Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to look for the positives in my week.
Although I try to participate in the Celebrate meme every week, I’m not sure that I always take the lesson of celebration to heart. I felt overwhelmed this week–overwhelmed by the daunting work of helping my son heal, overwhelmed by some big work projects with fast-approaching deadlines, overwhelmed by the semester’s start and the challenge of five different course preps, overwhelmed by the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, running errands. I felt so busy that I barely had time to breathe or eat, yet I didn’t do many of the things that are important to me: I didn’t write, didn’t blog, didn’t read, didn’t walk, didn’t exercise. Even though I spent every spare moment working on my classes, I still felt like I was playing catch-up all week–and never getting there. Throughout the week, I occasionally thought about writing this celebration post but couldn’t imagine coming up with anything to celebrate.
But of course that’s ridiculous. There was plenty to celebrate. There were plenty of good moments this week. I just chose not to see them and not to live in them.
This morning, I took a little time for myself and caught up on some blog reading. I found just the words I needed to read.
First, Ruth’s celebration post, which contained this reminder:
We are not meant to be worn, to be falling apart, to be holding on by threads. Rather, celebration is a net that can hold life together. It will not be torn. It holds strong and wraps around our fragile hearts.
Then, Tammy’s reflection on positive, her one little word for 2015:
When we, as educators, look at students’ errors in a positive light we tend to plan instruction that builds on students’ strengths rather than focusing on deficits. Noticing the positive also allows us to celebrate what students can do and think about how to connect what they know with their next learning steps.
When we think about the positives when we look at student errors, we tend to focus on the process of learning rather than focusing on the outcomes. The question, “What did this student try,” is an important one when we look for what is right about what is wrong. Noticing the positive helps us focus on the students’ thought process and the small actions or attempts that the student made. As we notice these positives actions, we can help our students notice them too.
Next, Pernille Ripp’s reminder that we can take control and diffuse a negative mindset:
Catch yourself in the act and change your own direction. Change your narrative and share the positive. This doesn’t mean you cannot discuss hard situations, just change the way you phrase them.
And finally, the words Michele uses to open her celebration post every week:
It’s always good to end the week on a positive note. Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives. We have a choice. Choose positive. Choose to celebrate.
I spent my week concentrating on the negative, but I’m choosing positive today. My goal for next week is to make that choice more often.
1. Spending time with my favorite kid. Even on the worst day, there are smiles, laughter, moments of grace. My son does something positive and heartening every single day, and I want to notice and celebrate those moments.
2. Course hashtags. Even on my busiest day, I took time to catch up on my course hashtags on Twitter: #yalitclass and #diglitclass. I love the discussion, sharing, humor, and insight I’m already seeing.
3. Mo Willems Day! On Thursday, I introduced my Children’s Lit students to Mo Willems. We read A Big Guy Took My Ball and Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! and watched book trailers for The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! and That Is Not a Good Idea. Next week, we’re starting our Mock Caldecott unit and we’ll spend some time with Willems’s Caldecott Honor books.
4. Finishing a work project I’d been putting off. And of course it turned out that it didn’t take nearly as long and wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. So it was kind of silly to dread it for months and procrastinate until the last possible moment. It feels SO GOOD to be done!
5. Cats. I was even cranky about CATS this week! HOW COULD I BE CRANKY ABOUT MY CATS? Look at those faces. Abby did make me smile many times this week: when she wasn’t napping on top of Xander, she was doing 360s and back flips in the air (she’s an extraordinarily athletic cat).