Celebrate this week: First steps…small steps

Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes  …. because we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!


Last week went by in a blur: our first full week with our students at school, and back to school night for their parents.  Last week was about practicing routines, figuring out where we are as readers and writers, taking small steps and first steps as a learning community.  The week flew by, but not so quickly that there weren’t moments that gave us cause to celebrate:

We met to talk about the stories we’re reading, and I loved listening to the rise and fall of my kids’ voices as they shared their thinking.  Much of what we do in Room 202 is centered around rich talk, so I celebrated the tone of the conversations and their thoughtfulness.


We spent all of last week making visual representations of writing territories and ideas, culminating in maps (maps of rooms, neighborhoods, summer camps, etc.).  E. took me aside and asked if he could draw a mind map.  “Sure!” I said, “why not?!”  After working on it with tenacious concentration, E. came up with the map above illustrating  the doors of wisdom and his right brain/left brain inclinations.  He was bursting with ideas he could write about, he said, and could not wait to begin.  “My  mind is a pretty interesting one isn’t it?” he asked, with a smile stretching from one ear to the other.  Yes, indeed.  Sixth graders are so inventive and open to thinking outside the box – and that’s cause for celebration.


My kiddos seem ready to build meaningful reading lives, but we have a lot of work to do when it comes to reading carefully and slowing down to gather evidence from which to create theories about characters.  Last week, we read picture books and short stories to practice this work; it’s slow work, and work so worthwhile taking the time to get right, but we made a great start. I celebrate that.

Finally, I celebrate the fact that we have managed to shift the way we begin our day together from a “let’s get to work right away” stance, to a soft start stance.  When each of my block of classes walks into our room, morning and afternoon, jazz or classical music is playing, there are a few reminders posted on the board, and my kids ease into their day settling in calmly and reading.  It’s a lovely way to get centered, focused, and ready to learn – and I celebrate the summer conversations which led to this new routine.



4 thoughts on “Celebrate this week: First steps…small steps

  1. Love seeing the watercolors of your kids, the mind map, and hearing about your gentler start to the work day/afternoon. It’s something we appreciate as adults, bet your students love it too! Yay for summer conversations!

  2. That ‘soft start’ sounds lovely, Tara, nice for the teacher, too, right? I love hearing about the maps, and E’s mind map especially-allready reflecting in who he is! I’m glad you had a great beginning.

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