As I visited classrooms and connected with students and staff today, I walked into Mr. Del’s 5th grade classroom. He was sitting in the midst of his students working with a group as they were writing. Laptops were all over the classroom and on each screen, there were words about each student. Fifth grade fingers typing away on the keyboards. I moved around the classroom to read. This is one of my favorite 5th grade projects, and I have a lot of favorites. But in this written work, our students are asked to express themselves in such a way that captures incredible imagery in who they see they are. They reflect on important people in their world, important things including a favorite fruit. They share powerful moments and how they view themselves.

I walked around today, taking my time to read entries. Students were quick to engage me in conversation about the moment they were capturing. I enjoyed sharing other stories of when I might have noticed them brave or what strength I observe. These memoirs allow our students to use the written word to express how they view themselves. As I walked over towards Mr. Del’s group, he mentioned to me how powerful this writing opportunity has been in the relationship building he has had with students. He expressed that although the number of times he reads and edits and revises with students in conferencing appears daunting, the product of greater connections and understanding with students is the most important celebration.

When I visit classrooms during writing, I am grateful to the relationships with students. I appreciate their willingness to open up conversation about their story. As an IB school, we encourage our students to continue to reflect each year how they express themselves. We allow them to grow in their understanding of who they are. And I celebrate their ability to capture this understanding into words.