Celebrations and our new home.

december chain

First:
We read 92 choice novels in December!

Each link of the green paper chain represents a choice book finished during the month of December.

That’s 300 choice novels read so far this year!  

 

When I share our choice reading accomplishments, the first question I always receive is,
“How the heck do you do it?” 

Sometimes, I really don’t know.  Every month, I’m in shock and awe of our accomplishments.  This kind of success never gets old.

Choice reading is the backbone of our curriculum, but it’s also very-low pressure.  My students can abandon books whenever they want, and they’re not formally assessed on their choice books.  (I do informally assess them during reading conferences to make sure they understand and like their books.)

Another thing that I decided early-on:  I’d never make my students compete around their choice reading.  Because my students are in different places as readers, I knew competition would cause embarrassment and frustration…and lots of fake reading.

That’s why we have the chain.  Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we’re all celebrating our accomplishments together.

Second:
I have a new classroom!  (Why?  Our middle school had an emergency and has spent some time in our building while repairs were made.)

whole class

We’re at the end of a hallway, so everything feels very cozy.  For the first time in seven years, I don’t share a collapsible wall with another classroom, so we don’t need noise-cancelling for our silent reading. I’ve always shared a wall with great teachers, but the noise can be distracting during reading, so this feels like a peaceful resort.

tree construction

It’s also been fun to put everything back together.  On our first day back, we used the leaves from our Lines We Love tree as writing prompts, and then rearranged them on our (much bigger) new tree.

back of room

I’m currently writing from that brown beanbag.

I’ve been able to rethink and rearrange my classroom library to take up the whole back wall, which has made my bookshelves and seating much more accessible and less out-of-the way for those sitting in desks.

 

Besides the back of the room, I have two other reading areas.

Moving classrooms halfway through the year had the potential to be super stressful, but with the help of my administrators and my colleagues, it was a seamless move. I’m so grateful.

I love this new room.  I can’t wait to see how it inspires us this year.

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