The most beautiful things are not associated with money—they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.
When I left my university job years ago to go into full-time editing, I had only one request of my friends.
I am an introvert and awkward at social gatherings. My idea of hell on earth is standing around holding a little plate of cubed cheese, trying to make chitchat. My close friends promised me — no party, no surprises.
So of course the week before my last day, they threw a surprise party for me.
But here’s the thing — it was a surprise party designed for an introvert who loves to read. I walked in with my family to a restaurant near my home, expecting a quiet dinner. My friends had reserved a room there and invited only the 20 friends and colleagues I was genuinely close to. The best part was that everyone had brought a gift book that represented their relationship with me.
After dinner, one by one they stood up and explained why they had selected their book. A local teacher shared the latest collection from a favorite poet we both love, since we were always exchanging poems. My partner at our local professional development school gave me a collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, since their wry humor had helped us through many a sticky situation with students and administrators.
My friend Sandy, a professor specializing in human sexuality, stood up and proclaimed, “Brenda and I get together regularly for two-hour lunches. And the only things we never discuss are books or sex.” Everyone laughed and said, “What else is there to talk about?!” Sandy then held up a book by a politician we both like, and exclaimed, “Politics!”
In the years since that party, I’ve weeded through my bookshelves quite a few times. But there is a small section of the books from that party that I’ll never give away. Those random tomes from friends serve as a constant reminder of professional relationships built over time that endure, and how reading and books are threaded through so many of mine. They make me grateful for my friends who sometimes know me better than I know myself.
When you plan celebrations this year to recognize and honor your friends and colleagues moving on, consider a surprise book party, especially for the introverts. I don’t know if a surprise book party is a thing, but it ought to be. They deserve better than a plate of cubed cheese. It’s the party they never knew they wanted.
This week we have a theme of celebrations as we move into the new year. We’re celebrating the launch of the redesigned Choice Literacy website. Enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
After six months of work behind the scenes, the redesigned website is live. We hope you’ll take a tour of new and familiar features.
In Don’t Be a Sneetch, Amanda Adrian ponders how celebrations can have unintended consequences of separating the have and have-nots in schools.
Melanie Meehan finds mini-celebrations are an excellent opportunity for helping students set writing goals.
Kelly Griffin Mannion gives some terrific suggestions for getting away from traditional holiday celebrations and stress in classrooms, and creative new ways to celebrate with students.
Check out our new online course program. Instructors include Ruth Ayres, Katherine Sokolowski, Jennifer Schwanke and many others. Members receive discounts of 20-40% on course fees, and nonmembers receive three-month trial memberships to the website.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
Welcome to the new site, Choice Literacy subscribers! Your Choice Literacy subscription is now a “Classic Classroom” membership at the new site, giving you access to the Choice Literacy library of articles, videos, and PD2Go guides. We’ve just rearranged the content to make it a little easier to sort and find. You can take the quick new member tour we’ve created to get familiar with the new site features.
Do celebrations matter? If you know Ruth Ayres, you know her answer is always a resounding YES. Here are her best tips for sharing writing in a class celebration.
In this week’s video, Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing, before moving on to new strategies to try.
When students set intentions, reflection and celebration go hand in hand. Melanie Meehan explains how teachers can help students become more explicit about intentions with practical cues from bulletin boards and index cards.
In an encore video, Gigi McAllister shares a quick daily routine of asking students to celebrate books they have finished reading, before she introduces a new book to her fourth-grade class.
Lead Literacy now has a new home as the Leaders Lounge at Choice Literacy. We’re retiring the weekly It List newsletter. We’ll be posting the new content updates here in the Leaders Lounge section of the Big Fresh newsletter. Lead Literacy members now have access to all the features in the Leaders Lounge as well as all Choice Literacy Classic Classroom content. Log in and take the new member tour of the site.
Cathy Mere discovers her routine for celebrations at the start of staff meetings is leaving some colleagues out. She revises her thinking and practice for celebrations among literacy coaches all year long.
Stephanie Affinito finds the simple, quick, and modest celebrations can be just what teachers need to get through a long day. She shares the value of these coaching high fives.
Ruth Ayres talks about the importance of celebrations for coaches, teachers, and students in this brief video.
That’s all for this week!