It's just that time of the school year. We are at the longest stretch.. trying to say goodbye to winter and anxiously awaiting spring! It is a long few months between the end of winter break and the beginning of spring break. Living in southeast Pennsylvania, we still haven't seen one snow day this year! Lately, I have been feeling like my pup, Bailey, each morning. I wake up and get ready to take on a new school day, even though I rather still be crawled up under the covers! Despite the daily craziness of teaching, we can always find small moments that remind us how we are making a difference in the students' lives who walk through our doors each day.
I recently attended a writing workshop about Writer's Notebooks. When the presenter handed me a brand new teal notebook, I was actually excited! I took time decorating it with stickers and pictures that reflected me. I wanted to write in and take pride in how I was going to use it. That excitement led to me asking my principal if she would be willing to buy my class new notebooks as we try to consistently make "Quick Writes" part of our afternoon routine. Because we are in the trenches of TDA writings in preparation for the PSSAs, I want to remind my students that writing can be an enjoyable, empowering and comforting process.
Well, the excitement on these 4th graders' faces when they got to pick out a brand new notebook was priceless. However, this isn't the "Slice of Life" I am referring to.
Let's fast forward a day... It begins to pour in the middle of outdoor recess, so we need to come inside and (of course!) finish up recess! While I was reviewing the students' options for indoor recess activities, one of them asked if they could decorate their notebook. Then, they pulled out some markers and pictures. Another student did the same. A couple students actually started to show off how they took their notebooks home the first night and decorated them on their own. And for the next 15 minutes, more than half of my class was actively engaged in personalizing their new Writer's Notebooks. A couple of them even asked if they could continue doing this tomorrow during recess.
This was one of those rare and special moments that you hope for as a teacher. Students... helping, sharing, collaborating, encouraging and celebrating... over notebooks! Where we go from here with our Writer's Notebooks is part of the journey, but I am already excited to see that I have sparked some renewed interest in writing!