Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Reflection Series: Part 1

If you haven't already, you must read The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley. Bob Wortman introduced me to this book at a literacy conference in Birmingham last fall. It made me think about about how much we rush rush rush in this world to do more, buy more, receive more, eat more, and skip over the happiness, the growth, and the joy of today....simply to move quickly in the to race to the top. Fortunately, Riley, the main character in this book, reminds us to be happy just where we are and dwell in the moments of these fast moving days. In classrooms across the country, it's that time of year to stop and look back at the work, the learning, the growth, and the memories made with your students. It's time to find out what they internalized and what they will go away with as they walk out the doors of our classrooms on the last day of school. As tempting as it may be to "cover one more thing" or shove a few more standards down the throats of the children in our advice is DON'T DO IT. It's time to release our inner Riley....slow down....dwell in the happy moments of today....celebrate student growth.....and reflect. This post will be the first in a series of ways we can slow down, reflect, and give our students time to celebrate their growth as learners and as people. Last week I asked my students to name the top three things that helped them grow as readers writers and people. Below are a few of the student responses. Try it in your classroom today. You will be amazed, surprised, and will feel the need to cheer and mail the responses to Arne Duncan with a LEAVE US ALONE WE KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR KIDS message attached to the front of the envelope.


  1. Ann Marie - you continue to inspire me with your passion for doing the right things for kids. Everything you listed I knew to be true, but the idea of forwarding them to Arne Duncan - brilliant! More importantly, I wish everyone could hear your message about slowing down and not stuffing on more thing down our students' throats. Very wise words!!!!!

  2. Yup. These need to go right to Arne.