Saturday, October 3, 2015

Currently: October

Well, hello! I am not quite ready to stop blogging all together. I do have an appreciation for people who can continue with a blog for more than two years! I wish I had that excitement I did when I first started. . . Sigh... I am thankful for Farley and the opportunity to share what I'm doing currently!

Yep! My husband usually does all the weekend cooking. He tries new recipes that are really healthy and yummy! After twenty-six years, I still love that guy and would say, "I do!" all over again!

Oh. My. Goodness! This year's class is a hoot! They love learning and get excited about every. Little. Thing! 
Here are two of my Nestlings! They turned me into a mummy after
reading Mummies in the Morning.
Seriously, why do apples get such little attention? You can do more with an apple than you can a pumpkin. Can you pick up a pumpkin and take a bite? You can't throw a pumpkin in your lunch or eat one for a snack after school. Apples come in so many more varieties than pumpkins too.

After I said all that about apples....I keep buying EVERY pumpkin flavored food available. True story.

By the way Trader Joe's has about a million pumpkin flavored foods. Pumpkin is yummy and it makes a much better latte than apples. Sadly, I have to drive a whole hour to get to the nearest Trader Joe's. I'm pretty sure my community could support a TJs!

Finally, I want to say that every time one of my kiddos calls me mom I feel that I have created a safe place for them to learn and grow. Who makes us feel safer than mom?

Now I'm going to try to visit and comment on every other Currently. Thanks for such a great party, Farley!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Twas the Night Before School...

Yep! Tomorrow's the BIG day. THE day that all teachers dread and look forward to all summer long. THE day that we see our new learners for the first time. THE day we begin to form our own community. THE day we become chief of a new tribe.  I. Am. Ready.
This little girl helped me prepare

 capes for my Super Learners to don when they step into the room tomorrow morning! Of course there will be a ceremony to receive there capes!  Here they are...

And so the intense training begins! I love Curious Firsties Ninja training so I'm going to join them and train my students to be "Super Learners"

Come back during the week to see how our training is coming! 

By the way...the capes were super duper easy to make. I went to Joann's and got three yards of felt which made 12 capes, iron on velcro, Heat and Bond UltraHold Iron on adhesive and small sheets of contrasting color for the badge.
I downloaded and printed a template from Jolly Mom...
Each cape probably cost about $2.00. It only involved cutting and ironing.  I can't wait to share a picture of my students wearing their capes! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Reading Strategies Book: Goal 7

Welcome back to The Reading Strategies Book study! I am so excited to be hosting. heck I am so excited to be writing a blog post! I feel like this study has reinvigorated my desire to blog, so watch out!
I am going to share  some thoughts on goal #7. Drum roll please...
Goal 7:  Supporting Comprehension in Fiction/Understanding Themes and Ideas
A funny thing happened as I began to teach students to be more thoughtful as they read. I became more thoughtful about my own reading. Once I was content to just plow through as many books as possible without stopping to think about themes, symbolism, and ideas hidden in rich texts.  I've found myself being much more thoughtful myself and wondering and enjoying what I'm reading. I will be greeting my students one week from today and can hardly wait to start sharing these strategies to teach this goal...

When I first glanced at these strategies I was taken back by how many are aimed at level J and above. Some of my firsties will be there by the middle of the year, but some may not make it quite that soon. I believe modeling these strategies can take place in read alouds long before readers work on this strategy independently. So as I was reading I thought  of ways that I could use these strategies during our read aloud time. Jennifer lets us know that students who have demonstrated an understanding of story structure are ready to dig deeper and think more critically about their stories. Goals 5 and 6 give great strategies for building an understanding of story structure. Click on the pictures below to check some of those strategies out.

Back to Goal 7! If you could turn in your book to page 191 you'll want to highlight this, "Put simply, although thinking deeply about text may be an enjoyable part of reading literature, it's also fair to say that without understanding themes, ideas, symbolism, or social issues that show up in the text, it could be that you misunderstand or at the very least miss a lot of what the story is about." It's our job to slow children down and help them to dig deeper into the text so that reading begins to "really matter". It's then that readers begin to feel joy, sorrow, surprise and a multitude of feelings that lead to a life long love of reading. 
Here are three of my favorite strategies for this goal.

7.1 Notice a Pattern and Give Advice
Well who doesn't like to give advice?  I like the idea of telling characters what to do. It turns out so do my students! I recently read Good-Night Owl by Pat Hutchins. We stopped in the middle of the story and gave the owl advice about how he could get a good night's sleep. Here are a couple pieces of sage advice...
Owl, you should get some ear plugs.
Owl, you should find another tree to sleep in.
Owl, why don't you eat those animals so they don't bother you anymore?
Owl, when I can't sleep my mom tells me to count to twenty and then roll over. You could try that.

Not only were the children engaged in the story they were also making connections and drawing inferences. 
Jennifer recommends you first discover the pattern and then give advice by starting with, "You should_____."

7.7 Mistakes Can Lead to Lessons

Everyone makes mistakes. We can all learn from those mistakes too. Noticing mistakes made by book characters help us notice them in ourselves and then also learn from them. Model this for your students by using chart paper to write down mistakes made by characters and then the possible lessons learned. Here are a couple of sentence starters Jennifer shares that can help you  use this strategy.
  • When you _________, you should or shouldn't learn _________.
  • You don't have to _________ to _________________.
  • Try to (or not to) ____________when you ___________.
This strategy helps students with inferring and in determining importance.

7.13 From Seed to Theme
Any one book may have different themes based on what prior knowledge the reader brings to the text. Starting with a single word is like the seed of the text's theme. It is important to get our readers to state these seeds in sentence form. The book Fish In a Tree by Lynda Mullaly has many such"seeds" that could be stated as a theme. Friendship, hope, perseverance, and kindness are all topics that can be found in the book.  Ally learns that friends are the people who stand up for you and help you even when it's hard. She also learns that with hard work she can attain her dreams. You could use the worksheet below to help students use this strategy to practice finding and stating the theme.
Just click on the picture if you think it may be something you can use.

If you have not gotten your hands on this book yet, you may borrow mine or buy your own! It is a book you want if you are a teacher of reading! 
Watch out I'll be back soon!! 
Want to know more about this book? Join the study. Look at the schedule below to see who is up next. I'll link to chapter 8 when it is published!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday

Yipee! It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to tell about five random things from your week. Finally, I've done something besides relaxing and reading that I can share! 


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I love these line-up numbers from Really Good Stuff! I will be using them for a lot more than just lining up! It's a life size number line for my Owlets to use to add and subtract. We can even build number sets all around these easy to apply floor stickers. See the broom in the corner? It just glided right over those numbers. Look how shiny that floor is...Wow!

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I have seen these all over Pintrest. It took me HOURS to make my own. I was so proud of my finished product, I took a picture and put it on my blog. It's ready for Meet the Teacher Night and so am I since I got these...

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I made this picture EXTRA LARGE because I wanted you to appreciate how cute these Lollipops are. I was so excited to get these for my Owlets when they come to meet me AND I have enough to give them each one for their birthday. I LOVE double duty!! Click HERE if you want to get some too!

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This has been a  highlight of my summer. I have now learned how to play Mahjong. This game takes so much concentration. I thought it would just be a matter of making matches...Ha! That's Mahjong solitaire! Here is one of the times I actually won. I'm going to miss my Mahjong friends when school starts. They will be headed to warmer parts of the globe and taking their tiles with them. I'll just have to wait until next year to play some more. 

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Here my friends is my amazing new table. I ordered two from Amazon. One was damaged on the oak side. I was told to just throw it away. They sent me two new ones to replace it. I am now the proud owner of four brand new tables for my kiddos. Goodbye desks! You won't be missed. I'm so thankful for my handy husband who gladly comes and puts all these together for me.

Come back on Monday. I'm hosting the seventh goal of a book study I've  been following on Jennifer Serravallo's The Reading Strategies Book. We're mid-way through and it isn't too late for you to join check out the schedule...

GREAT book! See you in a couple of days!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Five for Friday : Worm Freebie


I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share five random things about my week. It's what all the cool teachers do on Friday. You can find new blogs to follow or old friends to check on by going to Doodle Bugs and seeing all the amazing teachers that have linked up. Of course everyone is curious what teachers do all summer long, so the summer is the best time to check out what is happening. Just click on the graphic image and check out some other teachers too.

I have done several things this week that I said I would never do...
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The first thing that I was never going to do was buy an Erin Condren planner. Planning is not my favorite part of teaching. I am a type B teacher. I'm hoping THIS planner will make me better at planning. It's so pretty and user friendly. In the past I've used the student planners supplied to us. I'm thinking if I am diligent this will help me keep all my important information together. I think I can do it 'cause I've made my bed every single day this summer.

Want your own? Click HERE to check out these planners(and you don't have to be a teacher to find a planner to fit your life style!) 

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The other thing I was never going to do was download the Periscope app. I would have missed out on so much awesomeness. My children have started broadcasting, Hill Song Live has amazing broadcasts, and Brooke Brown from Teaching Outside the Box did an fantastic job presenting information about the Responsive Classroom. You don't have to show your face! You can just send hearts by clicking on the screen and respond by texting your questions or responses. Please leave me your name to follow on Periscope if you are already on. Maybe one day we'll both be brave enough to broadcast something!

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I had my first of four playdates for my future students this week. It is a fun informal way to get to know them in a group setting. I keep our time together short and sweet. We play a game, have a snack, read a book and complete a craft together. The time flies by and leaves me looking forward to spending my days with these great people. This week's theme was worms so we went on a worm hunt and we hit the jackpot!

Using chopsticks to find gummy worms hidden in the rice sensory bin is lots of fun.

Want a freebie? Click here for a little...and I do mean and worm printable. I hope this inspires your bookworms! If you have trouble getting it leave me your e-mail and I'll send it to you. I put 10 gummy worms in a sandwich size baggie, folded it in half and then stapled the worm label to the top of the bag.
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Something great is coming...

There is still time to get the book. It will blow your mind. It is a treasure trove of practical information that you will be able to use starting on Day one!

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The baby deer are back and helping to keep my weeds under control. They are just adorable. I've learned what I can and can't plant. The explosion in the deer population has led me to some beautiful new plants that deer are somewhat resistant to eat! I love seeing them in the yard and like to pretend they are my gardeners eating just the tops of my bushes to keep them well groomed!

Thanks for stopping by and making it to the end!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Truth Revealed! Five For Friday


I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday. A chance to blog about five random things from my week. Thanks for hosting, Doodle Bugs. I'm sorry you couldn't make it to the party this week. Enjoy some much deserved time off!

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I had so much fun linking up late to try and stump you all with my two truths ans a lie. I have to say that I kind of sorta did two lies!! I didn't intend to, but it happened. If you haven't had a chance to guess you can go back and take a guess HERE!
So the lie(s)...I haven't blogged much lately because I've lacked motivation! It just seemed kind of nice to blame  it on my daughter. My daughter and now son in law planned and executed every detail of their wedding. I just showed up and smiled a LOT. The whole day was unbelievable. All of my sisters and my brother were able to come and so many friends too. The wedding was in my former stomping grounds...St. Louis home of the Cardinals. It is pretty cool that my daughter born and raised in Michigan ended up at WashU where her grandmother, for whom she was named, attended nursing school. My mom would have loved every minute of the celebrating right down to the bagpipe playing the processional and recessional in the church. Here is one more picture for you...Okay you twisted my arm hard enough here are two!! (See randomness number 3 for the real lie!!)

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Cutting the first piece of this awesome cake with Bilbo's sword. Yes. They are Lord of the Ring fans!

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So the whole thing about the Bocce Ball team...Never happened. I like playing Bocce, but I don't even know if there are teams. I went to Germany two summers ago, but didn't ever play a game of Bocce there. I hope my IG friends saw my post about my Bocce Ball tournament being cancelled today. I was just trying to throw you off!

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It is time for a true confession. Sometimes I read books to my class for the sheer joy of reading. I don't think aloud and I don't make them respond in a writing assignment or project. We just pick up a book and read it. We laugh and sometimes, if they ask, I read it again. Sometimes on Friday afternoons I let them play too. I don't have any hidden agendas in their freetime. They get to play with anything they want.They make zoos out of cardboard, They set up the train set to go all the way around the zoo. They plan, execute and work in collaboration with each other. They play school on the chalkboard. They set up a bakery with playdough. They are allowed to be kids having fun with each other!

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Do you know Arnie the Doughnut? I love that guy! For National Doughnut Day we celebrated the only way I know how. We ate doughnuts. We gave our doughnuts, hands and feet so they could escape if they didn't want to be eaten. We gave him/her eyes and then asked them, "Do you want to be eaten?" If they don't answer it is safe to eat them. So far, I've never had a doughnut tell me he didn't want to be eaten! Laurie Keller herself taught my children and I the proper way to eat doughnuts years ago at a library event she spoke at! All of her books are delightful, but Arnie is my favorite!