The Power of Amy on One Kindergarten Boy #SOL17

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Last week, during our school’s March Picture Book Madness event, our class read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s this plus that: Life’s Little Equations. While I’ve read this book to my Kindergarten students many times since it’s publication in 2011, I struggled to make it through the text this year for obvious reasons. Each equation took on new meaning and significance this year. When it came time to vote, the book’s opponent collected more votes in my classroom. This week, we moved on with our brackets, but what I didn’t realize was that Amy’s gift to the world left an impression on one particular student, a boy named Ben. While making my rounds during Writer’s Workshop yesterday, I stopped at Ben’s table to check in with him and his fellow writers. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I sat down next to Ben to begin conferring with him.

“Teacher plus kid equals school.” “Book plus chair equals comfy.”

He was writing his own book of life’s little equations! This is the first time I’ve seen Ben honor the work of an author in his own writing. It got me thinking why this particular book? I asked him what inspired him. He said, “You know I love math, so I really liked the equations. I liked that it wasn’t a story, but something different. I also like how it made me feel.” It pays to stop, look, listen, and hear, doesn’t it? The wisdom of a 6-year old boy, and the power of a read aloud.

My conversation with Ben inspired me to write this poem. Inspiration comes from the most magical places and moments.

I had no idea

You listened as I read

You laughed at the humor

You “awww”ed at the sweetness

But I had no idea

It spoke to you, she spoke to you

But I had no idea

It stayed with you

But I had no idea

It haunted you

Until this

You never said

But there you are, among the inspired

— C. Wyman, 2017

This post is part of the annual month-long Slice of Life writing challenge organized by Two Writing Teachers. Join us! It’s my first time slicing, I’m a slicing planner, and apparently an “Early Morning Slicer,” too!

13 thoughts on “The Power of Amy on One Kindergarten Boy #SOL17

  1. A powerful story! I love Ben’s math equations. One of the best things about writer’s workshop is watching little kids as they realize that they can retell the stories that speak to them.


  2. What an amazing moment for you & Ben. I love that he found his connection…not necessarily one you intended or pushed. It’s a good reminder that all of us will find mentor texts in different places and why we need to share books so widely with our students!

    Liked by 1 person

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