Celebrate 4/25

It’s Saturday morning and that means it is time to reflect on the week and celebrate things both big and small. Join our community and celebrate this week by linking up or just stopping by the host Ruth Ayres’ blog to read others’ celebrations.

It has been a while since I sat down to write a Celebrate blog post, but that is not to say that I have not been celebrating. I love that this routine of writing these blog posts really made me much more aware of the small things I have to celebrate each week.

This week was a crazy one and I don’t think it will let up anytime soon. With the new Badger Exam (Wisconsin’s Smarter Balanced Assessment), and an administrator trying to catch up on evaluations and cramming in the observations, the craziness that is the end of the year is upon us.  All of the changes to our routine are a big thorn in my side since this group of kids is one that cannot handle it. However, we are handling it and I am able to stay less stressed out because I am finding things to celebrate each day.

Since I knew there was going to be a weird schedule this week, I decided to spend some time thinking about Earth Day using The Lorax. We read the book and watched the newer adaptation movie and compared the two. We spent time talking about how the Earth needs our help and what could be done to help. We made Truffula trees to go along with the Lorax students had made in art class. Then, two of my students took it upon themselves to make a poster to hang up with the artwork. We have a wonderful display and I love that these students took the initiative and ownership of the display.

My student council had decided earlier this year that they wanted to do a book drive. We threw it together with minimal planning and sent out flyers. We collected books for two weeks. It took longer for us to count them than we had originally planned, but we finally got a count done this week. In our school with an enrollment of about 600 students, we were able to collect over 2,000 books that will be donated to a community organization. I am super impressed with this result, and only slightly inconvenienced by the multitude of boxes of books in my classroom. (I would really love to share a picture here, but I am so bad at remembering to take pictures of things)

On Thursday, my dog had knee surgery. I am celebrating the fact that the surgery went well and she will hopefully not be in so much pain with the new fake ligament. Of course, right now there is more pain, but it has already gotten better which is another thing I am celebrating. (That first night was horrible) I also have to celebrate how cute the bandage is. I love that my vet matched the bandage color to the collar she was wearing.

This week, I had a former student come to school in a surprise visit. This particular young man was a very needy and very special young child. I taught him in first grade, then again in fifth grade, then again in eighth grade. I did this same pattern with many students, but none needed the calming influence of a stable adult so much as this boy. I was his fiercest advocate throughout his years at our school and he knew it. On the day of his 8th grade completion ceremony, he told me that he didn’t know how he would have made it through his years at our school without me. He is now a high school graduate with plans to go to college and wants to be an aerospace engineer. I was choked up to see how successful he seems to be. It was not always evident in his 8th grade year whether he was going to stay on the right path, so I am glad to see that he did. He came to school specifically to thank me again for the many years I worked with him to help him stay on track. It was a really nice surprise in a week that is full of stress. It is a reminder of why I do what I do.

My students are loving the read aloud of Rump. They beg me to read each day and then it is the most quiet in my classroom while I read. Since quiet moments are few and far between this year, I love that time even more.

Lastly, I want to celebrate living in a place in which we experience the four seasons in all of their glory. Our weather has been wonderfully weird in the last few weeks. It has gotten warm enough on some days to give us a glimpse of summer. Then, we actually had some snow flurries one day this week. I think it is wonderful to live in this kind of place because then when we have sunshine and warmth, we really know how to appreciate it.

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/20

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

Books I Finished:

I loved The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. It was such a sweet story about fitting in and making friends. I love the way the main character uses reading to help her make her way through her life. It is one I will definitely recommend to my students.

The Meaning of Meggie by Megan Jean Sovern was a really difficult book for me to read. I was diagnosed with MS last year. Reading about Meggie’s experience as a young girl trying to understand her father’s illness was hard. I hope that I won’t ever get to the stage in which I need to be in a wheelchair, but I don’t know and that is the scary part of MS. I thought this was a wonderful book and I will definitely recommend it to kids.

I read The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay for my book club. I am really excited to discuss it at our meeting. This is a wonderful story about healing. Both of the main characters in the book have had tragic experiences and they are used to keeping everyone away from them. I loved the complex characters in this novel. When I got to the end of the book, I couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late. That hasn’t happened in a while. I would highly recommend it to adults.

I learned so much from the book Chocolate: Sweet Science and Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat by Kay Frydenborg. This would be an excellent mentor text for informational writing. The author manages to pack in so much history as well as the environmental science and the science of making chocolate. I recommend this one for grades 5 and up.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am reading Outlander and really enjoying it. I am also reading a book from NetGalley, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I also started reading an ARC of The Nightsiders: The Orphan Army by Jonathan Maberry. So far it is really interesting.  I really liked Rot and Ruin and I am excited about this middle grade series.

What’s Next?
I have no idea what I will read next. I am having a hard time getting to my reading lately so I may not be able to start anything else.

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

I was again not feeling all that well this week so I spent a lot of time watching HGTV shows on Netflix. I don’t know why I tend to want to see this type of show when not feeling well, but I do. Since I was in some pain, I have been taking some medication that makes me feel completely out of it, so brain work did not really fit in. I am seeing my neurologist today and I hope that he will have some solutions for me. That being said, I am officially on Spring Break this week! Woo-Hoo!!!
Books I Finished This Week:
The Red Pencil is a novel-in-verse by Andrea Davis Pinkney. It tells the story of Amira, a young girl who craves learning to read and write, but lives too far away from the nearest school. Then, when war arrives at her village, she and her family find themselves walking to the refugee camp. The story is told from Amira’s perspective and would be a good way for middle grade students to understand what happens in other places in the world. I think it would be good to have a literature circle read this one while other groups read Home of the Brave and The Long Walk to Water. There could be some great discussions about how people in Africa work to survive.  
I loved Fish in a Tree. I had read a lot about it from other teachers and librarians and I am just as much in love with this book as others.  I think it would be an excellent read aloud to pair with Thank You, Mr. Faulkner at the beginning of the year, while discussing perseverance and a growth mindset. I hope I am a teacher like Mr. Daniels, who helps the students to see their own strengths. 
Books I am Currently Reading:
I am still listening to/reading Outlander. It is a fun read. I have also been reading some magazines this week. 
What’s Next?
I have Ensnared and The Mime Order from the library. I also have 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which I got interested in while I was reading All the Light We Cannot See. It is a classic that I have never read, so I am curious to see if I will like it. I also have a stack of middle grade titles that I would like to get through. Unfortunately, I had to leave school in the middle of the day on Wednesday, and I was super medicated and unable to drive on Thursday, so I really didn’t get to pack up my things to bring home for break. I am hoping I can get into my classroom at some point this week to be able to grab some of the books I want to have here. 
What are you reading this week? I would love to hear form you in the comments!

Slice of Life: Celebration! 3/31

I am participating again this year in the Slice of Life challenge in which we write a slice every day in March. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information.

I am so excited that I made it all the way through this month! I wasn’t sure about taking on the challenge again this year, but here it is, the last day of March, and I made it! I wrote every day! 
Since it is a day in which I feel like celebrating, I thought I would take a minute to celebrate a few things here: (I missed the Celebration link-up on Saturday and I am definitely feeling it)
1. My students begged me to read Rump today. They are loving this read aloud and the time I spend reading is this excellent, quiet time in which we all enjoy reading and books. 
2. Two more days until Spring Break! 
3. My students are really understanding the fractions unit on which we are working. It is great to see their mathematical thinking. 
4. They are loving the Genius Hour time that we have in class. More than half of my class is learning to code and doing a great job at it. It is a great time of learning.