Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

On School #19 Hare, Tortoise, and Denny

Disclaimer: The names in this musing are changed to protect the “infamous.”

The kids are working steadily on their “projects,” the same ones that they jump for joy when they complete. Jute has been trying to catch up to Charlie – an almost impossible task. A few weeks ago, Charlie had completed his 18th  project. He is the forerunner in the class and he is proud of that title.

None of the kids thought that anyone would ever catch Charlie, but Jute had him in his sights. Jute started out slow, but he began to push forward as his motivation grew. It was then that he discovered that completing the projects gave him a sense of accomplishment. Jute started to pull up to Charlie, but that made Charlie work all the faster. He didn’t want to lose his honor.

Slowly, without so much as a peep, Denny got into the race. Denny was a sleeper. He is a quiet, respectful child who does his work slowly. So slowly that he had only completed 4 projects when Charlie had completed about 14 and Jute about 8. Denny was not showing much motivation. He simply plugged along. He didn’t much care if he completed his projects or not. Then one day something clicked in Denny and something changed.

Denny finished two projects in one afternoon. He beamed as he colored in two squares on the project-management chart. He was proud! The rest of the kids cheered. Denny’s accomplishment was the magic switch that turned him on. Denny was like the tortoise in the fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. All of a sudden he began to pull closer to Charlie and he has already passed Jute. (just by one project) Each day when I open up shop at the conference table to check the childrens’ projects, Denny is first. He is excited.

I don’t foster competition between children in my class, but sometimes it happens inherently. And when it is friendly competition and the children are enjoying the process and meeting and surpassing their goals, then I let it happen. Many times it is exactly what will wake up a sleeper like Denny. It will show him that is able and capable and that he, too, can be a leader in his class.

With only 17 more class days before summer vacation, Charlie will need to run a little faster if he wants to keep ahead of Denny and Jute.

What a lesson these boys have learned! Life offers lots of goals – some just out of reach, some a far distance away, but with determination, steady work, and the belief that you can succeed – you will!

(Clip Art compliments of


May 29, 2010 - Posted by | Anything Writing, On School | , , , ,

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