Ruth Ayres has started a movement to encourage us to find celebrations in our lives, and each Saturday she hosts a blog listing where you can read her celebrations and the celebrations of others. Thanks, Ruth, for nudging us all to pause for celebrating in the midst of our regular hurried-ness.
1. Successful Book Conversations
This week I noticed marked change when meeting with two of my literature groups. After weeks of wondering what it would take for students to launch, they have turned the corner to successful, engaging, student-led discussions. Their enthusiasm for their texts (Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry) created passionate conversations. I delighted at listening in as they shared opinions and interpretations with vibrant animation. I even found enjoyment in their confusions as they constructively puzzled through together. It's a true celebration to watch their progress and to shower them with compliments about how hard they are working.
2. Student Kindness
Any day can become a trying day in my classroom with the flip of a switch. Many children have social struggles, and it is difficult to predict or anticipate what might instigate a volatile reaction. Today I celebrate the outreach I saw from three girls in my classroom as they took a healthy risk by reaching out in friendship to another girl who is known to be difficult. They were friendly, inviting, and patient with her. And it was touching to see her respond to their acts of kindness. While it's unfamiliar territory for her, she is navigating new friendships well. I'm hopeful that this "tolerance bug" might grow to be more widespread.
3. Enthusiasm About Writing, pt. 1
The students are abuzz about their side writing project, and I won't complain. I suggested to the students that we have a family gathering before going away on winter break, and that it would be a good idea to share writing with our families. The students agreed to selecting a piece of writing from their notebooks to bring to publication for our "Cookies & Cocoa" celebration. I'm most moved by the boy who came back to school the next day to assure me he had talked to his mom & dad about being late for wrestling practice because he really wants to come to the celebration.
4. Enthusiasm About Writing, pt. 2
I have done more writing this week than I expected I would. Thanks to #nerdlution, I've posted four new blog posts. I wrote in my notebook daily and actually have a running list of ideas I want to get to the next time I'm just stuck. I have started more than one writing project this week. And, I guess I'm getting a little braver about sharing my writing, too.
For what exactly I'm not ready to share, but I've been overtaken by an alternate persona who seems to believe that sometimes it's better to act quickly on an idea before your fearful self can talk you out of it. It is very out of character for me--I tend to overanalyze, and I like to assure that my i's are dotted and my t's are crossed to assure success before I leap. It's not like me at all to operate with confidence and a risk-taking spirit, but I think maybe I might grow to like this "me." Or, at least I'll let her come out and play a little more often.