Friday, August 22, 2014

Celebrate This Week - Back To School

I’m joining up with Ruth Ayres for her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all of the posts linked up at her blog HERE. Thanks for starting this, Ruth!

No post for almost two weeks? How can that be? Darn back-to-school time strikes again. I don’t know if every teacher shares the same issues I do. Back-to-school comes around and I am giddy with excitement and treading water like a maniac trying to stay afloat at the same blooming time. However the year has begun, the first week, albeit a partial one, is over, and I feel like I can breathe once again. Phew!

I had to post today, truly had to, because it is the weekly celebration on Ruth Ayres’s blog. I have so much to celebrate that I am staying up late to write. (Which says a lot.) When thinking of what I wanted to celebrate, I came back to this:

I love meeting my new students. This new group seems like so much fun!  They love reading, they love writing, they are kind, they are considerate. Truly, after three days I am in awe.

This year I wanted to try a few different things. I started off the year with no assigned seats and asked them to please try and sit by someone different each day. Day three and we’re doing well. In my homeroom I asked them to greet each other each day – by name – and ask how each person is doing. Again, they are rocking it. At lunch I’ve asked them to talk to their table and learn something new about someone else each day. Awesome. Each idea I throw at them they’ve taken and ran. I’m so excited to see where this year takes us.

Reading and Writing
As much as I adore my students, the first few days/weeks of class are not my favorite.  I often feel like so much frontloading is necessary to make our year run smoothly. I need to teach them what I value and hope that I can make it what they value. I need to explain that our year will be about reading and writing together and show them what that looks like. I have to take time to teach Tweeting, Blogging, checking out books, iPads, laptops, video creation and so much more. I desperately want to dive into the workshops I know that are a few weeks down the line, but I hold back. As a good friend reminded me the other day, this work is important. My students have all checked out books this week. They’ve read. They’ve done quick writes off of a YouTube video. They’ve learned about Slice of Life and are writing their first slices this weekend. They’ve heard three picture books read aloud and had the first chapters of Absolutely Almost read to them as well. They know what our year is going to be about, what I am about. We’ve had three days together – two with my switch classes. I think we’re doing ok.

My Boys
Luke and Liam are in such different places, but both make my heart soar for different reasons this week. Liam has shown me how much he’s grown. He’s beyond joyful about school, friends, teachers, and learning. Each day he comes home and chatters on about what he loves and what made his day awesome.

Luke has moved on to middle school. He has made it through momentary panics about not getting to class on time, forgetting homework, forgetting combinations, worries about time management. He hasn’t actually had any of those problems, but he worried he would. My child who has not had a late assignment in six years of elementary school was certain he would have one now. We’ve talked it through, planned strategies, and relaxed a bit. Friday he came home and just seemed taller, more confident. I think he will have some growing pains as he adjusts to middle school, but they are what he needs to move to his next stage. He reminds me that as hard as this growing up stuff is on a parent, it is also unbelievably cool to watch it happen in front of your eyes.

So much to celebrate in the past three days, I could go on and on. Instead I will stop here and simply say, it is going to be one amazing year.