A Case for Celebration

The classroom was transformed into a banquet hall complete with desks pushed together making long tables covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. Cards on each table offered possible sentence starters for toasts: “ I realize… I got through… I’m proud that…” complete with to the 2 definitions of the word in honor of a word study unit on homophones. A prominently displayed signed read “ Celebrating your essays and YOU!”

A student stands up, raises his plastic cup of apple juice and says, “I’d like to toast Mrs. G for helping us write our personal essays.” His classmates smiled and nodded, clinking their cups together and taking a sip. Moved to tears, I smiled at Mrs. G and thought, she deserves to hear this. We all do! Moments like these remind me how important it is to celebrate and celebrate often!

Celebrations are worth the time and do not have to be grand events

Years ago when I was a classroom teacher, I frequently found myself in the following situation. It is the end of the marking period. Grades are due in 2 days. I “speed conference” making my way around the room, cheering on kids and in some cases, begging them to finish their published pieces of writing I’d hoped to wrap up a weeks ago.  “We have to finish these feature articles so we can launch poetry on Monday,” I’d think to myself. I just don’t have time for a writing celebration. Maybe next unit.

Back then I thought writing celebrations had to be grand events. Now some years later I realize that they are critical components of every writing workshop and that they can be simple moments of acknowledging hard work and growth.  In the back of her book, The Writing Strategies Book, Jennifer Serravallo offers a number of simple, doable ways to celebrate writing one of which is a toast. Most require little cost and preparation.

Why celebrations?

Celebrations fuel student confidence and growth as writers

On this day in Mrs. G’s class, students toasted their essays and their growth as writers. They talked about the tough parts and in some cases, how surprised they were about what they accomplished. By encouraging students to toast not just their final essay but also their hard work, Mrs. G drew attention to the importance of valuing the process of writing. One student shared, “Writing an essay was really tough.” Another chimed in, “But we made it!” Students celebrated their growth as writers. One shared, “We used to think writing a paragraph was enough. Now we can write a whole essay!” Celebrating hard work in this way will help students persevere in future writing projects.

Celebrations yield revelations about the power of writing

During her toast to the class, Mrs. G shared that writing her essay about her son with Autism taught her some new things about him and caused her to consider new ways of working with him. With these words, Mrs. G demonstrated to her students that writing can lead to new discoveries and have an impact on the way we live our lives.  Her words inspired her students to stand up and make toasts that included revelations about their topics. One girl shared, “Writing about my mom made me realize how much she does for me. I need to thank her more often.” Another said, “I realize that my uncle is really fun.”

Celebrations build community

Students cheered each other on. They validated one another each time they raised a glass and took a sip of their juice to acknowledge a toast. There was a spirit of “WE did it!” in the room. Mrs. G used the technique of a symphony share where students wait for a quiet moment before speaking rather than raising their hands. This mature format fostered a sense of respect for one another.

Celebrations celebrate teachers

As teachers, we deserve to be celebrated. When Mrs. G’s student raised a glass to her, I realized that I want every teacher to experience hearing words of gratitude from the students they serve. The reminder that we are making a difference inspires us to keep working with a shared purpose of developing student writers and voices. Additionally, experiences like this encourage students to develop the powerful lifelong practice of expressing gratitude.

 

Witnessing students’ pride in themselves and their work reminds me why I chose this profession. It also made me wonder about other moments of our day that warrant celebration. Why not celebrate the end of a math unit? The completion of a book club cycle or just stop in the middle of a unit and marvel at student growth? Giving yourself and your students the gift of celebrations, I’ll drink to that!

 

2 thoughts on “A Case for Celebration”

  1. I love this reflection on the power of celebrations! You’re right, so often we rush through them (or skip them altogether) because of time, forgetting that they’re such an investment into our writers and our classroom culture. Thanks for inspiring me this evening!

  2. find out from Reddit

    race to contentmy subreddits

    Limit my search to r/AskReddituse these particular search parameters to narrow your results:be aware of the search faq for details.

    you will need post beautiful russian ladies a clear and direct question in the title. The title could have two, quickly, Necessary context paragraphs.

    No text is deferred to and let in the textbox. Your thoughts/responses to right now can go in the comments section. increased,

    Any post asking for advice should be generic and not specific to your circumstances alone. somewhat more,

    Askreddit is for open ended forums questions. lots more,

    Posting, Or on the lookout for, Any identifying information, Real or falsify, Will result in a ban without a prior warning. other,

    Askreddit not really your soapbox, individual army, Or name recognition strategies platform. good deal,

    Tagged posts are against the rules to jokes or irrelevant replies. a lot more,

    soliciting money, resources, systems, Or favours is banned. a little more,

    Mods reserve the right to remove content or restrict users posting privileges as necessary if it is deemed detrimental to the subreddit or to the experience of others. additional information,

    Comment replies composed solely of images will be removed. additional,

    or maybe your post has disappeared, See spam or an the wrong post, Please do not hesitate to contact the mods, We pleased to help.

    Web Hosting is the backbone of a blog and finding a reliable web host doesn’t have to be complicated. during HostUpon, you’ll launch your website in minutes on servers located in Canada. Whether you have a small company or a personal website, available now you covered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.