A Phenomenal Reflection: “Do They Have A Choice?!”

My student did a Phenomenal job of showing her thinking.

Sunday’s Reflection: “Do They Have A Choice?”

As I took my Walk, I thought about a statement from a co-worker Friday.

Friday, I was excitedly telling my co-worker about my kids meeting an expectation.

In response, she deadpanned: “Do they have a choice?!”

Before I share what led to that statement, I’m going to rewind to that Wednesday. On that day, I conducted T.P.R.I. testing for the first time. It’s an assessment given at the Primary grade-level to determine the kids decoding, encoding and comprehension skills. (In layman’s terms, their ability to pronounce, spell and understand what they’re reading.)

While testing my kids, I realized that not only are they growing(exponentially) but they’re developing the right mentality.

For example, one of my kids perfectly pronounced all her sight words. I told her that she said all the words correctly. Then she allowed: “When I’m going to gymnastics practice, my mom writes these words.” (sight words)

I loved it.

Another student made a text to self-connection, although It wasn’t required. (Thinking higher order naturally)

And overall as a group, they crushed the comprehension section, which focused the type of content that I’ve taught. (Multiple kids got perfect scores.)

Solid early returns on my Bloom’s Taxonomy lesson plan structure.

Thursday, I incorporated technology by letting the kids sign into Learningfarm(an online program) and add a few Seesaw journal entries(an online family communication app).

A good story for teaching theme.

Friday, I continued my introduction of Theme of a Literary text…playing “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

After showing the video, I utilized a method that I learned from a teacher on YouTube. (Got to be a student of your craft.)

Taking my kids through the routine, we combined their individual thoughts into a theme for “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”: Don’t lie and always tell the truth.

Following that re-introduction to theme, I modeled how to determine the moral of story…teaching them how to ask the important question: How was the character at the beginning of the story? How does the character feel in key moments? How did the character change by the end of the story and why?

The think-aloud helped—as the kids came up with the correct lesson learned: Don’t be selfish and share with others.

After that portion of the lesson, I transitioned the kids to lunch. Walking out the classroom, I noticed that several of them had annotated(writing out their thoughts).

I was hype. Second graders aren’t supposed to be able to annotate. At least that’s what I was told.

At lunch, I had that convo with a co-worker…telling her that my kids were annotating. That’s when she made that statement: “Do They Have A Choice?!”

They might not have a choice, but I didn’t expect them to make the right ones so early in the school year.

Succeeding recess, I finished the lesson. The kids worked in partners to determine the Theme of another story. Simple enough.

Simple until I walked past one of my students. As I walked past him, he said: “This story is just like the other one.”

Me(with a smile on my face): “That’s going to be a question. Hold that.”

Once I reviewed the theme, which was the same as the previous story, I let that student share why the stories were similar.

Student: “In the Yo-Yo, Brandon took the Yo-Yo from his sister. The Scooter was similar. In the end, both shared, even though they were mean to each other.”

Me(In my head): “Go head making those Text to Text Connections.”

Then I asked how the stories were different.

One student responded: “In the The Yo-Yo, there was a brother and sister. In The Scooter, there are friends.”

Wrapping up the lesson, I told my kids that they’re the most impressive group I’ve had in my career. (I thought my second group would forever hold the title but these seven-year-olds are coming for the throne.)

Reflecting, it’s becoming clearer and clearer why spending a year on second grade is the correct placement. Early in my career, my mind has been on S.T.A.A.R. from day one, and I teach with that sense of urgency. I even go into a different zone in March: S.T.A.A.R. Mode. (My students can even describe it.)

This year, I’m not focused on S.T.A.A.R. I’m focused making my kids high-level, independent thinkers, not high performers(although that’ll probably come with it).

Becoming a 2nd grade teacher wasn’t my decision, but it’s right one.

My kids have no choice but to be Phenomenal, but neither do I.

I leave you with two things.

1.   What choice has been made for you?

2.   Are you resisting or agreeing with it?

Say back.

  1. What did you like about the Reflection?
  2. What would you like to know more about?

Application: Write down how you could trust choices in your life more.

Jeremiah Short, Educator

Published by Jeremiah Short

My name is Jeremiah Short, and I'm a educator with six years of experience. I love to teach and the overall craft of the profession. I've written one book on my journey(As I Took My Walk With God Volume I: I Stopped Wasting God's Time) with a second one way (As I Took My Walk With God Volume II: Greatness Was Upon Them). In addition to writing books, I've created several instructional routines: Word Power, T.I.D.E., Bloom's Units: Reading and The Phenomenal Classroom.

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