It’s Saturday 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.
This week I am celebrating the making of avid, voracious readers.
Coming back from winter break is always a little rocky. Students need to be reminded of the procedures and routines and it takes a little while for them to re-adjust to being in school. I was not so nervous this year about that new beginning. My group of students this year is just a great group of kids. They are kind and funny and they love to learn. I missed them over the break and was happy to see them again this week.
On Monday, the assistant who works in my classroom told me that her son has become a reading fiend this year in my classroom. She said he always liked to read, but this year he is devouring books. I LOVE to hear that I influence kiddos in this way.
Every other routine was a little bit shaky on Monday, but not independent reading. My students were able to sustain their reading for 50 minutes. I was trying to re-establish our Words Their Way groups and routines so it took a little longer than usual, but that didn’t matter to this class. I continue to be amazed at how engaged this group is in really losing themselves in their books.
On Wednesday, I was trying to get my Scholastic catalogs together so that I could hand them out to my students. I had not had enough time before our Art class to give them out, so I was working on sorting and stapling them during their Art time, which goes right up to the end of our school day. The catalogs were in 5 piles, 4 piles of separate catalogs and one pile of stapled together catalogs ready to hand out. When it was time to get ready and line up for dismissal, I turned around and saw a mob at my table. The students were so excited about the Scholastic catalog that they ignored what they knew they should be doing and created this mess trying to look at the catalogs. I couldn’t even be that mad at them because I was glowing with the fact that they were so excited about the catalogs.
Then, on Thursday, when I was going to hand out the catalogs, I decided to show them books that I would recommend. I got about halfway through showing them my recommendations when one of the students spoke up. Lucas raised his hand and very politely said, “Mrs. Payan, can you please stop spoiling it for us?” I didn’t get what he meant at first. I thought he meant that I was spoiling the books for them, so I immediately defended myself saying, “I’m not spoiling anything” to which he replied, “Yeah, you kinda are.” And then I realized he meant that I was spoiling their experience of looking through the catalog for the first time and finding the treasures that they want to order. So I stopped going through the catalog.
At the end of the day on Thursday, I stopped early so that I could give students time with the Scholastic catalogs. I knew that they would be looking at them instead of getting ready if I waited until our usual dismissal time. It was amazing when they had those five minutes to look through the catalog. They were clustered in little groups. Most had markers or pens in hand and they were circling and starring the papers. It was magical.
Thursday was also the day that I introduced reading partners. At the end of our independent reading time, I had students come back to our gathering space and tell their partners about a place that they were really envisioning the story. Every single partner group was completely engaged in discussing their books. I just sat there and soaked it in knowing that we still have half the school year to go and I know we will go far with our reading work.
My other celebration this week is the introduction of blogs. I had my students set up their blogs on Kidblog this week. We started by doing a paper blog experience and discussing comments. I showed the students my It’s Monday! post and the comments posted there. It was a good way to start the discussion about what makes a good comment. The students did the best job of any class I have worked with so far of putting meaningful comments on each others’ work. The best is when students want more post-it notes so they can leave more comments.
On Wednesday, the students were able to start writing on their blogs. Writing time this week has been focused and quiet and amazing.
What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!