Thursday, September 4, 2008


We have been back at school for three weeks now. In my job I travel across the district to six different schools. Students from these schools change and move from one to the other frequently. So, it isn't unusual for me to find a student that I have worked with in a new school the next year. That is what happened with a couple of these students this year.

Last week I was in a first grade classroom talking to the teacher. As the students were lined up to go outside, I was saying hi to kids that I had worked with in kindergarten last year. All of a sudden one little boy looked up at me and said, "I know you!" It was my friend, Bradley. He was from a neighboring school the year before. Bradley was an amazing kindergartener. He had a vision for writing books before any other student. In fact, he inspired his classmates to make books just like he was. Bradley always had something interesting to say and I found myself drawn to him and his room at least once a day when I visited that school. I was so glad to find him again in this classroom. When I was leaving, I promised him I would see him again. He said, "When you come can we write books?" I promised him that we for sure would write books!

I also found another student that I worked with last year. This one was now a fifth grader. Christopher loved to tell me stories about wrestling and the army. He had trouble reading and writing those stories, but boy, could he tell them. My thrill with Christopher last year was when his class had a celebration of some writing they had done and Christopher was brave enough to get up in front of his class and parents and read his story. When I found Christopher in the new school I went into his room, knelt down in front of him and said, "I am so glad I found you." He tried not to grin when he recognized me. (It isn't cool as a 5th grader to like teachers.) He said, "Will you tell my friends at _____ that I said hi?" I assured him I would and that I would be back to hear more of his stories. He "sort of" grinned and said, "Okay."

These last few weeks I have been working with classes on getting ready for our state test: ISTEP. Today I worked in six classes looking at a piece of writing by a student who last year got a perfect score on that test in writing. The story was awesome, but it was sad. After I read it to a group of 4th graders, I asked them to talk to their partners about what they liked about the story as a reader. I listened in to one group of boys talk about it. Here is what one boy said, "I thought the story was good, but I was crying in my head at the end." I told him, "You know, I have read that story six times today and that is just how I felt. I liked the story and thought it was good, but everytime I was crying in my head."

Aren't kids great?


Jen Barney said...


Stacey Kannenberg said...

I stumbled across your blog today and boy, am I glad I did. I love the story of your little book writer - I am not a teacher but an author/publisher and met a future book writer at a school event. He left such an impression on me!! In fact I was so heartbroken when I found out a year later that he was hit and killed by a car coming back from his mailbox. His mom thinks that he was so disappointed that the book he was waiting for hadn't come yet and accidently walked in front of the car! In his memory, I am creating a character in my next book, Clayton, who dreams of being a bookwriter, so he can live forever in the pages of a book. His family thinks he would like that! He will be in Let's Get Ready For Second Grade! I suppose this might be considered a "crying in my mind" post.

I would love to send you my books: Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! & Let's Get Ready For First Grade! to share with your kids. If interested, email at: