Celebrate This Week: Small Steps to Build Big

It’s the beginning of the school year, and then all of a sudden, the beginning ends and you start to get worried.

We take small steps toward goals. Sometimes in the wrong direction. We try, self-correct. Then take another step. The pace is slow. You worry. “Will we get there?”

I go through this every year. Every year. I worry for students that need to run not walk, towards learning. They meander and get a little lost.

This week marks the 100th Celebrate This Week link up with Ruth Ayers. Of those 100, I have missed just one. I didn’t start out thinking about a goal. Post number one happened. It was a safe place. I was nurtured and encouraged with gracious comments. Then post number two. And somehow, week after week another small post. Many weeks, I didn’t think I could or would. But somehow I did. And here I am looking back, surprised.

And that’s the thing. What’s possible isn’t apparent at the beginning.  For many, potential is buried and needs to be dug out. Cultivated. That takes patience and time and belief.

This week I conferred. One by one. I started to see a little light.  A pattern of needs. Small groups of students began to align. A few simple teaching points and follow-up conferences happened.

This week, even though the mountain we need to climb is daunting, I keep reminding myself, we can only do it a step at a time.

This week I celebrate small steps toward big goals.

What students say:

“Is there another book in this series? Will you get it?”

“My goal is to read every I Survived book.”

“We’re writing a 200-page picture book. I have a lot of work to do.”

“Where do you get those tiny post-its? They really help me.”

What students do:

Line up to recommend books.

Create waiting lists to get those coveted books.

Leave a notebook with a post-it saying, “Please read this Mrs. Harmatz.”

Write every day in notebooks and on devices. Their stories.

Read every day, books of their choosing.

This week we stepped closer to becoming readers and writers.

This week I celebrate the small that builds to big.

Thank you, Ruth and congratulations on the 100th link up.

Every week celebrating the week builds big. Read more posts here.

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From 365 Days of Wonder

9 thoughts on “Celebrate This Week: Small Steps to Build Big

  1. I love that quote at the end – Your best takes time. I celebrate those hundreds of little steps that help your students move toward their goal. What a fantastic teacher you must be!

  2. Well, from Lao Tzu, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with one. . .” and Julieanne said “patience and time and belief”, both with wise words. I love hearing those words, too, from the students, about the little stickies, about please read this, and about having a lot of work to do. It seems you and your class are off to a terrific start. Congrats on 99 posts. I didn’t look, but think I’ve missed a couple from being gone on vacation. It is certainly something I think about all week.

  3. Yes, each small step holds huge potential. Yes, this community is beautifully supportive. Yes, the magic of classroom community is worth celebrating. Week after week. How I love sharing this community with educators like you!

  4. Small steps, even on a crooked path, eventually can take us to our destination. Growing passionate, confident and independent readers takes time. I appreciate that you remind us to have patience, time and belief.

  5. It’s interesting how you use the words “dug out” and “cultivated” in the same sentence. One seems so – violent- and the other so nurturing. Your teaching speaks to gentleness and nurturing. You were one of the people who reminded me that small steps are enough sometimes. I think that some of the cultivation won’t bring fruit until years later… in their time… and that is okay. What you describe however seems to be a garden in full bud!

  6. Starting with a single step. I like how you compared your classroom to Celebration Saturday posts. I haven’t counted, but I know I haven’t missed many. It’s such a nice habit to take time each week to celebrate in some way. The support we get from each other makes the journey easier and more fun.

  7. I honor your small steps to learning, Julieanne. It is from the small steps that a journey becomes! Your caring for each learner is evident in your writing. Do you remember at the end of June when you were so excited about the growth of your learners? Think about that now and remember if you build it they will come (Field of Dreams). You are building from the ground up so enjoy the steps!

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