A Great Classroom Moment

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working with fifth graders as they craft “Where I’m From” poems. Our mentor is George Ella Lyon, a poet laureate of Kentucky and author of many books for children.

Friday afternoon in one class the students were sharing their finished poems. We heard some memorable lines along the way, unique lines, and lines so familiar we could have written them ourselves, read by the bold and brave students who volunteered to stand before their peers.

We were almost out of time when I saw another boy who seemed to raise his hand. It was so tentative, I couldn’t be sure. I asked him if he wanted to share his poem, and he nodded his head, stood, and came to the front of the room. He is a shy guy, a special ed student who struggles to get assignments finished. But he really wanted to read his poem. His voice was strong, though a little hesitant. He read each line deliberately, methodically. A time or two his nerves got the best of him, and he turned to me to help him with a word, but he kept going. This was his story and he wanted to share it. The class applauded at the end. His classmates shared comments with him just as they had with others. They pointed out how they could identify with the “bossy sister” he mentioned, that he had used some rhyming, which they liked, and his ending was kind of a surprise ending.

I was proud of everyone. I have to admit, I was teary-eyed walking down the hall when I left their classroom. What a moment to celebrate!

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7 Responses to A Great Classroom Moment

  1. Linda Baie says:

    It is special when an unexpected student steps forward to do what he did. Lovely ending to your week! Have a great weekend, too!

  2. This is beautiful. I’m glad you provided space and time for your students to share their voices.

  3. Ramona says:

    I love reading these special teaching moments! I’m almost teary just reading about it. And kudos to your students who responded so positively to this classmate. Two of my former colleagues recently did “Where I’m From” poems, and I shared my file of student mentor texts with them. They shared some of the poems their students wrote – such powerful pieces and so full of student voice!

  4. I am glad he shared and I am glad the class embraced what he had to say-it is a moment to celebrate! Yay!

  5. Bernadette says:

    Congratulations to you and your students on this moment. My youngest was in special ed and I know how hard it was to take the spotlight and it only was taken when he had confidence in the teacher.

  6. Ruth Ayres says:

    Thanks for sharing this snippet from your classroom. These lines are exquisite:
    “His voice was strong, though a little hesitant. He read each line deliberately, methodically. A time or two his nerves got the best of him, and he turned to me to help him with a word, but he kept going. This was his story and he wanted to share it.”
    Ruth

  7. Pingback: It Was Just One of Those Days | newtreemom

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