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!