Celebrate this Week: Notebooks and Students Full of Promise

This summer Saturday is slipping by with cleaning and conversations.

Before I get too deep into the afternoon, I need to take a moment to celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build.



Two boxes full of promise and potential.

Clean. Beautiful.



Color-filled pens.

 Notebooks to match.

Waiting in line.

For thoughts not yet thought.


School mail surprise!

Heartstrings pulled.
IMG_2490 (1)


An email.



Dear R…

We would like to publish your poem, “Classroom” in a new poetry book entitled Eloquence.
   We recently sent you a notification letter that the poem you submitted through your teacher at school (Julieanne Harmatz at Park Western Elementary) or online through our website had been officially registered in The America Library of Poetry 2015 Student Poetry Contest. … we wanted to congratulate you on your submission and let you know that the various rounds of grading are continuing through the summer with the winners to be announced on September 30th.
   We’ll be awarding several prizes in each grade division along with random prizes just for entering, things like a Laptop Computer or iPod Touch, School’s Out Shopping Spree, Gift Cards, and of course the $500 U.S. Cash Grand Prize.
   We also had some other exciting news especially for you. The America Library of Poetry would like to publish your poem in a new book entitled Eloquence. This compilation represents a small cross-section of select poetry we have received this year and is scheduled to be released this fall. Again, our congratulations as this is not an offer we make to everyone who sent us a submission.
In fact, it may interest you to know that less than 20 percent of the authors we read will have the honor of seeing their work in print. It is truly something that we hope will encourage you to continue writing creatively and something in which you can take a great deal of pride. Of course,Eloquence will be under copyright only as a compilation. You will retain all rights to your individual work. (italics and bold type added)
Today I celebrate students past and future.
The present is waiting inside those notebooks.
I put the pieces together and realize all that paper, all those pens, all those writing workshops, and everything in between adds up and sometimes we get an email, an award, an honor. And sometimes, we get a shout out and a wave at Target saying, “Hey, Mrs. Harmatz!” Both are gold.  Today, I remember and celebrate all the students.
Past. Present.Future.

12 thoughts on “Celebrate this Week: Notebooks and Students Full of Promise

  1. Yay to R for the poem!!!! WOO HOO!!!! That’s always so exciting, isn’t it?!?! I love the pictures of notebooks and colorful pens!! Your words of hope and promise bring excitement to the school year that begins in a few weeks!! YAY Julieanne!!! Congrats on another wonderful celebration!

  2. Indeed, every single bit adds up. Congratulations to your student and to you, Julieanne, for such support of your writing students. Pens and paper looks great, time for another year!

  3. This post gave me tingles from the notebooks all the way down to the poem! Wow, what honor for you and your student! There is nothing like new notebooks and writing tools! The only think that might beat those are sticky notes! Ha – love those too!

  4. Julianne, your poem to be published. Your heart must be full to breaking with happiness at the recognition of your talent. Can you let us all have a sneak preview?

  5. How exciting! What wonderful causes for celebration – I love the anticipation you build in this piece, in addition to the poetic rhythm of it. Congratulations to R and to his / her teacher for all the planning, lessons delivered, time spent and on getting to publication! Very exciting. Now that’s blue ribbon.

  6. It’s so exciting to know we’ve made a difference. You saw potential in a poem and sent it in. Congratulations to you and your student! I coordinate a state writing contest and beam on the day we give the awards. It’s worth every minute I put into it.
    Do your students decorate their journals? (I’ve always called them journals and I can’t change. Notebook means taking notes, not writing.) My students look forward to decorating a new one each year. WE cover them with packaging tape to keep them shiny and new.

    • Margaret- We had a designated writer’s notebook decorating day. The students brought in pictures, scrap booking supplies, etc. to use to personalize their notebooks. (They’ve even brought in duck tape in crazy patterns to reinforce the notebooks.) It’s one of the kids’ favorite days, and helps to trigger ideas as they choose to decorate in a way that represents them.

    • I think decorating journals/notebooks is a good thing. It builds ownership, making it theirs. Some teachers ask kids to get their own, which has some merit. I know I like having a certain kind of notebook. I love how you call them journals. I was raised in a school culture that refers to them as notebooks, so I don’t think of them as a place to keep notes. But maybe my students do. Interesting to consider. Words matter!

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