It's Spring Break minus 2 today and day 4 of a crazy week. Today my class had their essay celebration, with parents invited.
I was a little nervous about this event because though my students had been working hard on their essays for weeks, there were still things I thought could be improved. I wanted to finish off that unit, though, before spring break so we could start fresh, with research papers, after the break. So I told myself that whatever the essays were, that was good enough. Every child had grown as a writer. Each of them was proud of their work.
I follow the celebration plan from Lucy Calkins Units of Study, in the essay book. We still have the previous edition of Units of Study, that group grades 3 - 5 together. The celebration plan calls for the students to read to parents in small groups, then have a "museum" where they show and explain the whole process of writing an essay from idea generation to the final product.
Parents came, I gave my short introduction, and the kids took their parents into the groups. Everyone read confidently and got positive comments and questions. Then we regrouped with half the students manning the museum and everyone else acting as museum goers. I had put key points in the essay process on the white board for students to refer to and also for parents to use as prompts. After about 10 minutes, the students switched between being docents and museum goers. Everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time!
As always happens, parents also talked with each other and I found myself in conversation with two parents who couldn't say enough nice things about the celebration, 4th grade, and the whole school! They were so impressed with the level of sophistication, which they saw in the museum portion of the event. That piece is really the best part of the celebration because it gets the students to rreflect on the whole process and see it as a journey. I was so proud of my students for their hard work and their poise in presenting and answering questions.
One more day until spring break!