Our students come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. As teachers, we are constantly searching for ways to meet each of their educational needs. Sometimes we have a well thought out plan, while at other times meeting our students’ needs happens spontaneously. The latter happened in one of the classes that I spend time co-teaching reading and writing skills to 4th graders. We had been teaching our students how to find evidence in text to help support their answers. We first spent time just learning how to find evidence in the text before we had our students start answering questions. We then modeled and practiced writing a “Shining Star Answer” using the proof from the text. One of our struggling students needed additional work on putting these two skills together.
A few days ago, the light bulb went off. His eyes grew wide and his face broke out into a huge grin as he roared, “I get it! It’s the thing, the thing and you add the stuff! “It’s the thing” (the thing would be the text evidence) “and the stuff” (the stuff being the author’s words). His brilliant teacher realized that he really knew what the thing and stuff were and replied, “Go and do the thing and add the stuff!” While he didn’t know the correct terms, he certainly understood the skills that were being practiced. His teacher did a great job reinforcing his learning and encouraging him.