Celebration: Starts with the letter R


Over on my class blog, Curiosity Racers, I shared what happened as a result of this tweet from author Aaron Becker.

It is worth checking out.


All of those delicious R words have inspired my celebration post today.

I celebrate:


My children had a Professional Day on Monday so they came to my classroom with me. This was a wonderful experience all around. They were great helpers and my students loved to interact with them. All my most precious children in one room! Watching the students share their love of books with my children who have been raised on books was a most rewarding experience.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That


I love the restless energy of science experiments. Our favourite Let’s Talk Science volunteers came in on Thursday morning and led the students through some activities to learn about density. The excitement, the observing, the predicting, the confirming, the “Oh I get it now!” moments.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That


In math, we are solving a variety of multi-step word problems involving multiplication and division. I have been modelling different choices around using manipulatives or 100 dot array charts to represent the thinking. Students have been working together to solve and write equations that represent their process. I love the confidence, the starting over, the talk, the thinking.

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That


Yes, the results of our #MockCaldecott are in! The winners are . . .

I hope to be posting more about this soon!

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That


We have some very passionate readers in our room. When this title by Mark Pett wasn’t one of the winners (it was so very close!), one super fan gave it its own medal!

Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That

And author/illustrator Mark Pett approved 🙂


There was lots of gushing over favourite titles in this #MockCaldecott process. Everyone had a chance to write about the books they loved and why. Oh, the book love! Celebration: Starts with the letter R There's a Book for That 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.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom

This week we hosted four student teachers from Simon Fraser University – two on Tuesday and Wednesday and two more on Thursday and Friday. These visits were a part of a week of observations in a variety of classroom settings. I celebrate that my students were so open and welcoming and that we were all able to do some learning and reflecting together.

Always our room is a busy, full speed ahead place but at the end of the week, what was “learned”? I think we managed to pass on a few snippets of wisdom. I love that my students can be teachers. Miriam and I learn from them everyday. This week, I think they gave these SFU students lots to think about.

A few highlights:

Busy, active, exciting – these things need to happen everyday. But, so does calm. Things we do: quiet time, mindful breathing, gratitude circles, an afternoon walk and quiet, reflective play. It can be simple. Buttons, cardboard, markers = 10 minutes of magic.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Have a classroom full of books and lots of time to read them. Every day. Reading is quiet and solitary and social and joyous. Make time for all of it.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Great practice time for anything might involve “equipment” beyond a pencil. The handing out and collection of “stuff” needs to be well organized and logical. Let all of that process be smooth, and practice time can look like this.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Let students collaborate and communicate while they learn. Talk, support, ask questions. And then, celebrate!

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Don’t be afraid to tackle subjects and things that are emotional. We shared a sad video connected to a picture book that we read this week: Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Yes, we had a few tears but we also had some great conversations. The resulting writing was powerful:

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

Invite others in to share their expertise. Our Let’s Talk Science volunteers visited Friday morning for their first visit of the year. We learned about the three states of matter and that when a solid becomes a gas, it is called sublimation. How? Well, there were lots of bubbles, coloured water and . . . dry ice! Fun and fully hands on.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

The big tip here? Let the “experts” do their thing and the kids have fun and learn lots. The classroom teacher’s role? Support, management, enthusiasm. Help it all go smoothly so everyone wants to do it again!

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

And of course, always be prepared. Have everything you need. Be safe. Look like you mean it.

Celebration: Snippets of Wisdom There's a Book for That

There were some other tidbits I passed on – things about paper (and aversions to it), creative interpretations of the IRPs and the power of clicky shoes. But it was the students doing what they do best that allowed the most powerful “teaching” to happen. And this is what I celebrate this week!


Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.

Celebration: Different Days

celebrate link up

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

This week I am celebrating different days. Each day this week had something out of the ordinary and it made for quite a lovely week with lots to be grateful for each day. Change brings new perspectives and insights. For this, I am grateful.

On Monday, which just so happened to be Family Literacy Day, my children came to school with me. They had a Professional Day at their school and wanted to come hang out in my classroom. They were involved in lots of literacy activities and did a wonderful job supporting and connecting with my students.

 Celebration: Different Days There's a Book for That

Tuesday afternoon is typically quite busy in my classroom. This week, we worked on having a very calm p.m. We finished art/writing projects and everyone felt very proud about getting all of our art up on the walls. A sample of student art work – gorgeous winter castles.

 Celebration: Different Days There's a Book for That

On Wednesday, we celebrated outside winter play with the FunMobile sponsored by Participaction.

What fun my class had playing outside with our little buddies from Mr. Blanchard’s K/1 class. Lots of activity, much laughter and some creativity with cones . . .

 Celebration: Different Days There's a Book for That

On Thursday we celebrated science with Lisa and Nelly, our amazing volunteer scientists from the Let’s Talk Science Program. Students learned how to use different equipment to measure liquids. Celebration: Different Days There's a Book for That

On Friday I had the opportunity to celebrate my own learning with an amazing Professional Development Day. Pat Johnson and Katie Keier authors of Catching Readers Before They Fall were in Vancouver for a full day of presentations and discussions.

catching readers

I could write a LOT about things I took away from this session but I am going to try and limit it to my top ten takeaway comments/ideas/questions/inspirations. Note – these come from sessions with both Pat and Katie.

1. If a child is struggling with a word when reading, don’t help by prompting with the same strategy – use a different one. (i.e. if child is sounding out and not getting word, don’t say “try the other vowel sound” – instead, use a meaning or syntax prompt)

2. Be careful about our language – not “This is what good readers do” but instead ” Readers . . . ” when we talk about the habits/strategies of readers.

3. Our assessment should focus on what it is the child does when stuck. What strategies does he/she have? Which does he/she need to learn?

4. Use Reader’s Statements with your students to communicate what readers do. For example: Readers think about what they read or listen to or Readers make sure what they read makes sense I am already thinking about what statements I want to highlight with my students and where to post these in the room. 

5. Think about the difference between heavy handed strategy teaching and “spotlighting” certain strategies. Integrate strategies because all readers need all of them. There shouldn’t be a continuum where certain comprehension strategies are taught at certain grades.

6. Don’t skip/rush the shared demonstrations. Children need the “do it with me” time. Some need more practice and explicit support linking back to these lessons as they are developing independence with the strategies.

7. The children who struggle (who don’t have a reading processing system happening) do not realize that other readers have all of these things going on while they read – make thinking explicit in modelled read alouds

8. Really think about what fluency means. It is not just speed and accuracy. It is also phrasing, flow, punctuation, expression, etc. Use text to show how punctuation “tells us how to read it”  in shared demonstrations to talk about fluency.

9. Effective literacy programs are anchored in best practices but responsive to today’s world. Think about  purposes for reading/writing when thinking about using new technologies i.e. blogging and sharing with school community, wider world, responding to comments, etc

10. When thinking about having children use technologies – think about a shift from children thinking about technology as a toy to using it as a tool. Is what we are teaching helping our students become literate? Help them be creators/producers and not just consumers.

I also loved that in Pat’s a.m. session she referred to one of my favourite blog posts on the Catching Readers blog: Signal Words This is a great post full of ideas about how to assist students learn how to read nonfiction texts.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!