November is always the busiest month of the year for me. When I was teaching full-time, November meant Parent-Teacher Conferences (and NCTE starting in 2007). Now that I’m out of the classroom, November means consulting appointments, speaking engagements, and NCTE. My husband and I also host Thanksgiving in our home each year so that means November is also about planning for my favorite non-religious holiday. If I don’t stop to slow down, breathe, and count my blessings, then November feels incredibly stressful.
In November 2009, I jumped on the “Thankful November” bandwagon on Facebook. This November is the third time I’ve been posting thankful status updates on my personal page daily. I am sharing the ones I have written, up through yesterday, below. It feels good to stop, reflect, and think about what I’m truly thankful for every day, especially when all that seems to be top-of-mind is prep work, travel arrangements, and trying to figure out how to sneak my daughter’s antibiotic (for her ear infection in two weeks) into her mouth.
In addition to posting the updates on Facebook, I’ve taken the time to do some additional writing, privately, about my thankfulness topic of the day. I have found the extended writing to be extremely gratifying since it has allowed me to extend my thinking about what I’m thankful for. I have come to believe that taking time to write about what I’m thankful for makes me want less. It helps me understand that I have everything I need right here, right now.
There’s nothing official you have to do to jump on the thankful writing bandwagon. You can tweet your thankful thoughts, post them as status updates, or write about them in your notebook or on your blog. In addition, you might want to encourage your students to write about the small things they are thankful for this year. Perhaps they’ll want to share their thankful writing around the Thanksgiving table with their family members and friends.
As promised, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve been thankful for during the first twelve days of November. As you’ll see, some are material things (like finding a dress for my friend’s wedding), while most are things that money cannot buy (like time spent snuggling with my daughter).
So far this month, I’ve been thankful…
…that dinner was prepared for me when I got home from doing a presentation at the JCC (11.01.11).
…for finally finding a dress for Emily’s wedding, which is just a few days away (11.02.11).
…to have a washing machine at home (11.03.11).
…for the freshly baked whole wheat challah that I just picked up for tonight’s Shabbat dinner (11.04.11).
…for mornings like today when I get to snuggle in bed with Isabelle (11.05.11).
…my little plan of of doing everything an hour later for the past three days, in order to outsmart the time change, worked. Isabelle awoke at her normal 6:20 a.m. today. Whew (11.06.11)!
…for my inlaws watching Isabelle last night while we attended Emily’s wedding in Boston. We had a wonderful (first) night away as a couple. However, it was WONDERFUL to be reunited with our sweet baby again (11.07.11).
…for the right to vote (11.08.11).
…that Isabelle slept an extra hour ’til 7:25 a.m. this morning. I really needed the extra hour of sleep! THANK YOU my dear little one (11.09.11).
…for having a mother-in-law who values reading aloud to Isabelle as much as I do (11.10.11).
…for the men and women who have served our country (11.11.11).
…that the three of us had a quiet, uneventful, and delicious dinner out this evening (11.12.11).
What are you thankful for?
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).