2016-04-11

Written by Colleen Morgan, AmeriCorps member serving on the Albemarle Foundation Team at Merrydale Elementary School.

This hashtag follows corps members around. Each day we tweet Instagram/facebook/blog, write/scream/paint/color/draw/explain this hashtag. People ask all the time, is that the slogan? At family dinners my parents and grandparents ask why the words aren’t separated in my posts behind the number sign. I explain to them, that’s the point of a hashtag I guess, I’m not really sure, it’s more of a phrase I would say. So we have branded this phrase onto our social media worlds: Make Better Happen.

In classrooms and intervention spaces we work with students. So many times our students have read the same word over and over and over and mispronounced it/misspelled it/skipped over it. So we read with them each day, and we do it again and again and again until it’s remembered and right. 

In the math books, double digit multiplication follows the same pattern multiplying the one and tens place, skipping to the next line and putting down a place holder or "0" Each student forgets the place holder the first time around. What trick can we use to remember it on the test? We think of every acronym/rhyme/rap/song/poem/picture we can and we do it again and again and again until it’s remembered and right. 

Each morning we greet the students, chanting/singing/dancing/clapping as each student arrives and files into school. Seconds before the bell, students jump out cars racing to get inside before they have to be marked as tardy. We work with them to make it so that can walk next time instead of run and we do it again and again and again until it’s remembered and right. 

At recess, 4th grade plays kickball, two classes battling for the invisible trophy of pride presented by their teachers. As the game ends, a kid kicks it as hard as he can, leading the ball straight into another students arms. They pout, no one ever wants to lose. We remind them, next time we can try harder and come back stronger. And we remind them again and again and again until it’s remembered and right.

These kids come to school five days a week, striving for excellence. We are given the opportunity to walk into the lives of these students for 10 months and help them to remember those words, complete any multiplication problem they could possibly face, get to school on time, and be a good sport even when it hurts to lose. The hashtag helps to give a glimpse of our success, it sheds a light on the moments that make us so proud we want to scream it from the mountain tops of social media. We share each others words and stories to show we are making a difference and we are proud of it. 

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