In Charge of Celebrations #sol18

In Charge of Celebrations #sol18

May 15, 2018

I’ve been neglecting my responsibility.  The person who never comes to a meeting with out cookies, muffins, or slices of cake has forgotten to celebrate success.

As a coach, there’s always a subject or subjects dujour.  One of the elements of literacy I have been deeply coaching into this year is process over product.  What I know that to mean is we don’t have to over edit writing, make a fancy laminated cover, and make sure all the mistakes are corrected.  We can celebrate what happened live.  I say that,  but I haven’t lived it.

There’s a great deal of new content in my school and district much of which is literacy based.  That is the nature of elementary school.  New ideas are coming at us at a breakneck speed.  We are rushing along with them.  We have a map and we are moving along it.

I started thinking about losing celebrations as I collaborated with a teacher in a third grade class some weeks ago.  She was bemoaning the fact that the students she worked with never finished their writing pieces.  The words were floating out of my mouth that it’s the process,  they are just learning the techniques when I examined those words as they floated into the room.   Something in the back of my mind replied, it does kind of matter if they never finish.  How will they celebrate their accomplishments? 

Those thoughts continued to rattle around across some other grades. In first grade, we were quickly finishing fairy tales and moving on to nonfiction chapter books.  In second grade we were moving from nonfiction chapter books to poetry.  In third grade, we were finishing our literary essays and moving on to persuasive speeches.   We needed a stop along the way.

I was just getting ready to say something to someone.  I copied some first grade nonfiction chapter books.  I had the kiddos read me their books as they finished.  Then a second grade teacher had her class read their nonfiction books to their reading buddies.  The third grade teacher wanted to spark her students and helped them go back and type their literacy essays for a gallery walk.

So now,  still process over product.  Not perfect products, but writing to celebrate.  Finishing still might not be all that important, but certainly celebrating is.  So in the face of a avalanche of content,  take time to savor the writing.



Thank you to Two Writing Teachers and my Slice community for always giving me an opportunity to celebrate writing.

8 thoughts on “In Charge of Celebrations #sol18

  1. I too have been thinking a lot about publishing and celebrating. In my role – content – it is easy to indirectly imply it doesn’t matter since we are not typically part of those steps. Lately, I have been talking more with teachers about the importance of taking the time to publish and celebrate. It is an important part of the process. We hit publish every Tuesday and I believe it has changed me as a writer. We need to find simple, authentic ways for our students to go public in our workshops. Thank you for sharing your reflections and ideas – many of us are getting buried in content and losing the celebration of the writing.

  2. This is a struggle for me too. I struggle to even get to something that’s published in my classes, and then I feel like I need to rush to start the next round of writing so that students have the amount they’re supposed to at the end of the semester. Celebrating usually falls by the wayside. But you are absolutely right: we need to celebrate. Thanks for giving me much to think about today!

  3. YES!: “[W]e don’t have to over edit writing, make a fancy laminated cover, and make sure all the mistakes are corrected…” And I love this: “… when I examined those words as they floated into the room. Something in the back of my mind replied, it does kind of matter if they never finish. How will they celebrate their accomplishments?” We need to celebrate along the journey! That’s why I had a “Draft” stamp that students used on pieces they chose to make public during the process. From my standpoint, we stamped them more for adults who would read and critic more with the eye than with thinking. From the students’ standpoint, it was to recognize unfinished pieces from finished ones. Like my personal writing, only a few pieces of each students’ writing made it to full publication. We write way more than we publish! That’s one of the things I love about SOL and PoetryFriday — I can go public with a draft. 🙂

  4. What an important reminder. I like the idea of going public vs published. This is a goal for our district next year, add in time to allow for celebrations. If we aren’t taking time to reflect and celebrate, what’s the point? There is so much push and pull. Hooray for taking time for what really matters.

  5. “That is the nature of elementary school. New ideas are coming at us at a breakneck speed. We are rushing along with them.” this is sooooo true! I love the message in this slice – enjoy the process, celebrate it AND work towards a product/deadline and celebrate it, too! Going public is a form of publication – I think it takes more guts than working to simply make a piece “look” good. Going public with a piece in a face to face interaction is a brave move for a writer! Keep on celebrating! Thanks for sharing or going public, I should say 😉

  6. I’m down for savoring writing, and I love the term “avalanche of content” because sometimes it really does seem like it buries us! We can celebrate writing without having the focus be on the product. The process offers a lot of celebratory moments and opportunities, for sure!

  7. There is something so important about taking the time to celebrate — both process and product — so I’m delighted to hear that you did it. A celebration isn’t about perfection. (Heck, if it were, I’d never hit publish on a Tuesday SOL, which is more like first-draft writing.) Here’s to imperfectly perfect celebrations!

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