5 Things I Loved About Last Week 12/7/2013

Be sure to visit Ruth Ayers blog to check out how our friends are celebrating today.

I had an amazing week. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It might be hard to keep my post to only five things, but I’ll give it a try.

Here we go!

1. Trifecta

My good pal Mr. Johnny Schu is on the Newbery committee this year. It is quite an honor to be on the committee for what I think is the coolest award in the universe (Sorry Heisman Trophy). The only bad thing, and it is a very small thing, is that we cannot celebrate 2013 books together. We do these things we call “trifectas”, where we celebrate a book on his blog, this blog, and Nerdy Book Club all on the same day.

Well, guess what? It is almost 2014, and The Schu and I got to celebrate a 2014, book trifecta style. On Monday, John debuted the cover to Jenni Holm’s 2014 masterpiece The Fourteenth Goldfish, I interviewed Jenni about “my idea”, and I also did a 5,4,3,2,1 interview with Jenni on Nerdy Book Club.

Celebrating books with Mr. Schumacher is always fun.

FourteenthGoldfish_Cover2. Publishing

Teaching writing is messy. I’m not sure how messy it is when our favorite authors publish the books my kids love, but when those same kids publish their writing in my class things probably look a little crazy. I’m working on being a lot more flexible in how my students publish. Microsoft Word feels SO 2006.

My students are currently working on writing opinion pieces to wrap up our Mock Caldecott unit. As they move the process I’m really enjoying talking with them about what tool is going to work best for publishing their essay. We are having some great discussions about purpose and audience. Two of my favorite tools that they are using to publish are Write About This and Show Me (both iPad apps).

I’ll probably share more about our publishing journey in a separate post.

3. A Third Grade Teacher

For the first time this year I felt like a third grade teacher. Up until that point, I had felt like a fourth grade teacher impersonating a third grade teacher. That’s a weird feeling to have. My teaching partner has really helped me celebrate the tremendous progress our students have made since Labor Day. Once I embraced that, and calmed down a bit, everything seemed to start going a lot better. She helped me see that the anxiety I was constantly having, may have been having an impact on my students. She was right. Thursday and Friday were by far and away our two best days of the school year. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish in the last two weeks before break.

4. Ricky Ricotta


My first grade son has Dav Pilkey fever, and he has it bad. Two weekends ago he spent more than 12 hours reading and rereading Captain Underpants One (in full color). I recently purchased the first 7 books in Dav’s Ricky Ricotta series. My son has been carrying all of the books around with him, EVERYWHERE. After reading a couple of them last night, he asked me if he could cuddle with them as he slept. My kids have fallen asleep with a lot of books in their days, but this is the first time one of them has asked to cuddle with books.

5. #Nerdlution

I am always impressed with the effect that community can have on a group of people or a classroom. This whole Nerdlution movement that has taken place on Twitter over the last week has inspired me to be a better writer, a better blogger, a better teacher, and a more fit person. Who knows what week two will bring, but I’m sure excited to find out.

If you are a little confused about Nerdlution, be sure to check out Chris Lehman’s post Nerdlution and So Can You (FAQ).


18 thoughts on “5 Things I Loved About Last Week 12/7/2013

  1. I love that your son is so loving the books that he wants to sleep with them! Definitely something to celebrate!
    By reflecting, we grow as teachers. Glad you are feeling more like a third grade teacher. Your enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air.


  2. Colby,
    I enjoyed reading about your celebrations this week. I am not familiar with Pilkey’s Ricky Ricotta series so I’ll have to get on it! Thanks for sharing.


  3. Write About This looks like a really cool app. I will have to check it out. It is so interesting to really contemplate all the apps and websites and other software out there to help kids publish their writing. I will be interested in hearing more about your publishing journey.
    I am so excited about the #nerdlution movement. It is amazing to see how that conversation on twitter morphed into this huge thing. I have been inspired this week to do more writing also and have enjoyed reading your blog.


  4. Hi Colby…I always enjoy reading about your journey and your student’s journey on your blog. We are a4th grade class who loves to write. We blog using Kidblog. I do make a few suggestions for topics, but most of the writing is their own. It is the one thing that I have noticed has truly impacted my 4th graders to become writers. You can also embed work you have done with some of your apps. We use Kidblog.


  5. Colby,
    I love that you pointed out how nerdlution effects all those around us. What we gain from our nerdlutions is carried into our classrooms, shared with kids just like all of those who inspire us on twitter. #Nerdlution is powerful!


  6. Your post is energy filled and shows appreciation for the people (young and old) around you. I-Pad has brought so many new possibilities for young writers. Blogging has been fueling writers in my class to choose seeds from their journals, revise them and then publish. We experimented with Cute Cut for digital story telling and that was a new experience for all of us. It didn’t require physical writing so much but expected to think and go through the process as a writer.


  7. I love every part of your five things.
    1. First, that Jennifer Holm interview and your idea is priceless. Thank your for your research. It will do us all good. I share your goals as a writing and reading teacher. I am worried about becoming the CCSS machine that is expected of teachers. Good to know I’m not alone.

    2. I’m working on publishing options as well. We blog but I’m looking into your suggestions. Thanks!

    3. It’s so great to have colleagues to help you see the forest when you’re lost in the trees.

    4, You are so lucky to have young boys cuddling with books. What could be better.

    5. And #nerdlution is brilliant. Amazed at what the first week has brought. Imagining what 50 days will bring.


  8. I just want to say you are such a visionary guy. So glad you work with kids!!

    And Jenny’s new book is gorgeous. It was MAY AMEILA that kept me writing back in the old days. I wanted to create something as perfect as that book and that girl.


  9. 1. So happy you guys could get back into your Trifecta! I’m sure John’s enjoying that fact, too 🙂

    2. I’m very “old school” (maybe ’cause I’m getting old! lol), but I have trouble with kids constantly using electronics : / Of course, you’re making really good use of it, so that’s a positive!

    3. So glad you’ve finally settled in and realized your own competency as a teacher. It’s always about letting go of fear 😀

    4, Your heart must LEAP out of your chest when you hear your son asking to CUDDLE with a BOOK! Wow—12 hours! It’s thrilling 🙂 I just recommended the Captain Underpants books to a grandmother for her 2nd-Grade grandson. I’ve seen the Ricky Ricotta ones and, so typical of Pilkey is his PERFECT choice in words. I mean, come on—UNDERPANTS and RICOTTA (my favorite soft cheese, though allergic!) are inherently funny words—at least to me! lol

    5. It’s wonderful how #nerdlution is motivating so many people. I barely have a brain, so forget it’s going on! lol Pathetic…*sigh*

    So much to celebrate 😀


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