On some Mondays, I question whether I have it together at all. A lot seems to not be yet “in synch” and the previous week feels very long ago. Monday often feels like a warm up, remind ourselves, get it together day. I don’t often say TGIF. But I often think TGMIO. TGMIO = Thank Goodness Monday is Over. Monday is the day when we don’t have the cushion of success immediately behind us. Anxiety is higher. Stamina is lower. Energy is inconsistent. When Monday is under our belt, it’s like the clouds part. The sun creeps in or sometimes it lights up the week bright and strong on Tuesday and holds fast.
That was this week. Monday was a yikes kind of day. Tuesday started a torrent of amazing and I celebrate Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and all of their glory!
A few highlights:
Reading books for our Mock Caldecott competition has been pure joy. Students are so engaged with this! I hear them chatting to each other, “Do you have a top three?” “So now which ones are your favourites?” ” I know my favourites but there are too many of them.” “Oh . . . how are we going to decide?”
Reading Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen was a particularly special experience. We read it last thing Tuesday afternoon. I got to share it with a room of children and four adults (including my parents who volunteer on Tuesdays!) I loved listening to the children’s comments. Even more amusing might have been watching the other adults listen to these comments. I covered the pages in sticky notes – recording all of the utterances. I knew that reading this book aloud to this group of kids was going to be pretty fantastic. It totally surpassed my expectations.
I celebrate math problem solving and the beautiful mess it creates! On Friday, we were all so lost in our work, we didn’t pay attention to the time. When it was time for library, I just had them all stand up, line up and go. We could clean up later. “Walk away from the math,” I had to prompt. They were so engaged! When the students left (it was my prep) I snapped a picture. I loved the piles of manipulatives, the wipe off boards in use, the way notebooks were pushed together as little groups or pairs had formed to work together. We are mathematicians! We share ideas. We talk. We learn from each other. We take risks. This photo of the “post” math work period, reveals just that. It makes me smile.
Even though my students are reading nonfiction titles right from September, I always do a big nonfiction launch in Reading Workshop starting in January. We have more guided instruction, more nonfiction book talks than usual, frequent mini-lessons, some nonfiction group activities, etc. Day one was so much fun. I simply put out the baskets everywhere around the room and give the children some recording sheets and send them off to be Fact Detectives. As they begin looking through books and recording, I am walking around noticing. What books do they gravitate to? Who remembers how to use the features to help them better navigate the texts? Do my new students feel comfortable locating and recording information? It’s noisy. It’s energized. It sets the tone for much more to come.
I love this photo below – she shouted out, “Holy Bagumba! Look how big this boat is!” (Yes, we did just read Flora & Ulysses!)
As I walked around the room, children were sharing. Not just facts – but their thinking, reactions and questions. With me and with each other.
There were impromptu fact announcements. Kids would jump up and tell anyone who might be listening, “Listen to this . . . ” “Did you know . . . ?” The best thing? We were listening! “Really? Whoa . . .” “Can I read that book next?” “Ms. Gelson do you have more books about . . .?”
And, the excitement continued. The next day in Reading Workshop when everyone was engaged in independent reading, many children pulled nonfiction titles out of their book boxes and continued to read. The little guy below told me: “This book make me fainting.” When I asked him to tell me more, he shared a bunch of “wow” facts and just shook his head as if to say, “I never would have imagined . . . ”
And again I am celebrating the yoga in our room. It represents community. Focus. Space. Recharging. The children crave it. And thanks to the amazing Miriam who works with me, we are finding time throughout the week to practice.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks. Read all of the celebrations by following the links shared here.