Celebrating The Good Things

As I read Ruth's post on Tuesday, I pictured many days that I could write those same words.  Actually, I could have written them one day this week.  There seems to be a underlying presence of negativity and even hopelessness lurking in the lives of educators right now as we grapple with high stakes testing, SLOs, data gathering, and new teacher evaluations tied to our student test scores.  This community of celebrators is very important to me as it helps me focus on the positive and see past  the adversity.  I'm thinking we need this community in our building.  I'm envisioning a bulletin board dedicated to Celebration Graffiti for teachers to share their celebrations both in and out of the classroom.  I'll let you know what comes of it.

This week's celebrations happened in school and out of school.

First ~ My kids are having REAL whole group conversations that don't involve me leading the discussion.  Our best talks are happening during our read aloud of Out of My Mind. We've been working all year on how to have an engaging conversation that does not involve the teacher asking the questions and a student answering while others drift off aimlessly.  My heart was singing this week as I sat back and watched the magic. In addition,  our blogging and commenting skills are getting better and better.  The kids love the opportunity to connect with others in and outside of our classroom.

Second ~ My fourth grade team is collaborating with our literacy coach on an opinion writing unit.  With all of us at different stages in our lives (empty nesters, little ones or teenagers at home, no kids) it's hard to find a common planning time.  It was a little tricky, but we did it this week.  I'm excited about the time to work through the new Lucy Calkins book with my colleagues who are also my friends.

Third ~ My teaching partner and I got writing partners set up today.  We spent the morning at Panera talking about writing workshop and our young writers.  For the first time, the kids who go to resource room for Language Arts are staying in my classroom for Writing Workshop this year.  Sarah, their intervention teacher, is co-teaching the writing block with me.  I love the collaboration and keeping and building a community of writers that includes all the kids.

Fourth ~ This might be the best part of the week.  It's Saturday afternoon and my lesson plans are done for the week.  I made two batches of cookies (oatmeal raisin and peanut butter chocolate chip) because for the first time in two months I get to be with all 3 of my kids and they NEED homemade cookies.  Zach has a percussion ensemble concert tonight at the Conservatory of Music.  Molly drove in from Pittsburgh and we are on our way to Cincinnati for the concert.

There is something so satisfying in seeing your grown children being happy and successful.

Thanks to Ruth for this wonderful opportunity to share our celebrations.  Visit her site for the link up and read other celebrations.


  1. Oh, I hope the concert went beautifully. It is a pleasure being with grown kids, I agree, Julie, and I couldn't have survived these past few years without their support. You have so much good parts of your life right now, and I hope it continues to find those good collaborations all the year.

  2. What you are teaching your grade schoolers is invaluable. I wish I could get my college students to do this! It seems I am always saying to them "Talk to each other!" Or "direct your comment to the person who just spoke!" Thanks, Julie. (Miriam)

  3. I love everything you're celebrating this week. It is no small feat to get kids to talk productively without the intervention/intrusion of the teacher. Kudos to you! I love all the collaborating you're doing. Great picture of your kids. I know they enjoyed those cookies! I hope you have another great week in store...

  4. Wow it was a great week! You motivate me to do more with my middle schoolers. Starting is the hardest part. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the bulletin board idea!!! Chris

  5. Many things to celebrate this week. I love the graffiti board for teachers! I think our building could use this community also! You will have to let us know how this goes. I am going to go back and check your "conversations" posts and see if there is anything I can use to stimulate our talk in my classroom. Have a great week!


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