It was Friday, I was frustrated and a little tired. I was frustrated because Little B was having trouble all day focusing when it came to working independently. Each time he would start to settle into a spot, he would jet across the room to often interrupt other students who were focusing on a book or writing a story. Knowing we have had lots of conversations about what focus is, characters who think about focus and what it looks like, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt each time I noticed him. I often would slyly walk over to listen in on the conversation. I kept crossing my fingers that is was about a book he was writing, sharing or any thought about ideas or even a story he was sharing about himself. I realized it wasn't. So, I talked again with Little B helping him remember the lessons about focus and then I found a spot where he could focus during writing workshop. It is Friday, he is 6, I said to myself. But I was still frustrated that others weren't getting their work done.
I looked at my notebook to see which kids were on my list for conferring when I noticed Little B. His
page had nothing written on it. While other kids had 2 -3 quick check ins, I realized I had not spent time with him. I immediately felt that ah-ha at that moment.
I sat alongside him joining the other kids at the table that were writing. He shared his book called Ben Where He Goes ( I smiled thinking how clever his title was) and he read all about the adventures he had this summer in New York, at an OSU game and with his family on vacation. The little girl next to us talked about how she was going to go to Slovenia when she was old enough to visit because her dad was born there. Little B piped up next about how he was going to visit Guatemala when he was old enough because that was where he was born. He smiled and talked about how he was adopted. We all chatted for awhile after that. While I had know Little B's background it wasn't until I slowed down to talk with him about his writing that he was able to open up. It wasn't until then that we had actually had our first connection. I know this day was important for both of us.
I was fortunate enough to hear Ruth Ayres speak this weekend about celebration. She has this amazing perspective about how our teaching with writers is really all about celebrating. She takes hard and tough situations and find the good in them. She has a true knack for making personal connections. I left with so many new things to think about, one of them being the power of taking time to relate and connect with our students. Hearing Ruth in person was incredibly valuable for me. And sitting down with Little B was as well. I am keeping her wisdom in mind this week and remembering to find lots of opportunities to keep talking and connecting with Little B.