Saturday, March 31, 2018

#sol18 March 31 Looking forward

So, we're at the finish line,
End of this chapter,
End of this Writing Challenge
I'm a little sad it's over.
Writing ever day really
Makes me notice
Small moments in my day
Helps me remember
Wonderful times,
Helps me process
Sadness, difficult moments.

But, I'm a grateful
For the hour I'll gain,
For a little more exercise,
For this new chapter.
I'll be writing on Tuesdays,
Noticing, remembering, processing
My students, my family,
My life,
Empowered by this challenge
Looking forward.

**Please know I am very grateful for Stacey
and the SOL team for managing this amazing challenge.
NEXT year, sign me up to help!

Friday, March 30, 2018

#sol18 March 30 Many a Good Friday

I spent a few Good Fridays sleeping in, grateful for a day off from school!
Certainly, there were seasons where sleep seemed to be what I needed most. I'm not sure I reflected much in those days.
I spent a few Good Fridays finishing matching ruffled Easter dresses.
Surely, those little girls looked cute when I finished racing that sewing machine to the finish line.  I suspect I was so busy I had no time to reflect before I started cooking!
I spent a few Good Fridays doing the pedicure thing with my mom.
Certainly it was stressful to get here there, but she appreciated perfect toes even if they were hidden! She always picked a light pink color that would "last longer!"
I spent a few Good Fridays walking the High Line, visiting the orchids, and celebrating at St. Patrick's Cathedral. 
They were inspiring and uplifting days of walking, talking and loving.  I'll always remember them fondly.
I've spent a few Good Fridays missing those no longer with us.
Memories bubble over when you step off that treadmill of life and reflect.
I've spent many a Good Friday thinking, reflecting, praying, and grateful for this journey and for those on the journey with me.  
That is my plan for today.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

#sol18 March 29 When Are You Coming?

"I haven't seen you in forever," he commented when we saw each other in the hallway.  "When are you coming to get me?"

He was clearly doing the slow-route-back-to-class-from -bathroom-visiting-studying-every bulletin-board-grate-and dust-bunny. I had not seen him in two days thanks to class play dress rehearsal and the day of production, but it certainly had not been forever!

"I'll see you tomorrow," I added cheerfully, "don't worry."

"Promise?" he asked.

"Oh, I just remembered.  I won't be here tomorrow," he smiled.

"Why not?" I asked wondering if he was serious or just kidding.

"I'm leaving for vacation on Friday," he smiled. "I'm going to Connecticut."

"Tomorrow's Thursday," I smiled, "so we can read together tomorrow."

"Unless I'm not here," he added.

"I sure hope you are here, tomorrow," I smiled as we parted ways and he resumed his hallway reading.

Sometimes, interruptions like class plays happen; however, my students often find ways to cope by hallway reading until we meet again. 

PS He was there on Thursday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#sol18 March 28 Frog, Toad, and Vygotsky

"I don't like to read," she said in the voice of someone trying to call attention to herself.  "It's so booorrrring!"

"This is one of my favorite stories," I added, "and it is a treat to be able to read this first chapter about friends and spring while we are waiting for spring break to start!"

"It's so booorrrring!" she replied again with even more emphasis on the or sound! So, I moved my body next to her and leaned in close.  I removed the whisper phone from her ear so that my voice could become one with hers. It was clearly one of those moments when her confidence was challenged by what appeared to be a long book with too many words on a page. It was clearly one of those moments when I would need to ramp up my scaffold and my support.  It was clearly one of those moments when I could make a difference in the reading life of a child if I could get her into Frog and Toad. 

It was one of those times when it took 6 pages of shared reading where my voice lead the way at first and then faded from time to time as she became more confident. It was one of those times when we were so close we could hear each other breathing.  It was one of those times when my heart became one with hers. It was one of those times when she was empowered to attempt a text that had been out of her league.
Image result for frog and toad are friends

It was one of those times when she asked,  "Can we read this tomorrow?" when reading club was over. It was one of those times that Vygotsky's idea about Zone of Proximal Development became a reality.  It was one of those days when reading became a little less scary thanks to some support! It was one of those days when I was sorry that reading club was over.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

#sol18 March 27 He was one of them

I saw him walking up the hill from the train station late this afternoon. I was pretty sure I knew where he was today even though I didn't know his name, nor had we ever talked. He was in his dress blues, on a Tuesday afternoon and there was certainly not a parade.  His his head hung from his shoulders as if the sum of fires and funerals weighed heavily.

When one of their brothers or sisters is lost in a fire, they come from near and far, a sea of blue, to honor the one lost.  The walker, likely long retired, likely took his uniform out of the dry cleaning bag in order to stand in honor for his fellow firefighter. 

I heard talk of the funeral on the radio this morning as I headed to work. The Cardinal would be doing his funeral mass at St Patricks. A sea of firefighters would be lining the streets.  Surely, he was one of them. I said a prayer for the lost colleague, his family and for all those who serve.

Monday, March 26, 2018

#sol18 March 26 Monday Monday

Some of you, of a certain vintage, may remember the song, "Monday, Monday," by the Mommas and the Poppas!  

Lying in bed,
Waiting for the alarm,
In the early darkness, 
On a Monday morning, 
During the last week before spring break, 
When we find the students a little antsy, 
Teachers a little tense, 
The melody was on my mind
New lyrics in my thoughts!

Monday, Monday,
Don't like that day*
Monday, Monday,
Hope kids get out to play!
Oh Monday morning
You know how stressful
Four days can be?
Oh Monday Monday
This shortened vacation
I think I can see!!!

   * I may have used a stronger phrase than DON'T LIKE as I lay in bed this morning!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

#sol18 March 25 Engagement

Teachers are not the only ones who put on a show every day as we attempt to engage, or hook, our students and then to maintain their attention. Today, I met an amazing chef who not only cooked a meal for 15 people effortlessly, but also engaged his primarily 10 year old audience with flames shooting o the sky, water shooting into mouths, and volcanic onions oozing steam!  

I noticed his showmanship from the start as he arrived at the cooking table with a cart laden with prepped veggies, rice, noodles, shrimp, chicken, and steak.  He worked through his plan with purpose and focus on his goal: providing food while having fun.  I loved his smiles and his "Hi, girls" along with his clear intention to engage his audience.  

He started with what I guess is a traditional hibachi lunch/dinner beginning where the flames announcing the start of the meal!  The heat was intense and the girls shifted way back in their seats.  I was even a little scared, sitting on the periphery, but the goal was clear: engagement.  Then came the water bottle shooing game where he shot water into the 19 year old's and the elder's mouths.  Them, he cooked and served effortlessly knowing hr had the onion volcano to assure everyone was back into his fold!  

Those who do hibachi cooking perform! They know how to engage!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

#sol18 March 24 The Scourge of Drug Overdoses

Today, as the vestiges of winter
Give way to the promise of spring,
The scourge of drug overdoses
Hits close to home,

There are 100's of lives lost
Every single day.
Each one someone's child,
Sibling, relative, friend.

So today, along with praying for and working towards
Ending gun violence,
Join me in praying for and working towards
Ending the scourge of drug overdoses,
That have also stolen futures and
Shattered lives. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

#sol18 March 23 Karma

I should begin this with a disclaimer that I don't adhere to the idea that things in life happen for a "reason."  If that was the case, then why would bad things happen to innocent children and why would good people die young? However, I do have a growing respect for the concept of "karma," or destiny at least in the respect that good things happen to those who act kindly and not-so-good things happen when........

Setting: Lobby of Big University
I don't have any stickers today," he said as if paying full price for parking in mid-town Manhattan was no big deal!
"So how do I get a parking discount?" I asked politely.  
"I don't really know," he said returning to his phone and without saying the words, I think he mumbled something along the lines of I don't care. "I guess there will be stickers after spring break," he growled as if I was keeping him from his Twitter feed.  
"Can you write me a note for the parking garage?" I asked thinking that there might be a slight chance a note from the security guard might hold some clout. He didn't answer that admittedly absurd request and in fact never looked up from his phone again!  I thought of continuing the discussion and turning it into an argument that might require his boss coming to the lobby, but decided I a had Chipotle salad (with guacamole) waiting for me and work to prepare for class.  

Setting: Classroom of Big University
The salad was all I had hoped it would be and in spite of the negative energy in the lobby, most of my students were engaged in some pretty great discussions about genre, such as "What is fantasy?" and writing challenges, such as "When do grammar and spelling count?"

Setting: Lobby of Big University
Leaving the building, I noticed a gentleman in a suit talking to the grumpy security person and it sure did not look like the conversation was a happy one!  I wanted to interrupt and ask about those stickers that reduce parking costs substantially, but decided the conversation was too hot for me!

Setting: Parking Garage  
"I could not get a sticker tonight," I started, "the security person said he did not have any!"
"Silver Mazda little?" the attendant asked pretty sure he knew my car if not my name! "It's OK, we know where you were!"

Tonight, at least, there was a bit of karma for both of us!
Image result for karma

Thursday, March 22, 2018

#sol18 March 22 Carpe Diem

I was outside shoveling as the sun began its descent and the snow continued to fall. Neighbors with snowblowers and shovels joined me in this early spring evening gathering. It was a bit like "clean up day" except we overlooked the branches and leaves in favor of moving snow around. No one seemed particularly worried about shoveling or making driveways totally clear. Small talk ensued around shovels as it might soon ensue around rakes.  The "State of Emergency" kept people working from home, watching movies, cleaning closets and preparing taxes. There was some laughter and smiles and to be honest, if felt good to be outside on this not-so-cold evening. One neighbor offered his arms up the Mother Nature reminding her, "You giveth and you will taketh away!"  
I was outside shoveling the overnight offering in the early morning glow, along with the same neighbors, about 12 hours later! "It really is beautiful this morning," someone offered as we came close enough to talk over the roar of blowers. "I couldn't wait to get outside and shovel this morning,"

I found myself smiling as I headed back inside for coffee. An early morning walk amidst chirping birds is certainly in the future, but for today, I will seize the glory of that soft, white blanket across tress and lawns as well as cars. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#sol18 March 21 The Last Call

I got "the call" early this morning and there was not, yet, a snowflake to in sight. So, I headed out for a "Spring Break" kind of walk on this first full day of spring. I was pretty sure the predicted snow that had already caused most schools to close would be starting shortly.

The flakes did begin falling, gently, soon and continued falling, softly, throughout the day. It certainly did not seem to be as scary or as intense as the forecasters had predicted. In fact, it seemed to pale in comparison to last week's Nor'easter! As I draft this at 7 PM, the snow is still falling softly and gently, as if it were being respectful of this new season.

There will likely be many, tomorrow morning, perhaps already, complaining about using more of Spring Break for a snow storm that seemed to fizzle; however, I for one, am very glad I do not have to make "the call" that puts many parents in child care crisis and causes many teachers with spring break plans heartache! Perhaps my own perspective is softened because this is likely to be my "last call" or perhaps I realize that making "the right call" every time is only possible for "Monday Morning Quarterbacks." 

I'm really glad I enjoyed this Spring Break-kind of gently snowy day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#sol18 Today, R became a bad guy!

In my small groups, mini-lessons are very short (1-3 minutes), but sometimes, students take us on tangents (based on their own thinking and experiences) I do not anticipate!

 "So you're saying R is a really bad guy?" he asked jumping out of his chair!

"Well BOSSY does not mean really bad," I said challenging his interpretation of the Bossy R!  "BOSSY means you are not letting someone do what they want to do!" I continued already realizing the error of my thinking when talking to a literal-thinking 7-year-old who has been schooled in Mindfulness!  "We call the R BOSSY when it comes after a vowel because it doesn't let the vowel make its sound and it doesn't let is say it's name!

"Well that is not nice!" his partner agreed.  "If a kid didn't let another kid do what they want to do they would get in a lot of trouble."

"We should call him the really mean, BAD GUY R," and send him to the principal!   

"We could make a video game about him!" his colleague certainly headed to STEM greatness volunteered!  

Clearly, it was time to do table my lesson and practice reading and writing some words!  

Monday, March 19, 2018

#sol18 March 19 On the edge of spring

I was at the intersection of winter and spring, on a small trail with the cold wind stinging my face and the warm sun trying to soften the blow of a long winter with too little exercise. Some sections were still covered in snow and others were covered in mud. Walking alone, there is time to listen, to think, to wonder, to hope, and to remember.

I was thinking about this long winter and wondering if spring would be able to take over this week?
I was wondering about the creek clearly ready to spread beyond its bed.
I was hoping the muddy puddles and snowy patches would not swallow my sneakers!
I was remembering a March long ago when I lost a sneaker to a muddy patch of the path! 
I was listening to the birds chirping and remembering nesting birds on the Mid Hudson Bridge.
I was hoping they would not be OK if another storm blew into town.
I was thinking about the many trails I had walked on cold March Sundays preparing for spring .
I was wondering if I would be out there walking next week, or would I find an excuse?
I was remembering someone who pushed me forward even if the weather held me back.
I was a the intersection of  winter and spring, where the old is hanging on even though we are clearly on the edge of spring.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#sol18 March 18 Second Chances

I have a few pieces of furniture that were purchased "new" and some furniture from family. I've shopped yard sales and flea markets where I've picked up items that have had second chances!  I now live on a road that connects villages where an entirely new to me form of recycling happens on Saturdays in the spring.   

Early on Saturday mornings, someone hauls chairs, trunks, consoles, strollers or whatever else they are not longer using to the curb.  Then, they put a FREE sign on top of the items!  Cars slow and sometimes stop to look until finally, someone pulls up in an SUV or Minivan and picks up the items to give them a second chance!

While this process seems best for "bigger" items, it appears to work for whatever your want to go.  Given the amount of work, time and planning that goes into a yard sale, I have to admit I find this FREE TO GOOD HOME process not only generous but also liberating!  We all deserve a second chance at "happiness" and life outside of the attic!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

#sol18 March 17 Luck o'the Irish

One St. Patrick's Day, my aunt dyed her hair emerald green and served pitchers of green beer!  I was too young to consume, but I remember the adults seemed happy and I am confident they believed the Luck of a party planner with a mission was with them!

Another St. Patrick's Day, I arrived home to find my son and a friend had eaten most of the corned beef from the crock pot!  I'm not a huge fan of salt filled beef, so I let the crock pot purging slide.  Later, I found they ate another corned beef dinner at the friend's home!  I am confident the Luck of teenage metabolism was with them 

Another St. Patrick's Day, I took the train into the city along with a bevy of parade-going-people. There was laughter and singing along with snacking and I suspect, some drinking. I'd fasted that morning in support of my brother who was undergoing another surgery.  He'd been fighting a battle against an unrelenting cancer, but was willing to use chemistry, surgery, prayer, and plain old fashioned luck to buy time. We were all nervous but hoping the Luck o'the Irish would be on his side. 

I've not consumed green beer and do not plan to do so, ever.  I'm skipping the corned beef in favor of some lentil soup this. I've seen a few rainbows and have a pot of good soup!  I'm very  grateful that I'm not sitting in the waiting room at the big cancer hospital this year.  I pray that all those who need a little luck today, find it!


Friday, March 16, 2018

#sol18 March 16 The Cold, My Cold and Could Be Cold

It was bitter cold as I began to change the tire.
18-wheelers generated 10 degrees of windchill.
The penetrating cold made me very cold
It reactivated my lingering cold. 

I was still cold, in my bones,
Longing for a hot tea,
Back in my classroom, shivering,
As Pam* and I worked our way through
The growing tricky word pack
"Cold," she said slowly
Attempting to sound out letters
On the of 3x5 card
As I implored her to look again.

"Maybe, it's not cold but it could be cold,"
She grinned knowing she was stalling.
"It  was  cold this morning," she smiled.
"It could be cold at recess, too," she added!

I could have explored
Unreliable phonetic patterns in English.
I could have reminded her of should or would.
Instead, I reminded her the word was could.
"Yes," she smiled, "but you and I both know
It could be cold!"

* Pseudonym

Thursday, March 15, 2018

#sol18 March 15 Flattened Tires

The coffee was hot, but not too hot! The traffic was present, but not overwhelming. The news about Toys R Us was sad, but not as bad as news could be. But, as I turned onto the Thruway, my commute turned from peaceful, to stressful.
I hit that pothole full on. My front right tire went into the hole with a 'thud' and that familiar 'whomp, whomp' followed in seconds. I pulled just ahead of a van that had clearly taken that same hole. Then, I made the call for help as if I had done this before (I had). I texted work and waited for HELP truck that helps with flattened tires on busy highways during commutes.

I waited just long enough to reflect on the many flattened tires I've had, but not long enough to finish my coffee.  HELP arrived, raised my car, inserted the doughnut, and sent me on my way.  I thanked 'Calvin" profusely for his support and headed to work, late, but not too late.

Image result for flat tires
In 3.5 years, I think I have had 9 pot-hole-flattened tires in my sporty little Mazda.  Perhaps I should take a 'pot hole defense' course?  Perhaps, I should consider a car with full sized tires?  Perhaps someone should fix potholes?      

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#sol18 March 14 "P" is for Protest and for Pride

Long before some of you were even born, I did a bit of protesting against a war that had divided families and our country.  I was a high school student attending a nearby college for part of each day and so I saw glimpses of what peaceful protests as well as angry mobs.  I helped stage a "sit out" on the "grassy area" of my high school one morning!  We stayed out just long enough to get detention and to get into the local news, but not so long that we got suspended!

It's been a long while since I've had such a "cause" and students rising to bring issues to life.  So, I'm watching today's students with pride and confidence because they are fueling discussion and images that just might change our country's direction.  I'm reminded that our words and our actions are most powerful when they are respectful and heartfelt.  Today, I'm wearing my orange ribbon in support with pride.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#sol18 I Had Better Get Going!

It was dark in my when I got home last night.  Eerily dark.  There were no lights in windows and no street lights.  I knew, without flipping a switch, that power was out. With all the trees still leaning over power lines after last week's storms, power outages have become routine.

I ran through potential morning scenarios in my mind as I charged my phone in the dark car, on the dark street, on a dark night. It was snowing lightly and based on the weather reports,there might be a delay? Either way, there would be a messy commute. It was a parent-teacher conference morning and I had to be on time. I'd need the alarm app.  I'd need sleep.

I crawled into bed, long past my bedtime, in a dark bedroom with a charged cell nearby and the alarm on high. I was overtired, so it took me a few minutes to fall into a somewhat less than blissful sleep, but I did not allow myself to check the time even once! 

Then, in what seemed the blink of an eye, the lights in my room, in the hallway, in the bathroom, on the street, all of them, were doing their thing!  "I had better get going," I thought to myself as I crawled out of bed and hopped into the shower on auto-pilot.  Standing in the shower, I realized the alarm had NOT gone off! The wall clock confirmed my suspicion! 


Monday, March 12, 2018

sol18 March 12 Gotta Go Right Now

It was the end of the morning and he was clearly tired with all that springing ahead and some Monday morning blues wrapped together. I'd fallen behind on running records with snow days and Superintendent Conferences.  I really wanted to finish this running record to share with his parents during parent teacher conferences.

I knew his class would be lining up for recess in minutes (perhaps they were not already lining up). Time was of the essence!

While his reading was slow, his momentum was carrying him to unprecedented (for him) accuracy on an unprecedented leveled text. I had already encouraged him, "to hang in there," and had already praised his progress while encouraging him to keep reading. 

But then, in a manner familiar to those of us who teach 1st graders, he stopped reading, stood up and announced as he left the room, "I gotta go."  It was clear he had to go.  With 25 words to go, he had to go.  And, that was the end of the morning and that running record. 

"I guess it will just be an incomplete running record," I smiled to myself realizing that I clearly had the information I needed and I was the only one who would probably ever notice that the running record was incomplete (until I shared the information with the masses on this blog).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

#sol18 March 11 My "new" house

My "new" home is over 100 years old with plaster walls and old, oak trim. It probably had a few renovations over the years, but most of the "improvements" were in the 1950's and 60's.  Sometimes, as I shower, I imagine how many showers this old space has known?  Sometimes, as a cook dinner, I imagine the previous owners cooking for their families in my kitchen.

My "new" house sits on a tiny plot of land where neighbors are just a driveway away. They sometimes snow blow my sidewalk and sometimes bring my garbage cans in from the road on windy nights!  They invite me to their holiday black party and say hello at every chance.

My "new" house is on the outskirts of two villages so I can walk to a Dunkin' Donuts, a Starbucks, and an amazing Italian bakery, which I do.  I can walk to two parks, two delis, and two grocery stores!  I love the idea of walking to town to get a coffee or to buy a book!

My "new" house is far from my "old" house and even farther from my old life.  It is closer to some of my family and sometimes, it fills to the brim with children, grandchildren, and love.  My new house has a new sofa, a new chair, and an ottoman that stores cars and trucks for grandchildren.

My"new: house could use renovations, improvements, paint, shades, curtains and updates. Yet, it has what is needs: a legacy of love and caring. For family, this is a place where there will be fun and food. This is where Meme lives.  This is my "new"house.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

#sol18 March 10 Life Is Not Always Fair

Sadness enveloped me
Before I opened the link.
It would not be happy news.
A battle with an unrelenting foe
Leaves a family fatherless
Leaves a family bereft.
Leaves friends empty.
Leaves us 
With reminders
Embrace life.
Enjoy today.
Celebrate your love.
Be kind.
Life is beautiful
Life is not always fair
We are not promised tomorrow.

Friday, March 9, 2018

#sol18 March 9 Women's Day

With storms ravaging, trees falling, power lines dangling, and school openings pending (along with limited talk/advertising), I almost missed International Women's Day (yesterday)!

Last year, I found out about this event via radio on my commute to work.  I learned we (women) should not shop on this day to show the power women have on the economy! I had already purchased a coffee; thus I was already in violation.

This year, there was a last minute school cancellation so I was still at home when I was reminded of the "holiday" watching morning news anchors wearing purple!  I was wearing my at-home-wear of an old pink sweater. Sigh, I was in violation with this holiday again!

#PressforProgressNow, I respect women's rights and definitely want to empower young women with images of strong, confident women who are changing the world; however, wearing purple and not shopping is not the way to the road to "equality," in my humble opinion!

So, I Googled  and found this day has a logo!  Then I found images from around the world of women seeking not only equity, but also an end to gender based harassment. Instead of feeling like a failure, I was proud of women seeking to end sexually based harassment and work place inequity.

This is an important cause, but one that somehow is on the fringe of my life as a mother, teacher and professor.  I hope next year I will not only be prepared, but also inspire women (and maybe men) with my actions (not my coffee purchase, not my purple dress). Next, year, I hope to be working towards an International Women's Day that inspires women rather than making them feel like failures!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

#sol18 March 8 Seasonal Confusion

There seems to be some seasonal confusion in these parts!  February was supposedly the "warmest" February on record!  I wore my spring jacket for much of the month!  I was outside riding in Cozy Coupes and dreaming of spring! 

Yet, March, the month that ushers in spring, came in like an angry lion dumping ice and snow and pelting trees and power lines with hurricane like winds. Before all the power was restored, another wind, snow and ice event caused "States of Emergency," halted all unnecessary travel, brought down even more power lines, and demanded the chorus of snow blowers! 

I must admit that ice encrusted trees framed in what I am certain is spring sunshine creates an image I wish I could paint!  The juxtaposition of winter's wrath and spring's promise provides me with hope that this seasonal confusion may give way to buds on trees and daffodils in flowerbeds!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#sol18 March 7 I'm a Great Reader

As we headed over to the computer to do our weekly progress monitoring, he leaned in close enough to to share with just me, "I'm going to do better this week because I am getting to be a really great reader!"

I smiled and acknowledged his growing confidence.  Certainly, while his progress had flat-lined during the first few months of the year, the last few months in a focused multi-sensory focused intervention group had provided both strategies for unfamiliar words and opportunities to build confidence. 

"Just do you very best," I assured him as I typed in the password hoping he would see his line "jump" when we finished.

He started confidently and fluently reading two syllable words like Marvin and respect as if they had always been part of his reading vocabulary. Then, around word 45 in the passage he came upon the word exact in a sentence that provided minimum grammar and meaning support.  He wrestled that word to the ground working through the sounds, "es.trects, ex.ists, ax,ecsit." while I held my breath and hoped he would either get the word or move on.

Then, "G" reread the sentence one more time.  "He was going to find the exact answer to the question." As he finished, my timer signaled his minute was over. "I really wrestled that one to the ground!" he smiled from ear to ear!

I was pretty sure that the time he spent wrestling the word "exact" to the ground would negatively impact his score.  I was pretty sure that his score today would not "pop" his line or even move his line in a positive direction.

So, I did what a teacher who knew positive feedback  was needed would do  I picked another student who I knew had popped his line this week and showed "G" THAT score.  He cheered as he saw the line pop and told me we were a great team! 

He'll pop that line himself very, very soon.