This is Katie Michel’s testimony about her experience being a participating teacher in the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond writing contest. Founded in 1993 by Diamond Mike Watson in honor of his adopted mother and the birth mother he had never known, the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest is now in honor of all moms, and is the largest mother’s appreciation contest in the United States of America.
Diamond Mike: What do you feel about the contest?
Katie: This was such a great contest. The Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest was really a joy to do in class with my students. I have a group of strategic students who are fifth grade students but they are definitely significantly below grade level. Really finding the right kinds of activities and writing assignments that are going to inspire them to share themselves and to write how they feel is hard to find. This is why Why Mom Deserves a Diamond was just the thing my kids needed to spark their imagination and really inspired them to write what was on their heart. They were able to say things about their moms, and I was able to bring in other lessons about word choice and adjectives and all kinds of other things about writing, but that really had a personal connection to my students.
Thank you very much for the contest. It was a pleasure.
What is the most important aspect of the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest?
The most important aspect of the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest is it’s a place where my kids can write what they feel about the person that for many of my kids is their best friend and the most important person to them.
Diamond Mike: How do you feel the contest contributes to the long term self esteem of students?
Katie: I think it contributes to the long term self esteem of student because it has the students not focused on them, but has them focused on somebody else. And I think when we focus on other people too, we become more grateful for the things other people do for us and all of the people who are helping to make us who we are. And I think that my kids get a real good sense of appreciation and gratitude for their parents and especially for their mom.
Diamond Mike: What do you feel are the benefits of writing and reading words of appreciation to your mother?
Katie: Being able to both write and read your appreciation, and especially to have a real audience for your work, it makes it authentic. It makes it not just an assignment, but it means that it is something that is really happening. And for many of these kids, this is going to be one of the hallmarks, or something they will always remember in school. Not all kids get to be recognized, and when you are recognized and you see your own words in print, and then you get to share it with somebody else, that brings somebody else into the experience and that’s what makes it real. We have these moments that we get to share with other people, not just in our own classrooms.
Diamond Mike: What is your favorite part of the contest?
Katie: For me, I think the favorite part of the contest would be just sharing with my kids the idea of the contest and how we were going to prepare for it. And seeing the look on their faces when we started brainstorming about why their moms are special to them, about where you could wear a diamond, about how you feel about your mom – they were so excited and so eager to write about their mom. For me, that was my favorite part.
If one of my kids was chosen, I think it’s a big deal to see your own words published, and to see your own words printed. And I think that is a real turning point for a lot of kids is seeing them as authors and as seeing themselves just… acknowledged, I think the pride they take in their work is a great way to reward them.
It acknowledges the kids, and when kids are acknowledged they feel important. And when you feel important, when you acknowledge kids and you say these words are significant, we say, hey, you know what, you’re significant. You’re important. And that’s invaluable. That’s something you cant just get everyday. Sometimes it takes a contest like Why Mom Deserves a Diamond to make these moments happen for kids.
Why Mom Deserves a Diamond is a registered trademark.
More information can be found at http://www.WhyMomDeservesADiamond.com.