When I was in elementary school I participated in a mentoring program. I was paired with a younger student whom I would help with reading.

I can remember with great clarity sitting in the hall with one of the children while they worked at sounding out words. I can still smell that ‘just came in from recess’ scent on their skin and hair.

These were the children who were really struggling…and the classrooms were bulging with too many students for one-on-one attention. Thus, enlist the older students.

I remember one little girl in particular. She had dark blonde hair and big brown eyes. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember how hard she worked at it. And I remember the day that she ‘got it.’ I remember the look in her eyes when something clicked and suddenly the secret to reading was unlocked and within her grasp. The Spark.

Thirty-five years later the memory of that look can still bring tears to my eyes.

Today I received a great gift of seeing that Spark in Nic’s eyes.

Nic has always been naturally good at mathematics; it seems to come to him so easily. Because of that we’ve been focusing more on language arts in the last several months. Today we sat together and regrouped and looked at where his skills were and what he’d yet to accomplish this school year.

We covered fractions, decimals, ratios, metric conversions, various story problems and long division.

I think it was during the discussion about mixed number fractions that the lightbulb lit and I looked up just in time to see The Spark.

Yes, Nic has always been naturally good at and well-acclimated to mathematics. But today something clicked and he learned something new, something that sent his head off in new directions.

And I learned, once again, the power of having one person sit with another and work at it until a simple *Spark* happens.

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