Daily Archives: February 15, 2014

Celebration Saturday

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I’m happy to be joining Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes and others to celebrate and appreciate the goodness of the past week.

Here are the things I’m celebrate this week:

1) HOCKEY TOURNAMENT – This President’s Day long weekend, I am in Arizona at a hockey tournament with my youngest son.  I find it strange to come from Canada to a desert to play hockey – but this is a huge tournament with teams from all over the US and Canada.  So far we have won both our games so there is a lot of celebrating!  My son is one of the goalies and he played the first game and had 48 shots – and only let in 1 (which was actually kicked in by one of our own players!)  We won the game 4-1!  I was very proud of him – and the team!  Along with the fun we fun we are having, I am celebrating the break I’m having and the beautiful weather.  I left the cold and damp of Vancouver and now basking in the dry 85 degree heat!  Not a bad way to spend the weekend!

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Oliver and me in the Arizona desert (a scenic drive between hockey games! He looks taller than me but he is standing on a rock!)

2) PERSUASIVE WRITING – I am working with a group of grade 6 students on persuasive writing.  This particular group of children have not had a lot of explicit instruction in writing forms or techniques.  We began many weeks back with our first practice write on “The Best Season”.  I spent several classes teaching them about the structure and language associated with opinion and persuasion.  We brainstormed, we made plans, we all wrote opening sentences together, we did A LOT leading up to the actual writing.  Results?  Dear, oh dear, oh DEAR!   I hate to say this but they were terrible. Really and truly terrible.  I don’t think I read one piece of writing that would have been above a “C”.  I felt very discouraged.  But on the up side – they could only get better!  So over the next several weeks, we have been continuing the same process with different topics. I call them “practice writes” because they don’t do “good copies” of them.  We wrote another on “The Best Pet” and last week they wrote their opinion of “School Uniforms”.  My celebration?  WOW!  Their writing is getting better and better!  Justin was even able to convince me that hedgehogs are the best pets!    I am so impressed that in just a few short weeks they are able to follow the structure, include persuasive language and back up their opinions with examples.  I told them how proud I was of how much they had all improved!  So I celebrate the power of explicit teaching and the difference it is making!

3) MY BOOK – My new book, Nonfiction Writing Power, book has now been printed!  I have not yet seen it – but my box is being shipped and should be here next week.  My publisher says the printers worked overtime to get the book finished in time for the big reading conference next week in Toronto.  (Read celebration #4!)  The book launch is scheduled for the evening of March 4th at Vancouver Kidsbooks!  Mark your calendars!

4) READING FOR THE LOVE OF IT – I’m celebrating a little ahead of time with this one – but next week I will be heading to Toronto to present at a huge reading conference called “Reading For the Love of It”.  It’s sort of the Canadian Equivalent of the IRA.  The difference is that you have to be invited to present rather than send in a proposal.  My publisher has always said “When you get an invite to Reading For the Love of It” – it means you have arrived”  (I have been waiting 10 years “to arrive”!)    My proposal for the IRA conference in New Orleans had been declined so I was feeling a bit dejected – when I received the invite to present in Toronto.  Yippee!  I have arrived!  I am so excited to be going – the line up of speakers and authors is incredible!  I will be posting more next week from the conference – stay tuned!

5)  CAR ACCIDENT:  On Tuesday morning I witnessed and was involved in the aftermath of a horrific car accident.  It was an unusually cold and frosty morning, resulting in severe black ice on the roads and sidewalks.  My girlfriend and I were out for our early morning run when we saw one car sliding out of control into the oncoming lane and hitting another car head-on.  What followed is a bit of a blur as we ran over to help the people in the cars, one of whom was severely injured.   I won’t describe the details as it is still very difficult for me to talk about.  What made a bad situation worse is that immediately following the accident, other cars began to slide as they turned the corner and tried to stop.  I did what I could to move an already injured person away from the potential of more injury.  What is there to celebrate you may ask?  Many things.  I celebrate that at that moment my girlfriend and I were there to help.  I can’t even think about what could have happened if we were not.  I celebrate my dear friend who screamed at me to get out of the way of another skidding car while I was trying to help the injured woman.  I celebrate the neighbor who came running out with a flashlight and ran up the road to try slow down the other cars.  I celebrate the many police, fire and ambulance drivers who took over the scene.  I celebrate that I went to teach that day and found strength from my dear students.   I celebrate that I am alive.

Thanks for reading my celebrations today.

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