One of my many hats this year is teaching technology special. It has been both rewarding and challenging.
One of my challenges has been getting to know over 200 students on a personal level. I am only with each class every 6 weeks and only for 45 minutes each day.
This makes it difficult to know each child by name, know their story, and make each child feel heard.
Today something awesome happened that wasn't in the lesson plan, but I thought it was awesome enough to share with you.
This rotation my co-teacher and I are teaching how to use Google Slides and Google Drawings. We have taught the students about One Word and how to present it using Google Slides.
Today as we were all working on our projects, one of my third grade students, who is very quiet and new to the school (since October) got up away from his computer and started to do a comedy act in the middle of our huge classroom. I instantly knew something was off because multiple kids started cracking up, a few kids even laying on the floor with laughter.
When I looked to see what was happening, I noticed our newest student NOT doing our project, but instead standing in the middle of the classroom putting on a show for his classmates. My first thought was, "Hey, we have a project to do, go sit down and work on it." Then another thought came, "This is actually funny and coming from this quiet kid....everyone should see it, just NOT now."
So I said, "That is hysterical and I can't wait for you to show everyone! How about this, you finish your One Word project and then you can have the last two minutes of class to show off your act."
He agreed and then he sat down to finish his slides. Just like I said, we cleaned up a little early and came to the meeting place to watch his show.
This child is one of the tallest third graders, which helped with his act. He turned away from all of us, took his hooded big jacket and put it down low on his back. Then he bent his upper body low, so it looked like a kindergartner sized child walking. He walked away from us, skipped, danced, and even found a way to do the Floss dance.
It was AWESOME! All of us were laughing and loving the performance! It was so creative and a side of him I couldn't believe.
Luckily Mr. Stanton, my husband, who teaches next door got to witness the act half way through.
He loved it, I loved it, we ALL loved it!
His teacher even promised him that he could show off his act at the end of the day, as she had never seen it. I found out later that evening at an after school event that many of the third grade teachers wanted to see it! One even told me she would be pulling him aside in the morning to get a glimpse of it.
This act of his took two minutes of my lesson. Just two minutes.
But in those two minutes, I truly believe something changed for this kid.
His classmates saw him, I saw him, the teachers saw him, and he saw that he mattered to all of us. He saw that he had an impact. He made us all feel joy. This quiet child that I never really knew, finally stood out.
I could have said, "Go sit down." But instead that small quiet voice said, "Give him a chance to shine. Give him two minutes."
In our classrooms we have to look for these simple moments to build our kids up. Our kids are crying out to be heard, to be noticed for their strengths or their creativity or just for who they are.
It is our job as educators and people to find little ways to let our kids shout out to the world that they matter.
We get that chance. We get that chance every day to show others that they matter.
I will keep this day in my heart to remember that sometimes it only takes two minutes to make a kid know they matter and who they are is AWESOME!
May we all find a moment this week to find a child's hidden talent, strength, or gift and find a way for them to share it with the world.
Alana Stanton is a kindergarten and technology specials teacher at Mulberry Elementary in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She has taught several grades over her 14 year career including K-3 literacy special, first grade, second grade, and kindergarten. Alana believes that relationships always come first in the classroom and the classroom should be a place where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. She currently writes for her blog, More Than A Lesson where she shares the stories of her classroom and her heart.