Amazing Kids

Amazing Kids

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can You Say "Grateful" Enough?

This week has been incredibly exhausting. But now it's Saturday and I was only in my classroom for four hours today. I was able to reflect as I was trying to sort through the madness that happened this week with parties and field trips (yes, we had more than one of each this week).

The biggest realization that hit me was the one thing that has altered the culture of my classroom more than anything is the gift of books. A locally-owned small business generously donated enough money for me to purchase probably 400 books. Truthfully, I didn't keep track of how many books I bought and they wouldn't want me to announce how much they gave. Most of the books were purchased on, so some were used, but my kids didn't care one lick.

The point is: my kids have become avid readers. They read in their free time. They are not afraid to announce to their classmates when they love a book or when they don't. They are quick to share the authors and characters they love and they give book recommendations in a split second. They unanimously highly recommend The One and Only Ivan and Wonder. They search for books and engage in them like I honestly can't believe! They fight over new arrivals. They LOVE book trailers.

Before the school year began, I had requested and was turned down for a grant to purchase books. I was so discouraged. But these two guys who own a local business came through (it was a total surprise to me) and because of their generosity my kids are fans of wonderful authors like Jenni Holm, R. J. Palacio, Kate Messner, Stephen McCranie, Barbara O'Conner, Tom Angleberger, Louis Sachar, Cynthia Rylant, Jerry Spinelli, Annie Barrows, Kurtis Scaletta, Lois Lowry, Brian Selznick, Jacqueline Davies, Sara Pennypacker, Linda Urban, Kirby Larson, and sooooo many more. I didn't even know most of these authors existed a year ago. Now, thanks to Bruce and Mike (and Lisa), along with Colby and his circle of friends who have given me lots of great recommendations, I am no longer a strictly-non-fiction-reader; I, too, am an avid reader of great fiction. This is what paved the way for my kids to be avid readers as well.

I have really smart kids in my class. They know what they like and they won't read just anything. They are loving what is great and putting back what is not-so-great. Good for them! And thanks to the wonderful authors who give them that can't-put-it-down literature.

So in my exhausted and reflective state, I am more grateful than words can express to the ones who have made this possible for me and my fourth-graders. Thank you, Colby. Thank you, Bruce and Mike and Lisa. Thank you, authors. You have brought joy into my kids' lives and into mine.

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne,
    Great post! From my vantage point you have transformed your teaching. You have taken your classroom to the next level. When I enter and see students reading the hair stands up on my neck. I really enjoy seeing the kids "love of learning" sky-rocketing. I applaud you Suzanne, it is never easy to change your approach, you did it and your classroom is one of the best places to be! Keep it up!