Saturday, December 5, 2015

Celebrate This Week 12/5

Come celebrate with us on Saturdays! 

I have had such a difficult time making the time to blog this year. I could give it all sorts of excuses, but it really comes down to not deciding to put my butt in the chair and write. I hope to correct that and continue to write with more frequency in the coming weeks. 

This week's celebration includes a few things from other weeks in which I had the ideas but did not write them up. Better late than never, right?

First, I celebrate the creativity of my students. I had just finished reading aloud Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin and I wanted to put up a display of artwork. So I thought about it and decided to have my students depict scenes from the book in our watercolor project. They turned out so well! I was amazed also at the details that they decided to include in their art. I love that we have this shared book experience! Then, also there is the one piece of art that gave my colleagues and I a few chuckles after school (look at the pictures and you will see what I mean).

This is a tower with a thorny bush at the bottom, of course.

We have been reading The One and Only Ivan now. I love that one of my students made the connection between Mack and King Barf. We were talking about how Mack seems to only think about money and this student brought up this connection. It was followed with a chorus of "Yeah, I was thinking that too." So fun to hear their thinking!

This is a carnation that one of my students brought me the day before Thanksgiving break. When I asked her what it was for she said, "because I love you." So sweet.

In the middle of November, I had the opportunity to attend a day-long workshop with Lucy Calkins presenting about the Units of Study in Teaching Reading. Mind Blown! Of course, I immediately purchased the units and then read and reflected about my own classroom and the workshop environment I had created so far this year. The workshop and the things Lucy had to say really helped me to rethink some of the extras that I had been trying to do. I have started using the first unit for 4th grade, with some modifications since I already had some procedures and routines in place. I stopped trying to figure out how to work in other reading work to look more like other reading classrooms in my building. I lost a huge weight off my shoulders and we have started to sink into the work of reading intensely and deeply. I love it.

My district started something new this year with our calendar. We had teacher work days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It was awesome! I had a ton of time to rearrange my classroom and work on the never-ending work of sorting and labeling my class library. I am very pleased with the amount of work I was able to accomplish in those three days and I really like the new arrangement as well.

This week was full of amazing reading time. My students were able to sustain their independent reading time for 40-45 minutes each day. Even on Monday, which was the day after a week-long break for them. I am loving seeing most of the students really becoming avid readers.

In my personal life, I celebrate time with family and friends, a new fancy Kitchen-Aid mixer, fitting in regular workouts again, HGTV, and spring-like weather in December in Wisconsin.

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


  1. Love hearing all about your classroom, and that you're going to be writing more, and seeing the art, Andrea. I loved doing art connected to books in my class, so happy to see these. My celebrations are always about enjoying what happens every day. Alone or with others, I usually have a good time. Sounds as if you do, too!

  2. Love seeing the student art work. Sustained independent reading time is defiinitely something to celebrate. Enjoy your new mixer, I bet it will be getting some workouts this month too. Happy weekend!