First-year 7th grade teacher C in the City has just one wish for the holidays:

I caught myself praying as I was writing a self-checklist for my students to wrap up this persuasive unit. As a final check for their editorial, I’m going to ask students to go back to their rough drafts and count how many paragraphs they have and write the # in a space: ____ Then, in a moment of desperation and panic, I added next to the blank “<—-If this number isn’t 5, see me.”

And then, I started laughing and couldn’t stop. I realized what I had written was so absurd. I was thinking to myself, God, I hope it’s 5. Please don’t write 3 or 2 or 4. 5 paragraphs please. 5 is the magic number. That’s the only gift I could really appreciate from my kids. Something to affirm that I know what I’m doing slightly. I marvel that by the end of this week or Monday, all students will have written their first persuasive essay, and that I can say I moved 91 students to write a 5 paragraph essay.