Friday, May 30, 2014
Celebrate This Week! 5.31.14
It's always good to end the week on a positive note. Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives. We have a choice. Choose positive. Choose to celebrate. I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all the other celebrations HERE
Celebration #1 - The best day of the week, actually of the school year, was this past Thursday. Our 4th grade students have been reading A Snicker of Magic by the spindiddly author Natalie Lloyd. I fell in love with this book back in January and was thrilled to share it with kids. We did this as our "extended text", which meant every student had a copy of the book in their hands. The past few weeks have been magical. There were so many special moments. One thing was very interesting, though. One of the teachers, before we had decided to use this as our extended text, had already started the book as a read aloud. She hadn't gotten very far, but far enough that the students were able to tell her the book wasn't working for them. Listening to the teacher read the book, without seeing the text, didn't work for them. All of the magical and "splendiferous" words that Natalie Lloyd used in the books weren't being "caught" by the kids when they just heard them. The needed to see them. One boy, in particular, was very disappointed to hear this was the book he was going to spend the next several weeks reading. Fast forward just a few days into the kids reading the book and that same boy started changing his mind. Go forward even more to the climax of the book and when he found out they weren't reading more that day he told his teacher, "forget math, forget social studies, we don't need to do those things! We just need to read!" That is worth celebrating. Of course I can also celebrate:
* the kids finding their favorite "lines that stick to them". It was fascinating to hear what stuck to them and why. I learned more about these kids doing this than I had all year.
* the kids collecting all of Felicity's words into their journals. I really enjoyed listening to their conversations about the words in this book - splendiferous, spindiddly, factalactus
* listening to their conversations. The book took on a life of its own. The kids didn't need us - they often directed their own conversations!
But what I really want to celebrate is skyping with the awesome Natalie Lloyd herself! I was so nervous that day! Her book was just so amazing, I didn't know what to expect. Natalie quickly put me and the kids at ease and it was so fun talking to her. We loved meeting Biscuit. The kids couldn't stop talking about her sweet Southern accent. Particularly because their teachers' fake-southern-accent-said-in-a-Chicago-accent was not very good! But what was the coolest thing is seeing Natalie talk to these kids. We had many kids come up and ask her a question or tell her a line that stuck to them. She was so genuine and kind to each one, she quickly put all of them at ease. The kids went up, at first nervous, giggly and had trouble speaking, to being comfortable and ended up having genuine conversations. It was such a special morning.
I hope all authors know and feel how important this is to students. And to their teachers! I don't think these 4th graders will forget this experience for a long time. Thank you to Natalie Lloyd!
Celebration #2 - I made my hotel reservations for NCTE tonight! I'm super excited about this conference. I've heard such wonderful things and I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to attend.
Celebration #3 - 3 1/2 days. That's all that is standing in front of me and summer break. I love working with our kids, but I love summer too! I'll write about it in my SoL post this Tuesday!
Hope you had a wonderful week and have signs of summer around you!