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.