Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fan Signing - #endofschoolyeargratitude

I won't be a classroom teacher again where a community is built from Day 1 of the school year, and we begin our lives as readers and writers together that same day.  A friend predicted there would be many "ugly cries" as we left our respective buildings, and she was so right.  But what lies ahead is good; it just won't be in "my" classroom.  I will be one of several literacy coaches in the district next year, working beside teachers in their workshops.

So, as the school year drew to an end, I was both savoring every moment with my classes, as well as frantically packing to leave my classroom.  But now, two days after the end of school, I find myself filled with gratitude for what some of the last few days and weeks at my school held in store for me.  In these next few posts, I would like to share moments that I'm labeling #endofschoolyeargratitude.

The first moment came from the Great Book Giveaway in our classes.  Knowing that I had such a multitude of books, and no place to put them (I will be traveling between four buildings next year), I first culled out the books from my personal library I would still need as mentor texts or great read alouds as I work alongside teachers next year.  But after that, I was puzzled as to what to do until I came up with the idea of the Great Book Giveaway.

I scheduled this event in my lesson plans on the same day I knew we would be formulating summer reading plans.  I had explained what would happen to the kids a few weeks before the event, so they would have time to make a "wish list" to help guide them when their name was picked.  The first round, I encouraged students to choose a favorite chapter book or one they were dying to read.  The second round, they were choosing from picture books (fiction or nonfiction), poetry, or graphic novels.   The final two rounds were from books they had never seen - books and ARCs that had been sitting in my house or in the cupboards, and for one reason or another had never seen the light of day this year.

Needless to say, happiness and excitement reigned in our classroom that day.  Fifty students had developed into readers that sighed when a book they were hoping for got chosen first, and who clutched their eventual prize to their chest in sheer happiness.  As a teacher of readers, it was delightful.

The signing...
Then, the funniest darned thing happened - after all the rounds were done and students had 4 "new" books in their possession, a group of them came to me and asked for my autograph in their book.  Remember the "ugly cries" I talked about earlier -- this was one of them.  I burst into tears and laughter at the same time.  This group had a simple rationale - they wanted me to inscribe a book they would be keeping so they could keep the memory of me.  Sweet, right?!

So, after summer plans were made, this group of students came to me with their books, and from there, it snowballed... everyone wanted a signature.

I signed 200 books that day, and to look at students' faces, it meant the world to them.

So yes, I am filled with #endofschoolyeargratitude as I think about how important books became to this community of readers.
What students did after their summer
plans and the signing...


  1. I can't even begin to imagine the range of emotions you've gone through over the past few weeks! Congratulations on finishing in the classroom STRONG! How fortunate the teachers in your district are to have the opportunity to learn along side you in the coming years. Enjoy your summer...let's plan a "pool/porch" PD hangout! ;-)

    1. Susan,
      I think that sounds like a grand plan! Let's figure it out and do it! :)

  2. I love that the kids had you sign the books. That was so sweet.
    You forgot to mention the fifth round of book give always...the gre staff! :)

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  4. First, it was a wonderful idea, but then, that is the sweetest thing about the autographs, Karen. I'm not surprised; the students see those books as real treasures. Best wishes to you. Next year will be my 5th year out of the classroom, & while I do miss having a class, I also have loved working with all ages.

    1. Linda - Maybe at AllWrite, you can give me some tips on how to make the transition so successfully. :)

  5. Pure book joy! Me? I would have probably boxed up those books, wondering "what if" I need them again ... But you? Get them in the hands of kids! Ready for summer reading! I love the Great Book Giveaway! And then you got to sign them! Wow!

    Congrats on your new position. I hope to hear more about your journey as a lit coach. Our district is moving in that direction next year too. Enjoy!

  6. A glorious, if teary, ending!!

  7. Your post just made me smile! Congratulations on your new position. Lucky teachers who get you in their building. :)

  8. Karen,
    One of my favorite lines from The Hello Goodbye Window is something like "you can be happy and sad at the same time." Isn't that true for an end of year when a door closes, but a new door is just ahead. What a great way to end your year and how wonderful your students wanted to keep a memory of you.