Anyway, I had been running through the summer heat and humidity since June...mostly just to keep my legs moving and my heart working. But, it was a challenge to push myself through some of those workouts. And, in fact, many of them were so far off the mark from my already low expectations that I nearly quit running entirely.
After nearly two weeks off due to a tweaked knee, I decided today was the day I needed to stop making excuses and get back out there. My Disney Half Marathon is in January and I want to be strong and ready. As I headed out, I figured I would be walk/running the three miles, due to those few weeks off. And I was right. Sort of.
After the first slow mile, I started picking up the pace, and I took a half minute off of the second mile. That encouraged me to have a conversation with myself. Positive chatter. I decided to go for another negative split. Something that I have rarely accomplished. And as the last mile was clicking by, I had to push, push, push myself to keep going. Because I really wanted that negative split.
And, guess what?? I DID IT!!! I beat the second mile by another 30 seconds. Now, here's the thing. These miles were SLOW by anybody else's expectations. There were not, BY FAR, my fastest miles. But, they were my negative splits!!! And just accomplishing that was so incredibly rewarding that I will go out and try again - with more confidence than before.
Which brings me to my advice to you today, kindergarten and first grade writing teachers! Each and every day, invite the young writers in your room to give it a try. Teach and model and use mentor texts and, then, tell those students that you KNOW they have stories to tell. You want them to do their best to write or draw or dictate those stories in the clearest, strongest, most purposeful voices possible.
Ready, set, GO!
And, then, accept ALL approximations. Each writer's "finish line" will be different. Celebrate the greatest, and the smallest, attempts to storytell. It is up to you to give your students the confidence to try again tomorrow. Look and listen for any and all words, pictures, conversations that indicate your writers are writing. Pounce on those moments and praise that work with such gusto that your students begin to believe that they CAN do it...even when it seems so hard.
Positive chatter works. Whether it is in your head while you run...or describes your side-by-side teaching with our youngest writers. Invite them in with positive intent. And then just see what happens!