The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.
—John Maynard Keynes
Small Gifts Are Special
When I turned 12, I received one of my favorite birthday gifts of all time—a giant homegrown watermelon from my grandpa’s garden. It was as big as my torso. Grandpa could grow anything, but I’m pretty sure the watermelon was just for me.
Each year as I celebrate my birthday with a bowl full of watermelon, I remember the gift of Grandpa’s watermelon and it still makes me smile. I’m reminded how a simple gift can touch our lives forever.
It doesn’t have to be luxurious to be lavish. The watermelon was the best gift because I love watermelon and my grandpa grew it. It was a thoughtful act that made me feel special.
Pause and consider the ways you can offer small gifts in order to make others feel special. What is a part of your life that you can share with others? I keep my favorite pens on hand and pass them on as a way to encourage others to write. Giving a favorite book to just the right person is a powerful present. Sharing your best snack can be the perfect energy boost.
I’m not suggesting elaborate gifts, but rather small and personal tokens that can go far in creating solid relationships and uplifting another person. Consider offering a simple gift to someone today.
This week we take time to reflect and reconsider our routines—plus more, as always.
Ruth Ayres is the editor in chief of the Choice Literacy site and the director of professional learning for The Lead Learners Consortium in northern Indiana. Ruth previously worked as a middle and high school language arts and science teacher and a K-12 instructional coach. She is the author of Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers (Stenhouse, 2017) and other books for teachers of writers. When not writing professionally, Ruth collects stories of adoption, faith, and whimsy. You can follow her at Ruth Ayres Writes or @ruth_ayres on Twitter or Instagram.
Join the Choice Literacy Book Club! Jen Schwanke selected Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal as our July read. Grab a copy, and join the conversation using the hashtag #ChoiceLiteracyBookClub.
Bitsy Parks finds even the dreariest days in her first-grade classroom are infinitely more enjoyable because she’s built in routines for expressing gratitude. This article was first published in 2020.
Ann Marie Corgill provides some guiding questions to help teachers figure out priorities in their schedules for daily routines. This article was first published in 2013.
Don’t miss the Secondary Contributor Empower Choice course. This roundup of practices holds true to our roots of choice. Christy Rush-Levine shares a session titled “Participation Choices.” It’s guaranteed to make your brain spin with ideas for more choice in your classroom. This course is free to members.
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.
General Workshop Routines invites us to consider the routines of opening the day, workshop norms, meeting areas, and transitions to make workshop run smoothly. This course is free to members.
Gretchen Schroeder asks herself tough questions about her late-work policy for high school students. In the end, she changed her late-work policy and found that it took no effort on her part, other than a shift in mindset, while yielding powerful results.
In an encore video, Katie Doherty explains the choices students have in her sixth-grade reading workshop.
Deep Dive: It’s a Cycle, Not a Hamster Wheel: Getting the Most Out of Coaching Cycles: Dana Murphy takes you into the nitty-gritty of coaching cycles with examples and advice from experienced literacy coaches from across the country. You’ll view videos of an initial meeting between a coach and a teacher to plan a cycle and sample demonstration lessons within a cycle, as well as quick ttips for getting organized and taking good notes throughout the cycle. (This course was created in 2019.)
The world is starving for new ideas and great leaders who will champion those ideas.
That’s all for this week!