Making Progress…Without Getting Frustrated!

Okay, let’s face it, the beginning of the school year is tough. As much as we might miss the kids or crave a schedule it is hard to shift gears from summer to school! As we know, it is also tough for our students. We begin the year building community and establishing routines. We are patient. They are babies, no matter how old. We still have memories of the class we left and these new cherubs have so much to learn.

There is a lot of repeating. Repeating of expectations. Repeating directions. Again and again. It can be draining and yet we know it is just part of the drill. We have to remind ourselves, get through this time, it will get better. In these moments, it can be frustrating and we must remind ourselves smoother times await us.

It all becomes worth the sweat when we begin to see progress. When students begin to follow procedures without our direction. When they need us just a little less. I had this moment today as I began to take my notes in workshop. I remembered my goal to “be more digital” and try a new way. I started my Evernote notebooks today. As students began to notice I was taking pictures of their work, I saw a glimmer. I saw more diligence. I saw enthusiasm, excitement, and independence.

“Why are you taking a picture of my story? Is this going to be on our website?”

You might remember my challenge for myself, taking notes digitally for writing workshop. I began today and students noticed. It feels different. Maybe it is because I feel more committed. Maybe it is the group of students. Maybe, just maybe, it is because this is the right time. I jotted notes about writing behaviors and snapped photos. I told them it would help us become better writers and better learners. I think this may just be the year.


Students wrote their planning method in a box at the top of their page, planned, and then began their story below the box.

To see an example of “planning methods,” visit this post from last September on giving students choice within their process.