Reading, Teaching, Learning

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Celebration Saturday

Discover. Play. Build.
 I'm so happy that Ruth Ayres started a Celebrate Link-Up on her blog!!!  I will be joining the celebration every Saturday!!
 
Things I'm celebrating this week:
 
1.  A full week of school!  I love holidays and snow days as much as everyone else, but it felt good to get back to solid instruction this week.  I restructured my class time a little, and I think my students and I are happier.  I still feel like I never have enough time, but I'm keeping my priorities (read aloud and silent reading time) consistent while fitting in good mini-lessons and practice time.  I don't know why, but sometimes those priorities get slighted, and students never fail to remind me they should be non-negotiable.  Many of them express it's their favorite time of day.
 
2.  I'm really enjoying making sure I conference one-on-one (or at least with a small group) every day.  Sometimes I fit in 2 or 3, sometimes just one, but I love what I'm learning about my students through these conferences.  I've known I should be doing these conferences for a long time, but I couldn't seem to fit them in.  It's all about priorities.  There is always time for those.  Who knew that I had a couple kids whose moms formed a neighborhood book club made up of moms and their sons? They're reading Rules by Cynthia Lord.  They were short one, so I was able to find them a copy and send it home.  I also didn't know one of my students had to put down her beloved dog over the holidays.  We were able to talk about Love That Dog, a book she read in my class last year and needed to revisit.

 
3.  I have a few sixth graders who stay in my late morning class after it's over to chat since it's my lunchtime and their recess.  I love their enthusiasm and their positive comments about our class.  It's fun to talk books and life during that time.
 
4.  I have 3 sixth graders who stay after my last class of the day and stack my chairs and straighten up the classroom before they have to go to their lockers and buses.  I've never asked them to do that - they just do.  We chat during that time and then they hustle out when they're done and I go to locker bay duty.  I love that extra time with those three students.  Two of them are very quiet during class, so it's nice to have some insight into their thoughts.
 
5.  A proposal for the NCTE 2014 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. finally came together this week, and I submitted it. It's going to very exciting to four of us if it gets accepted!!  We find out in May.
 
6.  I finished my 6th grade read aloud, Milkweed, Friday.  They were BEGGING me to finish it.  This book has been a wildly successful read aloud.  They loved it.  Not all of them were happy about the ending, but it provided great conversations. The Holocaust fascinates kids that age, and a lot of them are asking for more related titles.  Our upcoming literacy contract and theme topic is on LIBERTY, and we're going to be reading dystopian novels.  We'll be continuing to talk about dehumanization.  Our next read aloud will be Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner.

 
 
 
7.  I started a new read aloud with my 5th graders to go along with our upcoming theme topic and literacy contract, FAMILY/HOME.  It's How To Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.  They're already drawn into it.  It will provide great fodder for discussions on homelessness.  Scholastic Scope Magazine (which is wonderful, by the way, for middle school and jr. high) had an excellent article on homelessness in its November issue.  We're reading it right now.  Another read aloud I considered was Hold Fast by Blue Balliett.  It's another great book dealing with that issue.
 


8.  Katie, my senior in high school, officially enrolled in The Ohio State University for the fall semester and got a scholarship letter this week.  She's celebrating!  She and one of her best friends have decided to room together.  Here they are from a fall college visit when they both decided that's where they wanted to go:
 
 
 
9.  Speaking of Katie, I'm celebrating that she's reading for pleasure again.  Because of the demands of AP English, she had stopped for awhile and lost interest in reading what she wanted.  She's now into the Divergent series.  Yay!  Libby, my college daughter, is finding time to pleasure read, too, since she's been on a long winter break.  She finished the Divergent series, The Fault in our Stars (which prompted me to show her the Vlogbrothers/Nerdfighters video series, and now she's hooked), And the Mountains Echoed, Anne Of Green Gables (a classic she missed out on in her childhood - me, too!), and is now reading Eleanor & Park and listening to The Lowlands. I love family reading! :-)
 
10.  Snow!  It's snowing again this weekend, and I love it!
 
Off to read about other celebrations!  Have a great week and CELEBRATE!
 
 
 

 
 

30 comments:

  1. Hooray for Katie! That's a huge celebration. I love all the bits you shared about the way your sixth graders stay on in your room - a sure sign of feeling that they are in a safe place they love.

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    1. Thanks, Tara! I love that they hang around, too! And Katie is so excited!

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  2. I'm so very honored to be part of this celebration, Holly! Thank you.

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    1. Your book is going to be a lot of fun to read aloud! Thanks for writing such good ones! :-)

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  3. So much to comment about, Holly, what a wonderful week you had! Best of luck on getting your presentation accepted! I like hearing about those 6th graders helping you after school-sweet things happen when we least expect it! Congrats to your daughter-hope she loves college, & thanks too for sharing about your choices for read aloud & the article about homelessness. I'll look for it! Have a nice weekend!

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  4. A celebration filled with the kids (personal and school) who make your life complete! Congratulations on the readers and the college acceptance too. It's a proud mama and teacher writing this morning in your house!

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  5. Holly - You had an amazing week. Thanks for sharing all the things that were special. so inspiring.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Alyson! I enjoyed reading your celebrations, too!!

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  6. Me, too, honored to be part of your celebration, Holly! xx

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    1. Your book LOVE THAT DOG is so special. It does what great literature is supposed to do!

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  7. Love and connect to so many things in your post. Your passion for read aloud, reading time, conferences, after school connections and those books. How to Steal a Dog is one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I've never read How to Steal a Dog before aloud, so I'm really looking forward to everything that comes out of it!

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  8. All such good celebrations! I am also glad for the ideas for read aloud. I just recently was given back read aloud and am so happy! Currently I am reading Where the Red Fern Grows to them and they are loving it.
    Anne of Green Gables is my FAVORITE book! Glad that your daughter got to read it!

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    1. Oh my goodness - I LOVE Where the Red Fern Grows, but I don't think I could read it aloud. I'd be a crying mess!

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    2. That's the beauty of it! For the first time in their reading lives they learn that a book can make you a crying blubbering mess! I let it all out! They know something is coming because they can hear it in my voice (since I start getting emotional early.) Before that, they just think they are books. Now they know that they give emotion!

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  9. So many great books in your life! I wrote down a few titles. I am reading The Lowlands right now but having some trouble getting into it --I am off to give it a go again now! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Clare

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  10. Great week of celebrations. Good luck with your proposal. If you want to add another good book to your family/home collection, look at Almost Home by Joan Bauer. It is really good too. Have a great week.

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    1. I love Joan Bauer, but haven't read that one yet. Thanks for the rec!

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  11. So many terrific celebrations! LOVE THAT DOG is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite read alouds! Hoping I will somehow get to go to NCTE this year (somebody has to win the lottery, right?) and see some of these terrific presentations!

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    1. I hope you can go! 2013 was my first time, and it was an incredible experience!

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  12. I love that you are reading aloud How To Steal a Dog - this is one of my all time favourite read alouds. Your students will get so much from it. Off to college - wow! Lovely picture full of smiles.

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  13. I like how much reading is in your celebrations. I love family reading. I am so glad that my older girls have guided me to read Divergent series and John Green books.

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    1. My husband just started reading Allegiant - if Katie gets done with Insurgent, there's going to be a tussle! Ha.

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  14. I think WAKE UP MISSING will be a SUPER read aloud! I hope to read it before the year's out.

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  15. Holly, I loved reading your celebrations. A daughter who's reading again! A scholarship letter and a friend for a roommate. And I hope your proposal gets accepted. I'm hoping to make it to NCTE this year for the first time! I must make time to read Wake Up Missing.

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