Saturday, March 1, 2014

Celebration Saturday

I enjoy participating in the celebration link-up (#celebratelu) each week, started by Ruth Ayres.
 It's MARCH!  That's worth celebrating!

1.  I've missed a couple celebration weeks, but that was because I was doing things worth celebrating, so that's good!  Two weeks ago, I was in Florida visiting my parents in their new sunny, warm, home in a wonderful, friendly community.  We celebrated my husband's birthday on Sunday, and his parents drove down from their Floridian home to join us.  We were blessed to spend time with both sets of parents!

2.  My youngest daughter, Katie, did some celebrating of her own.  She went to her last high school Winter Formal and turned 18!  Eighteen years sure went by fast!
3. My celebrations this past week include my fifth graders.  We've been making scrapbooks to "rehearse" for memoirs we're starting next week.  I hesitated at first to devote time to this project because of all the instruction we need to get in before the "big test," and we've missed so much school due to snow days.  However, the writing they included in their scrapbooks and the time and effort they put into them taught me that kids are craving creative time.  Lots of learning happened, and they're SO proud of their creations.  One girl made a 40 PAGE digital scrapbook on Shutterfly!  It was her first scrapbook, and I have a feeling it may be a lifelong craft for her.  I can't wait to see how their memoirs will turn out because now they truly know what reflections is - that extra bit of writing craft that memoirs have over autobiographies.  I've always struggled teaching that to young children, but I think this is the way!  They made heart maps, too, and will be participating in this month's Slice of Life Classroom Challenge (in a modified way), so I'm excited about this month with my fifth graders!  I blogged about this project on my previous two posts, so if you want to see more pictures of the finished projects, just visit Feb. 27 and Feb. 28's posts.
4.  Speaking of Slice of Life, I'm going to participate in the Slice of Life Adult Challenge.  I'm a bit nervous about it because I've never participated in the daily March SOL challenge before - just the Tuesday one.  However, I have a new writing idea/goal, so I'm going to use this challenge to explore that.  Writing goals are always something to celebrate!
5.  Last Saturday the reason I didn't blog was because I was at the Dublin Literacy Conference in Columbus.  I've attended this conference for several years now, and I can honestly say it's my favorite.  It's small enough to feel intimate and accessible and large enough to draw incredibly big names.  This year the conference was doing a celebration of its own - 25 years of literacy...25 YEARS!  Amazing.  We were blessed to hear Penny Kittle and Bryan Collier as the keynote speakers, and break out sessions included Don Brown, Bud Hunt, and Kassia Omohundro Wedekind. What made it REALLY special this year for me is that it was the first time I presented there!  My writing partner/former colleague friend, Megan Ginther, and I presented on our literacy contracts, concentrating on the one we developed around the theme topic, EMPATHY.  We've been working on teaching and writing around literacy contracts for awhile now, becoming contributors to Choice Literacy (we have a year-long series on the site on literacy contracts) and working on a professional teaching book, so it was really fun to present our ideas to a group of teachers.  We were thrilled to discover we had a full classroom of 34 teachers attending!  Despite a few minutes of technology trouble (one of our fears realized), we forged ahead with our Prezi, relaxed into it, and had fun.  If you're interested in our presentation, you can access it here:  We hope this is the first of many presentations we give together.  We love being in the writing/presenting community of teachers and writers we've admired for a long time - they're some of the most open, friendly, smart, and welcoming people you'll ever meet.  We're awaiting word on our presentation proposal for the 2014 NCTE Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.  I sure hope we'll have the opportunity to present there.  We're also going to propose to present at OCTELA, OAGC and possibly OMLA conventions.  I'm celebrating these new and exciting endeavors and opportunities for learning and teaching.

We loved meeting Don Brown - he was the nicest guy!  I got an idea from his presentation that I'm going to use in my upcoming memoir unit.  He talked to us about how he uses thumbnail sketches to plan picture book layouts.  I think I'm going to have my fifth graders design their memoirs as picture books. 
Penny Kittle is one of my idols, and she's so kind.  The picture on the left cracks me up - I'm so excited to have her sign my copy of Book Love.  Thanks, Kim, for taking the pictures!

I'm looking forward to read other celebration posts and looking for more celebrations this upcoming week.  Check back later today for my first SOL post of March!  At least, there should be an upcoming post later today. ;-)



  1. Wow. You had a full full exciting week. Happy Birthday to Katie.

  2. First things first, HaPpY BiRtHdAy to your beautiful daughter Kaite. I have a sophomore at The Ohio State University and a jr in high school and I understand how fast that time goes!
    Now, on to Dublt! It was truly an amazing conference and I love it more every year! My only regret is that we didn't get to chat more in 3D!

    1. Katie is going to OSU, too, and is so excited! I agree - I wish we had had more time to talk. Next time! :-)

  3. So much to celebrate indeed! So glad that you and Megan got to present. I'll bet it was great! I love the pic of you and Penny. Your daughter is just beautiful. 18 is an important milestone. My oldest turned 12 today, it just flies. Florida sounds just amazing! Glad you could see both sets of parents!

  4. What a great bundle of celebrations with family, friends, and students. Thanks for sharing about the scrapbooking and heart maps. I want to share those ideas with our teachers.