For the past couple of months, I've really been pushing my kids to read 4 books for this 'Battle of the Books' competition at school that our librarians organized. Rather than making it a choice, I required everyone to be in on the competition (I know, I'm evil...THAT teacher. haha), putting them in teams of 3 and 4 for the competition. When the books were given and the competition explained (4 books, questions asked about all books, so obviously at least one person had to read each book), I told them that I just KNEW they could all read at least 2 of the books. The more team members who read each book, the better chance they had to be able to collaborate and come up with answer to the questions that would be asked. We kept discussing their progress, checking in now and then. Several of the students made it a goal to read all of the books. Some decided they thought they could read 3 or maybe 4 of them. Well, today was the competition. Granted, some of the kids were scrambling this week to finish a book...but they were still REALLY trying because they didn't want to let their team down!
They all did SO WELL answering the questions. The librarians had already had two 6th grade groups, two 4th grade groups, and five 5th grade groups from the other class. Then we got in there and answered more questions than any of the other classes had. My kids were so nervous, and then so proud. It was great to see them work together and then even congratulate the winning team (who went on to beat the other 5th grade class and will now compete with the 4th grade and 6th grade).
Later that afternoon, one of my boys came up to me with a big grin on his face, talking about how much he wished his team would have won, but that he was still happy about all the questions they answered. He said he was proud of himself for reaching his goal of reading all four of the books. And then, even though I didn't think it was possible to love this kid any more than I already do, the following conversation took place:
MK- (smiling from ear to ear) "Miss, I think I have really improved my reading this year. I have read more books and harder books than I ever did last year."
Me: (returning said smile) "I think you are a fantastic reader. I love how excited you are about it!"
MK- (still smiling) "Thank you for inspiring me."
Me: (smiling, heart melting) "You're welcome. And, thank YOU for being you - and inspiring me." These are the days it is great to be a teacher.