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 celebrating this week:
1) Workshop Celebrations -It’s the last busy surge of Pro. D. workshops in the school year and I have been enjoying my visits in many districts. I spent this past Thursday in Kamloops, where I have presented many workshops over the years. I believe that it was one of the first districts to hear me talk about Reading Power! I was excited to present a session on ‘Revisiting Reading Power” – to share how Reading Power has evolved for me and how my thinking has changed and developed over the past years. Many of the teachers there are very familiar with the strategies but were excited to get some new ideas and book titles to support their practice. So I celebrate teachers from Kamloops and from all the districts I visit – for their commitment to teaching and learning.
2) Friend Celebrations – A bonus whenever I visit Kamloops is that I get to spend time with my dear friend Katie. She and I went through Education at university together (UBC) MANY years ago and have remained friends ever since. Although we don’t talk or see each other often, whenever we get together it is like no time has passed. We talk and talk and laugh and laugh and have amazing conversations. While I am passionate about Literacy, Katie’s passion is Math. Katie is a MASTER Math teacher. She teaches Math at a middle school in Kamloops and after she picked me up at the airport, I went to visit her classroom and showed me some of her amazing lessons. I have never felt confident in Math – but I know that if she had been my Math teacher, I would have had a totally different outlook. I am always trying to encourage her to share her brilliant ideas with other teachers – and this time I think I just might have twisted her arm! So I celebrate my dear friend – she is a gift to education and a gift to me.
3) Upcoming Workshop Celebrations – I have been invited to present a workshop at the Maple Leaf School in Dalian, China! Amazing! I have a very dear friend who is working at the school with her husband. She brought my book with her and is training all the teachers to use Reading Power strategies. This is quite a new concept for many of the teachers as promoting “thinking” is not as common practice in their education system as it is here. She has worked hard to get the “powers that be” at her school to invite me next November to do a Pro.D. workshop for their VERY large staff and two more Maple Leaf campus staffs will join. How exciting! She says that teachers receive very little professional development so this will be very new for many of them! Coincidentally, but not connected to my visit, my book is being translated into Chinese! The stars have aligned and the translation will be ready by the time I go in November!
4) Garden Celebrations – Spring is here and blooming in my yard. I love this time of year when I get to say hello to all my perennial friends as they begin to push their way up from their winter sleep to color our yard. My husband and I spent last weekend pulling up weeds and edging the flower beds. Next job is to plant a few more friends to fill the spaces and add some top soil. I love my garden!
5) City Celebration – I love Vancouver – the city where I was born and where I have lived all my life. I love the mountains, the beaches, the parks – I truly believe it is one of most beautiful cities in the world. Last weekend, we took the dog for a walk along Spanish Banks and this was our view. I celebrate the beauty of the city I call home.
5) Family Celebrations – Spring means spring hockey tournaments and baseball double headers. I celebrate that both my boys are playing sports that they love and that we have met so many wonderful families through their teams. This weekend, my younger son is in a big hockey tournament and won MVP at his first game. I am not a very good goalie mom – I usually last until the second period sitting, then I have to walk around and then usually spend the last few minutes hiding in a bathroom stall texting another parent to find out the score!
6) Classroom Celebrations – In this last term of the school year, I’m working with several primary classes on writing. I find such delight in watching the younger students get excited about writing. Young writers tend to write in a list “I like dogs. I like chocolate. I like soccer.” (see sample below) Last week I taught them about adding interesting details to their sentences. I introduced them to my favorite words for adding details: once, sometimes, if, when. I modeled “I like red licorice.” but they agreed this was a little boring. I then wrote “I like red licorice because it’s good” – a little better but still boring! So then I wrote: “I like red licorice. Once I ate a whole bag in the movie theater.” The students agreed that this was the most interesting sentence because they could make connections and visualize. “Good writers activate their readers’ thinking” Next week, we will continue to practice adding interesting details using “once, sometimes, if, when”.
I’m celebrating many things this week. What about you?