Celebrate This Week:From vicarious travel to baseball

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

This was a funny old week, really. It began  sunny and warm days full of Spring promise, which were followed by a return to cold and clammy pre-Spring gloom.  Nevertheless, there were things to celebrate.

My husband and daughter are traveling through Austria, and I celebrate their adventures through the photographs they send, and our conversations at night when they share their experiences of  the day.  I love knowing that they are making every moment of this experience count.

I celebrate the return to our classroom routines, now that PARCC testing is over.  My kids and I have settled back into our sixth grade groove: read alouds, book clubs, writing workshop…and “five book Friday”.  Yesterday, I settled back to listen to my kids share their reading lives, and marveled at the variety of their reading choices and the confidence with which they book talked them.   We celebrate our reading lives.

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It’s baseball and softball season, and our reading area looks like the team locker room.  I love hearing the stories of practices and games, the drama of my kids’ sports lives, when they drop their gear off in the morning and then stop by to collect it all after school.  I can picture them playing on the fields across our town, and this always makes me smile.  I celebrate the physical exuberance of this other life that my kids are lucky to have the chance to live through sports.

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Speaking of sports, I celebrate the return of the baseball season, my beloved Red Sox, the joy of watching a game at the end of a long week, and having something to celebrate 🙂 (the Sox won!).

All in all…it’s been a good week!

 

 

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SOLSC: March 5, 2016 & Celebrate This Week:Conversation

 

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Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers

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

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Today I want to celebrate conversation as it appeared in my week…

I so benefitted from the conversation that took place after Vicki Vinton and her teaching team from Cranford observed our reading and writing workshops on Wednesday.  I’ve been teaching for a long time now in the same room and in at the same grade level; and for the most part, the only conversations I have during the school day are with my students.  I didn’t realize how much I needed to have a conversation about my practice, and by that I mean the real time and moment to moment practice that is my teaching life.  I believe that it is so important for teachers to visit each others rooms, and share observations and offer guidance and support.  That kind of collegiality grows ones practice, and also grows ones school.  It was so informative to me to be asked questions about why I do what I do, why I think it works (or how it can be improved), and how I make decisions about everything from classroom organization to assessment.   Being questioned about my practice and having to articulate the shape and form of all its various puzzle pieces, allows me to evaluate the essence of my teaching life – from big picture, to the nitty gritty.

Sometimes, I feel as though our classrooms become echo chambers of our own solitary voices – each teacher trying to figure it all out just for herself or himself within the four walls of our teaching space. But teaching is really a collaborative art, and it’s our collective voices in conversation with each other that raises the bar on our individual practice.  And when I say “collaborative”, I don’t mean what that word has come to mean in some of our buildings – the sharing of activities, projects, graphic organizers, and bulletin board ideas. That’s collaboration in its most elemental and simplistic form, a kind of collaboration on only the outward manifestation of our teaching practices.

I think true collaboration goes much deeper – it comes from a stance of always questioning our practice: from our foundational ideas, the stuff that forms the very heart of what we believe teaching to be, to the often shifting and changing landscape of how to best teach our children as we know more about the way they best learn.  That kind of collaboration can be risky, for it takes trust and the willingness to be transparent.  And in our current of high stakes evaluations and testing, who wants to take more risks?

I have been thinking about all of this all the more so since Wednesday.  And once again, I am grateful to the ongoing collaboration that is my online PLN.   It’s through these conversations that I feel myself grow as a teacher…to collaborate on behalf of our profession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate @ #clebratelu : November 29th., 2014

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

Today, I’m celebrating:

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Time with my three children.  I don’t blog much about them because their lives are not my story to tell, but I am grateful and proud of the people they are.  Spending time with all three of them in one place is hard to do these days, when they are busy building lives of their own outside the circle of our family life.  So I celebrate this Thanksgiving break, when the sounds of their voices and their laughter filled our home once again.

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My memories of presenting with the Two Writing teachers team (sans Beth Moore, who was much missed) at NCTE 14. This was such an exhilarating experience, especially since it was in the company of so many of our SOL writing community.

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And my memories of meeting anew the many amazing and dedicated teachers I blog with and link up through Twitter every day.  Teaching can never be a lonely profession when it is shared with such people.

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Being in the room to hear Jacqueline Woodson speak about Brown Girl Dreaming.  I was spellbound by her grace and humanity, her sense of humor and  her utter honesty.  We are fortunate to have her voice crafting stories for us today.