I love ending each week thinking about all that I have to celebrate. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week. Thank you to Ruth for the inspiration.
What am I celebrating this week? All things literacy. Some conversations. Some great books. Celebrations of writing. Thinking. Sharing. Listening. Creating.
Celebrating . . .
1. A Skype visit with Liesl Shurtliff – author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin (one of the best read alouds out there!)
This was an absolute highlight of our week! I shared our experience on our classroom blog here (including how we prepared). This was our first author Skype so it was especially exciting! Liesl was so charming and the kids cannot stop talking about the day!
Students shared with Liesl that they had just had a book of stories published as well and that we had even had a publishing party. (Thanks Writer’s Exchange!) Such fun to find out that Liesl had brownies at her publishing party too! All about the treats!
Here is one of the many pixies that we shared with Liesl during our Skype. All of them can be seen at the link I shared above.
2. Friday afternoon in my class was hot. The air circulation is terrible. And yet, my classroom looked like this:
Recipe for such engagement? I asked the students to think about what their dream house would look like if they could design it, have it built (or build it themselves) and then live in it? We split into two groups and spent 15 minutes sharing our ideas. Ms. Wilks, our Project Teacher and I recorded all that was said on chart paper. Kids got totally excited just listening to what other people suggested. A few examples:
- Gummy worm walls that grow new candy when you pull it off
- Trampoline floors
- An aquarium full of dolphins to swim with
- Water slides leading to an outdoor pool
- Chalkboard walls to draw on
I quickly showed them the end pages in Chris Van Dusen‘s If I Built a House as some added inspiration. (Next week we will do a related project in Art) We then passed out writing books and told everyone to go draw, sketch, label and write. Some kids were so into it, they continued working through their Choices time.
In the middle of the brainstorming, one student who had been listening from his desk sailed a paper airplane over to us. Written on the back? Be Smart! He thought we were being absolutely ridiculous in our dreaming, “No house could have all of that!” I loved his message system! Not every activity is going to speak to everyone!
It was so interesting to examine all of the different ideas and how they were represented.
This little house designer showed me that she would have a book gnome (bottom right corner) that would get you any book you wanted for your book shelf. 🙂 A little reader with big book dreams like mine!
3. Last week we celebrated publishing a class book of stories.
To thank the amazing Writers’ Exchange for working with my class, I have been working on a blog post with the children’s words and photographs. We wanted it to be a sent along to surprise all of the staff and mentors who worked with us. It’s supposed to be a surprise but these photos are just too cute. So I’ve had to share one . . . or two . . . or . . . four. . . via twitter. It has been joyous both taking and sharing these photos (text comes from individual writing from each child). I’m hoping to have the post finished in the next few days.
Okay, sneak peek at our thank you: How we love the @writers_ex #vsblearns pic.twitter.com/aWj0lbEgq6
— Carrie Gelson (@CarrieGelson) May 1, 2014
We’re serious! We love the @writers_ex and we really mean it! pic.twitter.com/qV7BGn8VP3 — Carrie Gelson (@CarrieGelson) May 2, 2014
We are overflowing with creative energy! Thanks @writers_ex! For everything! pic.twitter.com/aod0irIkvm
— Carrie Gelson (@CarrieGelson) May 2, 2014
Whoa. It’s exhausting being published authors. Thanks @writers_ex! pic.twitter.com/IfrBz3AnNO — Carrie Gelson (@CarrieGelson) May 3, 2014
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
I am always so inspired by the artwork and writing your students do! So creative! And I am so jealous of your students in shorts. I know you don’t like the hot air in your classroom, but we’ll take some of it for you! Chicago seems to be full of 40s and 50s… it’s been a rough spring! Have a great week 🙂
That warm weather isn’t lasting – looks like we are back to rain and cooler temperatures today. But it was nice to have lots of warm – just not the hot stuffy classroom! I need a fan or something. Still though, the kids were keen and busy all week. Hope some of the warm air makes it your way soon.
Well, my favorite part is always seeing the kid pictures, Carrie. What a wonderful week. Love the project about dream houses, the gummy worm walls, and the book gnome. Have a great weekend!
Thanks Linda. They are pretty excited about imagining a dream house. I look forward to more sketching and dreaming. Next week we will look at houses around the world. They love looking at how different people live! And yes, I need to get my own book gnome. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Carrie, I love your celebration. The authentic learning experiences will leave a lasting impression. Loving your Skype visit!
Our Skype visit was AMAZING! Leisl is not only super talented, she is very very nice and great with kids!
Oh Carrie! Love the pictures of your kiddos. They speak volumes and the words are a perfect addition. So wish I could do that but our district doesn’t allow their faces in social media. The dream houses seem to be a way to illustrate what matters to us. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a progression of dream houses over the years! Thanks for sharing. I love reading your posts.
That would be an amazing idea to look at dream houses over the years. We had adults in the groups also share ideas and it was interesting to see what people at different ages and stages shared! I think these photos are pretty precious too! I finished a Thank you to the Writers’ Exchange today and it is full of pictures because they really do say so much!
Oh my goodness! I love all of this! It’s fantastic! A keeper!
It was really an amazing week!
Rump was fantastic. I love Skyping. It feels so close and personal. The pictures of your kids are so charming. I love how you showcase your week.
Thanks Kimberley. Our Skype was really just so great! The kids can’t stop talking about it. And truthfully, neither can I!
Wow! So much to celebrate! We Skyped with Liesl Shurtliff, too, and she is fantastic! Your pictures, activities, and celebrations are just wonderful. Thank you for sharing – you’re a terrific, creative teacher!
Liesl really is so lovely! The kids were so excited to “meet” her! Thanks for the compliment Holly – from you, it means a lot.
Yay for having an author Skype. And double yay for being authors yourselves. 🙂
Definitely at least a double yay week! 🙂
Loved reading about the Skype visit! I bookmarked that post to share in a couple of my classes–great inspiration for me and my students. (Also included in Sunday Salon this week!) Love seeing the enthusiasm of your young authors–what an incredible experience for them–to be published authors in 2nd/3rd grades! Thanks for the window into your classroom. I learn so much from you!
Thank you so much for including this in your Sunday Salon! And for these kind words. It is so exciting to try so much with this group of kids. They are game for anything!
Such a great week of celebrations! The author Skype – wish I’d been there! What fun! I also LOVE If I Built A House and have done the same lesson with my students. Don’t the illustrations remind you of the Jettsons? I loved seeing your students innovative designs! A great way to beat the heat! Maybe the next hot day – they should design their own water parks!
I love that idea – designing water parks! We were wishing for a water park Friday afternoon! But I guess we wished too well because here is the rain! The Skype with Liesl was so fantastic. It will be a highlight of our year!
Wow! What a week. Love the photos of the kids — so much going on in your classroom. I loved Rump — they must have loved it. Thanks for celebrating and sharing so many great ideas.
Isn’t Rump the best? It makes a very special read aloud! We did have lots of fun with both the book and the Skype experience!
I love how the pictures share so much of the energy in your classroom! If I was a parent of a student in your class, I would be so excited to have these glimpses into your classroom. Love it!
Thanks Jen! I really try to capture all of the joy in the classroom. I really do love sharing it!