Saturday, January 9, 2016

Celebration Saturday - Student Blogging, Skypeing, and Proposal Writing

I love linking up to a wonderful celebratory community, inspired by Ruth Ayres, every Saturday!
It's always a little difficult to start getting up early again and back to the routine after two weeks of break, but it helps when you have enthusiastic readers/writers and some awesome authors to get back to!   We had a great week back to school and lots to celebrate!

- David Etkin and I began collaborating on inspiring out students to choose their 2016 One Little Words.  (David designed the graphic - feel free to use!)  The kids are writing about them now, and we'll be sharing them with each other's classes next Friday.  More on this in tomorrow's DigiLit Sunday - Margaret Simon hosts a link-up on digital literacy each Sunday, and she proposed the topic of working with student OLWs.  Join us if you're working on them with your students!  You can read about my OLW here.  The Spiritual Journey Thursday community I write with are writing about each other's words here.  Consider joining us if you'd like!

- January menu - my 6th graders are doing a great job with a student-directed menu of activities that involve accomplishing 8 literacy items by January 22nd.  I'm impressed with how they're planning out their own schedules, diligently working individually and with partners, and working through projects.  I've put all the activities on Google Classroom, which might be my favorite educational digital tool ever!  One of their activities is to read multiple Sibert and Caldecott contenders, pick their favorites, and justify them on a Kidblog post.  I can't wait to see what they choose and to see the actual winners on Monday.  Unfortunately, it's the first year that we have a work day, and the students won't be there.  I'm bummed about that.  I'll have it playing on livestream, though, while I'm working in my classroom that day.

- Skype visits.  We had two great author Skype sessions this week.  My fifth graders finished The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (from our FEAR/COURAGE unit) and my sixth graders finished The Seventh Most Important Thing (from our SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY/LEAVING A LEGACY unit) by Shelley Pearsall as read alouds before winter break.  Both books were fantastic read alouds - I highly recommend them both.  I had sent each other our final responses to the books on Padlet.  I'm sharing them here, but be careful if you haven't read them - full of spoilers!


     Both authors were so gracious with their time and knowledge.  They were funny, smart, and informative, answered the kids' questions thoroughly, and gave the kids a lot to think about and apply to their own writing.  The 6th graders even got to vote on which of Shelley's future project ideas they liked best!  I also loved that one of my fifth grader's questions inspired Kimberly to write a blog post on revision - it's hilarious!  You can read it here.  I love authors and so do my students!!! Thank you, thank you to Shelley and Kimberly!!

My 5th graders and me with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
My 6th graders with Shelley Pearsall
- Speaking of authors, I'm thrilled to be working with amazing groups of authors and educators on two 2016 NCTE proposals!  Cross your fingers for us!!


  1. I love OLW. I started my 8th graders on their journey to find OLW. They are blogging about them and I can't wait to read what they chosen and why. They are a creative group, so I'm sure their words will be too.

  2. So cool to do OLW with students. Thanks too for reminding me about Padlet. I want to use that more this year.

  3. How amazing for your kids to Skype with an author - and that Padlet reminds me that I need to get better at this, too.

  4. Terrific skyping with the authors. I still need to read The Seventh Most Important Thing, but enjoyed their writing about The War That Saved My Life. Using Padlets makes me jealous I'm not in a classroom anymore. They are so fun to use.

  5. I enjoyed scrolling through the comments! I have read both books so wasn't worried about spoilers. Fantastic titles and some really thoughtful comments!

  6. So jealous of those author visits. Lucky students! We read both of those books as part our Mock Newbery. I love the Padlets. Maybe it's time for me to learn how to set up one.
    I loved seeing 6th graders' OLWs in one of the classrooms I subbed in this past week. Fingers crossed that your NCTE proposals will be accepted.

  7. Holly, I see how Google Classroom plays a significant role in your students' literary lives. I truly hope that our proposal will be accepted so we can join together as a team again but it is difficult to WAIT for the news. I am using Padlet with teachers in hopes that they utilize it in their classrooms.

  8. WOW! What a great week you had, Holly! I love the idea of kids picking their favorite book and then justifying their choice on a blog post. Would you consider sharing your literacy menu with me? ( Best of luck on your NCTE proposals! I'm a little jealous! :)

    1. Jennifer - I'd be happy to share my literacy menu. I may write about this week on DigiLit Sunday.

  9. That is an awesome week back to school! I am loving google classroom this year too! Also loving student-directed menus. It's great to see what kids can do when they have some choices, I think. :-)