CELEBRATE: Small Victories

There were a thousand little victories in my classroom this week – there always are – but there were a few that I just couldn’t help but share.

1. There is nothing more wonderful than when a student asks you for book recommendations on the sly because (s)he decides that if everyone else is at least trying it, it can’t be all that bad. This student stumped me though so I quickly posted on Facebook for help:

hockey fb post

Within 24 hours I had 19 good leads – and when I shared what I found with the student who requested, the pencil and notebook came out and titles were added to that TBR list… There is nothing more beautiful than watching the transformation from crossed arms and grumbling about reading to looking forward to it.

2. I was giddy to see the opportunity Lee Ann Spillane shared on her blog earlier this week – the chance to participate in a virtual open mic event on Google Hangout. (I think her words do better justice to explaining what is to take place this coming Tuesday. Go read about it – I’ll wait!) Not surprisingly, I couldn’t wait to tell my students about this! I shared and got a few who were shaking their heads. (We’re at the VERY beginning of studying poetry together in my academic classes – so I’m used to this. We did a sort of Airing of the Grievances about studying/reading/writing poetry on Friday – with the expectation that it’s out of our system and we will move forward with open minds on Monday.) There were a few whose faces lit up – and when I got the OK to send my information to a Career Day planning meeting instead of having to attend (thus clearing my schedule to participate in this awesome inaugural event!), I asked for students to let me know if they were interested. Several seemed game to come and watch. A few were asking about reading their own poems and plan on bringing their work to show me on Monday. And a couple sent me messages over the weekend about it.

3. I found a kindred spirit. Actually, this student reminds me of myself in high school. Do I ever have advice to dispense there! I’m honest with my students – my work habits were atrocious when I was in high school. I wanted to learn, but I wasn’t crazy about the work. I’d read everything for my research papers weeks before they were due, but I wouldn’t write a word before the eleventh hour. And that was only if I wasn’t so stressed out from everything that I could get started.

Okay. I will admit that I’m still sometimes guilty of waiting to the last minute. (Uh…this post was supposed to be done yesterday. But in my defense, I was off being helpful at our church camp’s big fundraising event Friday night and all day Saturday. I had most of this written in my head – just like in high school – long before I sat down to type it this morning!) But I find that I’m not so easily overwhelmed.

And I have learned just what the limitations are for me as long as everything is chugging along at status quo.

Having a conversation with this student – and several emails back and forth one evening this week – was exactly like listening to my twenty-years-ago self. I felt like it wasn’t just the student who got back on track with things – in some ways, I did, too.

4. The best way to end a week is to have a student pop in after school and want to talk about what he or she is reading. This week I had the honor of chatting with a student about Mockingjay – he got to the part about Prim near the end of the book and recognized that time needed to be MADE to finish those last forty pages. That night. No matter what else was going on.

It made me think about this awesome post about making time for reading that I nearly missed (Thank you, Beth Shaum for sharing it!).  And also this post about developing a desire in students to read at home.

The other part of this relatively short exchange that made my heart sing was when he offered his thoughts on what was going on in the book, how it was going to end, and his attitudes towards the characters – all easily backed up with information from the text. He wasn’t prompted to do any of that. He offered. Like so many other times, I wish I had recorded this conversation for him to view later when he’s struggling to write like this. Maybe we should just record his thoughts on Divergent when he reads that… ;)

5. I got more BOOKS. At our camp, they had a HUGE pile of books they were selling – fifty cents per paperback, one dollar per hardcover. I’m such a sucker for this that it was one of the first things I did when they set up. (Don’t judge – I just realized I could have used those 15 minutes to write this post then, but there were books to buy!) I went through the pile and made a stack. Then B went through the piles and added a few to my stack. Jason was too busy, so I grabbed one specifically for him. I’m excited to bring most of what I picked out into my classroom next week.  I posted the picture below on Facebook and was delighted to see former students weigh in about the titles they love that are in this stack.

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Want to see what other teachers are celebrating about last week? Click on the link below! Have some celebrations of your own that you’re itching to share? Join us each Saturday by writing a post and linking it up there!

Discover. Play. Build.
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5 thoughts on “CELEBRATE: Small Victories

  1. Small victories…great celebrations. Connecting students to books is always a reason to celebrate. (I think I posted this same comment here last week!) :)
    Thank you for link about “making time for reading”. I suppose I use “busyness” as an excuse. This article has made me rethink my schedule. Thanks!

    • YES! Exactly like Festivus. Without the pole or the wrestling of the elders to the floor. :) I got an earful, but I know what I’m up against. Their complaints are many of the same ones I had when I studied poetry in middle school and high school – the same ones that turned me off to poetry until grad school.

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