I walked into my classroom the other day and discovered that my room was being used during the off-periods as an extended testing room for the state tests. I had some work to get done, so I warmed up my food for lunch and continued working.

When I came back, I looked around at the handful of students, using my room to get extra time to finish their test.

That’s when I heard it. The little sniffles.

I looked up, following the sound, and realized that it was one of my kiddos, still testing into the afternoon. He was making up a test from the day before, and he was, unfortunately, crying.

It pained me to see him frustrated. It’s in those standardized-test-moments that you wish you could reach out and just lend a hand. Of course, you can’t. My mind ran through ways to help him without violating any official rules. How could I make him stop crying?!

And then it hit me.

I pulled out a sharp #2 pencil and a little orange sticky note. With a marker, I quickly wrote the following:

“You rock, bud! I’m so proud of you!” and I taped it on the pencil like a little orange flag.

I stood up, went over to his desk, and laid down the extra pencil. Smiling, I walked away.

A short moment later, his sniffling ceased, and all I could hear were the sounds of his pencil tip, now scribing quickly, across his page.

It made me realize that sometimes, a little sticky note and a few words of encouragement can go a long way. Don’t forget this with your students, dear friend. The smile that you give them, the compliment you throw their way, and the few words of acknowledgement you offer can make the biggest difference to them and in their success.

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