A simple question–a huge reward

It’s the littlest things that stick in a teacher’s mind.  It’s the small victories that count the most.

Today was a perfect illustration of a small victory that is HUGE.  One of my students has been struggling to read appropriate books, read more and finish a book in a timely manner.  We (mom and I) worked out some incentives around one of her hobbies.  This seemed to be working, so I was content with the progress we were making.  Certainly we hadn’t created a “reader” but she was getting the practice she needed and was gaining fluency and accuracy.

Today, though, brought the whole situation to a new light.

Me: (sitting at my computer as students are leaving for recess)

Student: Do you think you could possibly move my goal up to 30?

Side note: We use Renaissance Place and Accelerated Reader for goal setting and reading motivation.

Me: (hiding the shock and elation with sarcasm) No, we absolutely can’t do that!

Student: (realizing her teacher is just being sarcastic & silly) (smiles) (says nothing)

Me: Of course, thirty sounds great.  From 10, to 20, and now to 30.  I’m proud of your goal setting.  Thanks for letting me know.

Student: Ok. (heads out to recess)

Yahoo!  From just compliance to intrinsic motivation.  This student knows I am content with their goals at any level so long as they are moving forward (genre selection, reading level, type of story, etc.).  I count forward momentum in a myriad of ways.  But this student realized she could attain more (goals are based on points which are based on books read and quizzes taken).  She’s reading enough that she want to set her own bar higher.

It was a good day.

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