I’m breaking protocol and celebrating mid-week. All of you Saturday Celebration purists take your hands off of your hips, and stop scowling. Celebrations are good all week long, and I can’t wait to share all of the exciting happenings of today.
First, a confession. This is the first year that I celebrated WRAD in my classroom. Our school typically goes all out for Read Across America Week, but I have to admit that I hadn’t even heard about this event created by LitWorld until I read something about it on Franki Sibberson’s blog several months ago. ( Add this to the long list of reasons why every teacher should be on Twitter.) Once I checked into it, I knew that our school and my classroom had to be a part of it.
Everyone in my building jumped on board, and we began planning a One Book event for today as the kick off to our summer reading book drive. We asked each student and faculty member who was able to donate at least one book, making summer reading a possiblity for EVERY child in our district. I was thrilled that we had an overflowing box of books in our classroom that students brought today. Something to celebrate for sure.
So, celebrations. I think the best way to celebrate the fabulousness of this day is to take it hour by hour.
8:10 am: My Skype test call goes off without a hitch, thanks to Steve and Sheryl, the great tech people in my building who got me Skype-ready just for this event.
9:00 am: My students are coming in the room buzzing with excitement about the day that is about to unfold.
9:30 am: Liesl Shurtliff, author of our current read aloud Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, Skypes with us. She is beyond gracious as my students pepper her with questions and beg her to read the next chapter of her book. Celebrating the advice that she gave us as readers before we ended our time together: If you don’t think you like to read, it’s because you haven’t found your book yet. Keep trying, keep reading, keep looking for your book!
10:45 am: My students have been anticipating this moment for several weeks since we learned that we won a contest to have the amazing Seymour Simon Skype with us. We read a lot of Mr. Simon’s books in our writing class, and his work has often served as a mentor to the budding authors in our class. During the fifteen minutes that we are able to chat with him, he reads to us from his book Gorillas, answers students questions, and inspires us to take notice of the world around us.
1pm: The owners and editors of our local newspaper join our class to share in book talk. Mr. Donio reads one of the books from a series that inspired him as a young reader, Encyclopedia Brown. I’m celebrating that ALL of the Encyclopedia Brown books that collected dust this year are now checked out of my library.
Ms. Rullo, reads one of her favorite snippets from a Harry Potter book, and has students hanging on every word. But, what I’m celebrating is the after chat. Understanding our guest’s affinity for reading, my students can’t help but make recommendation after recommendation, and Ms. Rullo leaves our classroom with a copy of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder in her hands. I love our reading community!
2:45 pm: Former art teacher, current school board member, and dear dear friend Linda Byrnes stops by to read the first chapter of one of her favorite fourth grade books, Charlotte’s Web. What surprises me is how many students have never read OR seen the story on film. Before she even leaves the room, a student grabs E. B. White’s classic book out of my hands.
3:30 pm: I’m on a celebration high as I say goodbye to my students for the day. I come back in the classroom to this quickly written note, thinking it can’t get any better.
But it always does. There is always something to celebrate every minute of every day.
~ J Brittin
You can follow Liesl Shurtliff on Twitter @LieslShurtliff
You can follow Seymour Simon on Twitter @Seymour Simon