Saturday, November 16, 2013

CELEBRATE! - Nov. 16

When Ruth started this Saturday tradition of celebrations, her thinking struck a chord with me.  In this time of high stakes tests and more and more demands on teacher time, it would be easy to lose sight of the reasons we all became educators.

This week, I had several reminders of why I want to celebrate working with teachers and students:
  1.  Twice within this past week, I gathered with colleagues outside of the school setting just to have fun.  It certainly helps reduce stress when you can eat, drink, and laugh with the people you see on a daily basis.  And I think it's even better when we get away from our work environment and see each other in different surroundings.  Both opportunities allowed me to appreciate my colleagues in more personal ways.
  2.  I am co-mentoring the 3rd year teachers in our school district this year.  I spent Wednesday morning meeting and collaborating with several of them, as they work on refining their own practices as teachers.  I loved our conversations as they shared with me about their students, their assessments, and their teaching.   So incredibly reflective.  We are lucky to have these teachers moving from the "Resident Educator" status here in Ohio to being fully licensed.  I'm very fortunate to be a part of this journey they are on.
  3. This week was the end of the trimester, and time to have students fill out reading reflections for their growth as readers the past 12 weeks.  Here are just a few of the comments or thinking that help me celebrate:
  • when talking about his comments to other classmates on reading response letters: "I've gotten a lot better at commenting to others.  I'm paying attention to what they say before I comment."
  • when talking about what specifically she wanted to celebrate as a reader this trimester: "I read more books this trimester than in all of 4th grade."
  • another student sharing what they wanted to celebrate: "I started giving better book recommendations when I know books others might like."
  • when sharing how many books they completed in first trimester: A prolific reader recorded finishing 35 books so far while a reader that struggled to find a book and to complete it recorded finishing 5 books.  Both of these numbers and all the other numbers in between are huge celebrations because it means we have a community of readers who understand that time to read is valuable.
There are others, but I will stop here for now.  I look forward to sharing some celebrations from NCTE next week!  In the meantime, stop by Ruth's blog to see what others are celebrating this week!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kirby Larson's guest today!!

That's right -- I just realized I was the guest at Kirby Larson's blog today.  What an honor to be asked, and I got to write about one of my favorite things -- Mrs. T letters (reading response letters), and building a reading community in our classroom.

Head on over to Kirby's blog for the entire post.

Thanks for having me, Kirby!!