We had a fun afternoon the final week of school - it was our "Authors' Tea" when our "firsties" shared all of the wonderful writing they had been doing all year. In my room we followed the format of Maria Walther's Month-by-Month Trait-based Writing Instruction which was very effective. My students were always very excited and eagerly looked forward to writing in their journals each day. They also loved writing little stories and sharing their creations with classmates. In preparation for the Authors' Tea, students decorated a paper bag "writing tote" to hold their monthly journals and booklets. They were then given time to look through their writing and place post-it notes on the pieces/pages they wanted to share with their families. As they viewed their work from the beginning of the year and compared it to their most recent work, they were amazed at how much better they had become. I heard many comments like "I can't believe that is my journal", I am soooo much better now!" My heart swelled with pride, and my eyes filled with tears as I thought about how far my students had come this year. (This is one of the many reasons I LOVE teaching 1st grade. There is so much growth!) I look forward to celebrating with an "Authors' Tea" again next spring!