Sitting this afternoon thinking about what to write, I think of my few minutes I just spent with Ms. Lewis and Ms. Pardo’s room this afternoon. (I know I am starting with a fifth grade story again for the second week in a row… but I must be feeling sentimental that these big kids are preparing to leave us soon!) Ms. Lewis had the attention of the entire group. She was wrapping up the day and wanted to leave the students with just one more thing. She shared a moving article that was shared with her last night. She shared her emotional response to the article from the night before. And then encouraged her students to really listen full heartedly to the lessons in the article. She expressed to her students to listen to words of grit and connection. She asked the students to reflect on the lessons learned from others. She celebrated their work for the day. She reminded them of the high expectations set for the remainder of the year. I watched the kids respond with such positive intent to her encouragement. There is so much more that we teach and learn at school!

Then my mind wanders to a first grade room that I visited first thing this morning. Ms. Wilson’s students were meeting with partners. They were using spinners and writing math facts. They talked with each other about what work they still needed to do and what they completed. I was so impressed to listen to these first grades talk and better yet, LISTEN to each other. I enjoyed standing there watching them debate on their work, look back, point out, explain and sometimes direct. These lessons again that we teach are beyond math facts.

As I sit and end my day, I enjoy the visit from a teacher. She shares with me a story of one young one that has been on a journey this year. The story is a celebration of how this child has really begun to see he is a part of the community of learners. He embraces the encouragement that once just ticked him off. The growth he has made in himself is in part due to the growth of the community around him.

It is that time of year that we shift to the last quarter. We know each other well in our classrooms. The community is set. Students know their teachers well. Teachers know their students. Expectations have been learned. And now they can show off these community skills!

I am so lucky to walk into classrooms daily and witness this growth and change. I love seeing how each classroom has matured as a group. We have one final quarter, and I am glad to watch how each classroom takes advantage of the strong community they have become.