Sunday, April 26, 2015

Visible Growth

"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy,
I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."
-Art Williams

Last July our family went on vacation through the Midwest.  One of our stops took us to Bettendorf, Iowa to visit good friend Jimmy Casas.  Jimmy got us tickets to the John Deere Classic and enjoyed tons of delicious food!  But this story is more about the journey.  We were preparing to embark on our road trip, I was packing different odds and ends for the car ride.  Just before it was time to go I decided to throw in a baseball and mitt. My two boys at the time had zero interest in baseball and truth be told, couldn't name one major league player.  

Troy (9 years old at the time), noticed the baseball and glove.  We stopped a couple times on the way and each time he wanted to play catch.  You can probably imagine how this went, he threw the ball fine, but catching it was a different story.  I chuckle reflecting on this, he tried putting the glove on his right hand.  He even had to ask for help in how to put the glove on.  He simply didn't know any better.  

We finally arrived in Iowa and when you are a young man the first thing you want to do is release your energy!  My two decided to climb the pillars outside the hotel and then we made our way to the grass field on the side of the hotel. We played for 10-15 minutes and I still saw a very raw young man that didn't have an understanding of the fundamentals. 

Later in the evening we went to dinner and then grabbed dessert with Jimmy Casas, Tom Whitford, Leah Whitford and family.  As we all enjoyed our Whitey's Ice Cream (side note...delicious!!!!) Troy just wanted to play. The area was surrounded by blacktop and I motioned for him to walk out about 50 yards.  At this point we kicked a soccer ball and played catch for nearly an hour.  But at one point Jimmy went out and gave Troy some tips.  Within a couple throws he was showing improvement.  He was still raw...but you could see a potential just under the surface.

When we go out and play catch we still talk about the tips Jimmy gave Troy.

Fast forward 9+ months.  Troy is now 10 years old and this is his first year playing baseball on a team.  I have a chance to watch him and help him almost every day and what I saw as a very raw 9 year old is now a quickly improving 10 year old.  Just last night his coach put him on the mound to be the first pitcher. He and I had worked on a few things and I knew he could do it, but I was still pretty proud to see how far he has come.

How does this relate to education?

Nine months ago you welcomed students into your room.  Some were probably shy, timid or even unsure of what to expect.  But what many of you saw was opportunity and potential.  We're now entering the final stretch of school and if you think back to what students looked like in September and what they have become I bet you are very proud.  Think about what was difficult in the beginning, maybe your kindergarten students couldn't write their name.  Maybe your third graders could only add & subtract.  Maybe your students had never read a chapter book.  When we step back and look at the growth that takes place over the whole year it is substantial.

When I reflect on my days in the classroom the one thing that I'll never forget is seeing the visible growth of my students.  Those moments that made me proud to be an educator.

If you are noticing Spring Fever in your room,  I encourage you to look back and reflect on what your kids looked like and accomplished in September.  I bet you'll feel a strong sense of pride seeing how far they've come.


Monday, April 27th:  3:45pm String Team
Monday, April 27th:  4pm Boy/Girl Quest
Monday, April 27th:  KDG Round-up
Monday, April 27th:  4th begins M-Step testing
Tuesday, April 28th:  9am Admin Meeting
Tuesday, April 28th:  KDG Round-Up
Wednesday, April 29th:  Grades K-2 Assembly
Wednesday, April 29th:  KDG Round-Up
Wednesday, April 29th:  3:45 String Team
Thursday, April 30th:  CP Federal Credit Union at 2pm
Thursday, April 30th:  4pm Boy/Girl Quest 
Thursday, April 30th:  KDG Round-Up
Friday, May 1st:  Library Closed for StoryFest Visit
Friday, May 1st:  StoryFest grades K-2
Friday, May 1st:  4pm-7pm Warner Fun Night

*  Teachers please be aware that our Intervention Specialists will be assisting with M-Step on Monday and Tuesday morning.  Please plan accordingly.

Articles Worth Reading:

Colorado Teacher Shares Heartbreaking Notes from 3rd graders @kylemschwartz

What I wish I could tell them about teaching in a Title I school @loveteachblog

Professional Development at a Crossroads @curriculumblog

Let's Celebrate Great Things In Education @thomascmurray

Understand Your Impact @danpbutler

Many residents unaware of changes in education... @Larryferlazzo

Research says: We Think Better on Our Feet! shared by @mikeparent

What Having Twins Taught Me About Teaching @pernilleripp

60 Tiny Love Stories To Make You Smile @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Ellen surprises Walk of Fame tourists! (5 min)

Daily Show with John Stewart - FRAUD CITY (7 min)

Liam the Fist Bump Kid Trailer! (1 min)

Fist Bump Kid...full video (12 min)

Life is your talents discovered by Sir Ken Robinson (10 min)


  1. Ben,
    Great timing on this post! Teachers need to reflect on how much their students have grown. I remember being amazed when I taught first grade how the students came in as "reading ready" and left as readers. So much happens in the course of a school year. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Ben,
    What a great post. It reminded me of two things: One, it reminds me of one of the many reasons why I became a witness growth. It is oh so beautiful. Two, with Jimmy Casas (#jealous!) giving your son some baseball tips it reminded me that it really does take a village. Even though I'm partial to my "homeroom kids" I try to remember that the kids in my school are ALL of our kids! The entire staff connects with them on a daily basis and you never know what child might learn from what adult on any given day!
    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring blog!

    1. Heidi,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate the kind words and more importantly I appreciate the message you shared about connecting with ALL kids.