Saturday, October 3, 2015
Celebrate This Week 10.03.15
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
This school year I had to take a look at how and when I blog. I was having trouble keeping up and I needed to manage my time better. Not only did I need time to blog, I needed time to respond to other bloggers after reading their thoughts and ideas. I don't have much down time and when I do there are about 101 things that I'd like to do during that time! The weekends seem to get even busier. I do a lot of writing for the upcoming week on Sunday. As a result, getting a weekend post and responding to weekend blogs became harder and harder to do. I decided to make my celebrate posts something I do when I have something I'm bursting to say. So yes that makes my posts few and far in between, but it just means when I have a celebration, I really have a celebration!
Celebration #1: Never underestimate the power of Skype
I've used Skype for a few different reasons, but mostly to Skype with authors. It's been a lovely way to communicate with these rock stars and invite them into our students' lives. Last year, we brought Skype to a new level by connecting with classrooms. It has been such a positive experience to have students from one area of the Unites States, talk to kids that live in a different state. It's amazing how sheltered our students' lives can be.
At the end of last year, a 4th grade classroom I worked in a lot, skyped with Melissa Guerrette's 4th grade classroom in Maine. The two classrooms counted down their top 10 books read for that school year. I can't remember where in the countdown it placed, but the Amulet series was probably #1 or #2. That series spread through our 3rd and 4th grade last year like wildfire! When we announced to Miss Guerrette's class the series, we were met with some blank stares. A few nods. Most students had not read the series yet, which of course, left our 4th grade class shocked.
I knew over the summer Melissa had "remedied" that situation. I told her she would never see the series - they would always be checked out.
This week I received a vox from Melissa. We are gearing up for conference week and I just started all new intervention groups this week. It's been a bit crazy. My voxes piled up after a few days and then I finally had time to listen to them. Little did I know the vox I had waiting for me was not from Melissa, but actually from her student. Melissa moved up a grade level(s) this year and now has a group of 5/6 students, some from her former classes. One of her students left me a vox thanking me and my students from last year for telling him about the Amulet series since it has become his favorite series. Upon hearing this, my heart leapt for joy - this newfound love for a series had come from students miles and miles away yet they had made a difference. Melissa shared that her student had been "bursting" (his word, not hers) to tell us how much he loved these books.
How awesome is that?
Celebration #2: I'm his book person
I really enjoyed my 4th grade reading students last year. It's always hard to see them off to 5th grade since they move on to a new building. We had worked so hard last year to help them create reading identities and get books into their hands. It worked, they read so many books last year, but I knew for many of them it was because of their access. My classroom library was their supply and they didn't have another one. We talked a lot about where they could get books and how to find books like mine.
Luckily, one of my former students still has a younger sibling at our school. I've asked her a few times about how her big brother is doing in 5th grade. This week she told me that her brother "misses my books. There are no books at his school." I quick wrote her brother a note telling him I had the new Tom Gates book (a series he enjoyed last year) and would he want to borrow it.
I found her today, and she proudly had this to give me. My reading teacher heart melted.
My colleague said, "you're his book person"! At first, I didn't want to be. I want him to be able to find books. I don't know what his classroom library looks like or what the school library has. I've heard rumors but I've never seen for myself. It's hard when you depend on the adults in your life to get you to the places to get books. I know many well intentioned parents who really do want the best for their children, but still don't take them to the library. Thinking about that makes me feel ok about being his "book person". Actually, it makes me feel great. I'm glad I still have that connection with him. And I will continue to get books into his hands. I wrote him back and told him I would take some pictures of other books I have. He can let me know which ones he wants.
Celebration #3: Combining the two celebrations
My colleague and I sat back and talked about our former student for awhile. Our students last year, as written above, went through a huge Amulet craze. We feel sad that when Amulet 7 comes out in February, our kids in 5th grade probably wouldn't get their hands on it for awhile. Knowing how much joy that series brought to them, we came up with a plan. We're going to buy a copy and send it with our former student. He'll have instructions to read it and share it with our former Meadowview (our school) students. After a student reads the book, they will sign their name in the cover and pass it on to another student who will read it, sign it, and continue to pass it along. We're hoping that it will one day make its way back to us so we can see how many kids were able to read it. I'm pretty excited about this.
I have to say, this was a pretty good week to celebrate.