened just one day after I began my ritualistic freak-out about standardized test scores. It was a much needed reminder that, while bits and pieces of learning can be captured by numbers, the most heartwarming pieces of learning come in the small victories our children experience each and every day. Today’s small victory was four sentences.
I’m excited to see what tomorrow’s is.