Rising To the Occasion

My third graders were invited to join a fourth grade class yesterday to celebrate the end of their writing unit. The fourth graders had completed two nonfiction pieces and created “expert posters”. The idea was for the third grade to roam around, meet the experts and learn from them about their topics.

Well, the problem was that my class was a little wild yesterday. We have been experiencing some pretty volatile weather as of late and I’ve noticed that this can have a huge effect on my students’ ability to control themselves. They were dangling at the the end of a gossamer thread all day, just barely controlling themselves for any longer than maybe 15 minutes at a time. I was worried about our visit.

Indoor recess finally snapped their threads. That and a rowdy riddle session with the lunchtime aide, who is also one of our homeroom moms, pushed them right over the edge. It took a while but we got them calmed down and escorted them to PE. PE was exactly what they needed but right at the end of PE we had a lock down drill! I was picturing the bedlam as they all tried to fit into the roomy but eye-popping gym closet during lockdown. Definitely the coolest place to hide during a drill but not helping to further our getting under control cause!

Before heading to our classroom visit with the fourth graders we discussed (again) the need for good behavior. The class showed me they were sufficiently calm and I was actually feeling pretty good about our adventure. And let me tell you, did those third graders rise to the occasion!

They listened and raised their hands and participated. They asked questions and gave their full attention to the fourth grade hosts. They jotted appropriate comments on Post-its and placed them on the white board as instructed. And when the final circle time share came, I heard the language of Workshop students. Their reflections and compliments included language like, “I liked the way the posters were structured”, and “Everyone explained their topic with really good details”, and “I could tell you took the time to tell more about your topic.”

Kids can really make your hearts swell with pride, can’t they? After all that worry they got the job done. Well done, third graders!


6 thoughts on “Rising To the Occasion

  1. I love “hanging by a gossamer thread,” and the way you weave the narrative as meander through your day. Despite a clamorous atmosphere, your gentle cadence is a calming metronome through this piece. I suspect you have that effect on your students as well! I think that they say that a bad dress rehearsal foreshadows a great first night? I give the writer and all involved a hearty, Bravo!


  2. You have high standards for your students. And you remind us never to underestimate what our students can do when we believe in them (even if some doubts creep in now and then!).


  3. Oh man, I feel your worries–and appreciate your pride too. Don’t you love how they can totally fall apart and then pull it back together and show their thoughtfulness and heart! Great job!


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