It's kind of hard to read when your eyes keep filling with tears. I seriously love this story.
"Wilburn said he didn't give a damn, but he did. Every time it was line-up day, Wilburn put on a clean shirt and overalls. I watched Wilburn" (p. 188).
How are we going to teach/reach the Wilburns in our classes? I'll take a stab at answering this question in class today, but I think that Granma and Granpa have already shown us. On every page of this book they have done all they could to help Little Tree feel important, to feel needed, and to feel appreciated. Next week I will ask you to read an article about how to teach "at-risk" students (think Wilburn). The author suggests that each of these children, like each of us, have the following needs: 1) love and belonging; 2) mastery; 3) power; 4) meaning. Not that I want to give away what will be on the exam, but it is possible that you will need to find examples of how the characters in this book helped Little Tree meet these needs. I reckin that would be a good question.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this book and that it has helped shape your teaching philosophy. I am so excited for each of you to begin teaching, I am confident that you will each be a powerful influence in the lives of your students.