Illinois Writing Project
One thing I am most thankful for is my work last summer with the Illinois Writing Project. I took part in their Summer Leadership Institute and participating reaffirmed everything I believe about writing and writing instruction. One would think giving up 12 days of summer break would be a drag, but it was by far the best PD I've had outside of my graduate program. Through it, an important friendship grew closer and I made some new friends too. And now I'm helping out with the Social Media for IWP. This was a wonderful investment of time and energy, and I highly recommend the Writing Projects - in Illinois and all the states!
What a difference a few years can make... I'm really enjoying the work I get to do as a coach. Seeing the wonderful teachers in my building on a consistent basis and collaborating with them to best meet the needs of our students is so rewarding. I've come up with some better organizational systems and learned more about guided reading at various levels. I can see the growth of our students as they continue to receive instruction from a Reading and Writing Workshop approach and it's because of the hard work of our teachers each day that our students are flourishing as readers and writers. As a fourth or fifth grader, I never knew anything about Author's Craft, but our students sure do. Thank you Emerson teachers for your trust and collaboration...I love to work with you! (Check out what's going on in our building by searching #tigerslearn on Twitter!)
I'm in my second year running a blogging club with fourth and fifth graders and I just love it. In March, we completed the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers and I had four students write every day for the entire month. Have you ever done a month-long challenge? It's not easy, especially during the school year (and it was testing season, too!) Now that we've started this year, I love how the fifth graders who are on year two are coaching the new kiddos - I totally understand why Nancie Atwell's ELA class was a 7-8th grade combo class that looped. This year, kiddos have already refined their practices with commenting, and we're using a goal setting chart to focus our work!
Lots of great things happened this year! I got to visit friends and family in Florida, California, and Arizona. My niece came for a week in the summer and we had so much fun together doing things all around the city. My sister came in November and brought my new nephew Jack so I could meet him. I went to two weddings of great friends and celebrated first steps in their new marriages. We watched some ASU games together, I had an awesome 35th birthday party and a really fun Friendsgiving, and Bernie Sanders is picking up some traction during this primary season.
It's kind of upsetting that unless I'm actively going through all these memorable occasions all I can really seem to keep in mind is the breakup, but luckily that is getting further and further away from me each day, and so it gets easier every day. And I guess that even though there was an ending in 2015, I'm always going to abide by this:
There's my year in review. Hope you had a great one, too. Coming next are goals for the new year; stay tuned!