Well, I don't really feel I can take the credit, but I'll pretend to for a minute. In September, I had all 80 of my students enter a writing competition sponsored by the CT Commission on Children. For two days, we journaled on topics relating to the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and heroes, etc. I took the kids to the computer lab for a day or to, so they could type them up for submission. The kids were reluctant at first, but they all participated and in the end, I think they produced some great pieces. I posted several of them for a week or so. The students kept asking me what happened to their essays and poems. Unfortunately I had no answers for so long, they stopped asking.
Then yesterday, word came from the state. 2,300 entries had been submitted. 300 from Windsor Locks District (over 200 from our school alone!). 70 "winning" entries from our school were selected - the most from any one school district in the state! 28 of those selections were MY STUDENTS - the most from any teacher in the school! WOW! I was so excited for my students and so proud of them too!
On Tuesday, Dec 6th, they will be honored at a special assembly at the State Capitol - we all get to go; I'm not sure exactly what will go on that day, but I'm glad our school is spending the money to get us there so the kids can get recognition. What a great moment to finally tell the students "what happened to their essays!"
So - I know the kids did all the work, and they had great English teachers last year who taught them to express their feelings creatively. However, the credit I'd like to humbly take, is that I'd had them journaling every day since the beginning of school, so they were used to producing some pretty nice pieces on short notice. But mostly the kids deserve the kudos, I think, for writing heart-felt pieces that caught the judges attention.
Among the winners was a great cross-section of students from Honor Roll to special ed to even students who failed many classes last quarter - so I think this recognition is going to be a wonderful motivator for them, and it emphasizes the importance of long term rewards.