To My Precious Students,
Earlier this year, I told you that I did not believe that the PARCC tests could possibly measure all that you have learned this year. Well, now I want to tell you some of the ways that I do believe we CAN measure all that you have learned this year.
*You have learned to use your voices to make positive change in the world and I know this because your combined blogs have been visited over 18,000 times.
*You have learned to be leaders and I know this because you have led Twitter chats that have been joined by students from across the country.
*You have learned to care about justice and equality and I know this because you were inspired by the injustice and inequality you saw in children’s literature to contribute an amazing video to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. (By the way, you can still see that video here: https://animoto.com/play/B75uUGWOA1OLrdNurDZMNw)
*You have learned that there is more to this world than what exists inside of Northbrook and I know this because of the way you have connected with classrooms across the country in our Mystery Skypes and asked questions with an incredibly genuine interest to learn more about other parts of the world.
*You have learned to speak respectfully to people in power and still ask for things to change and I know this because you have written letters and sent them across the country, you have written to the president of the United States of America, you have been published in our local newspaper and you have written to the people in charge of your education.
*You have learned to love books and I know this because I hear you excitedly whispering about them in the corners of our classroom and in the hallway and on the internet. I see you excitedly passing books back and forth until their covers are worn through with love and use. I have even seen some of you pump your fists in excitement when it is your turn to read one of our new classroom books.
*You have learned to see purpose and meaning in your writing and I know this because you ask me what we are going to do with every piece of writing that we work on and you talk about your readers when you write and you make decisions in your writing based on who you think will be reading it.
*You have learned to be kind and I know this because you take such good care of eachother. When someone is hurt, you make sure they are okay. When someone is sad, you go out of your way to make them smile. When someone is feeling excluded, you do whatever you can to let them know that they are welcome to join you.
*You have learned to be independent and I know this because you truly do not need me anymore. You have so much strength and power and courage and brilliance inside of you and I know that you are more than ready to go out and change this world.
So while I am not nearly ready to let you go, I know that it is time. I thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for a most incredible year. I believe that I have learned more from all of you then you ever could have learned from me. Thank you, every single one of you, for being my teachers this year. You all have earned a very special place in my heart.
Please keep reading with deep thinking. Please keep writing with passion. And please keep living your lives with the kindness, compassion and brilliance that you have displayed throughout this entire year.
I love you.