Goodness Inspires Goodness

So, this post is going to veer off into being personal for a minute, and I hope that's ok. 
I got engaged this week! At school! In front of my students! It was amazing.

My new fiancé is an amazing man. He's smart, funny, and handsome...all of the obvious things. But he challenges me, and teaches me. And that is the number one thing that I love about him. (I know...awwww.) I will spare you all of the cheesiness. If you've ever loved someone, you get it. 

As I was saying, he teaches me things. He doesn't always know it, but he always challenges me and makes me think differently. This proposal was a great example of that. He was thoughtful enough to include my students, and it was completely transformative for them. I mean, I don't know how long this will last, but it is like love is literally in the air right now! I decided to harness their sweetness on Friday so I would have hard evidence that, even though it's the end of the year and we're all tired, they truly do care about our class. 

And that's where this post really begins. It's no secret...testing season is here. I feel like I've been saying that since January (oh wait...I have). But now it's REALLY here! The ELA test is this coming Friday! 

All of the warm fuzzies going around lately inspired me to create an encouragement project for TCAP week. I had already planned on writing each of them a nice note for them to read before the reading test, but I initially thought I would write a sweet poem and attach a piece of gum and it would be quick and easy. But Friday I changed my mind completely. 

I am in the process of writing each of them a personalized encouragement letter. I am writing about how much they have grown this year, what they are good at, how intelligent they are, etc. etc. I am trying to enlist parents to do the same for their child so the kids have a second letter to open on the second day of testing. And for the third and final day of testing...the kids have written each other letters!

Oh my gosh, you guys...the sweetness of these letters. Here are some of the best quotes:

"I am so glad that I got your name, because I could write about you all day. You are so smart and I hope you are not stressed about this test. You've got this!"

"You are going to do so great on this science test! Honestly, I think you should be a scientist when you grow up. You are so smart in class, and I know this will be a breeze for you."

"We are all cheering you on! Don't worry-just bring your smart brain to class and remember all of the strategies that our teachers gave us."

Needless to say, tears were flowing when I was reading this after school. I have never seen so many sweet words in one activity, and those are just excerpts from THREE of the letters! 
This is what I learned from my proposal...goodness inspires goodness. If we shower these little minds with kind words, and sweet gestures, they begin to model it. Just the way that we as teachers find ways to model everything from our handwriting to our thoughts while we are reading...when we model goodness, they begin to mimic. 

Have a wonderful week. :) 

Stephanie Sutherland