When I met Ruth, I’m pretty sure I hugged her and I definitely was babbling, this I know for certain. It was early in the morning and she drove from home….I think that she probably left around 3 am to get to our small campus nestled in the Fox river valley by 7:30. I talked with Ruth briefly, but I knew that getting set up was the most important thing that she needed to be doing at that point. I left to work on my introduction as our tech guy came marching in to help. I sat on a picnic bench, tried to calm myself down and tried to write in my notebook. I read it through out loud quickly, knowing that teacher friends would be arriving soon.
Nervous, I just offered up a silent prayer…thanking God for this opportunity to meet this wonderful person who has influenced my life so greatly this past year. singing inside… Great is thy Faithfulness, oh God my Father, morning by morning new mercies I see…
Early in the school year, I read Day By Day by Ruth and Stacey. When I was done reading, I wanted more so I investigated the blog and the website. Their writing was so clear, so specific, so practical, and more than that; it resonated so deeply. Their voices were oddly familiar to me and I just couldn’t put my finger on it who it reminded me of.
I had read ‘Slices’ on Carol’s Corner. So I admit, I started by stalking on Tuesday’s. By March I decided that I wanted to be challenged…I’ve always written to my teachers (email) about classroom things and little tips here and there and thought it would be good practice. One thing that I really believe is that teachers that are teaching writers and readers really need to be a writer and a reader alongside the children in their classroom. They need to experience the ‘agony and ecstasy ‘ so they can better understand what students go through. So…I started with the challenge in March and I’m still ‘slicing’ at the end of June. It is better than ice cream, even better than cherry pie. It is an amazing community that has developed because of Ruth and Stacey.
Well, back to the story of when I introduced Ruth, I think I was still babbling. But I knew what I was talking about when I told the audience that I was so sad when Don Graves had died because he was my friend and I wondered who would carry on the dream of writing workshop with young children. I remembered in the moment, that I had never met Don, and was talking like I knew him personally. I qualified my remark and said that I only knew him from the words in all of his books. I then introduced Ruth and said that she was bringing his mission forward, and as I think about it right now, really digging even deeper into the process of student writers. And just like Don Graves, I also knew Ruth from her writing.
Ruth talked about this idea of ‘Celebrations’ in the workshop and the different ways we can celebrate writing while sitting next to children. In fact, when we slice and comment on our friends’ posts it is a genuine celebration each week, isn’t it? I learned so much from Ruth, my head was spinning, in a good way, of course. I can’t wait for the release of her new book in January.
Today I talked with one of my girlfriends who was at Literacy in Motion with me. We both came out of this school year exhausted. We both agreed that we felt energized, calm and almost ready to go meet our kiddos, well almost ready 🙂 Meeting and hearing Ruth was a big ‘wow’ for me it will go down as one of my best days ever!
She went from Judson to All Write to deliver her keynote…what an amazing person.
Next year: All Write, let’s all go. xo nanc