The 5th C...

Our county is focusing on the 4C's this year: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication. While at our semi-annual ITLMS conference this week, we were challenged to add a 5th C: Compassion.   I smiled as the presenters said that. I smiled, and thought about my fifth graders.

You see, we've been reading Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. While I only see each class once a week for about 45 minutes- it's taking us quite a while to get through. Thursday, I was talking with another teacher while waiting for my class to arrive, and I turned around to find them sitting on the floor! They were like reading ninjas arriving for their next installment of our book.

Me, smiling: Looks like you guys want to read or something.
Ss: Where's the book?
Me: Which book? I have lots.
Ss: Don't make us go out of our minds waiting!

And so, I put them out of their anxious wait and began to read. They call it The Book. To them right now, there is no other. Some shared it was on their Christmas wish list!

So we rejoined Melody and Penny and Mrs. V. We joined the story where an important discovery was made, and ordered. As the treasured box arrived, we read in anticipation and excitement for Melody. And then, it happened. I couldn't read the next lines. But I did. And I wept.

Now, I've read this book before. And let me tell you- I wept the first time. But, when you're reading for yourself in the privacy of your home and you weep, it's one thing. But this is the first time I'd ever gotten so choked up while reading to students that I wept.

I stopped. I apologized. But what was their response?

S: Mrs. Ramsey, are you ok?
S: Here Mrs. Ramsey- here's a tissue.
S: Mrs. Ramsey, it's ok. It's beautiful what just happened.
S: Mrs. Ramsey- I cry when I read sometimes, too.
S: Mrs. Ramsey, our teacher last year did that too when she read us Wonder.

I finished the chapter- and much to the frustration of my students - did not read another. Why? I didn't want them to lose what they were feeling. They related feelings that they could not put words around. They shared how they related to different characters in the book. But what they didn't know- what I couldn't tell them~ they were showing compassion.

Thank you so much to Sharon Draper for writing a book so beautiful that my students cannot wait for the next installment. Thank you so much for showing them something about our world that they have little to no experience with. Thank you for helping me help them learn compassion.


Popular Posts