I love spending time with 5th graders and it’s one of the reasons I so enjoy teaching “Study Skills” to this group. As a whole, they have transitioned from the “new little kids” to “the 5th grade”. Their confidence is growing and the ratio of successes far outweighs the occasional concern they may have. Their collective focus is reflected in the topics they choose to discuss: the hall traffic; their many activities; current events (like that catchy video, What Does the Fox Say?); and things their parents and/or siblings say, do, and eat. But the hottest topic ever, was the sauce. “Sauce,” you say?
One fateful day last month a sauce abruptly disappeared from the school lunch menu. A significant number of 5th graders were downright flabbergasted that their beloved Alfredo sauce would no longer be topping their spiral noodles. We discussed it for a long time; why it happened, and what, if anything could possibly be done about it. I gave them my word that I would let Mr. Joyce know of their disappointment and (eventually) we moved on to other topics.
Then last week something happened, and the glee was palatable: the Alfredo sauce was back. In a hot minute it turned from Tuesday into the greatest day ever. The students’ elation was great; but something even cooler happened when I suggested we might want to show our appreciation by making a thank-you card for Mr. Joyce. They were as enthusiastic about showing their appreciation as they were for the return of the sauce. Many of the kids, even those who dislike Alfredo sauce, wanted to sign the card because they thought it was so nice he had made others happy. It became just as important for them to voice their thanks as it had been to voice their disappointment.
The outside of the card read: We are re-Joyce-ing in the return of the Alfredo Sauce. This made Mr. Joyce smile; but I wish you could have seen the size of his grin when he opened the card and saw all of their personalized notes of thanks and accompanying smiley faces: pure happy – which of course, tickled the two 5th grade girls who helped me deliver the card – they seemed even happier than when they saw the Alfredo sauce was back!
See why I like hanging out with 5th graders? You should try it sometime…