Friday, September 12, 2014

Celebrate This Week

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!

Today I received a ring from a student. He pointed out the school colors he had woven together and also how one side also included my favorite color, the blue that is in the ocean. I thanked him and immediately put it on my finger. One of the other students at the table looked up from a project she was working on and said, “You sure do love us, Mrs. S., don’t you.”

And with that, my friends, my heart was full. You see the start of the year is both amazing and exhausting. I don’t think a year has begun where I felt like everything was working well until at least October hit. I have begun to realize that I place completely unrealistic expectations on myself to have everything operating in the fall just as it was in the spring. Today I decided to let go of that and look around at the reasons I should be celebrating.

Impromptu reading clubs. I glanced up from the spot I was conferring from the other day and realized many of my students were in clusters around the room and on the landing outside our door. When I moved around to check on them I realized that so many had created their own reading groups or partnerships. We had the Babymouse group, the Lunch Lady group, the Mike Lupica group, and more. If I had assigned it, I doubt they would have been interested. As it was, they were creating these learning communities on their own.

Learning for learning sake. I have many students who love to extend their learning this year. Some go home and blog on their own time without it being assigned. Some have created newspapers, magazines, and other projects even though I haven’t required it. Many come back from Math or Social Studies and choose to teach me about what they are learning. They don’t stop because the assignment is over, but it is almost as if they are just getting started.

Remembering 9/11. For the anniversary this year I read 14 Cows for America and then shared this video:

We then did a quick write – how can kindness change the world? What I want my students to realize is that they do indeed have a power and it is the way they choose to view life, to treat others. This video made me cry every single time I played it on Thursday. Explaining to my students that it made me cry with gratitude for the kindness that is displayed was a lesson all by itself.

It has been an exhausting week, but an interesting week nonetheless. It has been a week where I have been frustrated while I have watched adults lose focus – to fall victim to negativity and forget that children (our own and the ones in our communities) should be at the forefront of every decision we make. If they are, we cannot go wrong. But it has also been a week full of kindness, love, relationships, and more. I look at my students and my mind races with where I want to be, but then realize that we are, indeed, exactly where we should be. A glance up from my front table at study hall found a group of boys working on creating a magazine, some other boys reading and discussing books. Seems like a perfect world to me.