The clock is ticking down on 2014 and people everywhere are celebrating the promise a new year brings, which has me thinking about the importance of celebrations. The month of December gave us many opportunities for celebrating. One of these was our 4H Blog Launch Party. Earlier this year, our class connections led to an invitation to participate in author Joan Galat’s book launch of Branching Out: How Trees Are Part of Our World. It was an exciting experience and got us thinking about our writing. Since our student blogs were recently up and running, we decided to celebrate with a Blog Launch Party.
I asked students to make a list of what we needed to make the occasion a celebration. The list included guests, time to chat and visit, and of course cupcakes! We decided to invite our school admin, our parents and George Couros. George shared some stories with us about his use of social media, and the opportunities he’s had to meet people and travel the world because of it. Then we all had the chance to check out our class blogs, read the posts and comment on them. It was a blast, especially when we realized that we had some outside visitors participating as well! Some were parents who were participating and commenting from work. Others had discovered our blogs as a result of George’s tweets about the party. The afternoon flew by for all of us, and there was a chorus of “Not yet!” when I had to stop them.
I loved the whole experience. It was wonderful watching the kids see their writing come to life and recognizing that their words have power. The room was buzzing with chatter and comments. I was having a tough time keeping up with moderating them all! The good feeling continued into the rest of the week, as students were excited to read George’s post about the experience, and to comment on his.
As the school year passes, we take time to mark certain special occasions like Halloween and Valentine’s Day with parties and celebrations. Our Blog Launch Party experience has made me realize how important it is to also observe the ordinary, everyday events and achievements in our school life. As the calendar changes to 2015, my resolution for this new year is to celebrate more often. I want to make remarkable what often slides by each day as unremarkable, and to have students recognize just how special these moments can be.
Our days are filled with opportunities for celebration – the struggling student who writes nine sentences unassisted using Read/Write Gold; a very busy Division principal who makes time to visit with my students and reaches out to the world for them; parents who support our online activities with comments; complete strangers who respond to tweets from our class with insights and information; an isolated student who rushes outside to play with newfound friends; my daughter who volunteers to make us cupcakes for the class party; connections and support from a remarkable PLN; and many, many more. I may not be able to pull out cupcakes for each, but I can make each one memorable and special.
Here’s to 2015 – a year of celebration!