High Fives

A parent volunteer sent me this special moment she captured during field day. Our water balloon had just erupted on the turf, splashing away our opportunity to win our first field day game. Yet, I leaned in and gave a deserving smile and a high five. I said, “Good try!”

In any given year (and on any given day), I experience a range of emotions and thoughts. Confident. Challenge accepted. Proud. Look at you go! Disappointed. Why is this not sticking, yet? Frustrated. There is potential here, but these choices are getting in the way. Joyful. You’ve really grown! Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the disappointment and frustration, but reliving this moment from today’s field day games is reminding me of the efforts across the year that deserve high fives. . .the efforts that make me feel pride and joy as a teacher.


To the reader who got stuck in a pattern of thinking that every book sent the message “Don’t give up.” — you have pushed yourself on a journey of thought to craft more thoughtful and sophisticated life lesson theories. You’ll have more empathy because of what you’ve uncovered in stories.

To the mathematician who lacked confidence when it came to understanding numbers– the way you organize your thinking now is remarkable. You have become a confident problem solver because of the way you were willing to collaborate with teachers and classmates!

To the writer who had little to say in your initial storytelling attempts– you’re now paragraphing and filling pages. Isn’t it exciting to see your writing come to life?

To the friend who was new to our school in September– you’ve blossomed from a quiet observer to a jokester with leadership qualities. Keep connecting with your peers. They are lucky to have your humor and intelligence in their lives.

To the reader who went far too long without finishing an independent reading book– look at you now! Your oral reading fluency skyrocketed from fall to spring because we worked together to ramp up your reading volume.

To the mathematician who rushed through every problem and announced, “I’m done!” as if it were a race– you learned how to s l o w down and self monitor your problem solving. A 100% on the end of year math test? I knew you could do it!

To the writer who bottled feelings up when your friend moved away–months later, you allowed your heart to crack open and spill onto the page during our social issues unit. Your willingness to be vulnerable shows your deep emotional intelligence.

To the friend who was kind and patient with your inner circle– I am watching you ripple your kindness out to all who deserve it. When we treat others in respectful ways, they will want to connect with us. Keep showing your best self in middle school.


In any given year (and on any given day), I experience a range of emotions and thoughts. Tonight, I choose to feel pride and joy. As we head into our last data meeting tomorrow, my students’ growth scores deserve high fives. As we wrap-up our academic work in the classroom next week, my students’ efforts deserve high fives. As we close out the year and say our goodbyes, my students deserve high fives (and hugs) just for being who they are.

Published by Melissa Quimby

Melissa is a 4th grade teacher in Natick, Massachusetts. She can often be found with an iced coffee and middle grade novel in hand! Connect with her on Twitter & Instagram - @QUIMBYnotRamona.

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