Everyone Gets What They Need: Reaching Writers

Nov 19 Reaching Young Writers
Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need.—Rick Lavoie

Madeleine and I gathered our class for a meeting at the rug. Holding our classroom baby dolls, Madeleine said:

“Beech Class, something happened at recess yesterday with the babies.”

The class leaned in with anticipation. Storytelling is one of our favorite rituals.

“The babies were playing. Frog Baby fell and got a skinned knee. Frog Baby’s knee started to bleed, so I gave Frog Baby a bandage.”

Madeleine placed a bandage on Frog Baby’s knee.

“The other babies said, ‘That’s not fair! We want bandages too!’ So I thought to myself, Is that true? Beech Class, do I have to give bandages to all the babies?” 

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Many kindergartners signed “no” in American Sign Language. Other kindergartners placed thumbs on their hearts, a signal that they wanted to share with the class. 

“Only Frog baby should get a bandage. Frog baby needs one,”Casper said.

“If everyone got bandages all the time, there wouldn’t be enough for people who need them,” Sora added.

The conversation continued with similar ideas.

Madeleine explained, 

“I hear you saying that only the baby that needs a bandage should get one. The others babies might want a bandage, but they don’t need one. Just like the babies and bandages, we do not always get what we want in this classroom, but we do get what we need. So you might notice, some of us will have a special type of seat or a special tool to write with…that’s because everyone gets what they…”

“…need!” kindergartners chimed in unison.

This line has become a refrain not only in the Beech Class, but across classrooms, in staff meetings, and in communications with families at Compass Charter School. According to Brooke Peters, co-leader at Compass:

“One of our original intentions in founding Compass was to build a school for a diverse group of students with a variety of needs. Some people told us we wouldn’t be able to meet the needs of all of our students, yet when we approach learning with ‘everyone gets what they need’ at the heart of all we do, we find that we are able to support children as individuals within our school community.”

…continue reading post here.

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