Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Small Celebrations

Celebrate - writing outside with my students...
Today I had several moments that made me stop, reflect, and feel gratitude seep into my pores. My friend, Ruth Ayres, often does a weekly celebration round up on Saturdays. But, knowing Ruth, she'd say to celebrate whenever you felt moved to. Thus, today's post. I haven't had a lot of time to blog of late, so when the urge strikes, I'm diving in. 

Today I celebrated...

Walking two dogs, separately because it is easier, is good for me and super frustrating at the same time. Thirty minutes of moving every morning is awesome. Thirty minutes when I need to be rushing to swim in Champaign, or get ready for school, can be panic inducing. However, moments like this make me grateful to be where I am.

Seventh Grade Readers
I know I need to soak this in. Teaching the same kids I taught before for two years in a row is a blessing I don't ignore. I already know these kids. I know their quirks. I know what they've liked in the past. But still, some are just now hitting their groove as readers. Today one told me they read 100 pages yesterday because they just couldn't stop. Another kid told me the book I gave her, Salt to the Sea, was so good she was recommending it to her mom. Two boys told me that All American Boys was the most important book they had ever read. Another kid turned when he heard them say that and disagreed, saying the March graphic novel trilogy was. And two boys have been quietly recommending the book Fallout to my entire first hour. 

Picture Books
This year I decided to try Jillian Heise's idea for reading a picture book every single day of our school year in all three classes. It is hard, but I hoped it would be worth it. Today I had one class remind me that we didn't read one yesterday because we didn't switch classes due to Benchmarking. They had talked as a class and decided I needed to "make that one up" at some point this week. Another class came in with kids already talking about the picture book I posted on Instagram last night, Come With Me. Was I going to read it today? (Yes) Did I need Kleenex or a hug before reading. (Nope, I was ok, but it was beautiful.) 

Seventh Grade Discussions
Man, these kids are wicked smart. I love not planning a discussion, knowing I want to introduce them to some topic related to 9/11, show them the video/article/ book and see where they go. These kids have insights that I'd argue most adults don't have. And then, the bell rings and they don't want to leave. Today I had to remind several kids in my last class that we could talk tomorrow, that it was dismissal. Absolutely the best.

Cross Country
I love this sport. I've loved running on my own over the years, but the stuff this sport teaches captures my heart. Liam had a meet today. He's been really striving to run his two miles in less than 20 minutes. Not easy for him, but he's tried. So far he's had one race at 20:46, one at 20:47. So close, but no. Today I saw him nearing the finish line. I looked at the clock. He could make it, but needed to hustle. We cheered, other parents cheered, strangers cheered, and he did it! 19:44. So awesome. His pride in that time was the best. On the way home he shared that he had a new goal, below 19, and he was gunning for it this Saturday. Awesome. 

My kids can be a pain at times, of course, but what I truly like about them getting older is enjoying the adults they are becoming. Whether it was standing in the kitchen as we made dinner tonight talking to Luke about high school and dances, or talking to Liam about school and how he "accidentally" stayed up an hour later last night to read the last 100 pages so he could start Patina by Jason Reynolds today, my heart just grew. Watching Luke shout out to Chris that he had taken the best (and largest) ribs for himself, Chris yell back from the kitchen, while Luke and Liam burst out laughing at the table, I was filled to the brim. Gratitude.

And, shout out to the lady that taught me to look for the everyday celebrations. Ruth has a new book coming out and I cannot wait to read it! (Check it out HERE) She's looking at our writers and how you can reach them all - especially ones coming from a place of trauma. This will be a book you don't want to miss.