Have you ever noticed all the retrospective and reflective writing that happens in December? Lists of bests and worsts, essays on what’s in and out, articles predicting winter weather, magazines devoted to fashion trends in the new year… TIME magazine’s annual person of the year spread?
This kind of writing is everywhere in December. A Facebook friend posted this yesterday: “The best book you read this year was______________.” And the conversation thread was at least 30 comments long. I got a few ideas for my TBR list. We’ve moved on to movies now.
So, here goes. I’m jumping on the band wagon and thinking back on 2014.
- The March Slice or Life challenge was an amazing experience for my fourth grade writers. I can’t wait to do it with this year’s fourth graders.
- Parents came to school in May for an informal writing share with their children. Writers had a brief, fun and casual chance to share a piece with Mom or Dad.
- I was lucky enough to spend a week at TCRWP in June. What an amazing, stretching week. I carried so much back to my classroom and school, from new books, to ideas, to techniques, to new professional network connections.
- In August we began our third year of using the Units of Study curriculum for writing, and my colleagues and I began to notice that even at the beginning of the school year, student writers at all grade levels knew more than in previous years.
- In September we began designing and using on demand assessments at the beginning of our first unit of study, and we made plans for end of unit on demand writing. When we studied student writing, we were able to tailor our instruction to their needs as writers.
- I had the opportunity to present with a colleague at V.A.I.S. in early November. Not only was it a growing experience for me, but it also went well, (phew) and we got lots of positive feedback from audience members.
- In late November, third grader writers had a successful museum share celebration at the end of their personal narrative unit. Readers and writers were respectful and supportive.
- Right now every one of my third grade reading students has a book or series he/ she is excited about. Not only are readers enjoying their current choices, but I see them making plans for what they will read next when they near the end of a book. This may not last, but it sure is wonderful now. I spend time each day noticing and celebrating their good reader habits with them.
- Last Friday was an amazing and productive day as we continue to learn together with our students about student initiated learning. Every one of the seven third graders I worked with has a topic that is full of possibility. As we brainstormed questions and wonders together, I could practically see the lightbulbs flashing above their heads.
- In 2014 I posted 85 times on this blog. Next year my goal is 100. In addition, I started a writer’s notebook.
- The highlight at home was, without question, Frances’s acceptance into her first choice college. We are all beyond excited.
As the year comes to an end, I wish for you, your your students and family lots of love, laughter, good health and, of course, good books.