Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Just Ten Challenge

Unsplash photo by Krissia Cruz

This morning, Franki texted me a link to Aliza Werner's post on the Classroom Communities blog, "Halfway Here: The Just Ten Challenge" with the message, "We should do this on the blog."

Aliza got this time of year SO right. So. Very. Right.

I'm down, I'm swamped, I'm behind, I'm frustrated. But all it took was Aliza's reminder that the good in a day isn't so hard to find if you just look for it. Here is my Ten:

1.  It started with one, but by the time we got finished, Sam* had been nominated six times for student of the month. Six friends honored him for his sense of humor, for being a partner, for improving from the beginning of the year. Beaming bright enough to light the room, he accepted our nomination.

Sam is not the kind of student I would ever nominate to be student of the month. Through the teacher lens, he doesn't look like student of the month material -- off task, negative, talking when he's supposed to be quiet, rarely giving strong effort. That's the student. What I'd failed to look at, what my students taught me, was to see the person.

2.  Fred, my student who is a complicated puzzle I haven't yet begun to try to figure out, had a better day today. If only I could figure out how to replicate and amplify that...

3.  A dozen students who wanted to improve their math test scores (some from good to great, others from the dumper into the passing zone) stayed in from only the second outdoor recess we've had in recent memory.  A few of those who most needed to improve made stunning gains.

4.  We are studying the motions of the earth in science -- rotation for night/day and orbit for year/seasons. Learning about the way the observable world around them works has awakened their curiosity. So fun.

5.  Today's job in writing workshop was BIC, no talking, write an introduction to your informational piece that signals the reader what structure you've chosen. And they ALL knocked it out of the ballpark!

6.  Indoor recess creations with wooden blocks and MarbleWorks.

Two story school house.

7.  One of our middle schools created 700 (!!!) cute take-out-box snowmen with positive messages, bookmarks and mints inside. One for EVERY student in our building. Wow.

8.  Seeing my students begin to really stretch themselves as readers.

9.  The cheery "Good Morning!" EVERY morning from Donte.

10. The picture of "Ms. Hahn Super Teacher" on the back of Michelle's word study quiz.

What's your ten? Post on your blog or in the comments. Drop your link in our comments AND over on Aliza's post.

*All names have been changed.


  1. Love these! I'm impressed about all of them.
    Those 700 box snowmen, wow!

  2. This is wonderful. I too am in "slogging" mode. Everything feels like so much effort. I am going to count my blessings right now!

  3. Aliza's posts about education are always so thoughtful. I love your #1 story -- also a wonderful way to center the classroom community, and make it less about the teacher!


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