"Today was the best day of my life..."

It's been a while since I've had a genuinely rewarding moment. One of those ah-ha, light bulb moments where a kid understands a new math concept, or delivers a great explanation of an ecosystem or just a moment where every single student is fully engaged in something. It's these little sparks that makes all the other challenges worthwhile. But, yesterday I told a friend I didn't remember the last one I'd had such a moment. Instead I felt I was just stuck in the routine, spinning my gears until June.

I knew that today would be a special day for the students. They had failed to earn a pizza party. As a consolation I planned a lesson on equivalent fractions using s'mores. I told them at the beginning of the day that I had a surprise planned for the end of the day, but they would have to be on their BEST behavior to earn it. I made a very simple puzzle of a s'more and after each lesson in the the morning I would add a piece of the puzzle if they'd stayed focused.

They weren't perfect. I'm sure they weren't as good as some other classes on their worst day. But I could tell they were doing their best for me. And so we had s'mores while we watched some of BBC's Planet Earth. As Gary Coleman Jr. was chomping down on his s'more, chocolate and marshmallow oozing over his tiny face, he said, "Today was the best day of my life." Now, I know better than to take the comment on face value. If I did that I would have to also believe him every time he told me how much he hated me and my class. But, still, I counted it as one of those moments that makes the many tough parts forgettable, even if just for an afternoon.


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