Here’s to celebrating literacy and trust. Thank you Ruth for creating a space and ritual. Join us at ruthayerswrites.com to celebrate your week!
#1. My #mustreadin2014 book list. Ideas are always floating around in my head. My intentions are good. I mean to do it, but I get distracted. I forget, and all of a sudden, time has passed and I missed it. The act of writing it down a list is powerful. I celebrate the Nerdy Book Club posts, the incredible blogging and community that keep me up to date on those must reads, and as a result now I can’t stop finding books to add to my list. Supportive reading buddies Catherine Flynn, Allison Jackson and Erin Varley have already checked in with their progress. I celebrate my books, my new focus on book recommendations, and my book buddies.
#2. A second first day of school. I love coming back from winter break. We miss each other. After three weeks apart, we’re rested and ready to start fresh. While I have big plans for the rest of the year, I take a breath and make a space for them to come in, share, absorb, and celebrate their revitalized selves and classmates.
#3. My Reading Door.
Inspired by my must read list and Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild, I created my reading door. I can’t wait to see how the kids (and teachers) react to it. At this point, most of my students don’t think beyond the book they are currently holding in their hands. They don’t plan their future reading, yet. And who could blame them. I haven’t shown them the possibility. I’m imagining students developing to be read lists that will reflect a few books at first. With time, hopefully the books will start to accumulate and build till it reaches into the summer months. I celebrate book plans and my lovely book door.
#4. New schedule. Like lists, I need structure. I have great ideas but they just float off if I don’t have a structure to put them in. It keeps me in line, and accountable to my beliefs. The first half of the year our routine included daily read aloud, vocabulary, reading, writing, Thursday Genius Hour, and Non Fiction Fridays. The new schedule will include two extras — Debate Mondays and poetry Tuesday through Friday.
Debate is a much loved and needed activity. Unfortunately, I haven’t allowed a space for it, so it happens occasionally at best. Now it owns a spot: Mondays after Read Aloud. Can’t wait.
Over the break, I realized that we need poetry. Students love learning vocabulary, so the focus on words and how they go together will be a huge treat — vocab on steroids. It should also breathe life into writing. and a heightened awareness of language in their independent reading. Poetry now lives before writing workshop. I celebrate this space made for the sound and the joy of words coming together. I wonder whether it will inspire poetry entries on the blog.
#5. My re-landscaped library. The beginning of a new year requires a library face lift. Whenever I reorganize my library I pull out my boxes and find old friends. I set up with a eye for product placement. I want clean new covers to show. Dog eared, much loved books go on a list to be recycled and replaced. Brand new titles are set aside for book talks.
New sections of the library include poetry, biography, magazines, various non fiction baskets, club books covering not only realistic fiction, but a bit of mystery, a taste of fantasy, and a shelf of historical fiction. Hidden away in a box are… drum roll..… graphic novels. I hide these much sought after books the first day back otherwise students wouldn’t be able to focus on much else. They love these books. Everyone wants them. No monitoring on my part is necessary. Every student knows who has each book. They self police, because they all want those books. What a natural for their to be read list! I look out at my new library and smile. I celebrate our renewed space for books.
And last but not least…
#6. My daughter’s first physical therapy appointment post knee surgery. She’s nine days post op and feeling better. Our wonderful physical therapist, Mike, the same guy who rehabilitated my ACL tear nearly 20 years ago, tells her what she need to do. She listens attentively, and with renewed focus and goals she works hard. She trusts him. Trust allows us to give everything we have, knowing someone is there for you. With support, you push to unknown territories.
I enter next week and our new year, with the idea of trust alongside my one little word, wonder. When students trust, they can wonder, asking why and how, and then grow.