We are in the final stretch. For all intents and purposes, school is already over; I just have to keep my students occupied for the next 5 days.
Coming into the final stretch, my students were this close to meeting the Big Goal. We only had a few standards that they hadn’t quite mastered yet, so I created this intense re-teach and re-take schedule to get them where they needed to be. Every time the class average moved above 80% for a standard, I would change the yellow or red sticker on our class tracking chart to a green. Every time, we would applaud our hard work and our ability to grow our brains.
And every time, the applause got a little bit rowdier. As the students could see their progress, their excitement at reaching the Big Goal grew. (Some of them were motivated by the fact they had learned a lot; others were motivated by the pizza party I promised them. Either way works for me.)
Finally, on Friday, we only had one more yellow sticker to change to green. My students were exhausted; we had been pushing ourselves harder than we ever had all year. An incredible thing happened: whenever a student even looked like they were going to give up, another student would jump in to motivate them. “We’re so close to our Big Goal! You can do it!” The struggling student would take a deep breath and dive in again.
Before the last quiz re-take (over multiple meaning words, in case anyone is interested), I gave my students one last motivational speech.
This is it, guys. Our last goal quiz in second grade. I know we’re tired. I know we want school to be over. But don’t give up now. We are so close to our Big Goal! You all have grown so much this year and made such incredible progress. I will not let you go to third grade without meeting this Goal! So, who’s going to pass this quiz?
They worked so hard. And they passed the quiz, of course. So, final data: overall math average: 87%! Overall language arts average: 89%! Class average reading growth: 1.5 years! (Some students grew 2.5 years in reading! Wow!)
As I got the class’s attention to change the last yellow sticker to green, I had such a swell of pride that I was almost overcome. My students got so excited that they started cheering and dancing. Then, spontaneously, they all ran to me and gave me a huge group hug. We were all giddy with excitement. It took us several minutes to calm down, but that’s ok. Meeting a Big Goal like ours warrants such a celebration. I will never forget that moment.