The Why.

Reach, Inc. began as an idea almost six years ago as part of an independent study at Duke University. Now, less than a year away from program launch, it still feels so far away at times. However, during  a visit to Wheatley Elementary School, I was able to experience, once again, why I’m doing this work. 

I was in a 3rd grade classroom, observing a lesson on cause and effect. The teacher was struggling to lead a class that included at least three students presenting significant behavioral concerns. Students were broken into groups of two to work on an activity. Each group was given five or six “causes” and the same number of “effects.” Their mission: to match the clauses in a way that made sense.
As is my tendency, I found myself working with the two of the students who had been causing trouble. They were not quick to begin the task, and they looked quite confused by the stranger offering to help. Grabbing one of the “causes,” I read it aloud: The electricity in the house went out. I asked the two boys what might happen when the electricity went out. One of them answered quickly, “you wouldn’t be able to see anything.” Lo and behold, the other one grabbed one of the “effects” that said: no one could see a thing
With that, they were off. I stepped back, watched them complete the rest of the pairs, and marveled as they wrote down the completed sentence as instructed. With some individual assistance and a little push, these kids were off and running. The teacher walked over to check on their progress. Noting that they were almost finished, she looked at me. I smiled, and she just shook her head. I can’t wait until October.
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