Year-End Sharing, Reflecting and Celebrating

At the end of every school year, we make time for our annual school-wide writing share. It’s a simple affair. Parents drop in, first thing in the morning, and sit with their child for about twenty minutes, looking through writer’s notebooks and writing folders, and they listen to their child share a few pieces aloud. Our specials teachers join in and partner with children who don’t have a family member attending.

In advance of the share, we send an email to parents, alerting them to the fact that their child’s notebook or folder contains both finished and unfinished pieces. We let them know that their young writer has done lots of experimenting this year, and some of it is messy and unfinished. We remind parents that writers benefit from affirmation.

The share requires almost no prep for teachers, because who needs one more thing to do in the final weeks of school! The share is short and simple and doesn’t involve treats or toasts. And yet, each year it is a highlight for our young writers, teachers and parents.

This simple ritual provides our writers with a chance to celebrate and reflect as the year winds down. The conversations I overhear as I wander from classroom to classroom confirm why we make time for this during perhaps the busiest time of the school year.

“I didn’t know I had learned so much,” remarked on first grader as he looked back from his early-in-the-year pieces to some of his more recent work.

“Mom, wait. I forgot to share my favorite poem,” called a second grade boy as he raced down the hall after his mother who was leaving the building.

“This is my favorite morning of the school year,” a teacher mused as she and I looked around at the parents and children who filled her classroom.

Making time for sharing and reflecting matters. What plans have  you and your writers made for year-end sharing, reflecting and celebrating?