Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celebrating the Ordinary...Which, it Turns Out, is Truly Extraordinary!

Thank you Ruth for inspiring me to always look for the celebrations in life! 

Join us and share your celebrations!



There are weeks when writing a celebration post is so hard and I just want to skip it...and then there are weeks like this! This week wasn't extraordinary, in fact it was very ordinary and routine...but it was like a light was shining through the ordinary, to make it glow extraordinary.


Monday: I celebrate NO COMPUTERS at school. Nothing worked. It was like rewinding ten or fifteen years. No email. No internet. No promethean board. No nothing. It pushed me to think creatively and I LOVE the result! (I even pretended computers were still broken after they were fixed in the afternoon.)


Wednesday: I celebrate the last day of the graduate class I taught. The teachers in that class grew so much and I watched them push themselves out of their comfort zone as writers and support each other. Being able to witness that is such an incredible gift. I'll miss seeing them Wednesday nights! (I also celebrate getting some time back as it's been a very busy year!)


Thursday: I celebrate miracles and friends who love me well and kindness and generosity! Wednesday started out with some frustrations at work. My friend, Jessica, reminded me to just hang on! When I saw her later that day, she handed me a card. It made me smile because getting cards and letters is just about my favorite thing in the world...but that isn't even the best part. When I opened the card, she'd bought tickets for both of us to meet our new favorite author, Glennon Doyle Melton! We are going to hear her speak AND get to MEET her!!! And we are going together!!! Don't you just LOVE friends who know you and get you?!?! I am so blessed!


Glennon is the author of the blog Momastery. This past Thursday she had a 24 hour LOVE FLASH MOB Day. She asked people to tell stories of their HER-Os or their SHEROs. This past Thursday she asked people to donate to help all of these amazing women. No donation over $25. In 24 hours her foundation raised $259,245. MIRACLE!! To get to be a part of this takes my breath away! Glennon is one of my HER-Os and I get to meet her in a few weeks!!


Friday: Today some of my students take "the test". UGH! I usually dread this day, but today I decided  to turn it around. We’ve been talking about genius hour and planning and slowing dipping our toes into this project, so I decided to give them a taste of it. I asked them to help with my genius hour project, redesigning the classroom. I wanted to observe them working together and problem solving and creating a comfortable environment.  


I thought of some committees: books, desks, supplies, decorating, and furniture. Desks had two sub-committees, design and labor. I asked for additional suggestions and someone suggested a cleaning committee. Students created their own committees, made a plan, and carried out their plan...all without me! They needed to work together. I needed to GET OUT OF THE WAY! I have never seen anything like this! Three different groups of students worked for almost an hour on re-creating our classroom. Everywhere you look, you see evidence of my students! 
Trying out their newly designed reading area!

It is really their classroom. My favorite comment of the day came from a boy who volunteered to be on the cleaning committee. 

Our cleaning committee is washing the windows!

He came up to me at the end of the block, clearly tired and said, “Ms. Haseltine, custodians have hard jobs. I mean, REALLY HARD. They do this everyday in every classroom. Can you believe that?!?!” What did he learn? Compassion.


My clock hasn’t worked for months. I do have another clock, but apparently the broken clock has really bothered some of them. One boy insisted that he be the Clock Committee. I said, “OK.” He couldn’t fix the clock. He asked me what to do, and I gave him permission to join another committee or figure out what to do here. Did he give up? NO! He stayed and look what he made…


At the end of each class, they looked around the room in wonder. (Some returned at the end of the day!) They adore their space. They have ownership. They ripped down “my stuff” and created their own and I loved every second of it. 




We are ready for genius hour! Bring it on!

17 comments:

  1. I want to be in your classroom. Your students must be inspired every day to create such an uplifting atmosphere. You rock!

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    1. Awww, thank you Margaret! That means SO MUCH coming from you...I admire you soooo much! :)

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  2. What a completely joyous and inspirational post. I can't wait to ask my kids to do the same in our room. I always wonder what they value about the classroom setup. Thanks for the suggestions. Plus, I love how you converted the photos to watercolors. How did you do that?

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    1. Thank you! The app Waterlogue does that to pictures. It's awesome, isn't it?!?!

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  3. Wow - you are so brave to turn the classroom over to your students. I love that it's now filled with their stuff instead of your stuff. I'm assuming that the three groups were different groups of sixth graders? I love seeing what they created and the new reading area is the best!

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  4. I just shared this on my blog and on Facebook as well. I am 100% sure this room redesign is what Danielson would describe as the makings of a HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHER passing control over to her students. What a JOYOUS week - and that makes it special. Thank you for celebrating and inspiring.

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  5. I loved every bit of this, but especially your class taking over, Michelle. What a wonderful thing you did for them! Now, will you start the year this way next fall? Kids are just great, aren't they? Happy to see all your celebrations, and that money raised for "Sheroes"-beautiful!

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  6. Wow! You have clearly created a classroom of compassion, a classroom of thinkers, a classroom of doers! So cool! Thanks for sharing your amazing students!

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  7. I love your students! <3 What a great learning space and thoughtful kids you have!

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  8. I love the genius work your students did. I'm wondering like Linda -- will you do this in the beginning of the year next year. I wonder if they have to live in the space for awhile to make it work..

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  9. How fun! Sounds like a busy week, but I love how you made time for your kids and for them to really get in some deep learning about the room and the spaces they wanted. So cool.

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  10. I love the great way they re-created the classroom space. When we let them go, they can really get creative. I don't remember that often enough.

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  11. Michelle, life is great for you this week as evidenced by what you wrote. I am so happy knowing that you are walking around with a huge grin on your face. Giving your students the wings to fly must be a confirmation that your OLW is alive for you and your students. Life is good. Celebrate!

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  12. What inspiration for the end of the year! We may try some rearranging this week. Your posts always breathe joy! While I don't like wishing for the end of the school year per say, I'm excited to reconnect with this part of me! (More blogging please!)

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  13. "Everywhere you look, you see evidence of my students!" That's what it's all about, Michelle - such joy in this post! Even the "ugh" times - you manage to look for the silver lining always. A gift.

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  14. I love that story of the classroom redesign. It is so awesome that they took ownership of the project and made the room their own. I would love to try something like this at the beginning of the year to help students feel that the classroom is theirs.

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  15. Michelle- Awesome post. Are you participating in TeachersWrite? I saw you'd posted somewhere, but can't recall where. I always enjoy stopping by this blog for inspiration. :) Hope you're enjoying our very short summer! Miss ya! - Martha

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