Stamina – spring flight

stam·i·na:  ( noun) The ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.

Synonyms:  endurance – strength – hardiness – staying power – vigor

Stamina is a word I am using often with my students right now.  We are building towards tests but for me it is the end of the school year I am looking at.   What stamina have we built towards reading?  Can you sit for 40 t0 60 minutes focus on one book/ one story?   Can they listen in the classroom circle to each other for more that 15 minutes?  Really listen and participate in a class discussion.   Can they sit down and write for 20 minutes or more?  Can they sustain an idea in their writing for the length of a page or more?

These are the questions I am asking my self and my students these days.  I realize we have  increased our endurance.  As a class they can now settle and listen to a read aloud – even at the end of the day.   They can pull their writing notebooks out and write for 20 minutes.  The ideas are not strong but we are writing and reading within our classroom setting.

The stamina is building but I realize it only lasts as long as I hold the focus.   It is really my stamina that has increased not theirs.  They write longer or read longer because of how I structure the environment.  It is my expectations and they are now following.  It is my focus and staying power I am noticing.

So now that I have created a great structure for them to follow I must find the way to step back and help them take ownership of this thing we call stamina.   Can they write and read because they want to – not because I set it up?

This is the hard part of spring teaching –  the roll of teachers to step back and see if their students will fly.   I know mine will spread their wings and begin the flight but to sustain this flight and really  hold on to the power reading and writing can give them I am not sure we are there yet.

The question for me as I look beyond testing is will my students sustain the reading and writing practice we started this year.   Right now I am pretty sure they are flying under my power.

What will happen when I cut back my power?   Will they keep going?

What do you do to help student make that leap to sustain their reading and writing power into the future?


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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