The cuteness was out in full force on Friday. It's as if those little angels knew I needed something to get me through the day and send me on into the weekend. Here's a little glimpse into my class...
* Avril is a bright little spark in my class. She tries really hard, is well behaved, and is a motivated student. Of all the kids, I'd say she's the one with the most spunk. The streaks of fluorescent green in her otherwise blonde hair are just one testimony to this! We were doing something on the carpet - calendar, maybe - and I asked a question that I expected everyone to call out and answer, but only one boy called it out. "What?! Edwin is the only one who knows?!?! The rest of you must be sleeping!" To which Avril replied, "Nope, I'm not sleeping, I was just distracted!"
* Sharon is a little sweetheart, but also has some fairly major behavioural issues (stemming from many factors beyond her control, and some within it). Very often, if she doesn't get her way or feels overwhelmed or frustrated, she melts down. She'll refuse to work, scatter her supplies, yell, whine, kick, cry, etc. (She's one of about 6 kids who do stuff like this! Fun fun!) The support worker in my class (my hero!) and I have been working really hard to teach her to recognize when she is feeling overwhelmed, to ask for a break, and to use strategies to help her calm down and continue to make good choices, even when she's upset. She is trying, and she gets praised like crazy when we see even a little bit of an effort to use the stragies she's learning: stickers on her sticker chart, hugs and "I'm so proud of yous," certificates home, etc. Sometimes it works, often she backslides. She's seven. She's workin' on it.
So on Friday, we were doing a phonics activity that she hasn't yet gotten though without a meltdown. We were nearing the end, the time that she usually loses it, but she made it through! As the kids were putting away their letter tiles, Sharon looked up with a look of realization and total surprise and, so pleased with herself, declared in her big bellowing voice, "Miss Hillary! I did it!! And I didn't even get mad this time!!!"
* Then there's Anna. She's another one similar to Sharon, behaviourally, in that if she's upset about something, she will just dig her heels in and refuse to do what she's told then whine, cry, mope, stomp her feet, yell out "This is why I hate school," etc. Strategies for her are a little more of a mystery, but we're workin' on it. BUT when she is having her better moments, she is the cutest little thing you've ever seen. She has the most ADORABLE smile, and is so full of sweetness and giggles that your heart just melts.
As an incentive program for the class, I have a jar and a big bag of sparkly pom poms. When the whole class is on task, has been listening well, or has done some other praise-worthy feat, I make a big hoopla about it and dramatically add a pom pom to the jar. When the jar is full, they get some kind of special treat - a movie, ice cream, etc. Sparkly pom poms. I tell you, they're powerful.
I didn't realize HOW powerful, though, till Friday, when I was giving the class one for something or other. Anna was right in front of me, and she asked if she could put the pom pom in the jar for me. I said sure, so she dropped it in. Little did I know it would be such an experience for her.
After she dropped it in, in a voice filled with awe, eyes wide, she said in a half-whisper to no-one in particular, "IIII touched a POMMM POMMMM!"
Hee hee heeee! Oh these kids! I love 'em!
* All names are changed