Just a Few Minutes

After a whirlwind week, I would like you to reflect on a blog that Pernille Ripp, a 5th grade teacher posted, from Wisconsin.  This is a wonderful pick-me up and I told her that I was sharing this.  Follow Pernille’s blog here.  She is doing some awesome things with her 5th graders.  Enjoy it!  Vic

Take a Moment to Celebrate

He sat down next to me, book bin in hand, ready for his conference.

“So what has been going on in your head as you read?” I ask, pen poised and ready to jot.

“Well…” he clears his throat “I just finished this book.”

And that’s when it hits me.  This kid finished a book!  And not just one book but almost 10 books this year.  This kid who at the beginning completely had given up on chapter books, who only read magazines if forced.  This kid is reading.  And not just reading, he is sharing his thoughts, writing ideas down, thinking of what to read next.

So I put my pen down, I only write “Celebration” in my notes.  Instead we spend several minutes discussing his accomplishments, discussing his growth.  I urge him to be proud, to notice what he has done.  A few minutes is all it is, but monumental none the less.

When was the last time I took a few minutes to celebrate a child’s growth with them privately?  I am great with the whole class praise, but often forget the one to one.  Not any more.  Instead of a reading mini-lesson I will be celebrating.  Instead of  giving them something new to try, we will instead spend a few minutes cherishing what they have accomplished, what they have already done.

In a week we can go back to the new, but for now we will cherish the old.  After all, a small celebration can indeed go a long way.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.


Other News

  • Bus Duty for April 7 – April 25  Team 5:  Kathy Buell,  Kate Spriggs, Megan Weldonl.  Upcoming bus duty:  April 28 – May 9 Team 6: Connie Tubbs, Kelly Ayen, Bev Phelps
  • Next week is a busy week with scoring and report cards.  Hang in there!!
  • Don’t forget we have a staff meeting Monday, April 7th. I promise I will not keep you long.
  • 1st grade and 5th grade will be switching special times on Friday April 11th for the Jumprope for Heart Assembly.
  • Please make the timelines for report cards.  I know you are doing your best!  (NOT good timing.!)
  • I attended a FANTASTIC workshop this past Saturday in Long Island to represent #NYEDChat.  It was  Edcamp style, and so much to share and so many new people to meet.  The new thing, using Google Hangout’s for Mystery Locations with your kiddos.  I love Google Hangout’s.  Some best quotes: Tom Whitby:  “The smartest person in the room is the room itself!”   Starr Sackstein:  “If we are boring, kids will be bored!”  Tom Whitby:  “Technology is an attraction, not a distraction. ”  Tony Sinanis:  “What is your school story?  Have your kids tell it.”  Adam Bellow:  “Don’t limit the ability to engage kids due to their age limits.  Kids have great ideas!”
Things in the blogosphere
  • Diane Ravitch blogs about what educators are saying about the CC tests, especially in NYS.
  • Jennifer Serravalio guest blogs on Peter DeWitt’s blog about reading assessments.  It’s a great read, something we should be doing with reading assessments.
  • Here is a great blog by Pernille Ripp on how to start blogging with your kiddos.  
  • Are you a member of EdWeb yet?  You should be.  Free stuff on Flipped Learning, Tech Tools for the Classroom, Blended Learning, you name it.  Join – it’s free!!  Get free professional development and log your hours!
  • Lucy Calkins weighs in on NYS testing here.
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!
Other Items of Interest
  • Here are some ideas for teaching writing at the elementary level that are supported with research from the What Works Clearinghouse. There are printed and video resources. 
  • This report finds that New York’s schools are the most segregated in the nation.
  • Continuing on a recent theme, Tom Gusky uses class rank to help us reconsider the purpose of school. Do schools exist to develop students or to sort them?
  • Dayna Laur wrote this blog about PBL and Authentic Learning. She explains how to connect projects with the community around the school.
  • Ron Berger describes the power of active student participation in their learning – actively thinking about their learning rather than passively receiving knowledge dispensed by teachers. 
  • This video explains (scientifically) the power of teamwork. It’s hormonal!
  • Many of the maps in the Google Map Gallery are great for use in schools. 
  • Coaching is the key to successful implementation of just about everything. 
  • A recent ASCD Policy Priorities issue addresses teacher leadership.  
  • This edition of Just ASK’s Making the Common Core Come Alive! is about Mathematical Practice 1 (make sense of problems and persevering  in solving them). It includes some examples as well as a description.
  • This tool integrates Backward Design with the four questions of PLCs. Of course!
  • Here are Just ASK’s April mentoring resources. The calendar is there, plus some videos, too. 
  • Compare the list of top jobs in the US with their pay. Yikes!
A Touch of Humor
What EXACTLY do they WANT? Standardized or Well-Rounded??



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