Soaring Together

We’re deep in our state testing and will be for a few weeks. As much as our entire school, including an amazing administration, works to not making testing more stressful than it inherently is, there is stress. Teachers feel it. Students feel it. It’s there and impacts us all.

As we headed into this period, I read Zero by Kathryn Otoshi to my class.

I wanted our lead up to testing to involve some uplifting, validating books. This was my first choice. Initially I planned to just read it and make sure we had time to talk about it. But I realized my students shouldn’t have to sit on the carpet for 45 minutes so we should do something in addition to reading and talking. So a quick google search turned up some things that definitely supported my goals.

After reading and some great discussion, students headed off to think about what they value about themselves. We also spent some time thinking about what we value about each other (we made lists for each student that they got to keep).

We also thought about how we can help each other soar the way the numbers soared together in Zero. We made these balloons. On one side we wrote ways we can help each other soar and on the other we wrote how we feel when we do.


We’ve read the book twice now. I have no doubt we’ll read it again. The kids talked about how we all matter and how much better things are when we work together. Picture books are the best.

One reply

  1. […] Last week I wrote about reading Zero by Kathryn Otoshi to my students in the lead up to our state standardized tests. Another book we read during that time was Love by Matt de la Pena and Loren Long. I hope Matt de la Pena writes picture book after picture book given how much I loved Last Stop on Market Street and this one. The illustrations in Love are equally as stunning and powerful as the words. If, somehow, you’ve missed this book (which seems like a challenge given the reception is has gotten) find a copy immediately. […]

Leave a Reply