Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song, you can't believe it, you were always singing along.

I just scripted out my entire lesson last night. I am mid-lesson with my 6th/7th split class; Yesterday, we just did a lab on the spread of infectious diseases by doing a FAKE saliva-exchange lab. Today, we are collecting and graphing our data. Trust me, I almost always have my materials organized; so why can't I find the sheet where I am supposed to collect data?

I know. It's in the copier machine upstairs.

Step One: Recover.

I ask my class to put their eyes on the board. In the midst of my Prezi-infused lessons, I am about to go Old School with a marker and board. It will be okay.

And it was. Even more. I make a quick data chart on the board and start collecting my data by doing an old-fashioned raise of hands. Students are excited because some of them had the disease (we determined this if their solution turned Pink yesterday). Then there were the students who didn't have the disease (excited as well, of course, they didn't catch it!).

I collect my data. I do, what I think is a check-for-understanding, and using my Anchor Chart on "Graphing" quickly review the components of a graph. Title, X-Axis, it.

Every student with graph paper in hand appeared ready to start graphing. My mentor coaches from the sideline and asks:

"Aren't you going to model how to graph the points?"

I respond, "No...that's the "I do" part of the activity."

She gave me the look. The look that implied, "Cherita...I don't think this will work."

But I was insistent. I was so confident they could do it. I expected them to do it. After all, graphing wasn't THAT long ago...

She lets me do my thing. Fifteen minutes later, hands are raised and students are asking me to look at their graphs--they are colorful, they are labeled, and they are done...


In that moment, I cannot describe what I felt. They completed a task that was doubtful they would complete. And at the end of that day, every single student turned in a Graph about the "Spread of Infectious Diseases" in our "Orange" tray, ready to be graded.

After class, my mentor told me she was shocked. She couldn't believe that they not only finished their graph, but did so with minimal guidance and simple circulation. She told me this:

"You believed in said they could do it and wouldn't back down. And they did."

In that moment, butterflies flew throughout my stomach from the excitement that I believed in kids and my confidence was contagious. Students became confident in their work, and their work displayed nothing but confidence and knowledge. Retained knowledge, at that.

Moments like this will always overcome that initial moment of Panic.

Moments like this will make you smile for the rest of the day and have extremely high expectations of every other class. One of those classes then won't go as great as you planned it to. But you will recover. You will recover because you knew that you had success that first class, and it will happen again. It might not be today, or this week. But it will happen. And you strive for the goal to make that happen every day. It gives you confidence, and confidence is contagious in my classroom!

[My first capture of confidence in the classroom]