Today was the BEST day EVER! I want to write this down while it is fresh in my mind.
Today the Caldecott Medal would be announced. Our second graders had participated in a Mock Caldecott Medal and today we planned on watching the event live which would start at 11am our time, right after gym. So, when we got back to the room I logged onto the website where the American Library Association Youth Media Awards would be streamed. I kept the sound off and didn't turn on the projector because I knew it would be a long wait for my second graders before the Caldecott would be announced. I planned on doing Writing Workshop while we waited, but I was so nervous I couldn't concentrate on settling myself down to start conferring! So, I took my ipad out and started following #alayma on twitter. I couldn't wait any longer and like an impatient child waiting for their birthday party to begin I called my colleagues and told them it was time to come down to my room for the Caldecott announcements. There was a buzz in the air as I announced our Mock Caldecott Winners. I explained that there was a very good chance that our choices would not win, and in fact we may have not even read the winning books. However, I assured them if this was the case we would have new books to read!
We got warmed up when Each Kindness was announced as a Coretta Scott King Honor book. There was surprised applause all around. When it was announced that there were 5 Caldecott Honor books you could hear everyone OOOHHHH! The cheers and applause were deafening as students heard the names of books that we had read together and that they loved so very much. I was jumping up and down I was so excited. When Jon Klassen's This Is Not My Hat was announced I couldn't believe it! More cheers and applause. I was near tears to see how excited my students were and how excited my colleagues were - it was incredible. It felt like we were at a rock concert and we were cheering our favorite rock stars. And I thought, this is how it should be, our authors and illustrators should be celebrities to these kids!
As we listened to the Newbery Award be announced and I heard the words, The One and Only Ivan, I cheered so loud you would have thought I wrote the book! As I looked around the room and saw the delighted surprise on the faces of all the second graders tears welled up in my eyes. We had read Ivan earlier in the year as part of the Global Read Aloud, but our focus on the awards had been the Caldecott. After all, Newbery books are not often read in second grade classrooms. I had fell in love with the book over the summer and followed all the twitter chatter about this glorious book, but I knew there were probably many other Newbery contenders that I had not read.
Today was an incredible and amazing day. With all the focus lately on budget cuts, testing and teacher evaluations it has been difficult at times to keep my "eyes on the prize" as they say. I am so glad I had the honor and privilege to share these books with my students and colleagues, and I am so very thankful for my inspiring Twitter PLN. I can go back to school tomorrow energized, with my new bag of books from the bookstore, and continue helping my young readers fall in love with reading and books.
Congratulations to all the book award recipients. You truly are rock stars!
You can view a list of the award winning books here.